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Outreach - Winter-Spring 2013

Outreach Prize. As I reported in fall 2012, after no Outreach Prize was awarded in 2011, five nominations for the 2012 APA Outreach Prize were received.  This prize recognizes outstanding projects or events by an APA member or members that make an aspect of classical antiquity available and attractive to an audience other than classics scholars or students in their courses.

I’m delighted that the 2012 prize was awarded to Prof. James T. Svendsen, Professor Emeritus of the University of Utah, for his work with the Classical Greek Theatre Festival of Utah. Prof. Svendsen helped found the group in 1971 and has served as the producer and dramaturge of this festival since then. The Fall 2012 production of Antigone was performed in Salt Lake City, Provo, Ogden, Zion National Park, and the University of Colorado in Denver. As dramaturge Prof. Svendsen makes sure that the festival chooses modern translations accessible to general audiences, provides on-line study guides questions, and offers pre-play lectures before every performance. Bravo, Jim!

Looking forward: several new nominations for the 2013 Prize have been received, and nominations remain active for three years.

Outreach Events at the APA annual meeting in Seattle, Washington, January 3-6, 2013.  The Outreach Division sponsored five events at the meeting.

With support from the Lambda Classical Caucus and private donors, Charles Rowan Beye, Distinguished Professor of Classics Emeritus at Lehman College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, read from his memoir My Husband and My Wives: A Gay Man’s Odyssey on Thursday January 3. Although this was the first event of the meeting, it was well attended and both the reading and the question period were lively.

Continuing the tradition of dramatic performances at the annual meeting, a fully staged reading of Euripides’ Alcestis was presented on Friday January 4 at 7 p.m. I must refrain from any value judgments since Mark Damen and I co-directed my translation (with revisions by Mark). The production premiered at the Feminism & Classics Conference VI at Brock University in May 2012, and the same talented cast (Del Chrol, Jenna Chrol, Amy Cohen, Mark Damen, Alison Futrell, John Given, Seth Jeppesen, George Kovacs, Brett Rogers, Elizabeth Scharffenberger, John Starks) performed. Songs adapted by Alison Futrell and John Given were performed with Frances Titchener on piano.

Three of the Outreach events were panels sponsored by Outreach committees.

The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance organized a panel on Bodies in Motion: Contemporary Approaches to Choral Performance in Greek Drama. Noting that recent productions have used the Greek chorus to offer a new form of theater emphasizing collective movement, redefining theatrical space, and questioning the relation between spectators and performers, panelists were asked to describe and discuss contemporary productions of Greek drama that emphasize the physicality/corporeality of the chorus. How is collective movement used in the production? Are the choral moves inspired by a particular performative tradition or technique? Do the movements of the chorus respond to specific cues in the Greek text or its translation(s)? Does the chorus contribute to a particular meaning (artistic, political, social, economic) of the dramatic performance as a whole? Can this contemporary rendering of the chorus help us revisit the original ancient performance with fresh eyes?

The panel was co-organized by Marianne Hopman (Northwestern University) and Francesca Schironi (University of Michigan) and the papers were

1. Simon Perris, Victoria University of Wellington: “Translating the Greek Chorus: Choral Performance and Poetic Performance”
2. Dorota Dutsch, University of California, Santa Barbara: “From Gardzienice to Athens: Unpacking Staniewski’s Ideology”
3. Alison Traweek, University of Pennsylvania: “Flipping Greek Tragedy: The Hip Hop Chorus”
4. Viviane Sophie Klein, Boston University: “Imagining and Imaging the Chorus: A Study of the Physicality, Movement, and Composition of the Chorus in A.R.T.’s Ajax”
5. Katie Billotte, Freie Universität Berlin: “Dancing Philoctetes in Tehran: The ‘(Un)Dancing’ Chorus in Raúl Valles and Afshin Ghaffarian’s Lemnos

The Committee on Classical Tradition and Receptions offered a panel on Islamic and Arabic Receptions of Classical Literature. This panel examined the Arabic reception of Classical texts as an active process of creative production, not simply as a vehicle for preserving and transmitting lost or better witnesses of Greek originals. The contributions underlined the need for an essentially contextual and historical approach to the adaptation and translation of Classical sources, taking into account the precise frames informing the appropriation of ancient material for specific constituencies and audiences. At the same time, the panel questioned the degree to which "Islam" as such can explain these processes of selection, rejection, and/or modification.

The panel was organized by Paul Kimball (Bilkent University) and the papers were

1. Paul Dilley, University of Iowa: “Homer Christianus: From Egypt to the Abbāsid Court”
2. Aileen Das, University of Warwick:“Rewriting the Demiurge: Galen's Synopsis of Timaeus and Ex Nihilo Creation”
3. Anna Izdebska, University of Warsaw: ”The Image of Pythagoras and Pythagoreanism in the Greco-Arabic and Arabic Histories of Philosophy”
4. Kevin van Bladel, University of Southern California: “The Sunna of the Philosophers in the Works of Abū Bakr al-Rāzī”
Terri DeYoung, University of Washington, was the respondent.

The Outreach Committee sponsored a panel on Sport and Spectacle in the Ancient World. The gradual accumulation of evidence and insights has made it possible to begin writing the social history of ancient sport and spectacle, in which what we know about sport and spectacle is not seen as an end in itself, but as a means of achieving a better understanding of Greek or Roman society in broader terms. This approach is having a profound effect on both scholarship and teaching. Participants in this panel will help familiarize the audience with emerging practices in the study and teaching of ancient sport and spectacle.

The panel was organized by Paul Christesen (Dartmouth College) and Garrett Fagan (The Pennsylvania State University) and the papers were

1. Thomas Scanlon, University of California, Riverside: ”Reasoning through the Greek Agôn”
2. David Potter, University of Michigan, and Hannah Sorscher, University of Chicago: “Teaching Roman Sport”
3. Mark Golden, University of Winnipeg: “Who Knows Where the Discus Will Land (and Other Reasons Not to Link the Ancient and Modern Olympics)”
4. David Lunt, Southern Utah University: “Athletics, Victory, and the Right to Rule in Ancient Greece”
5. Garrett Fagan, The Pennsylvania State University: “Roman Gladiators as Sports Stars”
6. Paul Christesen, Dartmouth College: “Democratization, Sports, and Choral Dancing in Sixth- and Fifth-Century BCE Athens”

CAMP, COCTR, and the Outreach Committee all met during the 2013 annual meeting.

CAMP has defined their primary mission for 2013 as developing policies and materials to support scholars of performance in classics. They aim to produce a document that shows what research in performance looks like, possibly with the goal of revising the APA’s statement on research. They note that the location of CAMP in the Outreach Division can be seen as reflecting a view that performance is not scholarship; they are seeking an effective role for performance in both research and outreach.

Looking ahead to the 2015 meeting in New Orleans: CAMP plans to issue a Call for Directors for the staged reading, as well as a Call for Proposals for the CAMP panel, next month.

Outreach Events at the APA annual meeting in Chicago, Illinois, January 2-5, 2014.  The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance will present a panel on Color in Ancient Drama in Performance. When the ancient playwright mentions specific color in a text, modern designers have a direction for their work. Without specific comments in the play, however, designers must make choices about color. Confronted with objects as omnipresent in ancient theater as masks, one wonders whether they should be painted the color of human flesh and if so, what shade, and to what effect? Color is not restricted to stage properties, costumes, or set design. Ancient drama – tragedy and comedy – calls for the representation of non-Greek and non-Roman characters (barbarians) and non-human characters (Cyclopes, satyrs, frogs, birds, etc.) on stage. How can color, how has color been used to depict the Other on stage?

The panel was organized by Timothy Wutrich, Case Western Reserve University, and the papers are

1. Velvet L. Yates, University of Florida: “The Significance of Skin Color in Aristophanes (Ecclesiazousae, Thesmophoriazousae)”
2. Nancy Rabinowitz, Hamilton College: “Are Aeschylus’ Suppliants Women of Color?”
3. Melissa Funke, University of British Columbia: “Shades of Euripides: the Use of Color Terms in Staging Ancient Plays”
4. Megan Wilson, independent scholar: ”Race-Blind: Language and Performance Considerations for Orestes

The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance will sponsor a staged reading of Plautus’ Rudens, aka The Rope, directed by Alison Futrell (University of Arizona) and John Given (East Carolina University). This is the journey of a plucky young woman, kidnapped, torn from the arms of love, shipwrecked, waterlogged,menaced and manacled, to be bound again at last by the salty ties of tender devotion—a ropey tug-of-war to tug your heartstrings and tease your toes to tapping! There will be singing. There will be dancing. There will be silliness. Don’t miss it!

The Committee on Classical Tradition and Receptions will sponsor a panel on Refracting the Great War: Classical Receptions in English Literature 1918-1929. The “Great War” of 1914-1918 represents a critical moment in world history, politically and culturally.  For Classics, at least in Britain, the tectonic shift is symbolically marked by the abolition of the compulsory Greek requirement at Oxford and Cambridge in 1919-1920.  And yet Classics continued to hold a central place in the literary consciousness of the time, even (or especially) within the modernist movement.  Taking its cue from Elizabeth Vandiver’s groundbreaking Stand in the Trench, Achilles: Classical Receptions in British Poetry of the Great War (Oxford, 2010), this panel seeks to reflect on the centenary of that conflict by exploring some of the ways in which Classics was exploited by poets and writers of fiction in the post-War period in their negotiations of the horrors of the War and the changes it generated.

The panel was organized by David Scourfield, National University of Ireland, Maynooth, and the papers are

1. Stephanie Nelson, Boston University: “The Odyssey and Joyce’s Ulysses as Post-War Epics”
2. Leah Flack, Marquette University: “There Died a Myriad: Modernism’s Homer and the Great War”
3. David Scourfield, National University of Ireland, Maynooth: “Latin, Class, and Gender in Ford Madox Ford’s Parade’s End
4. Elizabeth Vandiver, Whitman College: “Pursued by an Infinite Legion of Eumenides: Richard Aldington and the Trauma of Survival”
5. Respondent: Emily Greenwood, Yale University

The Outreach Committee will sponsor a panel on What We Do When We Do Outreach. This “hands-on” panel was inspired by the panel “Classics in Action” at APA 2012, where various classicists discussed different kinds of Outreach activities in which they were involved. That panel attracted a large and enthusiastic audience and the discussions were vibrant. The 2014 panelists, each of whom is doing distinguished Outreach work in a different area, will describe their work. This panel could lead to greater coordination of Outreach activities nationwide which would allow interested parties to get more information about Outreach, exchange ideas, and perhaps create new alliances and activities.

I organized the panel, and the papers are

1. Jennifer A. Rea, University of Florida: “The Big Read: Taking Vergil’s Aeneid From the Classroom to the Community”
2. Roberta A. Stewart, Dartmouth College: “Reading Homer with Combat Veterans”
3. Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Wesleyan University: “Making a MOOC of Greek History”
4. Ellen Bauerle, University of Michigan: “Reaching Out with Print and Web”

Amphora. Editor Ellen Bauerle reports that the next issue is progressing well and will be published in late October/early November. The issue will feature a review of The Classical Cookbook, a new Getty publication, by Larry Ball (University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point), a discussion by Julie Langford (University of South Florida) of her work with students on Severan coinage, and APA Executive Director Adam Blistein’s tribute to his teacher Alfred V. Morro. The issue will feature "The Kids Are Alright, or, Nobody Killed the Liberal Arts," a response to Joseph Epstein's The Weekly Standard piece arguing the liberal arts are dead, by Michael Broder (University of South Carolina) and Daniel Tompkins (Temple University).

Plans to establisha digital performance library of ancient Greek and Roman drama at NYU are proceeding. Such a library, which will complement the work of European archives such as the Archive of Performance of Greek and Roman Drama at Oxford, will advance performance studies of this drama in North America. I am very pleased to be serving on the organizing committee and have high hopes that an important resource will result. The primary obstacle is the refusal of the Actors’ Equity association to permit filming of complete professional productions, but I am arguing that that is all the more reason for including semiprofessional and academic productions.

Respectfully submitted,
Mary-Kay Gamel


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