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Organizer-refereed Panels

Organizer-refereed Panels are approved by the Program Committee for presentation at a future Annual Meeting at least 18 months before that meeting takes place.  For example, the Organizer-Refereed Panels to be held at the January 2013 meeting were approved by the Committee in April 2011.  After approval, the Program Committee delegates all discretionary responsibility for selection of abstracts and discussants to the panel organizer(s).  However, in order to ensure anonymity, all abstracts are submitted to the Executive Director's office and are then forwarded anonymously to the panel organizer(s).  Abstracts must be submitted as PDF attachments to Please see Calls for Papers below for submission deadlines. Members wishing to present a paper in an Organizer-Refereed Panel must have paid SCS membership dues for 2013.  A presenter who is responding to one of these calls for abstracts is not eligible for a waiver of the membership requirement.  If a member’s paper is accepted for an Organizer-Refereed Panel, that member may not submit another abstract for consideration by the Program Committee for a regular paper session.

After the February 1 deadline, the SCS office will forward anonymous abstracts to panel organizers.  Panels receiving fewer than four abstracts will be canceled.  In the event that a panel has to be canceled because of inadequate response, the panel organizer(s) will be invited to resubmit their proposals as regular panels with invited speakers for consideration in competition with other program unit submissions at the April 2013 Program Committee meeting.

Please send an anonymous abstract one page in length for a paper suitable for a 15-20 minute presentation as a PDF attachment to Be sure to mention the title of the panel and provide complete contact information and any AV requests in the body of your email. All submissions will be reviewed anonymously.

Classics and Reaction:  Modern China Confronts the Ancient West

Greeks and Achaemenids: War, Diplomacy, Trade, and Culture

Greek Comedy in the Roman Empire

Classics and Reaction:  Modern China Confronts the Ancient West
Shadi Bartsch (University of Chicago)
Walter Scheidel (Stanford University) 

Engagement with a classical canon characterizes many civilizations, but a transnational approach to the phenomenon has generally been disregarded in favor of studying a domestic body of texts.  Both Eastern and Western scholarship on canons has stressed their adaptability and their instrumentalization:  they have been used to define elite identity, enable or limit class mobility via educational practices, shape political and philosophical norms of government, rights, and self-knowledge, and so forth across a huge range of formative possibilities.  These classical canons have also been on the receiving end of a critical backlash in both China and the West:  just two examples would be the denunciation of Confucianism by the communist regime and the deconstruction of the western Classics in academia.

It is our contention that current globalization calls for a more trans-cultural perspective and engagement with the Classics.  This panel proposes to study the reception of the Westernclassics in post-Maoist China, a burgeoning movement in the decades after the fall of the Qing dynasty that was abruptly cut short in 1949 and has only recently regained traction.  This initiative has now seen new life under the leadership of small group of Chinese scholars who have launched a campaign to promote the study of the Western classics in Chinese higher education—often with government support.  Several Chinese centers of higher learning have fledgling programs in Classics; the controversial Chinese scholar Liu Xiaofeng presides over two new book series devoted to the field, including one devoted only to translations of classical Western texts; a Beijing conference in April 2012 on the emergence of the Western classics in China drew 20 international scholars; Chinese op-ed pieces have been published about the potential for learning from (but not imitating) the Western liberal democratic political tradition.

We call for papers to explore this field and the paradoxes that mark it.  What is at stake in the Chinese reception of the Western Classics?  Why has there been a marked preference for works of Greek philosophy, and almost no interest in Latin texts?  Why has Straussian interpretation developed such a high profile? What is the connection between the Western classics and the resurgence in Chinese ?

Please send your anonymous abstract (of no more than one page in length) for a 20 minute paper as a PDF attachment to the APA office at by March 1, 2013 (note revised deadline). Be sure to mention the title of the panel and to provide complete contact information and any AV requests in the body of your email. Anonymous abstracts will be reviewed by the panel organizers.

Greeks and Achaemenids: War, Diplomacy, Trade, and Culture
John O. Hyland, Christopher Newport University
John W. I. Lee, University of California at Santa Barbara

In the absence of Persian narrative sources, Classicists long relied on Greek texts to construct their visions of the Achaemenid Persian Empire, often focusing on the Greek-Persian Wars of the early fifth century.  Against this Hellenocentric perspective, much scholarship since the 1980s has explicitly sought to avoid over-privileging Greek accounts of Achaemenid institutions, behavior, and culture, and to provide a more balanced perspective on Greek-Persian interactions.  More recently, however, some have expressed concern that the significance of Persia’s military encounters with the Greek city-states might be excessively downplayed, or that Achaemenid scholars have gone too far in their reassessment of the Greek evidence (see for example the warning of Briant 2010 against simplistic “rehabilitation” of Darius III, or the analysis of Achaemenid scholarship in Harrison 2011).

As scholars continue to examine the relationship between the Achaemenid Empire and the Greeks, and to discuss how best to situate the Greek evidence alongside source material from other regions of the Achaemenid world, there is increasing recognition that Achaemenids and Greeks shared an entwined history, shaped not only by war but also by extensive diplomacy, trade, and cultural exchange.  Studying these interactions offers opportunities for multidisciplinary cooperation amongst scholars working in diverse fields using diverse sources and methodologies.

This panel aims to encourage new discussions and scholarly cooperation by focusing on military, diplomatic, economic, and cultural interactions amongst Persians, Greeks and others on the western frontiers of the empire (including Anatolia, Egypt, the Levant, and Thrace).  The organizers seek papers that assess the relationships between the Greek sources and the non-Greek Achaemenid sources, that present new evidence for Greek-Achaemenid interactions, and that offer new interpretations that will open new lines of communication across traditional departmental and field boundaries.

Topics may include (but are not limited to) Persian and Greek perspectives on military conflict, imperialism, resistance and collaboration; the development of Achaemenid foreign policy in light of the empire’s interactions with the Greeks; embassies and the mechanics of Greco-Persian treaty negotiations; the role of eastern Greeks and native Anatolians in the empire; and cultural encounters or exchanges between Persians and Greeks.  The organizers especially welcome papers that address trade and economic interaction amongst Greeks, Persians, and others in the Achaemenid world.
This panel will include four papers of 20-minute length.  Anonymous abstracts no more than one-page in length in PDF format may be sent as attachments to  Please provide the title of this panel, full contact information, and any audio-visual equipment requirements in the body of your e-mail.  Abstracts must be received by March 1, 2013.

Greek Comedy in the Roman Empire
C. W. Marshall, University of British Columbia
Tom Hawkins, Ohio State University

The development of Comedy from the fifth to the second centuries BCE, from the Old Comedy of Cratinus, Eupolis, and Aristophanes through Menander and into the fabulae palliatae of Rome, is well established. This panel proposes to consider the legacy of Greek comedy beyond this point, into the Roman Empire.

We wish to examine this history in its diverse representations, both formal (such as the role of comedy in Imperial education) and informal (such as the use of ‘classical’ Greek comedy in mosaic and other decoration for symposia). We are particularly interested in the use of Greek comedy as a reference-point in the literature and culture of the Second Sophistic. This embraces the preservation of comedy in book fragments and papyrus (and the differences between these), how imperial Greek literary styles were shaped by the dialogue of New Comedy and through the practical concerns of performance, the relationship between the humor of comedy and mime, and what jokes remain funny five-to-eight centuries after they were first conceived.

For this call, we urge contributors to interpret the remit broadly. Possible topics include:

  • allusion to Aristophanes and Menander in Lucian, Alciphron, etc.;
  • the comic canon as known to Plutarch and Athenaeus;
  • papyrus evidence of detailed commentaries on classical Greek comedy;
  • anecdotes about playwrights or comic actors in the biographical tradition;
  • the use of comedy as part of the decorations of sympotic settings;
  • evidence for comic performances in the Roman period, such as possibly the Terentian miniatures;
  • reactions against humor or comedy; etc.

We also welcome proposals that may transgress traditional boundaries in productive ways, with analyses of Latin authors, extensions of the Second Sophistic beyond the traditional cut-off date that coincides with the third-century decline in the epigraphic record, or imperial receptions of Hellenistic comedies.

Please send your anonymous abstract (of no more than one page in length) for a 20 minute paper as a PDF attachment to the SCS office at by March 1, 2013 (note revised deadline). Be sure to mention the title of the panel and to provide complete contact information and any AV requests in the body of your email. All submissions will be reviewed anonymously.

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