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“The Solution is to Start Building the Community You Imagine”: One Graduate Student’s Experience in Co-founding an Organization and Network of Scholars Dedicated to Antiracism and Pedagogy in Classics

Kelly Dugan

The University of Georgia

I am a third-year PhD student specializing in antiracism and Greek and Latin pedagogy. In 2016, having earned my master’s degrees in Classics and (historical) linguistics, I started my doctoral program knowing that I wanted to use my skills and teaching experience to combat racial injustice within Classics and educational environments as a whole. At the time, there was no known Classics organization dedicated to antiracism and the teaching of race, ethnicity, and multiculturalism in ancient studies. Two months into my first year, I reached out via email to Dr. Shelley Haley, Professor and Chair of Classics at Hamilton College, who responded, “The solution is to start building the community you imagine.” We then worked together to form the Multiculturalism, Race & Ethnicity in Classics Consortium (MRECC) that is now run by a diverse board of scholars from across the country including ourselves. In two and a half years, MRECC has grown to over six hundred Facebook members with daily discussions and information sharing. We have organized panels and workshops including, “Racism and Language in Classics Today” at CAAS 2017 and the “Race and Ethnicity Syllabus Workshop” at CAAS 2018 (in partnership with CSJ). We also recently applied to be an SCS Affiliated Group. For this presentation, I will share my journey in co-founding MRECC and the profound networking opportunities this endeavor has created for myself and others. I will also reveal the challenges and fears I faced as a graduate student taking up the responsibility of developing an organization centered on social justice as well as the great successes in generating collaborative projects that have contributed to progress in antiracism in the field, my institution, and the community. My service work has not been accomplished on my own and I plan to acknowledge many along the way who have contributed.

Session/Panel Title

Graduate Student Leadership in Classics

Session/Paper Number

33.5

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