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Dear Members,

Every year the Program Committee works hard to assemble an Annual Meeting program that will advance scholarship on the ancient world and provide a forum for discussion of our field. Registration won't open until the beginning of next month, but the program that has just been announced for the 2020 meeting in Washington, D.C., represents the contributions of many individual members, committees, and affiliated groups. As always, submissions were reviewed anonymously by the Program Committee (Barbara Weiden Boyd, Raffaella Cribiore, Cynthia Damon, Simon Goldhill, Johanna Hanink, Timothy Moore, Andrew Riggsby) and considered without reference to the number of slots available on the program. We were delighted to see proposals for seminars this year; this format, with its pre-circulated papers and three-hour time slot, facilitates substantive discussion, and you will find four of them on the program. We were particularly grateful for submissions aiming to create opportunities for collective thought about urgent questions concerning the nature and future of our field. These took many forms, both practical and conceptual; you will see a number of them listed below. We were also grateful to those who proposed entire sessions—roundtables, workshops, panels, seminars—for their statements about the diversity of the contributors to their session, since the anonymity of our review process requires that we delegate the selection of speakers (not papers) to our members and affiliated groups.

There is still work to do on the diversity of the program as a whole, of course, and in this connection we are pleased to welcome several new affiliated groups: the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus, the Multiculturalism, Race & Ethnicity in Classics Consortium, and the Quintilian Society. We were also pleased to renew the charters of three existing affiliates, the American Society of Papyrologists, the Lambda Classical Caucus, and the Society for Early Modern Classical Reception. (The full list of current affiliated groups can be found here.) As another step in this direction we added the subject category of Race and Ethnicity for abstracts submitted for future meetings.

In addition to the papers and other program units that fill up the meeting’s nine sessions (no Thursday paper sessions this year!), the conference also includes special events such as the President’s Panel and evening sessions open to the general public, and of course a large number of meetings for SCS committees and affiliated groups. Further scheduling details will be posted online later in the Fall, but here is a preview of the special events and some other features of the 2020 meeting:

Special events:

  • An opening night lecture by Madeline Miller sponsored by the Program Committee.
  • A workshop on race and racism by Robin DiAngelo
  • A first-time attendees reception at lunch time on Friday.
  • A staged reading of the play The Gladiator on Friday evening, organized by Rob Groves for the Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance. In the decades after its New York debut in 1831 this rousing melodrama based on the revolt of Spartacus was performed more than a thousand times in the United States and beyond. “What is thy name?” a Lanista asks Spartacus in Act 1: “Misery.” But by the end of Act 2, Spartacus calls out “For wrath and liberty! ... Freedom and revenge!” Volunteers for on- and off-stage participants are being sought through 15 September.
  • Also on Friday, a reception and art exhibition at Busboys and Poets, a cafe and event space located close to the hotel, organized by Eos: Africana Reception of Greece and Rome. This art exhibition will be related to their panel on Black Classicisms and the visual arts.
  • Our Career Networking event at lunchtime on Saturday.
  • The Presidential Panel on Saturday evening, a roundtable discussion on the topic of “Central and Marginal in Classical Studies” with Sharon L. James (University of North Carolina Chapel Hill), Yurie Hong (Gustavus Adolphus College), Allannah Karas (Valparaiso University), and Megan Drinkwater (Agnes Scott College), moderated by Tolly Boatwright. The panel will be followed by the Plenary Session, including the awards ceremony and the Presidential reception.

Common themes in the program’s regular sessions include:

  • pedagogy
    • From Illustration to Context: Figure-Decorated Pottery in Pedagogical Settings
    • Classics Graduate Education in the 21st Century
    • Approaching Ancient Magic in the Classroom
    • Hestia BU Graduate Pedagogy
  • the reception of Greco-Roman antiquity
    • Black Classicism in the Visual Arts
    • Problems in Performance: Failure and Classical Reception Studies
    • Homer in the Renaissance
    • Classical Reception in Contemporary Asian and Asian American Culture
    • Screening Topographies of Classical Reception
    • Neo-Latin in the Old and New Worlds: Current Scholarship
    • Global Receptions
    • Constructing a Classical Tradition: East and West
    • Classical Traditions in Science Fiction and Fantasy VI
    • Antiquity in Media Studies
    • Classics for Business Leaders
  • urgent professional issues
    • Responding to Harassment: Bystander Intervention. Led by Collective Action for Safe Spaces, D.C.
    • White Supremacy and the History and Future of Classics
    • Classics and Civic Activism
    • Graduate Student Leadership in Classics
    • Administrative Appointments: A Contribution to the Dialogue on the Present and Future of Classics, Humanities, and Higher Education from Administrative Perspectives
    • Humanities Publishing in Transition
    • Evaluating Scholarship, Digital and Traditional
    • Fostering Graduate “Success” in a Contingent Market
    • Beyond Reception: Addressing Issues of Social Justice in the Classroom with Modern Comparisons
    • If Classics is for Everybody, Why Isn't Everybody in My Class? Building Bridges and Opening Doors to the Study of Classics
    • The Future of Archaeology and Classics in American Academia

Assembling the program for the Annual Meeting is a collaborative process involving the Program Committee, the committees, affiliated groups, and individuals who organize sessions and submit abstracts, and of course the hard-working staff of the SCS office. The process is constantly being evaluated and updated, so comments and suggestions are welcome and can be directed to any member of the Program Committee, or to me at We look forward to your participation in the 151st annual meeting, 2-6 January 2020, at the Marriott Marquis in Washington, D.C.

With best wishes,

Cynthia Damon

SCS, Vice President for Program 2019-2022

Department of Classical Studies

University of Pennsylvania

249 S. 36th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19104

More August 2019 Newsletter Content

Find out what's scheduled for the 2020 Annual Meeting on the Preliminary Program.

Read up on the new guidelines for the Excellence in Teaching at the College Level.

Check out your funding options to attend the 2020 Annual Meeting.

Photo Credits for August 2019 Newsletter

Licensed under CC BY 2.0
Licensed under CC BY 2.0