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Blog: Reflections on the Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities 2023 Panel in New Orleans Alison Futrell Wed, 04/19/2023 - 09:55

This year’s Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities (AnWoMoCo) panel, organized by Nina Papathanasopoulou, Public Engagement Coordinator for the SCS, and

A long-haired woman stands at a podium with a Zoom screen behind her. A Powerpoint on the Zoom screen reads "Archaeology After School."
Figure 1. Nina Papathanasopoulou introducing Eva Prionas and the Archaeology After School Project. Photo by Ellie Ganelin.

Joel Christensen (Brandeis University) and Paul O’Mahony (Out of Chaos Theater Company) met through Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, brought together by their distinctive approaches to ancient theater.

RGTO is an online video series that pairs virtual performances of ancient drama with specialists who discuss and analyze what emerges from the combination of ancient text and modern voices, movements, and silences—the culminating implications and effects of a slew of staging choices. Further details came out in the presentation’s Q&A session. An episode on choruses, for example, brought in several directors, each of whom produced a specific scene and addressed their choices explicitly. Would music be incorporated and, if so, how? If not, how did this change the scene’s impact? How did the power of the chorus’ “voice” change if played by one actor? How did the camera lens stand in for an imagined member of the audience? Did filming from multiple angles expand perceptual effects beyond the playwright’s original scope? As of this January, 91 episodes of RGTO have been produced, addressing all the surviving Greek tragedies, along with a selection of Greek epic and Roman drama.

A dark image of a bearded man standing over a metal plate, from which a number of vertical rods are extending. He is hitting the rods with two drumsticks.
Figure 3. The ghostplate instrument used in Talos Dreams. Photo by Ellie Ganelin.

Dafnis was especially interested in exploring the tensions embodied in the story of Talos. On the one hand, this is a man-made object, an enigmatic menace to humans; yet he’s also self-aware, with an emotional expressiveness that flavors representations of the character. Talos Dreams reflects on these contrasts in musical abstraction, ingeniously using technique and technology to hybridize the instrumental sources and output. Lyrics, for example, were reprocessed by an online poetry generation app. Musicians rehearsed and recorded in separate locations (par for the course for the pandemic), with the edit and remix digitally processed; videos, however, ranged widely through natural and industrial settings, situating the performers in forest groves and in manufactured storage spaces, as well as the academic lectern occupied by Mayor for her condensed spoken-word insights.

A pink and purple graphic poster for the Sculpture Shoppe at Ithaca Mall. It has square shapes mixed with liquid bubbles.
Figure 4. The poster for “The Sculpture Shoppe” at Ithaca Mall.

The exhibit showcased an impressive range of viewpoints, with interactive, multimedia creations that merited attentive decoding. Some playfully nodded at technologies of reproduction: a 3D-scanned sculpture that unmade and remade itself at randomized intervals; multiple generations of hands cast in isomalt sugar were continuously reshaped by dripping water; mushrooms cast in resin emerged from a hole ripped through Athena’s plaster head. Others addressed local space(s): visitors were called on personalized odysseys by a bust of Homer that spat out printed directions to regional sites (re)named after places in the ancient Mediterranean, while opening-night attendees grooved to the witty anti-rhythms of MUSE-AK, now brought into the foreground and vocalized in ancient Greek by animatronic and human performers.

A collection of posters underneath the heading "Queering the Past(s)," featuring illustrated people, Greek vases, and assorted text.
Figure 5. One of the posters for the Queering the Past(s) project.

Much of the presentation focused on recent classroom initiatives in many parts of the U.S. and the harmful impact that the absence of inclusive curriculum has on many students, as documented in the GLSEN 2021 National School Climate Survey.

A poster reading "Folklore Traditions: Herbal Mythology. Day trips to Ancient Greece." Behind the text are images from Greek vases and nature.
Figure 6. The poster for Christodoulou’s Herbal Mythology tour.
A group of people standing on a path amidst tall, green trees.
Figure 7. Christodoulou during one of her tours at the National Gardens in Athens. Photo by Maria Christodoulou.

Christodoulou has also been in conversation with current practitioners of traditional herbal medicine in Greece, exchanging insights and comparing individual results in detail, with the goal of assembling a repository of healing recipes to share on the website. The project has a strong and wide appeal with multiple communities well beyond the academy, incorporating a distinctive pedagogical approach and drawing upon local knowledge bases.

Two women and a man stand smiling behind a podium with a banner that says Society for Classical Studies
Figure 8. Ellie Falaris Ganelin, Nina Papathanasopoulou, and Hugh McElroy during the panel on the Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative in New Orleans. Photo by Ilya Ganelin.
Blog: Translation at the SCS Richard Armstrong Wed, 02/15/2023 - 11:40

Richard H. Armstrong and Elizabeth Vandiver are longtime members of the APA/SCS, and they are among those scholars who have long fostered an interest in bringing more focus on translation to the annual meetings. In this post, they look back on the history of translation panels and how they have changed over the years.

Blog: Reflections on the First Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities Panel during the 2022 SCS Annual Meeting Chelsea Gardner Fri, 03/11/2022 - 10:09

If you attended the 2022 Annual Meeting earlier this year — and if you woke up bright and early on Saturday morning! — you may have been lucky enough to tune in to the very first panel sponsored by the Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities Initiative (AnWoMoCo). Recent recipients of a microgrant from this program gathered from all over America, Canada, and even Ghana to present seven exciting public-facing projects that aim to bring Classics and Ancient Mediterranean Studies out of the ivory tower. The goal is to reach audiences, organizations, and people who might otherwise never have the opportunity to engage with the history, literature, language, archaeology, culture, texts, and individuals of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Blog: A Digital Ethnography of a Conference in a Crisis apistone Fri, 01/07/2022 - 12:48

To write about the Capitol Insurrection, as the one-year anniversary approached, I went back through my chat logs from January 6, 2021, in the interest of refreshing and confirming my memory. What I found, in lieu of any particularly meaningful conclusions, was a window into that day and how some friends and I were dealing with catastrophic events as they unfolded.

That day, I had a university meeting wedged between SCS panels, and I think I actually found the precise moment when I realized what was going on. That moment is a fairly profanity-laden series of messages with a very-online friend of mine, to whom I sent “So what the fuck is happening in DC?? I've been in meetings and the capitol building is being stormed??” followed by “i allegedly have another meeting right now and i am physically nauseous after having like a 5 minute break and seeing the news.”

Blog: Addressing the Divide Between Archaeology and Classics Sarah Bond Fri, 06/21/2019 - 07:55

'Addressing the Divide' is a new series of columns that looks at the ways in which the modern field of Classics was constructed and then explores ways to identify, modify, or simply abolish the lines between fields in order to embrace broader ideas of what Classics was, is, and could be. This month, we look at the divide between classical archaeology and philology by speaking with archaeologists Sheira Cohen, Eric Kansa, Kristina Killgrove, James Newhard, and Alison Rittershaus.

Blog: Valuing Classical Translations for Outreach, Diversity, and Art Diane Rayor Thu, 01/31/2019 - 20:37

Literary translation is a scholarly and a creative act in which a reader of the Greek or Latin becomes the writer for new readers. Like all readers, translators interpret the text, and in the field of classics, apply their scholarship and their poetic abilities to put the text into a modern language. Since many readers of our translations cannot read the original, they depend on us to transmit the voice of the original writer and to be transparent in our choices. By that I mean that the translator should proclaim whether the translation is aiming for accuracy (and what that means in particular), whether it adds or subtracts from the source text (such as Richmond Lattimore inserting his own lines into Sappho’s fragments), whether the work is an adaptation rather than a translation (clearly proclaimed in Luis Alfaro’s “Mojada: A Medea in Los Angelos”).

Blog: A Roundup of Reports, Reactions, and Reflections After the SCS Annual Meeting Sarah Bond Fri, 01/18/2019 - 06:19

It has now been a month since the SCS-AIA annual meeting in San Diego, and many have written evocative, emotional, and important pieces about the racist events that occurred there. Instead of posting each separately on our social media or blog, I have tried to compile as many as I could in this post.

In their own words:

Dan-el Padilla Peralta, “Some thoughts on AIA-SCS 2019,” Medium (January 7, 2019).

Blog: Luis Alfaro at the Two SCSs Young Kim Thu, 01/10/2019 - 20:59

On Thursday evening at the annual meeting of the SCS, together with about 150 others, I witnessed, experienced, and participated in something beautiful. With the enthusiastic support of the SCS, Classics and Social Justice, and the organization I work for, the Onassis Foundation USA, playwright and activist Luis Alfaro shared with a captivated audience his heart, his brilliance, and his creativity, a shining example of the good that can be done with and to Classics, and the reach our discipline can have to new, perhaps unexpected audiences. I resist here the urge to discuss some of the painful ugliness we saw at our meeting, leaving only a hint of it in the title I originally thought of for this piece, because I do not want to take away from the light Luis brought to us.

Blog: Predicting the Future of Classics Christopher Trinacty Fri, 01/04/2019 - 06:18

Perhaps paradoxically, Classicists spend a lot of time thinking about the future of our field. Although we spend the majority of our working days researching ancient material, teaching such material to students, and thinking about the particulars of a Latin text, North African relief, Hellenistic religious rite, or exceptionally obscure Greek gnome (e.g. “Water is best”), we often wonder (with various levels of anxiety) how such work will be done in the future, or if there will even be Classics in the future.

Blog: Vox Populi: Podcasting and Equity at the SCS Annual Meeting Curtis Dozier Mon, 12/31/2018 - 06:07

Last week the SCS blog reflected on what really does seem to be a golden age of Classics podcasting, where audio content that you can listen to on a portable device whenever convenient has made it easier than ever to teach people about ancient history, to help teachers develop the active use of ancient languages, and to share cutting edge research and scholarly perspectives on the material we study.