'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.
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”).
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).
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.
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.
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.
As the field of Classical Studies has sought to maintain its relevance in our ever-changing modern world, it has begun to incorporate new approaches. Today there is much more scholarship on topics such as gender, sexuality, and race in the ancient world, for example, than there was even thirty years ago. Much of this change has resulted from the incorporation of theoretical frameworks from fields outside of classical studies, including literary criticism, gender and sexuality studies, and social theory. Yet there is still so much work to be done, especially when it comes to understanding marginal groups in antiquity, such as women, ethnic minorities, and sexual minorities.
In order to prepare for the SCS’s upcoming sesquicentennial at the annual meeting in San Diego from January 3-6, 2019, the SCS blog is highlighting panels, keynotes, and workshops from the schedule. Today we highlight the Animated Antiquity: A Showcase of Cartoon Representations of Ancient Greece and Rome workshop by interviewing Ray Laurence (Macquarie University) about his work using animation to teach Roman daily life.
Cartoons and Animated Films written by Ray Laurence:
SCS’s Executive Director reflects on the experiences, challenges, and future of independent scholarship in our ongoing series on the subject.
All of our Independent Scholar blogposts have drawn on personal experiences, and mine is also personal. Your posts have certainly helped me think more deeply and creatively about how the national classical society can support independent scholarship. My response falls into two parts: a celebration of the scholarly work that independent scholars are all currently doing in different ways, and some constructive responses to the challenges that independent scholars face.
Now to address some challenges:
1. Access to Scholarly Resources
This blog entry is the first in a new series, Letters from CAMP, that will appear throughout the year and explore the various practicalities and benefits of the performance of ancient drama in its many forms.
Two years ago at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies, a Senior Scholar of great distinction stood in the middle of a room crowded with many of the finest minds in classical scholarship, looked around, and said loudly, “Look at all these f**king a**holes.” To the best of my knowledge, this was a first. Most scholars have been tempted to say the same when faced with a crowd of SCS conference goers, but most are a bit more circumspect in their language.