This is a two-part blog post reflecting upon AAPI experiences in classical studies. Part 1 reflected upon the author’s personal experience teaching race & ethnicity in antiquity in the context of the ongoing surge of anti-Asian violence in the country. Part 2 reflects upon the shared experiences of students and scholars of Asian descent in classical studies through a series of interviews.
Curious about whether other people of Asian descent in Classical Studies have had experiences similar to mine and how that affects our lives in the field, I reached out this spring to scholars and students from other institutions in North America, public and private, large and small, through the recently formed Asian & Asian American Classical Caucus (AAACC).
This two-part series reflects upon AAPI experiences in Classical Studies. Part 1 is catalyzed by the author’s personal experience teaching race & ethnicity in antiquity in the context of the ongoing surge of anti-Asian violence in the country. Part 2 will reflect upon the shared experiences of students and scholars of Asian descent in Classical Studies through a series of interviews.
“Do you know about your Penn Law School colleague Amy Wax?,” a friend texted me in January, as the semester was starting.
Classical Greeks often articulated a worldview that divided the world between Greeks and all other ethnic groups. This fundamental distinction served to justify war and slavery. The tragedian Aeschylus portrays non-Greeks as slavish and decadent in his Persians. Aristotle thought enslaving non-Greeks was a just cause for waging war (Politics 7.15.21). The Greeks called non-Greeks barbaroi, or “barbarians,” because of the unintelligible sounds of their foreign languages (they said bar bar). The historian Herodotus has long been a central figure in scholarly discourse about the creation and articulation of the boundary between Greeks and others.