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Blog: Working Toward a Just and Inclusive Future for Classics

By Joy Connolly | February 15, 2019

Like many others, I'm trying to funnel the anger and frustration that I felt at our panel on the "Future of Classics" at the Annual Meeting in San Diego toward taking action that can make a difference, even on a small scale.  At the panel Professor Sarah Bond and Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta promptly condemned the comments a speaker from the audience made about Dan-el as well as her intellectually and politically regressive defense of classical studies.   My thoughts here are intended to carry forward their energetic advocacy. 

To combat racist attitudes and assumptions that persist not only at the margins of the field but among and around us, we must act now on our home campuses and Read more …

Defending the liberal arts at graduation time

By Joy Connolly | May 26, 2014

As I try to wrap up a busy year in the dean's office, I want to post the graduation address I delivered last week to the NYU College of Arts and Sciences. This was a chance to try to usethe Roman world to get people thinking afresh about liberal arts education. How can we create more such moments (that don't rely on graduation ceremonies)? What would you say to audiences outside of academia? How can I improve my own argument? (Do keep in mind that I had less than ten minutes to address a body of parents, graduates,and faculty, and it's a celebratory event.)

Deputy President Yu, Dean Starr, my distinguished faculty colleagues, students of the great Class of 2014, and finally an audience I am especially pleased to address, our students' parents, family members, and friends: Read more …

Turning toward the public

By Joy Connolly | January 26, 2014

Classical studies as we know it today grew partly from the pressure of politics — from people’s need for a repertoire of words and images that could respond to the new political possibilities in early modern Europe.  When Coluccio Salutati studied Latin prose composition at his boarding school in Bologna, he focused on the art of letter-writing (the ars dictaminis), as generations of Italian boys had done before him.  But his teacher also lectured on Cicero and other classical authors — and as Salutati’s career took him to the chancellorships of Todi, Lucca, and Florence, his administrative vision was broadened by his knowledge of classical history and moral philosophy.  

Leonardo Bruni, Salutati’s disciple from Arezzo, drew on Athenian and Roman ideals to create a compelling picture of secular civic virtue that Read more …