2017 C.J. Goodwin Award of Merit

The C.J. Goodwin Award of Merit Committee has selected three winners of this year's Goodwin Award.  All three will be honored at the Plenary Session at the Boston Annual Meeting.  You can click on the names below to read the full citations.

James I. PorterThe Sublime in Antiquity, Cambridge University Press, 2016

Amy RussellThe Politics of Public Space in Republican Rome, Cambridge University Press, 2015

Peter T. StruckDivination and Human Nature: A Cognitive History of Intuition in Classical Antiquity, Princeton University Press, 2016

James Porter

James Porter's The Sublime in Antiquity is a critical tour-de-force and at the same time a rich and open-ended source-book that will delight readers interested in how the Greeks and Romans described and analyzed the experience of being struck, captivated, even overwhelmed by an act of hearing, viewing, or reading – an experience surely familiar to all lovers of Classical literature and art.

The notion of “the sublime” and of a special category of awe-inspiring, transcendent and almost inexpressible greatness, whether encountered in the natural world (mountains, oceans, storms, a divine presence…) or in various forms of artistic production, has been a key element in Western aesthetics at least since the 18th century.  Critics such as Edmund Burke, Immanuel Kant, and G. W. F. Hegel have been followed by innumerable philosophers and historians of aesthetics, almost all of whom have traced the origin of this notion back to the unknown author (traditionally referred to as “Longinus”) who composed a remarkable rhetorical treatise entitled Peri Hypsous (or in Latin, De Sublimitate), some time between ca. 50 and 300 CE.  Longinus’ treatise is thus almost universally regarded as constituting a major break-through in aesthetic thought that really stands alone in Classical antiquity.  (M. H. Abrams, for example, in The Mirror and the Lamp, famously zeroed-in on the contrast between “Classical” poetics, as represented by Aristotle and the mainstream, and “Romantic” sensibilities, as adumbrated by Longinus.)  James Porter, in his immensely erudite and wide-ranging new book, overturns this standardized history of criticism and offers a new and fascinating account of the multiple ways in which “sublime, wonderful, stupendous” experiences and compositions were recognized and described by a wide range of authors before and after Longinus – from Homer and Pindar, to Empedocles and Lucretius, and even such drily analytical critics as Aristotle and Dionysius of Halicarnassus.  Porter’s extensively documented study, exploring numerous poetical and philosophical passages in close detail, makes it clear that Longinus’ treatise in fact comes in the middle, not at the beginning, of such discussions, distinguished more by its style and choice of particular examples than by its conceptual originality.  As Porter observes, “The sublime pervades much of antiquity; it has simply been hiding in the light.”

Porter’s book is not simply a negative achievement, however, in its re-positioning of Longinus within literary and aesthetic history. Along with its stimulating and important argument about the “tradition of the sublime” as a concept and an affective experience, the book provides a wonderful assemblage of particular close readings and analyses of individual texts, making new connections both within antiquity itself and between ancient and modern authors.  Porter explores such stylistic strategies and dichotomies as simplicity vs variety, the power of the kairos and of ekplêxis, and the “logic of excess,” showing how all of these techniques involve an “art of the emotions” in which, as both rhetoricians and philosophers implicitly agreed, artistic skill and organizational power, whether human or divine, lie at the heart of the sublime effect. This book will immediately become required reading for anyone seriously studying ancient stylistics, rhetorical theory, and the history of aesthetics.  

Amy Russell

The semantic range of public and private in Latin, and the degree to which it overlaps with and challenges our own concepts, has been a fruitful topic in recent research.  In terms of the built environment, stimulating scholarship has shown how public concerns such as aristocratic display infuse the private sphere of Rome down to the layout of the Roman house.  In The Politics of Public Space in Republican Rome (Cambridge 2016), Amy Russell flips our perspective by revealing the complexity of Republican Rome’s public sphere, tracing the fraught, entangled relationship between private and public in the variegated  histories of the Forum Romanum, the Capitoline, and Pompey’s temple, theater and portico complex on the Campus Martius.  In doing so, she tells an entirely fresh, 3D story of the contradictions and paradoxes of later Roman Republican political history through competing efforts to control, delineate, frame, or co-opt public space and through different groups’ diverse experiences and interpretations of public space.  Russell allows us to see fully how incomprehensible the Romans would have found modern presuppositions about institutional agency.

Russell delves into textual sources with fine-tuned interpretive skills, into the archaeological record with a sharp eye for detail, and with discerning judgement into theoretical literature on the spatial turn, behavioral methodology, and hotly debated questions of the shape of Roman Republican politics; she highlights the peculiarity of Roman Republican configurations of the public not just in theory, but in everyday experience: on the streets, in temples, and in the staged environment of the Forum Romanum.  The spatial configurations of the later Republican Forum Romanum, for example, tell multiple, competing stories of differentiated roles and perspectives, and of efforts to control and their limits.  Speakers on the Rostra towered over the Comitium, the monumentalized assembly-place of citizens, while the Curia constrained it. But tight choreography invites disruption, so that a tribune standing on the Rostra could turn his back on the Comitium and Curia and invoke a new vision of the Roman populus occupying the open space of the Forum proper.

It was the “ideology of publicity” (in Fergus Millar’s words), the necessity for Republican political actors and actions to have public witnesses and endorsers, that ramped up aspirations to control, claim and corner the Roman people and the public sphere itself.  Russell’s compelling tableaux “show the consequent interpenetration of private and public and illuminate their confrontations.”  Basilicas built with public funds nevertheless monumentalized their patrons, and actively shaped the experience of the public that enjoyed them, their architecture and very name invoking the palaces of Hellenistic kings. Temple complexes might incorporate individual family tombs, or their decoration might speak the quintessentially private, even regal language of leisure. If, for us, “the personal is political,” Russell argues convincingly that the political and the public become ever more personal in the last decades of the Republic until, once Augustus eclipses the state, it becomes impossible to see any light between them.

Peter Struck

Ancient divination is regularly dismissed by moderns as a species of fake knowledge.  Some of the rhetorical moves in that dismissal are borrowed from Cicero and other ancients, but the dismissal itself is peremptory, often smug.  Peter Struck’s subtle and ambitious exploration of the subject begins with the recognition that for those who used and respected mantic practices, divination successfully offered a means of acquiring knowledge that was real and functional.  For the practitioner or observer, the critiques of a few were immaterial and irrelevant.

With a careful exploration of the history of thinking about divination among the philosophers, Struck mediates between ancient and contemporary observers to create a way of interpreting divination that escapes both credulity and dismissiveness.  In Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics he traces a history of argument that is serious and credible and respectful of the real experience of their contemporaries.  Faced with knowledge of evident usefulness, knowledge that did not differentiate itself clearly in their eyes from that acquired by what we would regard as true scientific means, the subtlest ancient thinkers provided a rationale that did justice to experience.  Struck traces his story then to the neo-Platonists and in particular Iamblichus who, working in and faithful to the traditions he inherited, nevertheless introduced distinctions that would begin to define and harden the lines separating real from fake, human (and eventually scientific) from divine. 

Struck’s theoretical exposition of ‘surplus knowledge’ and the analogy to modern understandings of intuition familiarize the unfamiliar and make divination more accessible.  As a result, Struck shows we know more than the ancients did … and less.  His erudition, patient argument, and lucid explanation enrich our sense of the ancient past as indeed a foreign country, but one that we can imagine inhabiting.

Citations by the Goodwin Award Committee members, Mark Griffith, Sheila Murnaghan, Emma Dench, Michele Lowrie, and James J. O'Donnell.

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(Photo: "library" by Viva Vivanista, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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It has now been nearly two weeks 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).

----- "SCS 2019: The Future of Classics: Racial Equity and the Production of Knowledge,” Future of Classics Panel (January 5, 2019).

Emma Pettit, “‘My Merit and My Blackness Are Fused to Each Other,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 11, 2019).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 01/18/2019 - 6:19am by Sarah Bond.

14th Moisa Research Seminar on Ancient Greek and Roman Music Bressanone/Brixen, 2-6 July 2019

The 14th Moisa Research Seminar will take place from July 2nd to July 6th, 2019 in Bressanone/Brixen (Italy) with the commitment of Padua University and of its Department of Cultural Heritage (https://www.brixen.org/en/bressanone/city-centre.html). 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 01/17/2019 - 12:29pm by Erik Shell.

Vergilian Society Seeks Directors for Oct 2020 Symposium in Italy 

(deadline Tuesday April 30, 2019)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 01/16/2019 - 9:52am by Erik Shell.

INDA - Italy's National Institute for Ancient Drama, based in Siracusa (http://www.indafondazione.org) and the journal "Dioniso. Rivista di studi sul teatro antico" are happy to announce the programme of their yearly conference on ancient drama introducing the traditional festival, which will take place in Siracusa from May 9 to Jul. 6. 

The conference will be held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Siracusa (Salone Amorelli, Palazzo Greco, Corso Matteotti), and its title will be The representation of the divine in ancient theatre. Please find below the full programme: 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 01/15/2019 - 2:00pm by Erik Shell.

David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship for Travel in Classical Lands

The Fellowship is intended to recognize secondary-school teachers of Greek or Latin who are as dedicated to their students as the Coffins themselves by giving them the opportunity to enrich their teaching and their lives through direct acquaintance with the classical world.

All materials must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on February 27, 2019.

Pedagogy Award

Open to both collegiate and pre-collegiate teachers of classics

The application deadline is March 4, 2019.

Zeph Stewart Latin Teacher Training Award

Open to those preparing for Latin teacher certification.

The application deadline is March 4, 2019.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/15/2019 - 10:46am by Erik Shell.
CfP: Song, Lament, Love: Harking Back to the Sounds of Elegy 
(submission deadline: 28.02.2019)
 
University of Coimbra, June 26-29, 2019

Panel coordinators:
Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides (Macquarie University, NSW) Email: Eva.Anagnostou-Laoutides@mq.edu.au
Bill Gladhill (McGill University) Email: charles.gladhill@mcgill.ca
Micah Myers (Kenyon College) Email: myersm1@kenyon.edu

The nature of archaic Greek elegy and its performative culture, its interface with other Greek literary genres as well as its Hellenistic and Roman adaptation(s) have already commanded an impressive amount of scholarship. Despite, however, appreciating that the functions of elegy were hugely diversified early on (Nagy 2010; Barbantani 2018), despite overcoming the simplistic classification of elegies to subjective and objective (Cairns 1979; Murray 2010; Miller 2012), and even despite doubting Quintilian’s criticism of Propertius as an obscure poet (Inst.Or.10.1.93), foundational questions on the origins, nature, and meaning(s) of Elegy remain unanswered. Elegy, one of the oldest Greek poetic genres, remains the most elusive.  

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 2:35pm by Erik Shell.

Untold and Inexpressible: Gaps and Ambiguities in the Medicine as an Epistemological Challenge

39th meeting of the Ancient Medicine Interdisciplinary Working Group

Date: 15-16 June 2019
Place: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Institute for History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine of the University Medical Center Mainz, Am Pulverturm 13, basement (lecture hall U1125)
Deadline: 31 January 2019
Organisation: Norbert W. Paul, Tanja Pommerening

Medical treatments aim to improve the patient’s health. From the patient’s perspective, the elimination of the suffering and the restitution of “normal” life is a crucial part of the process. Patients express this in communication with the practitioner by describing symptoms on one side and impairments affecting their lives on the other. Much of this can hardly be described in words, especially embodied experiences which do not correlate with medical findings and thus are often not deemed relevant. In this regard, the patient faces the rigid and rational diagnostical categories of the practitioner that sometimes do not at all coincide with the patient’s own categories. However, how the gap between the concepts used by the practitioner and the patient could be bridged does rarely come up for discussion.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 1:33pm by Erik Shell.

(Sent via Giustina Monti)

We cordially invite you to the upcoming conference, Revisiting Authority and Tradition in Ancient Historiography: A Conference in Honour of John Marincola, organized by Giustina Monti (Oxford) and Scarlett Kingsley (Agnes Scott). The conference will take place at the Masseria Chiancone Torricella in Puglia, Italy, on April 5-6, 2019.

Speakers include:

KeynoteChris Pelling (Oxford), ‘The Authority to Be Untraditional’

Rhiannon Ash (Oxford), ‘Do or Die! Marcus Terentius’ Bold Virgilian Allusion (Tacitus Annals 6.8)’

Lucia Athanassaki (Crete), ‘Singing and dancing Pindar’s authority’

Deborah Boedeker (Brown), ‘Through Barbarian Eyes: Hellenes as ‘Others’ in Herodotus’

Ewen Bowie (Oxford), ‘Tradition and authority in Philostratus in the Lives of the Sophists

Carolyn Dewald (Bard), ‘Ambiguity and Paradox in Herodotus’ Histories

Harriet Flower (Princeton), ‘Veni, Vidi, Vici: When did Roman politicians use the first person?’

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 10:27am by Erik Shell.
D.C.

Please see the following important information about the 2020 Annual Meeting in Washington DC.

We plan to supplement our existing harassment policies by appointing an ombuds to whom issues of bias and harassment can be reported.  As we run a joint meeting, we will be working with the AIA on this.

The program submission system will open in late February. The deadline for panel, workshop, and seminar proposals, and for reports on peer-reviewed affiliated group and organizer-refereed panels will fall in early April. The deadline for submission of individual abstracts and lightning talks will be in late April. We will publish the specific deadlines by the end of January.

There are already many calls for abstracts available from our affiliated groups and organizer-refereed panels. Many of these have submission deadlines in early February or March. In addition to calls from longstanding affiliated groups, including WCC and LCC, please see in particular the two following announcements from affiliated groups chartered in the last couple of years:

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 9:38am by Erik Shell.

Chanel took over New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Arts on December 4 for its annual Arts et Métiers fashion show. This year’s theme? Egypt. Except that, in many ways, it was not. What, and most importantly, who was showcased, then? The answer is unsurprisingly predictable, yet for this very reason, it powerfully illuminates the current, Orientalist and colonial reception of ancient Egypt in contemporary fashion and pop culture, and the ways in which this reception hasn’t changed much (if at all) since Napoleon Bonaparte’s invasion of the country in the late 18th century.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 5:40am by Katherine Blouin.

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