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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Battle

(From the Dartmouth News blog)

SCS Outreach Prize winner Roberta Stewart, founder of book discussion groups for veterans, held a workshop recently with Classicists from other states hoping to start similar programs.

"The workshop represents a pilot to test the ability to develop a national network of co-facilitators who work pro bono to run groups nationwide."

You can read the full article here: https://news.dartmouth.edu/news/2018/07/classics-professors-book-group-v...

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(Photo: "Painted slab of tomb with 'Duel'" by Carlo Raso, public domain)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 07/16/2018 - 9:54am by Erik Shell.

When you do study abroad trips with college or high school students, teaching happens on-site and draws upon the artifacts that surround you. We found this out firsthand while leading the first ever 3-week study abroad summer session in Greece from 21 May to 12 June for the University of Tennessee-Knoxville’s Classics department this summer. I co-led the trip with classicist Thomas Rose. We both specialize in different areas, which really gave breadth to the teaching. Whereas Prof. Rose is an expert in Greco-Roman historiography and epigraphy, I specialize in poetry and translation while teaching at the University of Iowa. The itinerary was loosely inspired by the trips we both took to central and northern Greece as regular and student associate members of the American School for Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) in 2012 with our Mellon professor, Margaret M. Miles.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 07/12/2018 - 6:52pm by Adrienne K.H. Rose.

The American Academy in Berlin invites applications for its residential fellowships for the academic year 2019/2020.

The Academy seeks to enrich transatlantic dialogue in the arts, humanities, and public policy through the development and communication of projects of the highest scholarly merit. For 2019/2020, the Academy is also interested in considering projects that address the themes of migration and social integration, questions of race in comparative perspective, and the interplay of exile and return.

For all projects, the Academy asks that candidates explain the relevance of a stay in Berlin to the development of their work.

Approximately 20 Berlin Prizes are conferred annually. Past recipients have included art historians, anthropologists, historians, musicologists, journalists, writers, filmmakers, sociologists, legal scholars, economists, and public policy experts, among others. Fellowships are typically awarded for an academic semester, but shorter stays of six to eight weeks are also possible. Benefits include round-trip airfare, partial board, a $5,000 monthly stipend, and accommodations at the Academy’s lakeside Hans Arnhold Center in the Berlin-Wannsee district.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 11:33am by Erik Shell.
Ancient Greek football player balancing the ball. Part of a marble grave stele, found in Piraeus, 400-375 BC. Item (NAMA) 873 of the National Archaeological Museum, Athens. Image via Wikimedia under Public Domain.

“For as long as he lives, a man has no greater glory
than that which he wins with his own hands and feet”

οὐ μὲν γὰρ μεῖζον κλέος ἀνέρος, ὄφρα κεν ᾖσιν,
ἢ ὅ τι ποσσίν τε ῥέξῃ καὶ χερσὶν ἑῇσιν.
Homer, Odyssey 8.147-148

Salve, My ancient Roman friend—I know that much of this world of ours confuses you. Not if I had ten thousand mouths and as many years could I cover the histories of the centuries between your world and ours, nor could I catalog and explain airplanes, televisions, cell phones, and the droning chorus of wonders and horrors you see around you.

But maybe I can start with something which will help bridge the gulf between your world and ours—sport. Even though the younger Pliny mocked his contemporaries for their passion for horse races, passion for sport is an ancient inheritance.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 07/10/2018 - 1:22pm by Joel Perry Christensen.

CFP: “Virgil and the Feminine” Vergilian Society’s Symposium Cumanum 2019

June 20-22, Villa Vergiliana, Cuma

Co-Directors: Elena Giusti (Warwick) and Victoria Rimell (Warwick)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 07/09/2018 - 1:25pm by Erik Shell.

The Circus Maximus, the Colosseum, and the Roman Fora. What could be more Roman? These sites typically exemplify the power of the ancient Roman Empire and its lasting impact on the modern world. These are some of the definitive sites to visit on any trip to the eternal city, but how did these sites contribute to imperial propaganda and memory?

Lauren Donovan Ginsberg, Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Cincinnati and Fellow in Ancient Studies at the American Academy in Rome and I recently organized and led a tour in Rome, entitled “Sites of Memory and Memories of Conflict: Imperial Rome, Jerusalem, and Nero,” asking just this question with the trustees of the American Academy in Rome. The Flavian dynasty, after the fall of Nero and the disastrous Year of the Four Emperors, built or added to many of modern day Rome’s most iconic buildings: the Colosseum, the Arch of Titus, the Circus Maximus (adding a triumphal arch at the eastern end), and the Templum Pacis (Temple of Peace).

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 07/05/2018 - 3:53pm by Catherine Bonesho.

Call for Papers

Classics and Global Humanities

Extended Deadline: 8th July, 2018

University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

 11-12 October, 2018

Keynote Speaker

      Prof. Barbara Goff, University of Reading, Reading, UK

Studies have explored the cross-cultural engagement between Western civilisation and other cultures (Stephens and Vasunia 2010) as well as the legacy and reception of the Classics in the Arab world (Pormann 2015), India (Vasunia 2013), West Africa (Goff 2013; Goff and Simpson 2007) and recently, South Africa (Parker 2017). Classical reception studies thus continue to play a key role in bringing different parts of the world into greater dialogue with each other.

We invite abstracts for papers not only from Classics but also from other disciplines and sub-disciplines which explore ways in which reception studies is giving a new voice to classical research in West Africa, consider ways in which Classics in West Africa engages with the legacies of Egypt, Greece, and Rome or examine cross-cultural themes in both ancient and modern traditions. We also welcome papers which draw lessons from other parts of Africa and the world.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 07/03/2018 - 2:35pm by Helen Cullyer.

In spring 2018, students enrolled in the upper-level seminar “Antiquity Through a Lens” at Miami University engaged in critical study of the ways the classical world and, more specifically, ancient war narratives have been used in modern film and television to reflect on contemporary society and its conflicts.  Alongside study of ancient primary sources, students thus explored a range of concepts such as gender, class, race, religion, and even the meaning of victory itself in Troy (2004), 300 (2007), 300:  Rise of an Empire (2014), Spartacus (1960), Masada (1981), and Dragon Blade (2015).  It was the latter film, however, that provoked the most intriguing reactions from students in the course, since it forced them to view classical history for the first time through a distinctly non-Western lens. Please note that quotations in italics are taken with permission from comments students wrote when asked to reflect on what their encounter with Dragon Blade contributed to the course, CLS 361. 

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 06/27/2018 - 4:46pm by Denise Eileen McCoskey.

XVII International ARYS Colloquium

"DRESSING DIVINELY: clothed or naked deities and devotees"

V Centenario Residence (UNEX)
Jarandilla de la Vera, 13-14 December 2018

The development of a theoretical framework for the understanding of the links between religious identity and clothing depends both on a careful terminological selection and on a broad and holistic definition of the social aspects of wear. Through the use of trappings as an effective means of communication in social interaction, it is possible to activate identities based on and assigned by social structures, especially those built on kinship, economic, religious and political activities. At the same time, clothing represents for the individual an inexhaustible source of expressive creativity that can even break the “iconographic vocabulary” of a particular social group. Moreover, the specific types and properties of clothing that convey identity may change over time in response to economic, demographic, aesthetic and technological changes. A comprehensive definition of clothing includes both body modifications and complements, the properties of which have to be analyzed together with the sensory stimuli they may evoke.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 06/27/2018 - 11:02am by Erik Shell.

The departments of Classics, Music, and Comparative Literature at King’s College London are delighted to announce a call for papers for an upcoming conference:

‘Amplifying Antiquity: Music as Classical Reception’
Strand Campus, King’s College London, December 12th-13th 2018

The focus of the conference is deliberately wide, and we welcome proposals to speak on any aspect of how the culture, history, and myth of the Greek and Roman worlds have influenced the music of the 17th-21st centuries. We hope that papers will demonstrate the scope for fresh work and new collaborations in this area.

Musical works addressed need not be conventionally viewed as part of the classical tradition. Papers might touch on topics such as: the use of antiquity in the invention of new musical genres and development of aesthetic priorities; the relationship between performative speech and song, past and present; the gendering of ancient voices in modern productions; the social contexts of musical commissioning and performance; the conservative and radical political potential in music inspired by the classical world.

Speakers already confirmed include Sina Dell’Anno (Basel), Edith Hall (KCL), Wendy Heller (Princeton), Sarah Hibberd (Bristol), and Stephanie Oade (Oxford).

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 06/26/2018 - 3:42pm by Erik Shell.

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