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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Given the rapidly changing situation in the present moment, a conference in January 2021 looks a long way off. But planning for our 152nd annual meeting in Chicago has already begun, and it will intensify in the months between now and then. Indeed we are making both plans and contingency plans, because the SCS will hold its annual meeting in some form. It may resemble past meetings, or it may involve remote participation; it is impossible to predict what circumstances will require. But the process of compiling the academic portion of the program will proceed (almost) as usual, with a (remote) Program Committee meeting in June in which the committee discusses the abstracts and proposals submitted through the online submission system. Only after the panels and papers have been selected and arranged can planning begin for the rest of the program: the committee meetings, the business meetings for affiliated groups, the interviews, the receptions, and all of the other meeting events

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 04/07/2020 - 2:42pm by Helen Cullyer.

In his history of the long and costly war between Athens and Sparta, the historian Thucydides explained that he had written his narrative to be “a possession for all time” and to be of assistance to those of future generations “who want to see things clearly as they were and, given human nature, as they will one day be again, more or less."1 Thucydides was a shrewd observer and analyst of human behavior, and his work has frequently been cited in times of crisis by those who see patterns in history.  At the famous ceremony dedicating the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg in 1863 at which Lincoln also spoke, former Secretary of State Edward Everett delivered a eulogy

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 04/03/2020 - 8:10am by .

As we all contend with the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 Coronavirus, I want to start by highlighting a gratifying fact: the indispensable expert and voice of reason, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, majored in Classics as an undergraduate at Holy Cross!  This is a timely and inspiring reminder that Classics majors go on to distinguish themselves in many different careers and to perform many kinds of vital service.

I also want to emphasize that, despite the ongoing crisis, the SCS is fully up-and-running. Our three fulltime staff members, Helen Cullyer, Cherane Ali, and Erik Shell, have made a seamless transition to working remotely, thanks to careful advance planning on their part. They are maintaining regular business hours even as they work remotely, and are available to help our members however they can.

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Sun, 03/29/2020 - 2:22pm by Helen Cullyer.

­­The Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities worldwide with the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in new and meaningful ways. As part of this initiative the SCS has been funding a variety of projects ranging from reading groups comparing ancient to modern leadership practices to collaborations with artists in theater, music, and dance. In this post we focus on projects that bring creativity and science into the Classics classrooms of secondary schools from California to Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 03/27/2020 - 6:25am by .

The SCS Board of Directors has endorsed a statement by the American Sociological Association on faculty review and reappointment during COVID-19.

Read the statement and full list of signatories at this link

https://www.asanet.org/news-events/asa-news/asa-statement-regarding-faculty-review-and-reappointment-processes-during-covid-19-crisis

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Mon, 03/23/2020 - 4:26pm by Helen Cullyer.

As the pandemic known as COVID-19 grips the globe, thousands of instructors in the United States and elsewhere have been asked to transition their courses online for the remainder of the semester. To some instructors, such as the superb Classics professors at the Open University, distance learning has become a normalized pedagogy. To many others facing teaching online: this is uncharted territory.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 8:43am by Sarah E. Bond.

Please see the following on access to digital resources during COVID-19:

1. The digital Classical Loeb Library recently announced that it is making its subscription free to all schools and universities affected by COVID-19 until June 30, 2020. Librarians should email loebclassics_sales@harvard.edu for more details. In addition, SCS members can access the library for free until June 30, 2020 via the For Members Only page of our website. Log on to https://classicalstudies.org and access the For Members only page via our Membership menu. 

2. Johns Hopkins University Press and a number of publishers that contribute content to Project Muse are making books and journals freely accessible for several months. JHUP journals include AJP, TAPA, and CW. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 03/19/2020 - 9:03am by Helen Cullyer.

Results and materials from the Classics tuning project we've mentioned in prior newsletters are now available publicly. See the below press release from the project's authors for full details:

THE ACM CLASSICS TUNING PROJECT: REPOSITORY OF MATERIALS

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/18/2020 - 11:02am by Erik Shell.

We're proud to announce the digital publication of "Careers for Classicists: Undergraduate Edition." This work is a completely new version of our previous "Careers for Classicists" pamphlet, providing the latest insights on how undergraduate classics majors can best prepare for jobs in a variety of fields.

You can read this newest publication in our online book format here: https://classicalstudies.org/careers-classicists-undergraduate-edition

We'd like to thank Adriana Brook, Eric Dugdale, and John Gruber-Miller for doing so much work in putting this volume together. The print version of "Careers" will be available in a few months, and will be one of several benefit choices for departmental membership.

And, in case you missed it, you can read the Graduate Student version of this publication here: https://classicalstudies.org/careers-classicists-graduate-student-edition

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 03/16/2020 - 12:51pm by Erik Shell.
We realize that this is a time of unprecedented turmoil, disruption, and challenge in all our personal and professional lives. SCS is delaying deadlines for 2021 annual meeting program submission in the hope that some extra time will be helpful to anyone planning to submit. The new deadlines are:
 
- April 21 (by 11.59pm EDT) for all submissions other than individual abstracts and lightning talks
- April 28 (by 11.59pm EDT) for all individual abstracts and lightning talks
 
As circumstances change, we will continue to adapt. While it is too early to say what effect COVID-19 will have on our annual meeting in January 2021, we will adjust as necessary and provide an annual meeting in some form. 
 
View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sun, 03/15/2020 - 4:26pm by Helen Cullyer.

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