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.


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


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We're pleased to announce this year's winners of the following SCS Awards:

TLL Fellowship
  • Charles Kuper
Pearson Fellowship  
  • Philip Murray Wilson
Undergraduate Minority Scholarships
  • Sneha Adusumilli
  • Lokukalafi Ahomana
  • Zaidimary Barreto
Zeph Stewart Awards
  • Daphne Bissette
  • Sallie Blanks

Congratulations to these exemplary Classicists for all their excellent work!


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

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 03/22/2018 - 12:17pm by Erik Shell.
"Empty Theatre (almost)"by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Harvard Classics Department, Harvard Classics Club, and Office for hte Arts at Harvard are presenting Antigone at the Harvard Stadium at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 29th.

This event is free to the public, and is directed by Mitchell Polonsky and produced by Ben Roy.


(Photo: "Empty Theatre (almost)" by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 03/20/2018 - 2:25pm by Erik Shell.

As the name suggests, the Digital Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (DFHG) is an online edition of Karl Müller’s Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum (1841–1873). Müller’s work was a five-volume collection of fragmentary Greek historians, to which were added (in Latin) overviews of each author (with embedded testimonia), translation of fragments, and, often, brief commentary. Its online successor is elegantly presented, meticulously cross-referenced and admirably accessible— if somewhat quixotic. I will begin with an overview of what the FHG contains, describe the DFHG’s interface and features, and then offer some thoughts about the usefulness of the project in a context where Jacoby Online (recently reviewed in this forum by Matt Simonton) already exists.

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 03/18/2018 - 11:29am by Richard Fernando Buxton.



Leuven, 17 May 2018

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 03/15/2018 - 10:28am by Erik Shell.
Hellen Cullyer

A Day in the Life of a Classicist is a monthly column on the SCS blog written by Prof. Ayelet Haimson Lushkov celebrating the working lives of classicists. If you’d like to share your day, let us know here.

Hellen Cullyer is Executive Director of SCS.

There are days when I am traveling, days when I spend hours in front of my computer because of a looming deadline, and days when I am on the phone  / email / Skype most of the day dealing with a crisis. However, a typical day is something like the following on Monday-Thursday. Friday is different, as I explain below. On the average Monday-Thursday, I wake up early and have a quick breakfast before running out of the house to get my train. My work day starts as soon as I sit down on the train. I look at the to-do list that I have written the night before, and take stock of the whole state of the organization and figure out if there is anything crucial that I am forgetting to do. I also catch up on email during this time. Emails may be from members, directors, officers, committee members. At the moment, I have multiple email threads with President Joe Farrell in any given day. For his sake, I hope things will calm down a bit soon.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 4:30pm by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.

The deadline for the SCS's Ludwig Koenen Fellowship for Training in Papyrology is March 28th, 2018.

The competition is open to graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and untenured faculty. Applicants must be SCS members, and the selection committee will make awards of at least $600 but no more than $1,800.  The application should consist of:

  • One-page single-spaced typed narrative description of the training to be undertaken and the funding amount requested.
  • Current curriculum vitae.
  • One letter of recommendation from someone who can address the importance of the training in papyrology for furthering your current research.
  • A list of any other sources of funding applied for with amounts requested.

Applications must be submitted as e-mail attachments to Executive Director Helen Cullyer at helen.cullyer@nyu.edu.


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/14/2018 - 12:24pm by Erik Shell.

HIPPOCRATES AND HIS MEDICAL SCHOOL: Tracing the roots of Bioethics back to the ancient Philosophers -Physicians

Ancient Olympia and Zacharo, Greece
July 29th-31st, 2018

Call for Abstracts and Papers

Hippocrates is most remembered today for his famous Oath, which set high ethical standards for the practice of medicine. The congress invites scientists, scholars and researchers to discuss Hippocrates’ revolutionary foundation in a multidisciplinary way and/or present relevant workshops.

We welcome submissions from a wide range of disciplines, including bioethics, biotechnology, politics, health and life sciences, law and philosophy as well as philosophy and fine arts, and/or other relevant disciplines and fields. Comparative studies (submissions) on the ancient Philosophers-Physicians before and after Hippocrates will be highly appreciated.

The conference aims at providing a platform for in-depth analysis and discussion of all above related areas.

Suggested Thematic Units:

  • Hippocrates Medical School applications
  • Ancient Philosophers –Physicians background
  • Bioethics
  • Fine arts therapeutic impact


April 30, 2018:  Abstract is due (300-500 words)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 03/12/2018 - 9:54am by Erik Shell.

Authors: Celia E. Schultz (University of Michigan), Carole E. Newlands (University of Colorado), Ruth R. Caston (University of Michigan)

One night over dinner at the SCS in Toronto (2017), conversation turned to one of the more frustrating parts of standard graduate programs in Classics: the surveys of Greek and Latin literature. Students see these courses as great hurdles to leap over, and faculty (well, at least we) felt that their necessarily selective approach is undesireable and that the courses cannot possibly do justice to all the important goals set for them: improving students’ command of the languages and their speed in reading, preparing students for exams, giving students a sense of the chronological development of the classical literary tradition, and introducing them to important trends in scholarship.  Perhaps spurred on by the wine, we decided to see if anyone else felt the same way and to see if we could get a conversation started about how to improve the experience of survey for everyone. 

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 03/11/2018 - 7:16pm by Celia Schultz.

The deadline for submitting:

  • All proposals for panels, workshops, seminars, and roundtable discussions.
  • Reports from organizers of committee, organizer-refereed, and affiliated group panels who have issued their own CFPs.
  • Proposals for organizer-refereed panels for 2020.
  • Applications for new affiliated group charters and for renewals of current charters.

is April 9th, one month from today. Individual abstracts are due April 25th.

Anyone hoping to submit an abstract or another proposal can do so on our program submission website.


(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 03/08/2018 - 8:40am by Erik Shell.
Terracotta plaque with King Oinomaos and his charioteer, 27 B.C.–A.D. 68. Terracotta. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Fletcher Fund, 26.60.31. Licensed under CC BY 1.0.

In the thirteen years I have been active as an independent scholar, I have learned that the independent scholar is in effect the mirror of an independent scholarly readership composed of individuals who are dedicated consumers of scholastic literature without being either presently matriculated students or academics themselves. I have come to believe that we cannot speak of the genuine flourishing of independent scholarship without taking this into account.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 5:09pm by Edward P. Butler.


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