2018 Goodwin Award Winners

Below are the citations for the winners of our 2018 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit. Please join us in congratulating this year's winners.

Gil H. Renberg

Amy Richlin

Harriet I. Flower

Gil H. RenbergWhere Dreams May Come:  Incubation Sanctuaries in the Greco-Roman World.  Leiden:  Brill, 2017.

Sweet dreams, bad dreams, broken dreams, impossible dreams, dream jobs, dreams come true, dreamy dates, dream teams, the American dream, only in your dreams, dream on: dreams are among our most familiar experiences but wonderfully mysterious all the same. In modern times dreams tend to be something internal and personal, perhaps mere nonsense, perhaps an expression of wishes and fears conscious or unconscious. For classical peoples, dreams were something more, signs from outside, indeed an important channel for divine-human communication. And so incubation – sleeping in a place where dreams may come – was a multi-faceted practice throughout the ancient world from earliest times to late antiquity: a practice undertaken for therapy, for cures, for enlightenment, and for revelations.

Gil Renberg's Where Dreams May Come: Incubation Sanctuaries in the Greco-Roman World, in two ample volumes from Brill, is a dream come true for all students of ancient religion and healing: a systematic, exhaustive, beautifully organized, and highly readable exploration of incubation from the Mesopotamian, Anatolian, Greco-Roman, and Egyptian worlds, from the bronze age to late antiquity, masterfully assembling and analyzing a vast amount of data and testimony literary, epigraphical, and archaeological, all anchored to a full bibliography. Along the way Gil Renberg brings to life a great many details of the incubatory experience: who knew that Asclepius could send a snake to lick your ears to cure hearing loss? Or that mere water could play such a central and complex role? This work’s combination of systematic inventory and revelatory analysis reminds us that in classical studies, creative excellence manifests itself in a variety of ways.

Gil Renberg, who has spent many years on this project, emphatically stresses at the outset that a far-flung and generous scholarly community has made his work possible, thanking more than a hundred scholars for their helpfulness. His aim is not so much to solve all of the many issues that a century and more of incubation studies have raised as it is to clear the ground for future work by separating what is definitely known from what still needs to be learned, distinguishing also what can only be the object of speculative argument or the product of imagination. In the process, he brings to life an important aspect of ancient experience in the Greco-Roman and wider world, and also provides a model of meticulous, lucid, and generous scholarship for the present. Like all great works of scholarship, Where Dreams May Come has handsomely – even dreamily – set the table for all future work in this central and fascinating area of ancient religion and healing.

Amy RichlinSlave Theater in the Roman Republic:  Plautus and Popular Comedy.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 2017.

All comedy starts with anger.  That leitmotif runs through the pages of Amy Richlin’s Slave Theater in the Roman Republic:  Plautus and Popular Comedy, Richlin’s summa, one might say, product of a distinguished career that began with a similar theme in The Garden of Priapus:  Sexuality and Aggression in Roman Humor thirty-five years ago, and that has ranged widely through explorations of subjects once left discreetly aside or veiled in the obscurity of a learned language. 

Now she rewrites the history and meaning of the fabula palliata, mastering, but not enslaved to, a long scholarly tradition, from Eduard Fraenkel to Sandra Joshel and Kathy Gaca.  But her reach is wide as well as deep, engaging recent and contemporary work in anthropology, folklore, and modern pop culture.  One very instructive and relevant footnote pursues the details of the Latin curriculum of Dulwich College in the student days of P.G. Wodehouse.  The book offers a paradigm of traditional philological scholarship at its very best, enriched by a broad view, a keen eye for the telling detail, and a passionate commitment to hearing and letting us hear the voices of the downtrodden. 

The story that unfolds is set in a beleaguered Italy, a land of constant warfare and mass enslavement.  We never forget that Plautus’ career unfolded during Hannibal’s years in Italy and we are challenged to keep in mind that the actors and spectators of these funny things that happened on the way to the forum included survivors of the carnage at Cannae.  The actors, the spectators, and the characters literally embodied the culture and horrors of the time.  Too often beaten, raped, and starved, they made of their experience occasions for laughter – for whatever little laughter can do to assuage or avenge or almost make sense of the effects of violence.

The stage – often not more than a wide spot in the road – set slaves and masters, prostitutes and pimps, in whirling motion.  The palliata gave the slave, the freed slave, and just the wretchedly impoverished free citizen a chance to act out the open secrets that possessed them, through double-entendre, irony, verbal duels, slapstick, role reversals and knowing asides to the audience – and a little song and dance.  This was their opportunity to speak shtick to power and and they do so with a will, giving us glimpses of their shimmering dreams of home and freedom.  We come away with a renewed sense of our good fortune in having these plays survive, disguised as classical literature, to enable Richlin to bring us closer to Roman lives that were marked by much sadness, much anger … and even much laughter. 

Harriet I. Flower, The Dancing Lares and the Serpent in the Garden: Religion at the Roman Street Corner. Princeton 2017

A dense and rich account of an understudied aspect of Roman religion, Harriet Flower’s The Dancing Lares and the Serpent in the Garden: Religion at the Roman Street Corner weaves together strands from complex and variegated sources into a coherent picture. The book opens with its own act of pietas: a striking photograph of the book’s distinguished dedicatee, standing nonchalantly before a surviving compitum, brings the Roman street-corner to life. Comparison of inscriptions, altars, and painting from Rome, Pompeii, and elsewhere on the Italian peninsula with literary works written by elites shows that lares, consistently gods of place, were worshipped differently depending on locale, but with an overall constancy that has escaped prior scholarship. Because those primarily responsible for the daily worship of the domestic gods of the hearth were often women or the master’s delegate and the vicomagistri of the lares compitalia were often freedmen, they fly below the radar of elite experience and hence the literary record. Reconstructing their history has required Flower to demonstrate expertise in material culture and to survey her subject across disparate and demanding fields.

The interpretation of most of her materials was controversial in antiquity and remains so now. Flower grabs the nettle. She is generous in taking her reader through her thought processes and fearless about advancing novel views. She bats away suggestions that the lares were spirits of the dead. Cult of Augustus’ genius at Rome? Flower answers a resounding “no.” Surely that’s Aeneas or perhaps Numa on the Ara pacis Augustae? Unlikely. She thinks a better candidate for the figure is Titus Tatius. Not all her conjectures will win assent, but she is intellectually forthcoming about making them and they raise the bar for future scholars, who will have to reexamine questions they thought were settled and argue for competing interpretations within a more capacious evidentiary frame.

Learned and confident, Flower offers a page-turner that sheds light on inaccessible aspects of Roman daily life with vividness and sympathy. Her intersecting paths of research culminate in her reassessment of the Augustan religious revival. By giving responsibility for local worship of the gods of the street corners to the lower classes of society, Augustus provides a vehicle through which they may share and invest, emotionally and financially, in his declaration of a new age of peace and prosperity. Scholars interested in Roman religion, in social history, and in the Augustan program will refer to this book for years.

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

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On October 13, 2019, the SCS Board of Directors approved the following letter addressed to the Board of Directors of the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study, Inc.

"The Society for Classical Studies joins the American Classical League in expressing deep concern in response to recent public statements regarding the Paideia Institute. Some of those statements are authored by individuals who have been closely associated with Paideia in various capacities and who have now resigned from the Institute.  Some of the published allegations are more generally about the Institute’s cultural climate, while others concern specific incidents. All the allegations are serious.

Accordingly, the SCS board of directors has approved a temporary hiatus on new funding for Paideia programs, including but not limited to support via the SCS Minority Scholarships, Coffin Fellowships, and Classics Everywhere micro-grants.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:59pm by Helen Cullyer.

Years of restoration work on the Palatine Hill and in the Roman Forum which—together with the Colosseum—now make up the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo has been coming to fruition over the last few years. After decades of sporadic work, rusting scaffolding, and locked gates, a fabulous flurry of activity has yielded an ever greater number of visitable sites.

Many of these are accessible as part of the SUPER ticket, which provides access to the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum (but not the Colosseum), and includes access to eight excellent “bonus” sites: Santa Maria Antiqua, Temple of Romulus, Palatine Museum, the Neronian Cryptoporticus, the Aula Isiaca and Loggia Mattei, the Houses of Augustus and Livia, and—most recently—the Domus Transitoria.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 10/11/2019 - 12:13am by Agnes Crawford.

Departmental memberships for 2020 are now available. This year's departmental membership includes new publication options as well as the ability to purchase membership for students and contingent faculty.

You can download the form here, then send it to the SCS office through fax or via email at info@classicalstudies.org

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

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 10/10/2019 - 10:38am by Erik Shell.

"Space and Governance: Towards a New Topography of Roman Administration"

Conference, 3-4 April 2020, Royal Academy of Spain at Rome (Real Academia de España en Roma)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 10/10/2019 - 8:53am by Erik Shell.

Call for Volunteers

The Society for Classical Studies seeks graduate, undergraduate, and contingent faculty volunteers for the 151th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., which will take place this coming January.  Assignments will include working in the registration area and assisting staff with some sessions and special events.

You can sign up to volunteer here.

In exchange for six hours of service (either in one continuous or in segmented assignments), volunteers receive a waiver of their annual meeting registration fees.  It is not necessary to be an SCS member to volunteer.

For more information about the meeting itself, visit our Annual Meeting page.

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

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 10:25am by Erik Shell.

In response to problems and needs, some long-term and others exposed by events at San Diego, the SCS Board of Directors has voted to add an Equity Adviser to the SCS board as an advisory member, with voice but without vote. This will be a three-year appointment made by the President, upon approval of the directors. The position will replace on the board, as of January 5, 2020, the current chair of the Strategic Development Committee, who currently serves as an ex officio board member with voice but without vote. The Strategic Development Committee itself is being wound down as part of an attempt to rationalize our governance structure. This change will not affect the 16 elected board positions.

The main roles of the Equity Adviser (hereafter EA) will be to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in all SCS activities, looking especially at elections, governance, publications, and the annual meeting.  The EA will consult with the Committee on Professional Matters to obtain an accurate understanding of topics and data relating to diversity, inclusion, and equity across the organization. This would be particularly important in the first year of an EA’s appointment, as the adviser assesses historical trends in diversity relating to:

1) our Board of Directors and our committees;

2) the program of our annual meeting, and its actual realization; and

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 10/04/2019 - 2:35pm by Erik Shell.

ANCHORING TECHNOLOGY IN GRECO-ROMAN ANTIQUITY

An interdisciplinary conference
Soeterbeeck (Radboud University), 10-13 December 2020

‘Anchoring Innovation’ is a Dutch research program in Classics that studies how people deal with ‘the new’ (http://www.ru.nl/oikos/anchoring-innovation/). We want to understand the multifarious ways in which relevant social groups connect what they perceive as new to what they feel is already familiar (‘anchoring’). In this conference, our focus will be on technological innovations in classical antiquity, and the ways in which these became acceptable, were adopted, and spread – or died an unceremonious death.

Technology is here understood in the widest sense of the word: it includes building materials and techniques, technical procedures and products, but also information technologies such as writing and calculating, coinage, medicine and military technology. Greco-Roman antiquity offers an ideal testing ground for understanding technological change in a complex, yet non-modern society: it is richly documented (both in the written record and in material remains), and the ‘sources’ are complex but also well-disclosed, which enables us to tackle complex research questions.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 10/04/2019 - 1:24pm by Erik Shell.

In the past year, the Society for Classical Studies website has published a number of pieces catalyzed by the blatant racism on display at the most recent annual meeting. Professor Joy Connolly wrote a piece called “Working Toward a Just and Inclusive Future for Classics,” which then generated a response by an anonymous graduate student group, which in turn led to further comment by the SCS, Professor Connolly, and the newly formed SCS Graduate Student Committee. These various pieces pointed to ways Classics could progress and thrive for generations to come. 

What became lost in this series of posts was a focus on racial diversity and inclusivity, as the conversation increasingly broadened to include all manner of injustice found in academic work conditions. The act of racism that started the conversation became overshadowed by much more general discussion about problems that affect the whole of academia, e.g., the increasing precarity of academic labor.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 10/04/2019 - 6:33am by Joy Reeber.

Below are the citations for the three winners of our 2019 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit. Please join us in congratulating this year's winners and in thanking the Goodwin Committee members for their hard work.

Andrew C. Johnston

Josephine Quinn

Francesa Schironi

Andrew C. Johnston, The Sons of Remus: Identity in Roman Gaul and Spain. Harvard University Press, 2017

The story of the Roman Empire, much like the story of the American West, has long emphasized assimilation and Romanization: parcere subiectis et debellare superbos. Presumably discarded were the local identities and indigenous traditions that no longer defined or empowered the provincials. Unlike the cities of the Greek East, with their indigenous and hyper-literate insistence on their own distinctive identities, past and present, the Roman West has been thought to be a virtual tabula rasa, on which Romanness was inscribed with little difficulty. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:58pm by Erik Shell.

For the first time since 2016, the SCS will be holding four seminars at this year’s annual meeting.

Seminars as a rule concentrate on more narrowly focused topics and aim at extensive discussion. In order to allow the time to be spent mainly on discussion, the SCS publishes a notice about the session in advance, and organizers distribute copies of the papers (normally three or four in number) to be discussed to those who request them.  Attendance at a seminar will, if necessary, be limited to the first 25 people who sign up. Seminars are normally three hours in length. Registered meeting attendees may sign up at no additional cost for one or more of these seminars during the month of October.

You can chceck out this year's seminars and sign up here: https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/2020/151/2020-annual-meeting-seminars

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/30/2019 - 10:40am by Erik Shell.

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On October 13, 2019, the SCS Board of Directors approved the following letter
SCS Announcements
Departmental memberships for 2020 are now available.
Calls for Papers
"Space and Governance: Towards a New Topography of Roman Administration"
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