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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Call for Fellows: Data Visualizations Using the D’Argenio Collection

Seton Hall University – University Libraries (Fall 2021)
Application Deadline: July 15, 2021
Fellowship Period: Fall 2021

Background

Seton Hall University Libraries support excellence in academic and individual work, enable inquiry, foster intellectual and ethical integrity and respect for diverse points of view through user-focused services and robust collections as the intellectual and cultural heart of the University.  Walsh Gallery, based in the Library, manages the University’s museum collections, and the Library’s Data Services division assists the University community in managing and presenting their data.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 06/16/2021 - 10:55am by Erik Shell.

The ACLS is running two searches this summer at ACLS. They seek a Program Officer in International Programs (regular ongoing staff position) and a Program Officer in Higher Education Initiatives (two year term).

These positions are excellent for classics Ph.D.s looking to stay in academic contexts but do a different kind of work from teaching and researching.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/16/2021 - 10:53am by Erik Shell.

The SCS Board of Directors has co-signed the following statement, which has been authored jointly by the American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and PEN America. As of June 16, 2021, 80 organizations have endorsed the statement.

You can read the full text and list of signatories below and read the press release by the American Historical Association here

June 16, 2021

We, the undersigned associations and organizations, state our firm opposition to a spate of legislative proposals being introduced across the country that target academic lessons, presentations, and discussions of racism and related issues in American history in schools, colleges and universities. These efforts have taken varied shape in at least 20 states; but often the legislation aims to prohibit or impede the teaching and education of students concerning what are termed “divisive concepts.” These divisive concepts as defined in numerous bills are a litany of vague and indefinite buzzwords and phrases including, for example, “that any individual should feel or be made to feel discomfort, guilt, anguish, or any other form of psychological or emotional distress on account of that individual’s race or sex.” These legislative efforts are deeply troubling for numerous reasons.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Wed, 06/16/2021 - 7:09am by Helen Cullyer.

TLL Fellowship 2021-2022 Application Cycle

Supported by a Generous Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:16pm by Erik Shell.

Call for papers: Human Crime and Divine Punishment in Ancient Didactic poetry

Trinity College Dublin, 10-11 March 2022

As has long been observed, ancient Didactic poetry is not merely a vehicle to convey technical information and instruction. Justice and the place of humanity in the cosmos are already central concerns of Hesiod’s Works and Days, which attributes the harsh realities of agricultural life to a history of transgression, moral decline, and punishment. Similar questions continue to fascinate his didactic successors, who not only develop Hesiodic material, for instance in the departure of Justice from Earth in Aratus’ Phaenomena, but also explore other manifestations of divine intervention, such as through myths of metamorphosis and catasterism. In some didactic poems, such as Virgil’s Georgics or Oppian’s Halieutica, the pursuit of their subject matter itself poses the risk of violating ethical norms or overstepping mortal boundaries.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:09pm by Erik Shell.

Reception Studies: State of the Discipline and New Directions

Online conference

 

24-27 June 2021 (Northern Hemisphere)

25-28 June 2021 (Southern Hemisphere)

Conference Organiser: Anastasia Bakogianni

Hosted by Massey University, New Zealand

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 06/15/2021 - 5:03pm by Erik Shell.

City Lit, one of London’s largest adult education colleges, and the British Museum are organising Classics Week.

Classics Week runs from 21-25 June 2021 and takes inspiration from the British Museum’s current exhibition Nero: the man behind the myth (27 May- 24 Oct).  Join us for a programme of online talks, discussions, and taster courses exploring the subject of power in ancient Rome.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 06/15/2021 - 4:40pm by Erik Shell.
A page from Martin Kraus’ Aethiopica Epitome processed using LatinOCR within VietOCR. It handles the opening chapter summary well but is only 88% accurate with the italicized body text.

LatinOCR and Rescribe are related optical character recognition (OCR) tools that substantially accelerate the conversion of scanned Latin to Unicode text and, in the case of Rescribe, to searchable PDF format. Both are pleasant to use but require a degree of comfort with command-line tools, at least to get up and running.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/14/2021 - 1:34pm by .
The Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, DC, the Network for the Study of the Archaic and Classical Greek Song, and CHS Greece invite you to attend Performing Texts, an international virtual conference to be held from June 30 through July 4, 2021.
View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 06/14/2021 - 9:29am by Erik Shell.

(Originally posted here)

Seattle, Washington - Rochelle Elizabeth Snee, born December 6, 1947, in Trenton, NJ, passed away at Swedish Hospital in Seattle, WA on Sunday, September 6, 2020.

Rochelle was a 1965 graduate of Dulaney High School in Lutherville - Timonium, MD. She earned her B.A. degree at the University of Maryland at College Park, majoring in Classical Studies under Wilhelmina Jashemski. She attended the University of Washington, where she earned both an M.A. and a PhD in Classics with a concentration in the Byzantine Period.

As a Classics scholar, Rochelle had many opportunities for both study and travel. She had fellowships at Colby College in Waterville, ME, to work with fellow classicists Dorothy Koonce and Peter Westervelt; and in Washington, D.C., she continued her study of Byzantium with fellowships at both Dumbarton Oaks and Catholic University. In Rome she translated ancient Greek documents in the Vatican Library; in Jerusalem she read ancient manuscripts available only to those with special permission; in Istanbul she researched for an article on Gregory Nazianzen's Anastasia Church. She was on the faculty of Pacific Lutheran University, where she taught ancient Greek, Latin, and imbued students with a knowledge of ancient history.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Wed, 06/09/2021 - 2:24pm by Erik Shell.

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