2019 Goodwin Award Winners

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. 

In The Sons of Remus: Identity in Roman Gaul and Spain, Andrew C. Johnston goes west to two major provinces in search of their local experiences, memories, and discourses, and paints a strikingly different picture. Alongside the “grandsons” of Romulus, Romuli nepotes, as Catullus dubbed the Romans of his age, and far from the imperial center, lived the provincial sons of Remus, who asserted and enacted their indigenous identities even as they adopted Roman customs and recognized imperial authority. Johnston compellingly argues for the persistent diversity of local communities and the role played by local character, creatively curated, in their sense of identity and belonging. A variety of fascinating case studies reveal how the provincials of the Roman West represented their own communities; how they defined themselves as they interacted and competed with other communities, sometimes violently; the importance of both the Roman past and the pre-Roman past in negotiating and maintaining a community’s sense of self; and the provincial performance of identity in and through their local governing structures, rituals, myths, and culture. Marshalled for investigation is an extraordinarily rich spectrum of evidence literary, artistic, archaeological, and epigraphic, much of it recent, like an inscription from Palma in the Balearic Islands attesting a local lupercus who seems not, or not merely, to be a delegate to the Roman Lupercalia (a foundation festival that seemingly makes sense only at the Palatine Lupercal in Rome), but a priest responsible for some kind of vibrant local celebration in his home community.

Andrew Johnston’s trip west reveals that the Roman Empire was not only very big but also very diverse, and his The Sons of Remus provides a firm foundation for future research in what is obviously a rich and important field, with timely resonance in our own era of globalism, resurgent nationalism, and the assertion of local identity and indigenous integrity in the face of hegemonic agency.

Josephine QuinnIn Search of the Phoenicians. Princeton University Press, 2018

Today we think we know who the Phoenicians were. Credited with a range of cultural firsts, from the alphabet to civilization itself, indeed “from the pole star to the Cornish cream tea,” the world would simply not be the same without them. But do we really know who they were? Josephine Quinn’s In Search of the Phoenicians offers a surprising answer: we do not; check the evidence itself. Understood as a singular, self-defining ethnic group, their shared identity manifest in language, in forms of government, and in a set of cultural practices, “the Phoenicians” appear in the historical record of other peoples only, from Homer to the present. Their ethnic and cultural label was not their own, but was awarded to them by others.

The thesis is startling, and its consequences mind-boggling. If we remove the label, the Phoenicians cease to enjoy an independent existence. Did they even have a sense of shared identity? Or were they no more than a phantom product of the West? They may be a historical mirage, but that is only the beginning of Quinn’s remarkable story. Early Greek literature filled out the seascape with a not-us group of Phoenicians, whose very name tellingly derives from the Greek language. From the late fifth century, the Carthaginians, progressively confident in their territorial empire, claimed this suitably sweeping identity for themselves. The distinctive cultural politics of the Hellenistic kingdoms and the Roman Empire further encouraged the search for a common past and history that rivaled those of competing superpowers. In the imperial competitions of premodern and modern Europe, Carthage’s long status as an anti-Rome encouraged multiple self-identifications as Phoenicians. In short, the Phoenicians emerge not merely as an “invented” people, but as a multiply reinvented one. Quinn is equally compelling on the shifting dynamics of self-identification amongst “Phoenicians”. In the areas conventionally associated with the “Phoenicians”, the reference point for locating selves is frequently family or local community, as is the default throughout the ancient Mediterranean.  Sometimes, however, we also find small clusters (e.g. the “circle of the Tophet”), and larger opt-in networks (e.g. participants in the Melqart cult).  

To pursue these questions about identity, In Search of the Phoenicians takes its readers on an epic journey from the tenth century BCE to the 20th CE, from Lebanon to Ireland, from the Hebrew Bible to Heliodorus, John Milton and James Joyce, from bilingual epitaphs to Anthony D. Smith on nation-building, and from western Mediterranean Tophets to Stonehenge. The fruit of these travels is a new genealogy of an invented people, the Phoenicians. With its deep appreciation for the multiple agencies and perspectives, geographies and networks of the Mediterranean and Near East, and for the two thousand years of subsequent entanglement of ancient and modern cultural and political wars, Quinn’s outstanding book exemplifies the breadth and depth of Classics in the 21st century. Above all, it articulates a methodological template for examining nations, cultures, and ethnicities in the ancient world and in their long, productive afterlives. Quinn’s work will oblige scholars to rethink their assumptions about what it means to be a “people” of any kind, including those who are known today as “Greeks” and “Romans.”

Francesca Schironi, The Best of the Grammarians: Aristarchus of Samothrace on the Iliad. University of Michigan Press, 2018 

The Best of the Grammarians: Aristarchus of Samothrace on the Iliad is a monumental study that is unlikely to be surpassed for generations to come. Indeed, Schironi’s only true rival is Arthur Ludwich’s work in two volumes from 1884-85, Aristarchs homerische Kritik. Weighing in at over 900 pages of densely argued text, and seemingly exhaustive in its canvasing of the relevant issues and available evidence, including some 4,300 pertinent scholia, The Best of the Grammarians is a massive reconstruction of the methods, techniques, and principles that guided Aristarchus’ study of the Iliad as he went about analyzing and emending the Homeric text.

The results are at once theoretical and pragmatic, not least because Aristarchus’ theory is embedded in the way he practiced his criticism of Homer. Schironi’s own study models this “practice of theory” approach. It begins with such basic questions as, How did Aristarchus read Homer? How did he discriminate among his sources? What were his touchstones in the Homeric text? He made use of paraphrase, like most of his contemporaries. He advocated reading aloud and was alert to poetic and rhetorical figures, including metaphor, allegory, and irony. He analyzed Homeric vocabulary, and he identified characters, customs, and places in the epic as well as its cosmology. He sought to discover etymologies, and he made use of analogy to solve linguistic puzzles. He was also prepared to judge the aesthetic quality of Homer’s poems, drawing on Aristotle’s Poetics and Rhetoric for his critical categories. Aristarchus was aware of the formulaic nature of epic verse and the use of epithets, and he had a subtle appreciation of Homer’s narrative style. When he athetized a line, it was for good reasons, such as internal contradiction.

While Schironi recognizes that Aristarchus’ studies had inevitable limitations and were not infrequently grounded in circular reasoning, she concludes that his procedures were motivated by a noble commitment to Homer’s unsurpassed greatness as a poet, his deep self-consistency, and his sole authorship of the two epics—principles that were not universally accepted in antiquity any more than they are today. She sets out these points and many others with consummate learning, clarity, and elegance. And while the book lends itself to use as a reference work, it is much more than that. After working their way through her study, readers will come to regard Aristarchus as a friend and fellow critic with whom one can carry on stimulating mental conversations even today. Francesca Schironi has brought Aristarchus to life, and thanks to her efforts, we can all be better acquainted with the best of the ancient grammarians.

Citations by the Goodwin Award Committee: 

Emma Dench

Jeffrey Henderson

Carolyn Dewald

James I. Porter

David Konstan

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

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The Classics Program of Hunter College (CUNY) announces the rescheduled conference on Theognis and the Theognidea. The conference will now be virtual. It will run from April 28th (Wednesday) through April 30th (Friday) from 12-3:30 PM. (NB, the first day starts at 11:45AM and the last day runs to 4PM.) The conference is open and free. Registration is required.

 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 04/19/2021 - 9:43am by Erik Shell.

Howard University is the only HBCU in the United States with a Classics Department, which has been a part of the institution since its inception in 1867. SCS has recently received the following news from the Department:

"Howard University has decided to close the Department of Classics as part of its prioritization efforts and is currently negotiating with the faculty of Classics and with other units in the College as to how they might best reposition and repurpose our programs and personnel. These discussions have been cordial, and the faculty remains hopeful that the department can be kept intact at some level, with its faculty and programs still in place." 

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Fri, 04/16/2021 - 8:52am by Helen Cullyer.
Relief found in Neumagen near Trier, a teacher with three discipuli (180-185 AD). Photo courtesy of Wikimedia commons.

As a fellow at the American Academy in Berlin this spring, working on a book on Roman diversity, I've been wondering how German classicists are experiencing current debates about diversifying our field. To find out, I spoke with Dr. Katharina Wesselmann, a professor in the Northern German city of Kiel who has also taught high school and university in Basel, Switzerland. The fact that she specializes in “didactics” — the teaching of ancient Greek and Latin — is one mark of the differences between our two national classics traditions. In Germany, Latin and Greek are regularly offered at the advanced secondary schools known as Gymnasiums. So more Germans than Americans are familiar with the classical languages, and those who pursue university degrees in classics can find employment teaching high school.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 04/15/2021 - 11:12am by Nandini Pandey.
Funerary relief of a priest of Magna Mater (gallus) from Lavinium. Rome, Capitoline Museums (mid-second century AD). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In Dialogue: Trans Studies and Classics works to bring some of the insights and lived experiences found in transgender studies into conversation with the Classics, in the hope that bringing these into dialogue with each other will enrich our pedagogy, deepen our understanding of what gender as an identity category even means, and help critique the various ways gender has been used as an instrument of power throughout history, while also creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for our students. If you’d like to contribute to this column or have ideas that could add to this conversation, email Ky Merkley.

Photo courtesy of Michael Goyette 
Dr. Michael Goyette (he/him/his) is Instructor of Classics and Ancient Studies at Eckerd College. His teaching and research focus on ancient medicine, ancient science, gender, ancient drama, pedagogy, and reception. The question of embodiment unites these various interests. Being at a teaching college with a high number of STEM majors, he is always looking for ways to illuminate the intersections between the sciences and humanities.

This transcript has been lightly edited.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 04/12/2021 - 10:07am by .
Header Image: Etruscan Alabaster Cinerary Urn with bas-relief that represents Odysseus and the Sirens. 3rd-2nd Cent. BCE. Museo Guarnacci, Volterra, Italy.

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiativeby the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiative, supports projects that seek to engage broader publics — individuals, groups, and communities — in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean, the global reception of Greek and Roman culture, and the history of teaching and scholarship in the field of classical studies. As part of this initiative, the SCS has funded 98 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks and conferences, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. Awardees are selected by the SCS Committee on Classics in the Community. The initiative welcomes applications from all over the world. To date, it has funded projects in 25 states and 10 countries, including Canada, UK, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and most recently, India.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 04/09/2021 - 9:58am by .
Emerging Scholars NYU Center for Ancient Studies images of landscape, statues, manuscripts
The NYU Center for Ancient Studies is seeking to engage the work of current PhD candidates as part of a new Emerging Scholars video presentation series, beginning in spring 2021. In this series, we aim to showcase research that takes innovative approaches to the study of the ancient world or that incorporates non-traditional materials and/or methods. We are also especially interested in highlighting the work of scholars from groups that are and have historically been marginalized and underrepresented in the fields of ancient studies and the academy at large.

The presentation format of the videos will feature individual PhD candidates who briefly describe their research and then engage in conversation with an NYU faculty member that positions this work in relationship to broader scholarship. These videos will be advertised as part of the Center's academic program and highlighted on our website.  

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 04/08/2021 - 9:21pm by Helen Cullyer.

CfP: Affect, Intensity, Antiquity (Online Conference)

Organizers: Chiara Graf and Adrian Gramps (St Andrews)

Confirmed Speakers: Aaron Kachuck (Trinity College, Cambridge / UCLouvain), Alex Purves (UCLA), Ben Radcliffe (Loyola Marymount), Mario Telò (UC Berkeley)

sed cur heu, Ligurine, cur
manat rara meas lacrima per genas?

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 04/07/2021 - 2:26pm by Erik Shell.
The homepage of Alpheios

Alpheios Reading Tools (henceforth Alpheios) is an open-source web extension that allows users to access information about Greek, Latin, Classical Arabic, or Persian text on any web page. After enabling the extension in Chrome, Safari, or Firefox, you simply double-click on any word on any page to see definitions, morphology, usages, and grammatical information. 

Figure 1: Alpheios Reading Tools integrates fluidly with the online Loeb Classical Library.
Figure 1: Alpheios Reading Tools integrates fluidly with the online Loeb Classical Library.

As an avid user of Alpheios in my capacities as both a Ph.D. student and instructor, I jumped at the chance to speak with Harry Diakoff and Bridget Almas, two of the founding members of Alpheios. Harry Diakoff is currently the president of the board of The Alpheios Project, Ltd., which is a registered 501(c); Bridget Almas is the Executive director and Chief Software Architect for the project.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 04/05/2021 - 10:18am by .

The conference "Contact, Colonialism, and Comparison" will take place over Zoom April 16-17, 2021. Please visit the event page here for further information, including a tentative schedule and list of participants. Conference papers are being made available to participants in advance, and sessions during the event itself will begin with an introductory contribution from a respondent followed by a brief author response and then open discussion. If you'd like to register for the conference, please fill out this online registration form to receive access to the papers as well as a Zoom link closer to the date.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 04/05/2021 - 7:49am by Erik Shell.

AMPRAW is an annual conference that is designed to bring together early-career researchers in the field of classical reception studies, and will be held for the tenth year. It aims to contribute to the growth of an international network of PhDs working on classical reception(s), as well as to strengthen relationships between early career researchers and established academics.
AMPRAW 2021 will be held at Columbia University in the City of New York (USA) from Thursday, November 11 to Saturday, November 13, 2021, in collaboration with the Department of Classics at Columbia University, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society (ICLS), the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Columbia University Libraries Journals.
Due to the unpredictability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, we are not yet able to confirm that the conference will take place in person. We hope that this will be possible; however, we are also making plans to accommodate a hybrid or online-only event. We will keep you updated as the situation evolves. Please be aware that, if the conference will be in person, we are unable to guarantee travel reimbursements to speakers, but we might be able to offer support on a need basis.
 

Confirmed keynote speaker:
Dr. Patrice Rankine (University of Richmond, Virginia)
 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 03/30/2021 - 12:25pm by Erik Shell.

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