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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Loeb Classical Library Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Classics

2021-2023

The Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library Foundation announce funding of four two-year postdoctoral fellowships to be held in the academic years 2021–2023. [A further four fellowships will be funded for the academic years 2022–2024] The details for the first round of competition for these fellowships are as follows:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 2:30pm by Helen Cullyer.

Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A. in Education Policy from NYU. Erik has been working part-time on his degree while working full-time for SCS in many roles. He runs the the Placement Service, works on social media and our website, coordinates our departmental membership program, edits video, and does so many other things. Thank you, Erik, for everything you do for SCS and its members, and congratulations on a well-deserved Masters degree!

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/20/2020 - 8:09am by Helen Cullyer.

Have you ever thought about a terminal MA in Classics?

I have to confess, I hadn’t before coming to teach at Boston College, where we have such a graduate program. I had firsthand experience with Classics BAs in colleges that only granted undergraduate degrees, BAs and MAs in PhD-granting departments — heck, even a combined BA/MA program. But a freestanding MA degree that was a purposeful end goal rather than an add-on, an along-the-way, or a no-more-thanks? It never crossed my mind. To judge from the conversations that I’ve had since joining a department with a terminal MA program, I think that’s true of a lot of Classics faculty, as well as for a lot of students. And I also think that has led to some unfortunate misunderstandings about terminal MAs and their contributions, both to the field as a whole and to the personal and professional development of individual students.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 8:26am by Christopher Polt.

Barbara K. Gold is Edward North Professor of Classics at Hamilton College, Emerita. She received her B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1966, her master’s degree in 1968 and her doctorate in 1975, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on Greek and Roman literature, particularly Roman elegy, lyric, and satire; medieval literature, culture, and history; Roman social history; women in the ancient world; and feminist criticism. A prolific author and recipient of numerous grants and awards, Professor Gold was the first woman editor of The American Journal of Philology from 2000 to 2008 and is currently Vice President for Professional Matters of the Society for Classical Studies. She has also served on numerous college committees and was Associate Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College (1997-2001).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/08/2020 - 5:01am by Claire Catenaccio.

THE ERICH S. GRUEN PRIZE

On behalf of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS), the Erich S. Gruen Prize Committee invites all graduate students in North America to enter the first annual competition for the best graduate research paper on multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean. This year the prize will be a cash award of $500. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 6:55am by Erik Shell.

(From Anthony Preus and Caleb Cohoe)

Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy Network Facebook group has been set up as a forum for scholars working in any area of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, from Thales of Miletus through to Boethius and Byzantium. All members are encouraged to share ancient philosophy related events, questions, books and articles (including their own), and teaching materials. Any scholar with an interest in ancient philosophy, whatever their academic discipline, is welcome to join. Caleb will generally be able to respond to membership requests within 24 hours. 

He'll still be posting events and other key information on my ancient philosophy events calendar. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/06/2020 - 12:52pm by Erik Shell.

(Sent by the National Humanities Alliance on May 5, 2020)

As Congress considers additional COVID-19 stimulus funding packages, we are once again calling on you to advocate for additional relief funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

While we are very grateful for the $75 million awarded to the NEH in the CARES Act, currently available funding will cover only a fraction of the needed assistance.

Humanities educators and organizations across the country continue to face intense strains as they try to meet the growing needs of their communities. Whether it's humanities programming that connects people, scholars contributing to public discourse about the pandemic, or archives that have made a quick pivot to preserve artifacts of this moment, the humanities are proving crucial to community life.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/05/2020 - 3:11pm by Erik Shell.
NEH Logo

May, 2020

Below is a list of the most recent NEH grantees and their Classically-themed projects. The NEH helps fund a number of SCS initiatives, and their support affects the field of Classics at a national and local level.

Grantees

  • Michael Leese (University of New Hampshire) - "Institutions and Economic Development in Ancient Greece"
  • Angelos Chaniotis (Institute for Advanced Study) - "Reconstructing Ancient History through Squeeze Digitization at the Institute for Advanced Study"
  • Roslyn Weiss (Lehigh University) - "Justice in Plato's Republic: The Lessons of Book 1"
  • Elizabeth Baltes (Coastal Carolina University) - "Portrait Statuary from the Athenian Agora Excavations"
  • Richard Armstrong (University of Houston) - "Theory and Theatricality in the Early Work of Sigmund Freud"
  • Michael Brumbaugh (Tulane University) - "Plato and the Guaraní Republics of Colonial Paraguay"
  • Evan Rodriguez (Idaho State University) - "Rivals or Relatives? Tracking Truth and Ways of Knowing among Plato and the Sophists in Classical Greece"

Congratulations to all grantees!

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(Photo: "Logo of the United States National Endowment for the Humanities" by National Endowment for the Humanities, public domain, edited to fit thumbnail template)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:54am by Erik Shell.

Update on COVID-19 Joint Relief Fund

The SCS and WCC are delighted to announce that CAMWS, CANE, and CAAS have joined forces with us in sponsoring the SCS/WCC COVID-19 Relief Fund. This fund will support microgrants of up to $500 to graduate students and contingent faculty based in North America. Each organization will additionally offer free membership for the remainder of 2020 to successful applicants.

Already, only a week after the April 23 launch of this initiative, we have much to report. As we noted in our initial announcement, the WCC and SCS started this fund together with $15,000. Within eight hours of launching the fund, we had more than thirty applicants, enough to consume our entire seed money. At the same time, individual donations started pouring in, as did substantial pledges from the regional organizations CAMWS, CANE, and CAAS. Thanks to all their generosity, the fund has now doubled in value, allowing us to help more people. Yet we are still not able to meet the need: as of today, there are seventy-eight applicants to the fund, with more arriving daily. 

Due to the high demand, the COVID-19 Fund Selection Committee met this week on an accelerated schedule and selected twenty-five individuals with urgent needs, mostly graduate students but also contingent faculty, to receive this award in an initial round. The committee will meet again to consider applications on May 10th for disbursement by May 20th.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 12:13pm by Erik Shell.

How has the field of Classics changed with the growth of digital writing and social media? How can this writing reframe how ancient languages function online?

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 6:45am by Patrick J. Burns.

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