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The history of emotion studies
Emotion, generally referred to in the ancient world as pathos (from which we get words like sympathy and empathy), or adfectus (which refers to a state of body and/or mind and from which the word affect derives), is a term of fairly recent vintage. Coined in the mid-16th century, it became the expression of choice in the 19th. These days, it is most generally thought to refer to a strong feeling deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others, but there is a long and ongoing debate about the precise nature and function of emotion that stretches back not only to Darwin and James, but also to the ancient world. Aristotle and the Stoics, for example, debated some of the same points that modern proponents of Affect and Appraisal theories of emotion do.
Do you know any kids? Do they like books? Do you want to lure them down the path of Classical Studies before paleontology fever sets in? The good news is that there’s a new resource in development to help you do just that. I’m please to introduce Calliope’s Library: Books for Young Readers.
Figure 1: Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby. Krishni Burns writes, “I appreciate a modern-day Persephone who sets the curtains on fire to get the fire department’s attention, because trapped isn’t the same as helpless.”
Last year, the SCS blog provided several useful resources to help you find books for young Classics fans, among them Sarah Bond’s excellent post about titles that Classical scholars who are also parents have shared with their own children. In the post, Dr. Bond linked to a Twitter thread full of wonderful book recommendations. Twitter being what it is, that thread is now gone.
SCS is pleased to announce that the 2021 Outreach Prize Winner is Mallory Monaco Caterine (Tulane University). You can read the award citation below:
At its best, outreach work not only reaches out, but it also invites in. Exceptional outreach work welcomes members of the broader public into conversations about the ancient world and fosters meaningful relationships that inform and enrich all participants, whether they are scholars, students, or community members. In recognition of her exemplary work in this area, the Society for Classical Studies is pleased to award the 2021 Outreach Award to Mallory Monaco Caterine for her work with Nyansa Classical Community in New Orleans.
The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative (AnWoMoCo), launched by 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 111 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. To date, it has funded projects in 25 states and 11 countries, including Canada, the UK, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.
NEH Public Scholars Grant (December 15, 2021 Deadline)
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) invites applications for the 2021-22 round of the Public Scholars program, which supports the creation of well-researched nonfiction books in the humanities written for the broad public. The program welcomes projects in all areas of the humanities, regardless of geographic or chronological focus. The resulting books might present a narrative history, tell the stories of important individuals, analyze significant texts, provide a synthesis of ideas, revive interest in a neglected subject, or examine the latest thinking on a topic. Books supported by this program must be written in a readily accessible style, must clearly explain specialized terms and concepts, and must frame their topics to have wide appeal. They should also be carefully researched and authoritative, making appropriate use of primary and/or secondary sources and showing appropriate familiarity with relevant existing publications or scholarship. Applications to write books directed primarily to professional scholars are not suitable.
(Re)Ordering the Gods. The Mythographic Web through Times
Warburg Institute, 25-26 November 2021
Free online workshop (register HERE for the Zoom link)
Organiser: Céline Bohnert (U. Reims, Warburg Institute Visiting Fellow)
We are writing to share the Call for Proposals for The Routledge Companion to Publicly Engaged Humanities Scholarship, a new edited volume on theories and practices of the publicly engaged humanities to be published in 2023 by Routledge.
The core of this companion will consist of 25 wide-ranging, practice-based essays, exploring the history, concepts, and possible futures of publicly engaged humanities scholarship in the United States. To build a foundation for these futures, this volume will collect case studies grounding discussion of their methodologies and objectives.
The project meets an acute need in the field of publicly engaged humanities scholarship, and we hope it will serve as a standard reference guide for future training in a higher education context.
Following an introduction to the field and its history and methods, the volume will be organized around five areas of particular impact in public humanities scholarship:
Informing contemporary debates
Amplifying community voices and histories
Helping individuals and communities navigate difficult experiences
Preserving culture in times of crisis and change
Expanding educational access
Crete/Patras Ancient Emotions IV
An International Digital Workshop on Rethinking Ancient Emotions
November 23-24, 2021
Tuesday, November 23
Session I. Rethinking the History of Ancient Emotions
16.00* (Athens time)
“Why is there a history of emotions?”
“Between appraisal theory and basic emotions: How to do the history of
“Gates, towers and trenches: history of emotions and the definition of
Session II. Emotion Concepts and the Language of Emotions
“Stoic typologies of emotions: Universalism and ethical standpoint.”
“Fire and flood: image and emotion in Roman Stoic thought.”
“Exotic and familiar, medicine and philosophy, emotions and
I recently taught the troubling Homeric Hymn to Demeter in my Classical Myth course at Bucknell. On the one hand, this hymn is a story of violence. Three quarters into the hymn, readers find Hades “sitting in the bed with his bashful, very unwilling, wife who yearned for her mother” (ἥμενον ἐν λεχέεσσι σὺν αἰδοίῃ παρακοίτι, | πόλλ᾽ ἀεκαζομένῃ μητρὸς πόθῳ, 343–344). As Jermaine Bryant and Ship of Theses have recently discussed on Twitter, this scene is clear evidence that Hades has sexually assaulted Persephone. On the other hand, the text presents perplexing information about this violence. At the hymn’s opening, the narrator juxtaposes Hades’ kidnapping of Persephone with a reminder that “loud-thundering wide-eyed Zeus gave” her to Hades (ἣν Ἀιδωνεὺς | ἥρπαξεν, δῶκεν δὲ βαρύκτυπος εὐρύοπα Ζεύς, 2–3). How are we then to understand the role of Zeus, Persephone’s father, in her abduction?
In the modern world, we are confronted with questions surrounding gender daily, from pronouns in our email signatures to gender-neutral bathrooms. Our awareness of the limitations of a gender binary and gendered roles continues to grow in an effort to reflect gender identity and expression more accurately. Despite these efforts and realizations about our own society, when discussing the Roman world, we often assume a gender binary that is inflexible and constant. By examining cases from Roman social life in which gender plays a fundamental role, we can see a wider spectra of gender expression that falls outside of the strict male/female binary. The Roman funeral, in particular, provides a special opportunity to consider how, even when roles are gendered, gender can be transgressed.
The transitional apparatus of the Roman funeral allowed and even encouraged performative undermining of norms. The liminality of the funeral space, in which the living ushered the deceased from their world to the world of the dead, provided a unique setting that demanded a break from norms. This included gender norms, and Roman funerals served as spaces in which normative expectations around gender were both reproduced and subverted. At funerals, men and women had specific jobs according to gender, but those roles often fell outside typical gender expression expectations.