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The Department of Classics at the University of California Berkeley reports with sadness the death of Charles Murgia.
There has been a lot of talk in the US recently about the importance of encouraging the study of the so-called STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In the UK, the civil service has long been advocating such an emphasis on STEM, although it is revealing that in the US people still tend to focus on whether this or that education is a good “investment” for the individual, whereas in Britain the government agencies are more concerned with which education is best for society as a whole (on “investment” as the wrong metaphor in the first place, see Bob Connor’s recent post).
National Latin Teacher Recruitment Week asks as many educators as possible across the nation (and beyond!) to find one day to talk to their students about becoming secondary Latin teachers. NLTRW was created to address the Latin teacher shortage that we are facing in this country. The demand for Latin continues to grow, in great measure due to our own best efforts to raise awareness about the importance and richness of the study of Latin. Now that we have created the demand, it is time to create the teachers. NLTRW is scheduled for the first full week in March, but if you cannot speak to your students that week due to testing or holidays or whatever, just pick another day of another week. The most important thing is to talk to your students about becoming teachers. For more information, including ideas, free posters to download, and funding opportunities, point your browser to promotelatin.org and click on the NLTRW link.
APA VP for Education
Deadline: August 31, 2013
With the goal of promoting and encouraging a critical reflection on the permanence of personages, values and perspectives from the ancient and medieval world(s) in western literature and culture, the Research Area "Classical Antiquity: Texts and Contexts" of the Center for Classical Studies, in collaboration with the Center of History, of the Faculty of Letters of the University of Lisbon, is organising an international conference on "Violence in the Ancient and Medieval World".
The conference, to be held February 17-19, 2014, aims at bringing together different fields of research to deal with the theme of violence and its multiple interpretations, representations and narratives in the ancient and medieval worlds.
Having in mind this interdisciplinary approach, the international conference "Violence in the Ancient and Medieval World" has the purpose of:
- approaching the criteria/standards of violence in the historical and literary contexts of Antiquity and the Middle Ages;
- examining representations and readings of violence in literature and material culture;
- pondering the ancient and medieval worlds as stages of violence in its various manifestations.
The conference organisers invite paper proposals on the topic "Violence in the Ancient and Medieval World". We welcome abstracts on the following subtopics from all social and human sciences:
The Institute for Advance Study School of Historical Studies presents Opportunities for Scholars for 2014-2015. The Institute is an independent private institution founded in 1930 to create a community of scholars focused on intellectual inquiry, free from teaching and other university obligations. Classics is one of the School’s principal interests, but the program is open to all fields of historical research. Scholars from around the world come to the Institute to pursue their own research. Candidates of any nationality may apply for a single term or a full academic year. Scholars may apply for a stipend, but those with sabbatical funding, other grants, retirement funding or other means are also invited to apply for a non-stipendiary membership. The Institute provides access to extensive resources including offices, libraries, subsidized restaurant and housing facilities, and some secretarial services. Residence in Princeton during term time is required. The only other obligation of Members is to pursue their own research. The Ph.D. (or equivalent) and substantial publications are required. Information and application forms may be found on the School's web site, or contact the School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Einstein Dr., Princeton, N.J. 08540 (E-mail address:firstname.lastname@example.org). Deadline: November 1, 2013.
An important “Roundtable of links” on “the value of the Humanities” has just been set up by James Grossman, the Executive Director of the American Historical Association; I urge members to have a look at the range of articles and opinion pieces there. This is an important initiative at a time when—as Grossman puts it—“politicians and business leaders across the country have sharply attacked humanistic and social science disciplines as not only frivolous (an old charge as pertaining to the humanities) but also a waste of taxpayers’ money and students’ time”. You can access a variety of papers on this site, including one by APA member Peter Burian. I am sure you will find much ammunition there for your own debates with students and their parents, with administrators and colleagues in other disciplines. It is heartening to see such spirited and well-informed advocacy for the intrinsic value and the social importance of the humanistic and social science disciplines. But we will have to keep making that case.
From The Baltimore Sun:
Georg H.B. Luck, whose career teaching the classics at the Johns Hopkins University spanned two decades and included studying the role magic and witchcraft played in the theology and world of the ancient Greeks and Romans, died Sunday from complications of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson.
He was 87 and a longtime resident of the city's Poplar Hill neighborhood.
"Georg was a modest man who had great gusto for the things that interested him," said Richard A. Macksey, a noted Baltimore bibliophile and professor of humanities at Hopkins. "He was the kind of person who could interest the general public in what might appear to many to be very dry work. He saw the relationship between theology, witchcraft and magic."
"He was a pioneer in the study of magic and witchcraft in the theology of the ancient Greeks and Romans," said Matthew B. Roller, a professor and former chairman of the classics department at Hopkins. "It was the first serious study and he collected all of the material."
Silius Italicus Poetry and Historiography, a Conference at Washington University in St. Louis, March 23rd 2013, 10AM-4:30PM. After a long and varied career as a lawyer and politician, Silius Italicus devoted his last years to the writing of poetry. During the reign of Domitian (81-96 CE) he composed an extensive epic on the Second Punic War, choosing the third decade of Livy as his main source and Virgil’s Aeneid as the predominant epic model. Silius’ poetic achievements have not met with much approval over the centuries: for many modern scholars, his work has been a classic example of a rather slavish and uninspired form of imitatio. During the last few decades, however, a reappraisal has taken place, and scholars have begun to appreciate the striking originality of Silius’ approach to his topic.
The papers of this conference will focus on an important part of this new appreciation: aspects of Silius’ relationship to the older historiographical and epic tradition that have not previously been appreciated. They will not only provide new insights for specialists, but they will also present a lively introduction both to an author who deserves more scholarly attention and to a literary practice—the mixing of historiography and poetry—that has played an important role from the time of Herodotus until today.
Charles Luther Babcock died December 7, 2012 at the age of 88. He was born in Whittier California, May 26, 1924. After attending Whittier Union High School, he enrolled in the University of California—Berkeley in 1941, where he became a member of ROTC. In 1943 he entered the US Army and served in General Patton’s Third Army in the invasion of Germany in 1945. There, as Second Lieutenant, he earned the Bronze Medal for leading his platoon through heavy fire at Neumarkt, assisting the wounded, personally liberating nine POWs and capturing the local civilian leader of the resistance. After the war as Captain he became aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. John Coulter, who went on to become Deputy Commander of the Fourth Army.
In 1947 Capt. Babcock resumed his studies at Berkeley, where he earned a BA (Phi Beta Kappa) in Latin in 1948 and a PhD in Classics in 1953, with a dissertation on The Dating of the Capitoline Fasti and the Erasure of the Antonii Names, written under Arthur E. Gordon. So began Charles Babcock’s lifelong interest in Latin Epigraphy and the history of the Roman Empire. He continued his pursuit of Roman history and epigraphy at the American Academy in Rome as a Fulbright Scholar and Academy Fellow (1953-55). While sailing to Rome with other Americans heading for the Academy, he met Mary A. Taylor, a graduate student from Bryn Mawr. They were married in 1955 and raised three children.
Jim Halporn was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island and carried his accent from there for his whole life — much of it spent far from there. His mother Louisa taught English in the public schools. His father Robert brought much of the influence of his Gymnasium education and Viennese values to educating his son. (Much later, in retirement, Robert moved to Bloomington, where he took a number of Latin and Greek classes with his son’s Indiana University colleagues.)
After a year at St. John’s College, Jim entered Columbia College with the full intention of becoming a chemist, despite his strong interest in literature — from childhood he was a constant reader of anything at hand. That interest, the year at St. John’s, and the first-year humanities courses at Columbia influenced his decision by his senior year to major in classics rather than chemistry. He then concentrated on Latin and started Greek in order to prepare for the Masters degree program at Columbia; following that, he earned his Ph.D. at Cornell. His previous scientific training and inclination gave him a discipline and focus that was an asset to his linguistic and philological future. While at Columbia, he was coxswain for the junior varsity crew. Chosen for his very lightweight physique, his winter training consisted of smoking and playing cards while the oarsmen worked out. He was bemused to have earned a letter in the sport.