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Content warning: disability slurs & ableist language
As our culture changes, so, too, does the language that we use. This post is an invitation to discuss what is, at present, a culturally appropriate approach to language for writing or teaching about disability in the ancient world. We must always reflect on the importance of language and strive to learn the best practices for acknowledging the lives of the subjects of our research. At the same time, we must show due respect to our disabled colleagues and students. Our choice of language is important because, statistically speaking, you already have disabled colleagues and students. This is not an issue for other people or another time, but for all of us, disabled and nondisabled, right now.
This is a work in progress, but our goals are threefold: to demystify the language around disability; to encourage you to consider the ways that your language can humanize or dehumanize disabled people, ancient and modern; and to bring new voices to the discussion.
Language and Culture
The Newberry Library invites interested individuals who wish to utilize the Newberry's collection to apply for their many fellowship opportunities in 2022-2023:
The Newberry Library's long-standing fellowship program provides outstanding scholars with the time, space, and community required to pursue innovative and ground-breaking scholarship. In addition to the Library's collections, fellows are supported by a collegial interdisciplinary community of researchers, curators, and librarians. An array of scholarly and public programs also contributes to an engaging intellectual environment.
Long-Term Fellowships are available to scholars who hold a PhD or other terminal degree for continuous residence at the Newberry for periods of 4 to 9 months; the stipend is $5,000 per month. Applicants must hold a PhD or equivalent degree by the application deadline in order to be eligible. Long-Term Fellowships are intended to support individual scholarly research and promote serious intellectual exchange through active participation in the fellowship program. The deadline for long-term fellowships is November 1.
Organizing a mentorship program was a crucial directive from the earliest days of the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus. The founding members envisioned building a vibrant community of APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) scholars. Kelly Nguyen, an IDEAL Provostial Fellow at Stanford University and the AAACC’s original Mentorship Coordinator, had been shocked to discover that so many other APIDA classicists even existed. “As we set about to establish the AAACC, we always knew that we wanted the organization to be about community building, but one of the main challenges was finding that community,” she said. “We, the founders, had been surprised to even find each other after all these years of often being the only Asian in the room.” The creation of a mentorship program was important in breaking down the isolation experienced by so many APIDA scholars. “So we set out to fix this visibility issue by creating a strong network of APIDA classicists,” Nguyen recounted. “We thought that one of the best ways to do this [wa]s through a mentorship program where people could form meaningful relationships.”
FemClas 2022, the eighth quadrennial conference of its kind, has been rescheduled from its original dates (delayed by the pandemic) and will now take place on May 19–22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the invitation of the Wake Forest University Department of Classics and Department of Philosophy. **Virtual presentation and attendance is supported, as well.** The conference theme is “body/language,” broadly construed, and papers on all topics connected to feminism, Classics, Philosophy, and related fields are welcome.
This conference focuses on the use of the body and/or language to gain, lose, contest, or express power and agency in the ancient Mediterranean world. Bodies and words, at both the physical and the conceptual levels, can exert disproportionate, oppositional, or complementary forces. Both have the power to transform their surrounding environments significantly. Yet there is a problematic dichotomy between body/physicality and language/reason, a problem long noted by philosophers, literary theorists, and social historians. FemClas 2022 seeks to contest, blur, and even eradicate these boundaries through papers, panels, and other programming that promotes interdisciplinary exploration of the ancient world.
For this installment of the SCS Blog, Chris Waldo asked Nandini Pandey and Ethan Ganesh Warren to compare notes about their experiences as South Asians in classics. Ethan, a current classics Ph.D. student at UT Austin, started Latin at the Brookfield Academy in Wisconsin and earned a B.A. from Rochester. Nandini is currently transitioning to a position at Johns Hopkins after seven years as an Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and Ethan first met years ago over coffee in Madison. This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
Nandini: Ethan, it’s a great pleasure to get to speak to you today…because you and I first interacted in 2018. You’d grown up in Wisconsin, and you were finishing your undergrad at Rochester, and you had just read an article of mine on Eidolon on “turning the tables on dominance and diversity in Classics.” And it meant so much to me that you reached out.
(From the University of Washington website)
Daniel P. Harmon
May 3, 1938 – July 25, 2021
The colloquium that I organized for the AIA annual meeting this past January, “Nudity, Costume, and Gender in Etruscan Art,” was intended to be a venue for current research on gender, dress, and the body in Etruscan art. It soon became clear, however, that the presenters’ work owed a tremendous debt to the scholarship of one of the premiere Etruscan scholars, Larissa Bonfante. Consequently, the session became a memorial to her and her contributions to the field.
Bonfante passed away in August of 2019, much to the shock of her family, friends, and colleagues. Though in her late 80s, Bonfante kept a busy research schedule as if she were a newly hired assistant professor working towards tenure. She was a versatile scholar who wrote on a diversity of topics, including the Etruscan language (usually with her father Giuliano, a well-known and respected linguist); representations of clothing in Etruscan and Roman art; influence of the Etruscans beyond Etruria; Etruscan identity; depictions of marriage, couples, and motherhood in Etruria; as well as the lack of dress in some Etruscan art.
Art and Migration
The theme of migration has remained an inherent subject of art ever since some modern humans began to move across the planet, bringing their objects and technologies with them. Whether in Mesoamerica, the ancient Mediterranean, or medieval Africa, war, invasion, colonialism, enslavement, resettlement, and trade have fundamentally altered cultural production, reception, and rituals. In light of the many recent migration crises throughout the world, artists and scholars have responded to the critical movement of people and artifacts in myriad ways.
This year's theme encompasses questions of memory, destruction of cultural heritage, provenance and repatriation, and the complex lives of movable objects, traditions, and practices. How does art that concerns migration contribute to or detract from ideas about belonging and community; assimilation and isolation; tradition, innovation, and legal or cultural boundaries? How are patterns or processes of movement made visible or invisible through the artworks, objects, and communities that are created, adapted, abandoned, or destroyed? Furthermore, what happens when mobility is brought to a halt?
Applicants may also consider representation, identity, and hybridity, as well as recent genetic research and long-term patterns of mobility, immobility, and migration.
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 and conferences, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. The initiative welcomes applications from all over the world. To date, it has funded projects in 25 states and 11 countries, including Canada, UK, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.