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In 2021, the second year of the SCS Erich S. Gruen Prize, the selection committee received 15 submissions from graduate students across North America treating aspects of race, ethnicity, or cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean. The committee was impressed by the papers’ quality and range of disciplinary perspectives, methodologies, types of evidence, and time periods across the multicultural ancient world.
A few years ago, I read an essay by Elena Giusti in the now sadly defunct Eidolon. In this piece, Giusti considers the responsibilities of Classicists today, viewed from her perspective as a scholar of Italian origin based in the UK. Drawing attention to the use of Roman antiquity among the contemporary far-right in Italy, she goes on to state that,
No, it is simply not enough to remind readers that Aeneas was a migrant himself in this loaded climate of the migrant crisis (a recurrent reminder in the Italian press of late — counteracted, I now see, by the young alt-right journal Giovani a destra, whose claim to philological accuracy cares to stress, with Vergil, the Western origin of Dardanus).
This 21st-century contestation over the identity of Aeneas, the origins of Dardanus, founder of Troy, and what, if any, the responsibilities of Classicists confronted with such contestations are, piqued my interest.
The SCS Committee on Contingent Faculty is once again organizing mentoring opportunities for contingent faculty.
You can use this form to sign up to participate in one-on-one mentoring meetups during the AIA/SCS 2022 Annual Meeting (January 6-8). This year there will be both virtual and in-person meetings! Once committee members have received your information, they will match you with either a mentor or mentee.
Classical Greeks often articulated a worldview that divided the world between Greeks and all other ethnic groups. This fundamental distinction served to justify war and slavery. The tragedian Aeschylus portrays non-Greeks as slavish and decadent in his Persians. Aristotle thought enslaving non-Greeks was a just cause for waging war (Politics 7.15.21). The Greeks called non-Greeks barbaroi, or “barbarians,” because of the unintelligible sounds of their foreign languages (they said bar bar). The historian Herodotus has long been a central figure in scholarly discourse about the creation and articulation of the boundary between Greeks and others.
Pushing the Boundaries:
African and Asian Interactions with the Ancient Mediterranean
26th Annual Classics Graduate Student Colloquium
Conducted virtually via Zoom
University of Virginia
NATURAL RESOURCES AND FLOURISHING IN ANCIENT GREECE (CFP)
April 22-24, 2022
This conference is dedicated to exploring issues pertaining to natural resources and their relation to individual happiness and successful political organization, as treated in ancient Greek literature, art, history, law, religion and philosophy. We welcome presentations on topics such as the following:
1. Ancient Greek views on the amount and kinds of natural goods suitable for individual and political flourishing, and on the influence of such goods on human character and behavior.
2. Ownership of, and rights to, natural resources in Greek law and political theory.
3. Greek religious views on the divine dispensation (or withdrawal) of natural resources.
4. The depiction and personification of natural resources in Greek mythology and art.
5. The influence of the availability or lack of natural resources on lifestyle and migration in the ancient Greek world.
6. The just distribution of natural goods in ancient Greek thought.
7. Discussions and evidence concerning the contribution of natural resources to social cohesion and identity in Greek antiquity.
Keynote speaker: Lin Foxhall (University of Liverpool)
A conspicuous theme in Aristophanic comedy is the civic motivation of Athenian citizens, which is presented as highly problematic. Judges and Assembly-goers are portrayed consistently as motivated not by any sense of civic duty but by monetary incentives — the misthos dikastikos and the misthos ekklēsiastikos, respectively. Some scholars have considered this portrayal of everyday citizens as narrowly profit-driven and utterly selfish to be proof of Aristophanes’ elitist and anti-democratic views. Indeed, such a commentary on civic motivation vis-à-vis incentives seems to align with that of Plato, whose Sokrates famously asserts that Perikles’ introduction of public payments made Athenians “idle, cowardly, talkative, and avaricious” (Gorg. 515e).
Yet an examination of Aristophanes’ plays through the lens of behavioral science allows for a radically different reading. This is the reading I offer in my dissertation, Enter homo oeconomicus: Civic Motivation and Civic Education in Aristophanic Comedy.
Registration for the 2022 hybrid annual meeting is now open! If you would like to attend the meeting in person, you need to register on or before Friday, November 19 in order to obtain the early registration rate. Please note that there is no early rate for virtual attendance. You can register online here.
Growing up, one of my favorite shows was Star Trek: The Next Generation. At the risk of angering my fellow Trekkers, I am a Captain Picard guy all the way. In TNG and the subsequent movie, the concept of “First Contact” is a vitally important hinge point in human history. The term refers to the first time that one planetary civilization — in this case, humans — comes into contact with another, most famously the Vulcans. First Contact is something that is always meant to be planned, considered, and carefully done at precisely the right time. First Contact is also one of the guiding principles I follow as a middle school ancient history teacher. Instead of alien civilizations from space, I bring groups together across time, right here in my classroom — Ancient civilizations and modern 11-year-olds.