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Unexpectedly spending a couple of extra days in Chicago this January, as I viewed quiet snowfall against the backdrop of the seasonal lights on the Wrigley Building and watched the gradual freezing of the Chicago River, I found moments of calm to reflect on the state of our APA as I had come to know it during my year as President-Elect. One deceptively simple word seemed to encapsulate the complex process of finding our way forward in this fast-paced world as an organization devoted to the distant past, and that word is service. The APA is a service organization, which has traditionally meant service to those who choose to be members but now increasingly means also service to others, to any and all who wish to participate in our various explorations of the classical world. How to frame the interaction of these two is our current challenge.
The Digital Latin Library (DLL) will be a site on the Internet where people with varying levels of interest and expertise in Latin can find, read, discuss, study, teach, edit, and annotate Latin texts of all eras, whether for personal use or for open-access, peer-reviewed publication by one of the three learned societies affiliated with the project: the American Philological Association (APA), the Medieval Academy of America (MAA), and the Renaissance Society of America (RSA). Similar to a traditional public research library, the DLL will have a catalog, a variety of collections of texts and reference materials, and working space for both individuals and groups. Unlike a research library, it will also provide tools to facilitate the creation and publication of open, born-digital critical editions and other scholarly and pedagogical resources that take full advantage of powerful technologies and techniques such as Linked Open Data (LOD), information visualization, and visual data analysis, opening up new possibilities for the communication of scholarly ideas.
In response to a request by members at the annual business meeting in Chicago last month, the APA Board of Directors has authorized me to publish the tabulation of votes in last summer’s referendum concerning the change of the Association’s name. As members are aware, it has been the Association’s policy for almost two decades not to publish numerical tabulations when we report election results (although any individual member may request a tabulation from me). The Board is willing to make an exception in this case because no individual candidate is included in the results below.
The referendum question asked members to vote on the Board’s recommendation that the Association’s name be changed to the Society for Classical Studies provided that the new name was accompanied by the following subtitle: “Founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association”. In last summer’s election a total of 1,305 members cast a ballot on at least one slate. On the referendum question
603 voted to approve the new name
552 voted to disapprove the new name
137 checked the box to abstain
13 cast no vote at all
The 2013-2014 Nominating Committee has submitted its report, which includes the slate of candidates for the election to be held this summer. Members are reminded that it is possible to nominate additional candidates by petition. Nominations of candidates not proposed by the Nominating Committee shall require the signature of twenty members in good standing (2014 dues must be paid) and must be reported to the Executive Director by April 15, 2014. A current curriculum vitae of the candidate, who must also be a member in good standing, should be submitted by the same deadline.
National Public Radio presents a talk by a classics teacher (among other things) with an unusual view of the subjunctive.
Greek Myth is one of the standbys of Classics general-education courses at colleges and universities across the United States. These courses often have high enrollments and are populated by students with little prior knowledge about the ancient Mediterranean world who are taking the course to fulfill a degree requirement. They may take Myth because of a lifelong interest in the stories (or because they’ve read the Percy Jackson series), they may be inspired to major in Classics by the course, or they may never read or think about Graeco-Roman culture after the term ends.
A common way of teaching the Myth survey course is like a panorama, a wide-angle shot that tries to fit in as much content as possible from a high-altitude perspective. I took a different approach in my fall 2013 Greek Myth course at Wake Forest University — a closeup, zooming in on one specific ancient myth-cycle in elaborate detail. Rather than try to cover Graeco-Roman mythology from Chaos to Romulus, encountering tidbits of art and literature from Homer to Ovid, my course focused on just one mythic figure, and students studied every major visual and textual treatment of that figure that survives from the ancient world.
The myth-cycle I selected was Herakles/Hercules.
Due to bad weather conditions, the University of Pennsylvania has suspended normal operations for February 13, 2014. The APA Office will therefore be closed as well.
In my post last month I referred to the crucial role that study abroad played in my formation as a classicist, and the papers delivered at a panel on study-abroad programs at this year’s annual meeting showed that I am not alone. Those papers (by McGinn, Severy-Hoven, Thakur, Morris, and Romano) spoke eloquently of the profound impact on students of exploring the remains of ancient Greece and Rome and their continuities with the present. It is easy to dismiss the American form of “junior year abroad” as lightweight, but if we allow ourselves a broad perspective on what constitutes worthwhile learning in the humanities—as I argued we should last month—it is clear that study abroad provides unparalleled opportunities for such education.
Within the next two weeks we will post a link to the online system we will use this year to receive submissions of abstracts and proposals and reports for review by the APA Program Committee. Proposals for at-large panels, committee panels, workshops, seminars, and roundtable discussion sessions; reports by organizer-refereed panels and affiliated groups chartered to present sessions in January 2015; and applications for charters for 2016 and beyond will be due on April 25, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. The deadline for submission of individual abstracts will be May 16, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. EDT. In the interim, see this document describing the materials required for each type of submission.
The National Italian American Foundation (NIAF) is pleased to announce today a $500,000 grant from the late Ernest L. Pellegri, one of the Foundation's donors, to the University of Maryland's Department of Classics.
Their project entitled, "Between Washington and Ancient Rome: The NIAF Pellegri Program on Roman Antiquity and Its Legacy in America," was selected to receive the NIAF Ernest Pellegri Grant to support the study of Latin, ancient Roman archeology, and ancient Roman civilization; and to offer opportunities for students to study abroad, conduct research, and pursue fellowships in the United States and Italy.