Call for Nominations of Graduate Students in Classics and Ancient History

A Seminar in Material Culture entitled Gods and Mortals in Ancient Art

Updated November 13, 2015 - See new details of the Nomination Process

Professor Bettina Bergmann of Mount Holyoke College will direct this seminar which will take place from July 11 to August 18, 2016, at The Getty Villa and Center in Los Angeles, CA, thanks to the support provided by a grant from the Getty Foundation.

The Society for Classical Studies (SCS) invites doctoral programs in Classics or Ancient History to nominate a student to participate in a 6-week seminar that will introduce ten graduate students to the use of material culture in their scholarship and teaching.  The aim of the seminar will be to equip students to recognize and interpret the “language” of images.  This seminar will be the first of three with the same purpose but with different foci and at different institutions.  The subsequent sessions will take place in the summers of 2017 and 2018. 

Background.  Despite new awareness of the scope of material evidence, all too often literary scholars treat images as sheer decoration or illustration, unaware that they express meaning as eloquently as texts. Indeed, in ancient societies visual images were the primary means of communication. Accommodating the visual repertoire can challenge the supremacy of text, which may be unsettling. Texts and images that purport to represent the same thing frequently contradict each other, but scholars who privilege text over image often overlook such contradictions or, if they notice them, tend to ascribe them to an “error” on the part of the artist or to the supposed existence of an otherwise unknown literary tradition.

This seminar will teach students to approach an artist’s act of creation on the same footing as an author’s, learning to decode the craftsman’s techniques in the same way that literary scholars analyze the construction of a text, and to contextualize an artifact with the same rigor and discrimination as a work of literature. In the process, the students will also be made aware that artifacts are not often preserved in a pristine state, and that even though they may not be subject to the same types of corruption as manuscripts, their use, abuse, and re-use down the centuries can render it very difficult to determine their original condition and purpose. Participants in this summer seminar will thereby become sensitized to problematic issues of preservation and conservation that often escape the notice of text-based scholars.

Faculty, Schedule, and Resources.  Professor Bergmann is the Helene Phillips Herzig '49 Professor of Art History at Mount Holyoke College.  She is an expert on Greek and Roman art and has published articles on the relationships among Roman architecture, painting, and literature. In 2010 she co-authored Roman Frescoes from Boscoreale: The Villa of Publius Fannius Synistor in Reality and Virtual Reality and in 1999 coedited The Ancient Art of SpectacleA draft of the syllabus for the seminar is posted here.  In addition to classes led by Professor Bergmann, it features talks by Getty Villa staff and by a visiting scholar, Professor Elaine K. Gazda of the University of Michigan.  Participants in the seminar will have access to the galleries, libraries, laboratories, and storerooms of both facilities of the Getty Museum:  The Getty Villa in Malibu and the Getty Center in Los Angeles. 

Expectations of Students.  In addition to participating in seminar sessions, each student will have weekly readings and assignments, some on original objects in the Getty collection. Also, each student will formulate a project and meet individually with Professor Bergmann once a week during weeks 2 through 5 of the seminar to discuss its progress.  The last week of the seminar will be devoted to presentations and discussion before submission of the final paper.  Professor Bergmann will grade each student’s participation in the seminar based on both the weekly and final assignments, and each student will be asked to complete an evaluation of his or her experience at the seminar.

Logistics and Funding.  Students selected for the seminar will have access to free housing at Getty scholar apartments located about two miles from the Center and eight miles from the Villa.  In addition, thanks to the generosity of the Getty Foundation, the SCS will provide a stipend to each student of at least $1,500 but no more than $2,000.  The final amount of these stipends will be announced once the Society determines the cost of providing transportation between the apartments and the two seminar locations.  The SCS believes that these arrangements will offset many but by no means all of the costs of attendance at the seminar. 

Nomination Process.  Each doctoral program may nominate only one student for the seminar.  The focus of the student’s academic work should be classical languages, literatures, and/or history and not archaeology or other areas of material culture.  Preference will be given to graduate students who have completed all or almost all of their coursework and are in the very early stages of writing their dissertations.  Nominators should elicit from potential applicants a CV and a statement of the value that the student expects to derive from attending the seminar, choose one applicant to nominate, and forward the CV and statement to the SCS, along with a brief endorsement.  The student’s statement should be 500 to 700 words in length and should describe how the seminar would advance the applicant’s education and scholarly interests.

A committee consisting of Professor Bergmann as chair and Professors Mary C. English of Montclair State University and Michael Gagarin of the University of Texas at Austin, the SCS Vice Presidents for Education and Publications & Research, respectively, will select participants from ten different academic institutions and a variety of countries of origin (although we expect the majority of students —and possibly all of them—to come from North America). 

Submit nominations electronically to the SCS Executive Director, Adam D. Blistein (blistein@sas.upenn.edu), no later than 5:00 p.m., Eastern Time, on Monday, December 14, 2015.  The SCS will announce the decisions of the selection committee in early February 2016.  Questions about the seminar program may be directed to Professor Bergmann at (bbergman@mtholyoke.edu).

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The new Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities worldwide with the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in new and meaningful ways. As part of this initiative the SCS has been funding a variety of projects ranging from reading groups comparing ancient to modern leadership practices to collaborations with artists in theater, music, and dance. This post centers on projects that promote emotional well-being and use Greek texts to facilitate conversations on current social justice issues, from New York to Chicago and San Francisco.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/26/2020 - 7:31am by .

Dear members (and past Annual Meeting participants),

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 06/25/2020 - 7:13am by Helen Cullyer.

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View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/19/2020 - 8:30am by Samuel Ortencio Flores.

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View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/12/2020 - 8:50am by Claire Catenaccio.

Alexander G. McKay Prize competition for the best new book in Vergilian studies is now open

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View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 06/09/2020 - 6:54am by Erik Shell.

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From the SCS Board of Directors, approved 6/3/20

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View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Wed, 06/03/2020 - 6:20am by Helen Cullyer.

The new Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities worldwide with the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in new and meaningful ways. As part of this initiative the SCS has been funding a variety of projects ranging from reading groups comparing ancient to modern leadership practices to collaborations with artists in theater, music, and dance. In this post we focus on digital projects that engage with ancient texts and discuss the study of Classics during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:55am by .

Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants, January – April 2020

Some of our short-term fellowship and Classics Everywhere award winners are deferring use of their awards until Fall 2020 or 2021 owing to COVID-19. However, we congratulate everyone who was awarded a scholarship, fellowship or grant this spring, and we thank our selection committees for their hard work.

TLL Fellowship:

Amy Koenig

Pearson Fellowship:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

Please see below a message from the SCS President, followed by a listing of 2020 graduates:

With in-person celebrations ruled out by the coronavirus pandemic, the Society for Classical Studies is proud to recognize the many graduates at all levels across North America who have chosen to make serious and sustained study of the ancient Mediterranean world a significant part of their education.  For those who are earning PhD’s, we welcome the new contributions to knowledge that each of you has made, and we pledge our support and guidance as you negotiate an even more challenging professional landscape than you signed up for.  We warmly salute all degree-recipients who are pursuing careers in the vital enterprise of K-12 education.  For those who are going in other directions, we take great satisfaction in the variety of paths you will be following.  We hope the classical world will remain an important part of your lives, and we invite you to visit our website, read our blog, and join the SCS as “Friends of Classics.”  And we count on you as lifelong advocates for the value of studying Greco-Roman and ancient Mediterranean history and culture: please take every opportunity to spread the word that the ancient world still presents us with new questions to investigate and with multiple points of reference for thinking through our present-day concerns.  Heartfelt congratulations to all!

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

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