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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In the past year, the Society for Classical Studies website has published a number of pieces catalyzed by the blatant racism on display at the most recent annual meeting. Professor Joy Connolly wrote a piece called “Working Toward a Just and Inclusive Future for Classics,” which then generated a response by an anonymous graduate student group, which in turn led to further comment by the SCS, Professor Connolly, and the newly formed SCS Graduate Student Committee. These various pieces pointed to ways Classics could progress and thrive for generations to come. 

What became lost in this series of posts was a focus on racial diversity and inclusivity, as the conversation increasingly broadened to include all manner of injustice found in academic work conditions. The act of racism that started the conversation became overshadowed by much more general discussion about problems that affect the whole of academia, e.g., the increasing precarity of academic labor.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 10/04/2019 - 6:33am by Joy Reeber.

Below are the citations for the three winners of our 2019 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit. Please join us in congratulating this year's winners and in thanking the Goodwin Committee members for their hard work.

Andrew C. Johnston

Josephine Quinn

Francesa Schironi

Andrew C. Johnston, The Sons of Remus: Identity in Roman Gaul and Spain. Harvard University Press, 2017

The story of the Roman Empire, much like the story of the American West, has long emphasized assimilation and Romanization: parcere subiectis et debellare superbos. Presumably discarded were the local identities and indigenous traditions that no longer defined or empowered the provincials. Unlike the cities of the Greek East, with their indigenous and hyper-literate insistence on their own distinctive identities, past and present, the Roman West has been thought to be a virtual tabula rasa, on which Romanness was inscribed with little difficulty. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:58pm by Erik Shell.

For the first time since 2016, the SCS will be holding four seminars at this year’s annual meeting.

Seminars as a rule concentrate on more narrowly focused topics and aim at extensive discussion. In order to allow the time to be spent mainly on discussion, the SCS publishes a notice about the session in advance, and organizers distribute copies of the papers (normally three or four in number) to be discussed to those who request them.  Attendance at a seminar will, if necessary, be limited to the first 25 people who sign up. Seminars are normally three hours in length. Registered meeting attendees may sign up at no additional cost for one or more of these seminars during the month of October.

You can chceck out this year's seminars and sign up here: https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/2020/151/2020-annual-meeting-seminars

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/30/2019 - 10:40am by Erik Shell.

The new Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities all over the US and Canada with the worlds 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 children’s programs to teaching Latin in a prison. In this post we focus on four programs that use the performing arts for the exploration and appreciation of Greek and Latin literature.

Observing artists who work imaginatively and freely with the ancient material encourages students to think and act in non-linear ways. Cultivating one’s imagination is particularly important for Classicists, who are constantly seeking for new interpretations and new approaches to the ancient past. The projects below funded by the SCS’ Classics Everywhere Initiative invite their audiences to examine Greek and Roman literature through dance, theater, and staged readings; to explore known stories through different lenses; to stimulate their imagination; and to satisfy the human desire for creativity, entertainment, and learning.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 09/27/2019 - 6:12am by Nina Papathanasopoulou.

The Ancient Mediterranean for Modern Audiences: Reception, Pedagogy, Entertainment

March 6-7, 2020
Ohio Union, Columbus, Ohio

The aim of the OSU Classics Graduate Student Colloquium is to explore various directions in which the Ancient Mediterranean has been adapted and utilized by different cultures in Modern world from the Renaissance to the present day. In recent years, the online journal “Eidolon” and other public scholarship media have already successfully demonstrated how the cultures of the Ancient Mediterranean can be accessed, interpreted, and applied through various experiences by scholars, students, writers, and by the wider communities. We believe that the reception of Ancient Mediterranean cultures has become an important element of Classical scholarship and pedagogy. It is a critical point of contact between the academic community and the general audience.

The OSU Classics Graduate Student Colloquium invites papers on a range of topics that discuss and analyze the reception of the Ancient Mediterranean from a point of view of philology, linguistics, theater and performance studies, history, pedagogy, archaeology, art history, philosophy, anthropology, political studies, media studies, and/or gender studies. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 09/26/2019 - 12:34pm by Erik Shell.

Conference: Cathartic History

University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
February 25-27, 2021

The aim of this conference and the edited collection that will result is to propose Aristotelian catharsis as a new lens for historical inquiry. The project aims to do so, specifically, through the study of cathartic history as a phenomenon in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean and in the field of Classical history today. In the process, the project will serve as an example of the productive application of catharsis to the study of the past, and thus a model for other fields of historical research.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 09/26/2019 - 10:22am by Erik Shell.

SCS member and Classical Studies professor at the University of Pennsylvania Emily Wilson has won a 2019 MacArthur Fellowship by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

You can read the full announcement on the UPenn page here.

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 09/26/2019 - 9:55am by Erik Shell.

International Association for Presocratic Studies

Seventh Biennial Conference: 15-19 July 2020
Belo Horizonte, Brazil: Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais

Chair of Organizing Committee: Miriam Peixoto

The International Association for Presocratic Studies announces its Seventh Biennial Conference. The meeting will take place at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil 15-19 June 2020 (http://www.ufmg.br). 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 09/25/2019 - 11:37am by Erik Shell.

Poetry, Philosophy, and Mathematics: Performance, Text, and External Representations in Ancient Greek Cultural Practices

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 09/25/2019 - 11:02am by Erik Shell.

The SCS board of directors has endorsed a statement on the use of student evaluations of teaching developed by the American Sociological Association.

The board has also reaffirmed its own statement of November 28, 2016 that condemns “the use of the texts, ideals, and images of the Greek and Roman world to promote racism or a view of the Classical world as the unique inheritance of a falsely-imagined and narrowly-conceived western civilization.” In accordance with that statement, the board has also endorsed the American Historical Association’s statement on Domestic Terrorism, Bigotry, and History and would like to draw attention to its condemnation of the “recent deployment of histories invented in the interest of bigotry, violence, and division.”

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 09/25/2019 - 10:22am by Erik Shell.

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