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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I bought an old book the other day. 

Used to be, that wouldn’t have been the lede for any writing designed to grab your attention, but as pastimes go, it’s getting a bit less common, so maybe it will do. 

It’s not just that old books have been crowded into a corner of the market for attention by media unimagined only yesterday, but that there are natural cycles that have also been disrupted.  When I was young, we haunted second-hand bookshops and the like because we needed books––good books––ones that had been printed before we were born and long since gone out of print.  Now we’re rich:  everything seems to stay in print forever.  I used to snap up $2 hardcover copies of Henry James novels on the assumption that someday I’d read them.  Now I wonder what I would do with a tired old hardcover when I can count on crisp new paperbacks being deliverable to my door by Amazon in 24 hours any time I want one or e-versions to my iPad in seconds.  In the 1980s, when I wanted a decent copy of Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson of my own to reread, I spent a month searching for one I could purchase––in Philadelphia no less.  My Henry James anxiety only dissipated during the glory years of bookstore superstores. 

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 08/15/2019 - 8:56pm by James J. O'Donnell.

Williams Sanders Scarborough, an 1875 graduate of Oberlin College, was a pioneering African American scholar who wrote a university-level Greek textbook. Kirk Ormand, who now teaches at Oberlin, interviewed Prof. Michele Ronnick, who has recently published a facsimile edition of Scarborough’s Greek textbook, First Lessons in Greek (1881), with Bolchazy-Carducci press. Prof. Ronnick is the world’s leading expert on Scarborough. She found, edited, and published Scarborough’s autobiography in 2005, and has researched Scarborough’s time at Oberlin and as President of Wilberforce University.[1]  

Kirk Ormand: You are publishing a facsimile edition of William Sanders Scarborough’s First Lessons in Greek.Tell us a bit about why Scarborough’s book is important to the history of the profession.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 08/08/2019 - 9:01pm by Michele Valerie Ronnick.

Generic Interplay in and after Vergil

Symposium Cumanum 2020

Villa Vergiliana, Cuma

June 24–26, 2020

Co-directors: Brittney Szempruch (United States Air Force Academy) and John F. Miller (University of Virginia)

Although Vergil famously opens the Aeneid with a definitive statement of poetic intent—arma virumque cano—scholarship has long highlighted the poet’s propensity for the complication of firm generic boundaries. Amid a range of theoretical responses that have shaped the past nearly one hundred years (Kroll 1924; Cairns 1972; Fowler 1982; Conte 1986; Harrison 2007), the Vergilian corpus has emerged as some of the most productive ground for the in-depth study of generic flexibility (e.g. Nelis 2004; Seider 2016).

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 08/07/2019 - 10:12am by Erik Shell.

The Fragment (Research Institute)

The 2020/2021 academic year at the Getty Research Institute will be devoted to the fragment. Issues regarding the fragment have been present since the beginning of art history and archaeology. Many objects of study survive in physically fragmented forms, and any object, artwork, or structure may be conceived of as a fragment of a broader cultural context. As such, fragments catalyze the investigative process of scholarship and the fundamental acts of the historian: conservation, reconstruction, and interpretation. The evolution of an object—its material and semiotic changes across time, space, and cultures—can offer insights into the ethics and technologies of restoration, tastes for incompleteness or completeness, politics of collection and display, and production of art historical knowledge.

While the fragment has been described as the central metaphor of modernity and the paradigmatic sign of a contemporary worldview, its history as a trope runs much deeper. Cultures of the fragment have flourished throughout history under such guises as the reuse of architectural parts and the cult of relics, the physical and conceptual image-breakings of iconoclasm, and the aesthetics of repair. Fragmentation can occur through artistic processes, acts of destruction, or forces of nature. It can be willful, accidental, or inevitable, but it is necessarily transformative.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 08/07/2019 - 9:55am by Erik Shell.

The SCS Committee on the Awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level has revised the guidelines for award nomination. One to three awards for excellence in the teaching of Classics will be given to college and university teachers from the United States and Canada. Thanks to a very generous gift to the Society’s Gatekeeper to Gateway Campaign for the Future of Classics from Daniel and Joanna Rose each winner will receive a certificate of award and a cash prize of $500. In addition, each winner’s institution will receive $200 to purchase educational resources selected by the winner. The awards will be presented at the Plenary Session of the Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., in January 2020.

New nomination process for 2019: In order to simplify the nomination process, increase the number of nominations, and encourage the submission of comparable information for each candidate, a new nomination process is being piloted for 2019 (see below). Feedback on changes is welcome and may be sent to the Executive Director.

For more information about the award, you can visit the page here: https://classicalstudies.org/awards-and-fellowships/awards-excellence-teaching-classics-college-level-0

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 08/02/2019 - 1:02pm by Erik Shell.
Header Image: Late antique mosaic likely depicting Theseus sailing away from the Labyrinth (Utica, Tunisia, 3rd C CE, now at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Image by Sarah E. Bond).

'Addressing the Divide' is a new series of columns that looks at the ways in which the modern field of Classics was constructed and then explores ways to identify, modify, or simply abolish the lines between fields in order to embrace broader ideas of what Classics was, is, and could be. This month, Kathryn Topper addresses the divisions between Art History and Classics.

For specialists in Greek and Roman art, professional life is an endless navigation of disciplinary divides. Often it seems like we belong to a disciplinary no man’s land – too archaeological for other art historians, too art historical for field archaeologists, and too visual for text-oriented Classicists whose training has predisposed them to doubt the intellectual seriousness of scholars who study something as seemingly straightforward as pictures.

The uneasy position of ancient art historians relative to the allied disciplines arises from historical factors, but it’s also a consequence of the nature of our material. When you work in a field in which reconstruction and interpretation almost invariably go hand in hand, you tend to need all the tools in your own toolbox, and in the neighbors’ toolboxes, too. As a result, historians of ancient art spend a lot of time working in disciplines dominated by colleagues whose priorities and training are very different from our own.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 08/01/2019 - 9:09pm by Kathryn Topper.

National Humanities Center

Residential Fellowships 2020-21

Call for Applications

The National Humanities Center invites applications for academic-year or one-semester residential fellowships. Mid-career, senior, and emerging scholars with a strong record of peer-reviewed work from all areas of the humanities are encouraged to apply.

Scholars from all parts of the globe are eligible; stipends and travel expenses are provided. Fellowship applicants must have a PhD or equivalent scholarly credentials. Fellowships are supported by the Center’s own endowment, private foundation grants, contributions from alumni and friends, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Located in the vibrant Research Triangle region of North Carolina, the Center affords access to the rich cultural and intellectual communities supported by the area’s research institutes, universities, and dynamic arts scene. Fellows enjoy private studies, in-house dining, and superb library services that deliver all research materials.

Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. ET, October 10, 2019. For more information and to apply, please visit the link below.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 07/30/2019 - 12:37pm by Erik Shell.
The Conference on Mediterranean and European Linguistic Anthropology 2020
 
Following the growth of The Global Network for Linguistic Anthropology, we announce The COMELA 2020, The Conference on Mediterranean and European Linguistic Anthropology 2020.

Purpose and Structure - Over 500 scholars globally will gather to present papers and engage in progressive discussion on the Linguistic Anthropology, Language and Society, and related fields, of The Mediterranean and Europe. The COMELA is fully Non-Profit, where all publishing with the JOMELA (its scholarly journal) is free, as the COMELA refuses to implement a pay to publish system. The COMELA sources funding/grants to assist people in impeded economic positions, who require funding to access the COMELA Conference, and display strong ability in their work. COMELA proceedings will be indexed with SCOPUS and will contribute to ranked and cited publications for all those accepted to present, as well as publishing papers in Top Tier Journal Publication Special Issues.

Location - American University of Greece, Athens, Greece

Date - September 2-5, 2020

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 07/29/2019 - 9:38am by Erik Shell.
"Empty Theatre (almost)"by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Calling all Actors, Designers, and Creatives—to participate in a staged reading of

The Gladiator
by Robert Montgomery Bird

Directed by Rob Groves

Friday, January 3, 2020

SCS/AIA Annual Meeting, Washington D.C.

The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance's annual tradition of staged readings at the annual general meeting will continue this year with a production of an engaging example of Classical reception, Robert Montgomery Bird's 1831 retelling of the Spartacus story, The Gladiator!

View full article. | Posted in Performances on Tue, 07/23/2019 - 9:24am by Erik Shell.

I have always been a proponent of reading outside of one’s own field. We are all pressed for time, of course, and keeping up with the scholarship in our own areas of expertise is itself a constant challenge. But reading outside of our traditional areas of study is one of those intellectual activities in which even a little goes a long way towards exposing us to real and imagined worlds that can allow us to better reconstruct the ancient Mediterranean.

As an ancient Mediterranean historian, I have gained most from my reading in (loosely) adjacent historical fields, especially early China and early modern Europe. I have also benefitted from exploring research in social-scientific disciplines with which history is in ongoing dialogue, especially sociology and cultural anthropology. My reading in these fields could hardly be called systematic, but it doesn’t matter. The time spent reading outside of ancient Mediterranean history almost always repays the reader by presenting new questions, new approaches, and new ways to think about familiar material.

However, today I want to explore something a little different: how my ideas about the Roman Empire, my research and teaching focus, have been shaped by creative literature—an essential tool, I have found, for facilitating the leaps of historical imagination necessary for an empathetic (if ultimately incomplete) understanding of a world so alien from our own.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 07/22/2019 - 2:21pm by Carlos Noreña.

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