Call for Participants: CAMP's "The Gladiator" at the 2020 Annual Meeting

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!

“The Gladiator” is an important moment in American reception of the Classics. From the beginning, the founders saw and portrayed themselves as virtuous heroes from the Roman republic, like those whom they had read of in Plutarch and Livy, and created a nation devised largely after the lessons they learned from their studies of the Classics.  By 1831, however, the founders’ compromises on the question of slavery had left the fate and the moral status of the nation in question and this play boldly asserts itself into the emergent controversy over abolitionism. If America is the new Rome, how are we, as Americans to understand the Spartacus story?  Whom do we identify with: the traumatized elite Romans or the rag-tag band of self-sacrificing Freedom fighters? Are we like Spartacus in throwing off the chains of British imperial oppression? Or rather are we like Crassus in profiting off the pain, anguish and indignity of fellow human beings?  As we continue to confront the uses of Classics to justify white supremacist ideologies, this production will consider how the American theater confronted related issues almost 200 years ago and how this might inform our continuing discussions about the state of our discipline.  This production intends to highlight both the stirring melodrama of Bird's original play, and the parallels between Rome and the United States that the play evokes.

Interested actors from every background should join—no previous experience is required! There will be opportunities for silent roles as well. In addition, because this play confronts the issue of slavery (and therefore race) in America through the parallels of Rome, race will be considered in casting; we hope to cast actors of color, and especially black actors, in the roles of non-Romans.  If you are a classicist of color, I ask you to please consider participating, even if acting is not normally a passion or a hobby. If you know a classicist of color please encourage them to consider participating as well.

Roles include:

  • ROMANS
  • Marcus Licinius Crassus, a Roman Praetor. 
  • Lucius Gellius, a Consul
  • Scropha, a Quaestor
  • Jovius, a Centurion
  • Mummius, lieutenant to Crassus  
  • Batiatus Lentulus, a Capuan Lanista  
  • Bracchius, a Roman Lanista  
  • Florus, son of B. Lentulus
  • Julia, niece of Crassus. 

GLADIATORS AND NON-ROMANS

  • Spartacus, a Thracian,
  • Phasarius, his brother 
  • Aenomaiis, a Gaul 
  • Crixus, a German,  
  • Other gladiators
  • A boy, son of Spartacus. 
  • Senona, wife of Spartacus.   

Rehearsals will take place all day on Thursday, January 2, with a read-through on the evening of Wednesday the 1st for all those who can make it.

In addition to actors, we are looking for volunteers interested in contributing their time and talents behind the scenes! If you're interested in graphic design, costume assistance, props, sound design, stage management, etc., let us know.

If you are interested, please express that interest by completing the google form here by September 15thQuestions? Feel free to contact Rob Groves at groves@email.arizona.edu.

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(Photo: "Empty Theatre (almost)" by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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Identity in Vergil: Ancient Representations, Global Receptions

Symposium Cumanum 2021

June 23-26, Villa Vergiliana, Cuma

Co-Directors: Tedd A. Wimperis (Elon University) and David J. Wright (Fordham University)

Vergil’s poetry has long offered fertile ground for scholars engaging questions of race, ethnicity, and national identity, owing especially to the momentous social changes to which his works respond (Syed 2005; Reed 2007; Fletcher 2014; Giusti 2018; Barchiesi forthcoming). The complexities of identity reflected in his corpus have afforded rich insights into the poems themselves and the era’s political milieu; beyond their Roman context, across the centuries his poetry has been co-opted in both racist and nationalist rhetoric, and, at the same time, inspired dynamic multicultural receptions among its many audiences, from Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech to Gwendolyn Brooks’ The Anniad (e.g. Thomas 2001; Laird 2010; Ronnick 2010; Torlone 2014; Pogorzelski 2016).

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 07/23/2020 - 12:02pm by Erik Shell.

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 two performances of ancient plays that were canceled when the pandemic put a halt to them last March.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 07/22/2020 - 12:03pm by .

"The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) announced today that it will redirect the funding focus of the ACLS Fellowship Program to support early career, non-tenured scholars exclusively."

You can read more about the program here.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 07/20/2020 - 1:40pm by Erik Shell.

Fighting racism, or any wicked, wrongheaded, or simply false idea, demands persuasion, person to person. All non-violent activism and efforts at social change depend on rhetoric. It is fashionable now to believe that persuasion—the political kind, anyway—is something of a mirage, that much of our thinking is “motivated,” driven primarily not by argument and evidence but by self-interest, tribal loyalties, enduring personality traits, and demographic facts. Identity comes first; the rationalizations that make us feel that we are correct in our prejudices hobble along after. This is the argument of Ezra Klein, for example, based on many psychological and political science studies, in Why We’re Polarized (2020). The role of rhetoric in this model is not to persuade, but rather to activate and weaponize identities and their powerful latent drives. Politics in this view is best understood not as reasoned civic dialogue but as a high-stakes all-in partisan combat. Persuasion exists, but as a dog tied to the cart of identity group competition—so say the studies.
 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 07/17/2020 - 7:19am by Christopher Francese.

Faculty, their administrations, and non-profit organizations, including SCS, around the country are engaging in the necessary work of addressing racism within their institutions. In recognition of this work and in support of it, the Executive Committee of SCS is reiterating the board statement of June 3, 2020:

https://classicalstudies.org/scs-news/statement-police-brutality-systemic-racism-and-death-george-floyd

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Mon, 07/13/2020 - 2:30pm by Helen Cullyer.

In light of the present administration’s brazen disregard for facts and the public good, you’ve got to admire past leaders’ nonpartisan concern to preserve knowledge for the future. 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 07/10/2020 - 9:04am by Nandini Pandey.

The SCS Board has joined many other scholarly societies in endorsing this letter imploring the federal government to "reinstate the temporary visa exemptions for international students and faculty members while we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, including at least the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters."

You can read more at the link above.

If you want to take action, please consult the National Humanities Alliance's action alert on the issue here.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 07/09/2020 - 6:46am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers

February 27th, 2021

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Fourth University of Florida Classics Graduate Student Symposium
Myths and Societies: A Cross-Cultural and Intertemporal Approach

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:33am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers

The Fourteenth Conference on Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World will take place in Jerusalem (Israel) from Sunday 20 June 2021 to Wednesday 23 June 2021. Classicists, historians, students of comparative religion, the Hebrew Bible, early Christian and Rabbinic traditions, as well as scholars in other fields with an interest in oral cultures are cordially invited.

The conference will follow the same format as the previous conferences, held in Hobart (1994), Durban (1996), Wellington (1998), Columbia, Missouri (2000), Melbourne (2002), Winnipeg (2004), Auckland (2006), Nijmegen (2008), Canberra (2010), Ann Arbor (2012), Atlanta (2014), Lausanne (2016), and Austin TX (2019). It is planned that the refereed proceedings once again be published by E.J. Brill in the “Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World” series.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 7:28am by Erik Shell.

Body and Medicine in Latin Poetry’, which will take place online on the 17th and 18th September 2020. 

The ongoing epidemic crisis brought forth by the spread of Covid-19 compels us to rethink the concepts of body and disease in light of  their effect on human nature, as well as seek new methods to cope with the sense of anxiety and vulnerability generated by such pandemic diseases. 

This conference will navigate the relationship between Medical Science and Humanities in Antiquity, with papers exploring how medicine can be integrated into poetry and how poetry, in turn, can propagate medical knowledge across various social classes and cultural contexts. Further to that, the conference will explore the extent to which such a relationship reflects our individual concerns about the validity and consistence of medicine as a science of the Human.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 07/06/2020 - 5:57am by Erik Shell.

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