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As Arum Park has recently written about, a number of new initiatives at Princeton University and the University of Michigan have sought to diversify and support the field of Classics, particularly for students of color transitioning from undergraduate to graduate study. However, such initiatives can and should start much earlier. When students’ impression of Latin is that it is for white, affluent people, and that impression is reinforced by the demographic of the Latin program, lack of diversity becomes a self-perpetuating problem that spills over into postsecondary Classics departments and the field as a whole. Diversification efforts must start with the first levels of Latin in middle school and high school.
How homogeneous is high school Latin? In 2017, 6,629 students took the AP Latin exam. Only 235 students who took the exam were African American (3.5%) and only 480 were Hispanic (7%). In my state, Virginia, 15 African American students took the AP Latin exam. In Maryland, there were only eight. This percentage has remained at the same low levels since 1999 when the College Board started publishing annual reports about AP exams.
(From the UPenn website)
G. N. Knauer, 1926–2018
Georg Nicolaus Knauer, Emeritus Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, died on October 28, 2018 in Haverford, PA at the age of 92. His long life and career were distinguished by high scholarly achievement and enriched by extensive travel and many friendships. He was also deeply involved in political controversies that were the result of two tragic events that affected so many Germans of his generation: the rise of National Socialism in their youth and the division of Germany into two separate states in their maturity.
Nico, as his friends knew him, was born in Hamburg on February 26, 1926. In 1944, he was drafted into the Wehrmacht and dispatched to the Eastern front at a time when the German defense against the Red Army of the USSR was starting to collapse. Very soon after his arrival, he was almost killed by a land mine, which destroyed most of his right leg. That he even survived is remarkable enough, but his relentless refusal to let this injury limit his activities is in some ways even more so.
What is it like to teach a course in ancient slavery within a region where the reminders of antebellum American slavery still loom so large? Understanding servitude through the lens of slave systems in the ancient Mediterranean can challenge students to think about Greece and Rome in a less romantic light—and to recognize how they influenced American history too.
My course in ancient slavery came about three years ago, while I was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics at Kalamazoo College in Michigan. My colleagues asked me if I would be interested in teaching a special topics course on slavery in Greece and Rome. My previous experience in this topic was limited, but I was excited to take this opportunity to explore it.
Figure 1: Slave collar from the 4th-6thC CE now at the Baths of Diocletian (Image by Carole Raddato under a CC-BY-2.0).
CFP: Truth and Relativism in Ancient Philosophy
Wednesday 19th June — Friday 21st June 2019
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen
This conference will bring together philosophers interested in examining truth and relativism in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy.
Confirmed speakers include: Paolo Crivelli (Geneva); Matthew Duncombe (Nottingham); Marion Durand (Toronto); Paul Gottlieb (Wisconsin); Orna Harari (Tel Aviv); John MacFarlane (Berkeley); Tamer Nawar (Groningen); and Noburu Notomi (Tokyo).
At last year’s SCS annual meeting in Boston, the Program Committee sponsored a panel called “Rhetoric: Then and Now.” Among the speakers constituting that panel was Princeton University Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta, who, in lamenting the “inadequacy” and “meagerness” of a number of recent efforts in the field to diversify and expand access, delivered the following provocation: “perhaps it is time for this contemporary configuration of Classics to die so that it might be born into a new life.”
In response to Padilla Peralta’s provocation, I cheekily stood up and asked him where Classics ought to die and where it ought to live. (Full disclosure: Padilla Peralta and I are good friends from graduate school.) I asked this question because, living and working in flyover country—in the state of Nebraska—I can say that Classics here (and in the Midwestern states that surround me) is already dying. More often than not, where it lives is through symbiosis with another academic department.
The Society is delighted to announce this year's winners of the awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the Precollegiate Level. We congratulate Susan Meyer and Thomas J. (TJ) Howell, who will both receive their awards at the Plenary Session in San Diego. You can read their citations below:
Thomas J. Howell Citation
Since its inception in 2016, Stitt has built an audience of academic and non-academic listeners and found a productive medium to promote Classical history, culture, languages, and the works of Classical authors and academic scholars. With over two million downloads, The History of Ancient Greece podcast serves as a model for how educational podcasts can engage with public audiences.
Call for Volunteers
The Society for Classical Studies seeks graduate or undergraduate student volunteers for the 150th Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, which will take place this coming January. Assignments will include working in the registration area and assisting staff with some sessions and special events.
In exchange for six hours of service (down two hours from last year), volunteers receive a waiver of their annual meeting registration fees. It is not necessary to be an SCS member to volunteer.
You can sign up to be a volunteer here. The deadline to sign up is November 21st.
(Written by Ted Tarkow)
An alum of Dickinson, Brown, and the University of Missouri (MU), Bob Seelinger (1951-2018) taught classics at Westminster College in Fulton, MO, from 1979 until taking early retirement in 2015, necessitated by a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. By the time of his death, he had served as professor of classics for over 20 years and in addition had served as Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of the College for over a half dozen years at the campus made famous by the “Iron Curtain” speech delivered there in 1946 by Winston Churchill.
A beloved teacher, Bob taught all levels of both languages as well as a wide range of general education courses. Not surprisingly to the scores of Westminster students who had studied with him, he received the APA Award for Excellence in the Teaching of the Classics, the Governor’s Award for Teaching, and the Parents’ Association Award for Teaching, among many other recognitions. But his career also allowed presentations and publications in some of his favorite authors, from Apuleius (the focus of his PhD dissertation), to 4th century, Republican, and early Imperial authors and genres. His abundant time at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, as well as at two NEH Summer Seminars, enabled other students and scholars to make the most of their time there.
Join us for the official start of our Sesquicentennial!