Call for Student Nominations: Emory Summer Seminar in Material Culture

The Use of Art and Material Culture in Scholarship and Teaching:
Greek and Roman Art: an Introduction
A Seminar in Material Culture for Graduate Students in Classics and Ancient History
Directed by Dr Jasper Gaunt, Curator of Greek and Roman Art, Michael C. Carlos Museum,
Emory University
22 May – 30 June 2017
Emory University, Atlanta GA
Supported by generous grants from the Samuel H. Kress and Henry Luce Foundations, and Emory University
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 this seminar is to familiarize students with archaeological material that goes hand in hand with the historical and literary records, and how to incorporate such evidence into historical or philological research. This seminar will be the second of three with the same purpose but with different foci and at different institutions. The first took place at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2016; the third will be held in 2018. Background. Despite new awareness of the scope of material evidence, and the ready availability of excellent images, all too often literary scholars treat images as decoration or illustration, while historians exploit the material record only gingerly. Probably more important than “literature” was the oral tradition, and the essential web of images that arose from it. Conversely, it has been wisely said of archaeology that it is a branch of ancient history.
This seminar offers students an opportunity to engage with the material record on a daily basis. Over the six weeks, every effort will be made to introduce the widest range of possibilities encountered in the archaeological record. Not only pottery and sculpture in bronze and marble will be considered, but also works in precious or exotic materials like ivory, gold, silver, amber, gems, glass, faience, and colored stones. Questions of facture and circulation will predominate: how these objects were made, by whom, for whom, why, and how to recognize them in the literary, historical and epigraphic record.
Resources and Faculty.
Participants will have access to the Museum’s collections of Egyptian, Nubian, Near Eastern, Greek, Etruscan and Roman antiquities, both those on view in the galleries and those in storage. The latter, which will be used daily for teaching, include notably rich holdings of fine pottery and gems. The Karen Mariea Madsen Parsons Conservation Laboratory, the Thalia N. Carlos Education Center and its staff are also participants, as are Emory faculty members. An extensive collection of plaster casts of ancient sculpture, and models of the sanctuaries at Delphi, Olympia and the Athenian Acropolis on long-term loan from the Metropolitan Museum of Art are sprinkled among several buildings on campus. Further resources include the two principal campus libraries, the Robert W. Woodruff together with the Stuart A. Rose Manuscripts and Rare Books Library; and The Pitts Theology Library. Besides resources at Emory, the course will include the participation of Prof. Patricia Butz, Savannah College of Art and Design, on treasuries and their inscriptions; Prof. Mark Abbe, University of Georgia at Athens, on polychromy and color on ancient sculpture; and Prof. Peter Bing, University of Toronto, on the new Posidippos papyrus and hellenistic gems.
The course is co-ordinated by Jasper Gaunt, Curator of Greek and Roman Art at the Michael C. Carlos Museum. He is the joint editor with A.J. Clark of Essays in Honor of Dietrich von Bothmer (Amsterdam 2002), and has published widely on Greek vase-painting (including a volume of the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum: Great Britain 21: Harrow School, 2005), vessels in bronze and marble, metrical inscriptions on pottery, and reception studies.
The seminar is structured in broadly chronological terms. The importance of time allocated for students to absorb material in the galleries in their own ways cannot be overstated. Three two-hour classes are planned each week around an over-arching theme, outlined in the synopsis. Provision is also made each afternoon for further opportunities to handle original objects. Excursions to local artists’ workshops – such as glass-blowing, gold working and a bronze foundry – are planned on Friday afternoons, as is a day trip to see the Nashville Parthenon and its life-size reproduction of the chryselephantine cult statue.
Expectations of Students.
It is proposed that students will undertake small assignments on an on-going basis, intended primarily to foster familiarity with the world of objects. These will include informal mini-presentations on objects in the Carlos Museum’s collections, gallery talks, and some sketching. Over the course of the seminar, participants will work on a paper to be presented in the last week. The subject will be of the student’s choice, rising out of their research interests, but in conjunction with the course co-ordinator, who will allocate generous weekly time to meet with students individually.
Logistics and Funding.
Students selected for the seminar will be offered free accommodation at the Clairmont Campus of Emory University. A shuttle service operates between this campus and the main one where the seminar will be held. Both on campus and within walking distance of campus can be found a variety of shops, grocery stores and places to eat. Some public transportation, and taxi services like Uber, work well. In other words, the use of a car is not essential. The cost of car rental is greatly reduced if the airport is avoided. In addition, thanks to the generosity of the Samuel H. Kress and Henry Luce Foundations, the SCS will provide a stipend of up to $2,000 to cover the cost of travel to and from Atlanta, and modest out of pocket expenses. 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 are still taking coursework or in the early stages of writing their dissertation. 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 Executive Director (, 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. The student him or herself should also email the Executive Director ( with full name, mailing address, phone number.
A committee consisting of Dr Gaunt as chair and Professors Mary English (SCS Vice President for Education) and Donald Mastronarde (SCS VP for Publications and Research) will select participants from ten different academic institutions and a variety of countries of origin. Although many applicants from North America are expected, students from all countries are equally welcome. Reasonable fluency in English is the only requirement. Nominations by departments and emails from student nominees including their full contact information should be submitted electronically to no later than 1 January 2017. The SCS will announce the decisions of the selection committee in early February 2017. Questions about the seminar program may be directed to Dr Gaunt at or by telephone at 404 727 1146.
Synopsis of Curriculum
Each week has an over-arching (chronological) theme that is explored in a two-hour class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday 9.30–11.30. On Mondays through Thursdays, an afternoon session 2.30–4:00 is offered during which original works of art that are relevant to the topics discussed during the week are handled, and questions of manufacture discussed. On Friday afternoons, excursions are planned to studios of artists working in different media.
Week One: Monday May 22 – Friday May 26: Homer between Bronze Age and Geometric Greece
The Heroon at Lefkandi - Nestor’s Cup from Pithekoussai – Early artistic responses to the Epic Cycle
Week Two: Monday May 29 – Friday June 2: Archaic Greece: The symposium: how to throw a party in archaic Greece
Myths on vases, myths in “literature” - History and heroes - Herodotus and the Vix krater
Week Three: Monday June 5 – Friday June 9: Classical Greece
Inscriptions and the Parthenon Inventories – Polychromy on Greek sculpture - Textiles
Guest speakers: Dr Patricia Butz, Savannah College of Art and Design (inscriptions); Dr Mark Abbe, University of Georgia at Athens (polychromy)
Week Four: Monday June 12 – Friday June 16: Alexander the Great and the Hellenistic World
Macedonian Tombs - The Posidippos Papyrus and gems – Ptolemaic Egypt
Guest speaker: Dr Peter Bing, University of Toronto (Posidippos)
Week Five: Monday June 19 – Friday June 23: The Roman World
Trimalchio’s dinner party - Portraiture - Glass
Week Six: Monday June 26 – Friday June 30: Pulling Things Together
Student reports
(Photo: Michael C. Carlos Museum. Carlos Collection of Ancient Art, Atlanta, used with permission)


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By Roger Bagnall

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 02/19/2018 - 7:40pm by .
150th Meeting Logo

Members can click here to access our online program system for 2019 Annual Meeting submissions, affiliated group charters, and proposals for organizer-refereed panels for 2020.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 02/19/2018 - 6:56am by Helen Cullyer.

by  Erich Gruen

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A former translator of the Pope's messages into Latin has joined the Cornell faculty to spread the practice of spoken Latin in the classroom.

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You can read the full article here.


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Content Warning: The following post discusses classical narratives about sexual assault. Please note that the thoughts and opinions of SCS blog contributors are their own. 

Classics graduate student Sara L. Hales (University of Iowa) and Assistant Professor of Classics Arum Park (University of Arizona) explore how we read, discuss, and teach classical rape narratives in the midst of the #metoo movement.

Arum: Sara and I started writing on this topic independently and were brought together by our mutual friend Sarah Bond, who noted the common thread in our essays and encouraged us to collaborate. We found ourselves among those in the (fortunate? unfortunate?) position of reading classical rape narratives in the midst of a loud and persistent cultural conversation about sexual assault.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 02/14/2018 - 5:21pm by Sara L. Hales.

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The deadline has been extended to March 2, 2018.


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

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 02/14/2018 - 8:47am by Erik Shell.

The SCS is a member of the National Humanities Alliance (NHA), a national advocacy organization for the humanities.  The NHA has issued the following information regarding the administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 19:

“President Trump released his Presidential Budget Request for FY 2019, which again calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities along with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Education’s International Education Programs, the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, and the Institute for Museums and Library Services. The request also calls for the elimination of federal funding for the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

This is an assault on humanities research, education, and programming - all of which are essential to the cultivation of our national heritage and civic culture.

Congress will ultimately be responsible for writing the bills that fund the federal government.

Last year, we sent a forceful message to Congress that we oppose the administration’s efforts to eliminate humanities funding. While the appropriations process for FY 2018 has not yet been completed, Congress has rejected Trump’s proposals at every turn.”

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 02/13/2018 - 9:53am by Helen Cullyer.

The Society for Classical Studies strongly supports the American Historical Association's statement condemning the Polish law criminalizing discussion of Polish complicity in Nazi war crimes during World War II. Open discussion of the events of the past is our own Society's raison d'être. Such discussion cannot be limited to events of which we are proud, nor can we permit those of which we are ashamed to be forgotten. These principles must apply to the study of all periods of history. Our Society's interest in this particular question involves a growing integration between what were once regarded as discrete areas in the study of Mediterranean antiquity, including Greek and Roman studies, Ancient Near Eastern studies, Jewish studies, and other related areas. In addition, we remember the many Jewish scholars of Classics and Ancient History who migrated from eastern Europe to Great Britain and North America, fleeing persecution by the Nazis and their sympathizers. The impact of these scholars on their new countries and on our field as a whole was both great and very positive, but it came with enormous human cost, and it is essential that we remember these facts.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Tue, 02/13/2018 - 9:19am by Helen Cullyer.

The 15th International FIEC Congress will be held in London, 4-8 July, 2019, hosted by the Classical Association, the Hellenic Society and the Roman Society, in collaboration with the Institute of Classical Studies, London, UCL, KCL, Birkbeck College, Royal Holloway University of London and Roehampton University. 

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View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 02/13/2018 - 7:37am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers: Sapiens Ubique Civis VI – Szeged 2018
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The Department of Classical Philology and Neo-Latin Studies, Faculty of Arts, University of Szeged, Hungary is pleased to announce its International PhD Student Conference Sapiens Ubique Civis VI – Szeged 2018. The aim of the conference is to bring together an international group of young scholars working in a variety of periods, places, languages, and fields. Papers on a wide range of classical subjects, including but not limited to the literature, history, philology, philosophy, linguistics and archaeology of Greece and Rome, Byzantinology, Neo-Latin studies, and reception of the classics, as well as papers dealing with theatre studies, comparative literature, contemporary literature, and fine arts related to the Antiquity are welcome.

Lectures: The language of the conference is primarily English but German papers are welcome as well. Thematic sessions and plenary lectures will be scheduled. The time limit for each lecture is 20 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of discussion.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 02/09/2018 - 2:53pm by Erik Shell.


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