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The presence of Plotinus: The self, contemplation, and spiritual exercise in the Enneads
In the center of “The School of Athens”, the famous fresco by Raphael, we can see Plato and Aristotle, the two philosophers who may indeed have been the greatest thinkers of antiquity. However, the scholarly endeavor of the last century has demonstrated with increasing consistency that Plotinus – although his name and legacy are not so popular – could well stand next to them, especially so because he attempted to synthetize the views of those great masters of the past. His presence in Western philosophy was, perhaps a more silent one, but also very influential. Since Late Antiquity, Christian, Jewish and Muslim philosophers were inspired by him as well as Renaissance Platonists and German idealists. In year 2020, 1750 years will have passed by since his solitary death in a Campanian villa or, in his view, since his final ascent from “the divine in us to the divine in the All”. On this occasion, we want to celebrate Plotinus’ presence by organizing an international conference.
A Day in the Life of a Classicist is a monthly column on the SCS blog written by Prof. Ayelet Haimson Lushkov celebrating the working lives of classicists. If you’d like to share your day, let us know here.
Rebecca Futo Kennedy is Associate Professor of Classics and Administrative Director, Denison Museum
Since being tenured in 2015, I have actually held two separate positions at my university - professor of Classics and director of the Denison Museum. As a result, my time is now split between the department and the museum (and, if you have to ask - no, I had no experience running a museum before they asked me to do it, and, no, I don’t intend to do it forever; I’d like to go back to full-time teaching someday). So, my average day(s) look something like this:
The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World will hold a conference, co-hosted by the SCS, on digital pedagogy:
"Digital resources have become an essential part of studying the languages, history, and material culture of the Ancient Mediterranean. This one-day conference looks at how this disciplinary turn is being integrated into both undergraduate and graduate courses. There will be sustained attention during the day on current practice in recent courses, and the speakers all have considerable teaching experience. Speakers will also address the goals of using digital methods, tools and resources in a wide range of pedagogic and institutional settings. Digital approaches to teaching do not merely replicate earlier methods so that new possibilities for the expanding the scope of curricula will be an important topic. The day will end with a panel discussion and we will welcome input from all who are in attendance."
The conference will take place at their New York headquarters on October 26th, 2018 beginning at 9:15am. To see the full schedule and RSVP you can visit the conference webpage here.
Oedipus: A Greek Tragedy by Sophocles
Last Thursday, I began class with a caveat, “The class today will be really tough to deliver...” And it was. It was the first time I had taught after the fire and destruction of Brazil’s National Museum, and it was a particularly hard and ironic moment.
I’m teaching a topic on Pompeii, so when classes started, a month ago, I mentioned to my students that there were some frescoes and items from Pompeii at the National Museum, located in a park in central Rio de Janeiro which used to be the imperial family’s property in the nineteenth century. The collection was part of the dowry from empress Teresa Cristina of Bourbon, daughter of the king of the Two Sicilies, a gift that was particularly in tune with the interest that emperor Dom Pedro II had in history and sciences.
Together with objects such as Greek and Etruscan pottery and terracottas, and some Egyptian mummies (including a rare unopened one), the collection was the biggest for Antiquity in Latin America, but not many people were aware of it. The museum, home also to extensive collections in ethnography, paleontology, zoology and geology, happened to have less visitors last year than the number of privileged Brazilians who visited the Louvre. When I asked my History undergrads in our first class whether they had ever visited the National Museum, they all said “no”.
Poetics and politics. New approaches to Euripides
We wanted to update you on some upcoming prize, award, and nomination deadlines:
The Outreach Prize of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) recognizes outstanding projects or events by an SCS member or members that make an aspect of classical antiquity available and attractive to an audience other than classics scholars or students in their courses.
The deadline for nominations is September 14.
The Forum Prize - presented by the the SCS Committee on Public Information and Media Relations - recognizes outstanding contributions to public engagement made by non-academic works about the ancient Greek and Roman world. It empowers the SCS to build bridges with a broader public by rewarding the best public-facing essays, books, poems, articles, podcasts, films, and art produced each year by someone (either a classicist or a non-classicist) working primarily outside of the academy.
Deadline for nomination is October 1. You can nominate a person or project here.
Excellence in Precollegiate Teaching Award
Edwin P. Menes (February 2, 1939 - August 25, 2018)
Born in Gary, Indiana, Edwin Peter Menes grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Stricken with polio when he was three, Ed was always fiercely independent and never let his disability slow him down.
He graduated from St. Ignatius High School at fifteen years of age (1954)—the youngest graduate in school history and class valedictorian. He next attended Xavier University, earning his A.B. in the Classics Honors Program (1958). His M.A. (1960) and Ph.D. (1968) were from Princeton, the latter completed with a dissertation on Propertius (Cynthia as Symbol: Love, Patriotism, and Poetry in the Elegies of Propertius). Meanwhile he spent two years (1960–1962) teaching at Tabor Academy, Marion, Massachusetts, before accepting a position in the Department of Classical Studies at Loyola University Chicago (1963).
He taught at Loyola's Rome Center of Liberal Arts (now the John Felice Rome Center) three times and traveled all over Europe, most notably on a Vespa through Eastern Europe; the scooter caught fire in Belgrade, putting an end to that adventure and forcing him to take a train back to Rome. Back in Chicago he served as associate director of the Rome Center (1975–1979) and chairman of the Department of Classical Studies (1984–1995). He retired in 2009.
A Crucible of Cultures: Cultural Exchange in the Ancient Mediterranean
In the wake of Hordern and Purcell’s The Corrupting Sea, there has been a renewed interest in studying the cultures of the Mediterranean as part of an integrated whole rather than in isolation. The annual OSU Classics Graduate Colloquium invites papers on a range of topics that explore the interconnections between peoples in and around the Mediterranean in the ancient world broadly conceived (Bronze Age to Byzantium/Carolingian Renaissance). Since most research has focused on relatively narrow archaeological concerns, we encourage papers that attempt to tackle big picture questions. Broad categories might include: