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Lynne C. Lancaster just began her three-year appointment as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor-in-Charge of the Humanities at the American Academy in Rome. She is a Professor in the Department of Classics and World Religions at Ohio University. I recently interviewed Professor Lancaster to discuss her research and her goals for her time in Rome.
C: Can you briefly tell me about your own research, both past and current?
During the last century, liminality as a concept became a matter of interest to many fields: from Psychology to Anthropology, from Philosophy to Cultural and Literary Studies. Yet, the condition this word describes predates the term itself: one can, for instance, consider the classical binomial katabasis/ anabasis to fathom the historical roots of the reality the term encompasses.
As stated by Mircea Eliade, in The Sacred and the Profane, the liminal space is a paradoxical place that connects the space it severs: under the sign of ritual though, the liminal not only allows passage, but almost demands it. As far as etymology is concerned, the term derives from the Latin word limen, which shares the same root as the latin word limes: limit, margin, border. On the one hand, limen constitutes the threshold of a building or a room; on the other hand, its relation to the act of passage is clearly antithetical to that of the limes, whose role is to assure the impermeability between spaces. If the orthographic similarity hints at a common thread – a rock or a piece of wood that is placed crosswise in order to signal the end/beginning of a place – the minor spelling difference reveals deep functional and ontological differences.
The Career Enhancement Fellowship Program seeks to increase the presence of minority junior faculty members and other faculty members committed to eradicating racial disparities in core fields in the arts and humanities. The Fellowship, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, supports the Mellon Foundation's mission to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.
The Fellowship, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, provides each Fellow with a six-month or one-year sabbatical grant; a research, travel, or publication stipend; and participation in an annual conference/retreat. A total of 30 Fellowships are awarded each year.
Animal/Language: An Interdisciplinary Conference
In conjunction with the art exhibition “Assembling Animal Communication” Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
21-23 March 2019
Animals and language have a complicated relationship with one another in human understanding. Every period of history evinces a fascination with the diverse modes of communicative exchange and possibilities of linguistic community that exist both within and between species. Recent critics of anthropocentrism are far from the first to question the supposed muteness of the “dumb animal” and its ontological and ethical ramifications. Various cultures have historically attributed language to animals, and we have developed an increasingly sophisticated scientific understanding of the complex non-verbal communicative systems that animals use among themselves. New research complements millennia of human-animal communication in the contexts of work, play, and domestic life.
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”.