CFP: Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy

Call for Abstracts: Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy

Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting, Jan 7–10, 2021

Curtis Dozier, director of Pharos: Doing Justice to the Classics (pharosclassics.vassar.edu), invites the submission of abstracts on any aspect of the relationship of Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy. Selected abstracts will form a proposal for a panel on the topic to be held at the 2021 Society for Classical Studies annual meeting in Chicago, IL (Jan 7–10, 2021). If the SCS Program committee accepts our proposed panel, the Vassar College Department of Greek and Roman Studies will offer panelists who do not have tenured or tenure-track positions a $500 stipend toward the cost of attending the conference. Pharos is also offering a research service for those interested in preparing abstracts but who prefer not to visit White Supremacist websites (on which see below).

At the 2020 SCS meeting, twenty classical scholars gathered for a round table discussion about the ways the discipline of Classics has been and continues to be complicit in White Supremacy. A summary of this discussion is available here: https://bit.ly/2U6TD1L. This disciplinary conversation forms a counterpart to the many examples of Greco-Roman Antiquity being appropriated by White Supremacists outside of Classics that have been documented on the website Pharos: Doing Justice to the Classics (https://pages.vassar.edu/pharos/white-nationalism-white-supremacy/). These appropriations are, in a sense, easier to confront than the implication of our discipline in racist power, because they locate racism “outside” the discipline of Classics. At the same time their blatant racism throws into relief the racial politics of many idealizing narratives about the ancient world that underpin traditional justifications for the study of Classics and continue to be prominent in the popular imagination.

This panel seeks to bring together analyses of both dimensions of the relationship between Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy: both the historical complicity of the discipline in promoting, as Critical Race Theorist Francis Lee Ansley puts it, “conscious and unconscious ideas of white superiority and entitlement,” and the ongoing use of Greco-Roman antiquity by overt White Supremacists as a source of legitimacy for their politics. Of particular interest are abstracts that discuss both aspects, but submissions treating one or the other are welcome as well. It is desirable, but not required, that abstracts also make recommendations for a way forward.

Possible approaches include:

  • Situating contemporary appropriations of Greco-Roman antiquity by White Supremacists in the history of the discipline of Classical Studies
  • Examining the role of outdated classical scholarship and outdated conceptions of the study of Classics in the propagation of hateful articulations of ancient history
  • Evaluating differences between current, specialized understandings of the ancient world and public perceptions of the ancient world in relation to the utility of Greco-Roman Antiquity for hate groups
  • Interrogating how the prestige of the “Classical” can often be put to hateful ends without historical inaccuracy, as when, for example, a xenophobic site cites Periclean citizenship requirements as a model to be emulated
  • Connecting the appropriation of Greco-Roman antiquity by hate groups to current disciplinary conversations around inclusion and diversity in Classics
  • Discussing the moral and ethical responsibilities of specialists when faced with such appropriations, and what limits, if any, there are to those responsibilities

Recognizing that many scholars may not wish to visit White Supremacist websites or obtain White Supremacist literature, Pharos is offering a research service to those preparing abstracts: prospective panelists may submit topics/authors/works they are interested in discussing in relation to White Supremacy and Pharos will return references to that topic (if any exist) from the major hate sites and print publications in our database. These will be provided as archived links that do not generate traffic for the sites in question. It is hoped that this service will allow a greater range of specialists to prepare abstracts for this panel.  Requests for preliminary research should be sent by email to pharosclassics@vassar.edu by the deadline listed below.

Timeline and Deadlines:

1) Requests for preliminary research should be made by email to pharosclassics@vassar.edu by 9AM EST on Monday, February 17th, 2020.

2) We will attempt to return research service results by March 1st.

3)  500 word abstracts are due at 5PM EDT Friday, March 13th, 2020. These should be submitted by email to pharosclassics@vassar.edu and should adhere to the SCS’s “Guidelines for Authors of Abstracts” (https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/guidelines-authors-abstracts

4) Notifications of acceptance will be made by Monday, March 30th, 2020.   At this point accepted panelists will need to provide a current SCS Member number (as required for the Program Committee submission).

5) Proposal incorporating accepted abstracts due to the Program Committee in early April, 2020.

6) Notification of acceptance by the Program Committee in June, 2020.

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(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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A longstanding tendency to ethnocentrism and Hellenophilia implicit in the narrative of the rebirth of Greek science in the Renaissance has shaped the historiography of science and early modern historiography more generally. However, a digital project called Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus (PAL) presents and interdisciplinary, broadly conceived, and ongoing (2013–2038) challenge to this , which lies at the crossroads of Classics, Arabic Studies, History of Science and Digital Humanities. It presents a wide range of primary sources as well as translations and critical editions. Given these unusual features some words of introduction are needed to better understand the relevance of this project for the humanities at large. 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/05/2020 - 12:21pm by .

From the SCS Board of Directors, approved 6/3/20

The Society for Classical Studies condemns the relentless horror of police brutality and murder of black men, women, and children, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Rodney King, to name just a few of the victims. Brutality perpetrated by the police and others stands with mass incarceration and unequal access to healthcare, education, and housing as symptoms of longstanding systemic, structural, and institutional racism in American and European cultures. These are deep problems in society that will not be fixed without radical policy changes at every level of government and across all institutions.   

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Wed, 06/03/2020 - 6:20am by Helen Cullyer.

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. In this post we focus on digital projects that engage with ancient texts and discuss the study of Classics during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:55am by .

Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants, January – April 2020

Some of our short-term fellowship and Classics Everywhere award winners are deferring use of their awards until Fall 2020 or 2021 owing to COVID-19. However, we congratulate everyone who was awarded a scholarship, fellowship or grant this spring, and we thank our selection committees for their hard work.

TLL Fellowship:

Amy Koenig

Pearson Fellowship:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

Please see below a message from the SCS President, followed by a listing of 2020 graduates:

With in-person celebrations ruled out by the coronavirus pandemic, the Society for Classical Studies is proud to recognize the many graduates at all levels across North America who have chosen to make serious and sustained study of the ancient Mediterranean world a significant part of their education.  For those who are earning PhD’s, we welcome the new contributions to knowledge that each of you has made, and we pledge our support and guidance as you negotiate an even more challenging professional landscape than you signed up for.  We warmly salute all degree-recipients who are pursuing careers in the vital enterprise of K-12 education.  For those who are going in other directions, we take great satisfaction in the variety of paths you will be following.  We hope the classical world will remain an important part of your lives, and we invite you to visit our website, read our blog, and join the SCS as “Friends of Classics.”  And we count on you as lifelong advocates for the value of studying Greco-Roman and ancient Mediterranean history and culture: please take every opportunity to spread the word that the ancient world still presents us with new questions to investigate and with multiple points of reference for thinking through our present-day concerns.  Heartfelt congratulations to all!

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

The Arabic and Latin Glossary (hereafter al-gloss) is a free, online dictionary of the vocabulary used by medieval translators, primarily working in eleventh- to thirteenth-century Italy and Spain, to render the Arabic versions of Greek scientific and philosophical texts and original Arabic compositions into Latin. It is parallel, in terms of its scholarly goals and methodology, to the database Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum (hereafter gloss-ga), which is also run out of Germany but by a different team. In this review, I will refer to gloss-ga because it offers a point of comparison for assessing al-gloss’ editorial decisions and accessibility.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/22/2020 - 3:23pm by .
Books

Loeb Classical Library Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Classics

2021-2023

The Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library Foundation announce funding of four two-year postdoctoral fellowships to be held in the academic years 2021–2023. [A further four fellowships will be funded for the academic years 2022–2024] The details for the first round of competition for these fellowships are as follows:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 2:30pm by Helen Cullyer.

Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A. in Education Policy from NYU. Erik has been working part-time on his degree while working full-time for SCS in many roles. He runs the the Placement Service, works on social media and our website, coordinates our departmental membership program, edits video, and does so many other things. Thank you, Erik, for everything you do for SCS and its members, and congratulations on a well-deserved Masters degree!

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/20/2020 - 8:09am by Helen Cullyer.

Have you ever thought about a terminal MA in Classics?

I have to confess, I hadn’t before coming to teach at Boston College, where we have such a graduate program. I had firsthand experience with Classics BAs in colleges that only granted undergraduate degrees, BAs and MAs in PhD-granting departments — heck, even a combined BA/MA program. But a freestanding MA degree that was a purposeful end goal rather than an add-on, an along-the-way, or a no-more-thanks? It never crossed my mind. To judge from the conversations that I’ve had since joining a department with a terminal MA program, I think that’s true of a lot of Classics faculty, as well as for a lot of students. And I also think that has led to some unfortunate misunderstandings about terminal MAs and their contributions, both to the field as a whole and to the personal and professional development of individual students.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 8:26am by Christopher Polt.

Barbara K. Gold is Edward North Professor of Classics at Hamilton College, Emerita. She received her B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1966, her master’s degree in 1968 and her doctorate in 1975, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on Greek and Roman literature, particularly Roman elegy, lyric, and satire; medieval literature, culture, and history; Roman social history; women in the ancient world; and feminist criticism. A prolific author and recipient of numerous grants and awards, Professor Gold was the first woman editor of The American Journal of Philology from 2000 to 2008 and is currently Vice President for Professional Matters of the Society for Classical Studies. She has also served on numerous college committees and was Associate Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College (1997-2001).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/08/2020 - 5:01am by Claire Catenaccio.

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