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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In response to the campaign to save Classics at Royal Holloway, and to the proposals put forward by the Department, the College has made some revisions to its proposals for the future of Classics. In particular the BA Classics is to be retained and the importance of advanced teaching in classical languages has been explicitly recognised. A reduction in staff numbers is still proposed, but it would be a loss of 4 posts rather than 6. We would be allowed to admit a total of 50 undergraduates per year for our classical degree programmes. The merger with History is still proposed but the suggestion now is that there would be a 'School of History and Classics' with a 'subject leader' for Classics. The proposal to move the Philosophy staff, including the Ancient Philosophy post, to the Department of Politics and International Relations has not been changed, nor has the proposal to move our Research Professor entirely to the Department of English.

Discussions within the College continue, and we hope for further progress. We are very pleased that we can continue to welcome applications through UCAS for 2012 for ALL our current degree programmes.

Prof. Anne Sheppard
Head of Classics and Philosophy Department
Royal Holloway
University of London
Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX

tel: +44 (0)1784 443204

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 10/03/2011 - 2:33pm by Information Architect.

"When Ted Pappas returned to Greece last summer he took 'Electra' with him. 'I studied it in Greek under an olive tree on my property,' says Pappas, who is directing the Pittsburgh Public Theater production of 'Electra' that begins performances Thursday at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown." Read more at the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review online.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 10/02/2011 - 2:14pm by Information Architect.

Helen Hansen, a Plan II and public relations freshman at the University of Texas-Austin, wrote an impassioned defense of the Classics Department in her column in The Daily Texan this week.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 10/02/2011 - 2:06pm by Information Architect.

The deadline has been extended to nominate primary and secondary school Classics teachers for the Awards for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level that we present jointly with the American Classical League.  October 11, 2011 is the new deadline for receipt of nomination materials in the APA Office.  Thanks to a gift to the APA's Campaign for Classics by Daniel and Joanna Rose, these awards carry a larger honorarium and include a stipend for the awardee's school to use for the purchase of educational materials.  Full details are available on the APA web site.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/26/2011 - 5:34pm by Adam Blistein.

A new programme to revive Latin and Greek in our schools

Peter Jones writes in Spectator.co.uk:

Some 15 years ago, at the behest of the then editor Charles Moore, I wrote a jovial 20-week QED: Learn Latin column for the Daily Telegraph. It attracted a huge following, and I still have four large box-files full of letters from users. The majority of them expressed one of three sentiments: ‘I learned Latin at school x years ago, loved it and am delighted to renew my acquaintance’; ‘I learned Latin at school, hated it, but now realise what I have missed’; and ‘I never learned Latin at school and have always regretted it’.

These responses have stayed with me ever since, but they prompt a question: anecdotal evidence about the value people place on Latin is all very well, but would it be possible to produce something a little more objective? Can we demonstrate unconditionally that, as Gilbert Murray argued to the Classical Association in 1954, our pearls are real?

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 7:45pm by Information Architect.

From The Daily Texan's letters to the editor:

“Greek studies” is not about to be eliminated either as a field of study or as a major here, as the story titled “Greek studies to be eliminated from UT majors,” which ran in The Daily Texan on Thursday, suggests. The classics department continues to offer a wide range of courses on the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome (classical studies), and UT students will continue to have multiple options for pursuing degrees that include advanced work in the language and culture of ancient Greece.

Yes, the Higher Education Coordinating Board has directed UT to eliminate one of our majors: the bachelor’s in Greek. But students still have four other degree options that require advanced work in ancient Greek language and culture: classics, classical archaeology, ancient history and classical civilization and Latin. The classics major requires advanced work in both Greek and Latin language. The classical archaeology and ancient history majors require advanced work in classical culture and also in either Greek or Latin. Even the bachelor’s in Latin requires advanced work in either Greek or classical culture.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sat, 09/24/2011 - 7:56pm by Information Architect.

"UT is the only public university in Texas to offer an undergraduate degree in Greek studies, but students entering the University after the current academic year will no longer be able to declare a major in the program. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board directed UT to eliminate its degree in Greek studies following this academic year. The board has suggested colleges cut certain degree programs with low enrollment in order to ease state-wide budget cuts to education." Read more at The Daily Texan …

For clarification, see Professor Stephen White's letter to the editor of The Daily Texan.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sat, 09/24/2011 - 12:43pm by Information Architect.

In support of the Gateway Campaign for Classics in the 21st Century the APA and Boston University will host a benefit on October 6th featuring classically themed readings by four poets.

Boston, Home of the Muses: Classical Translations and Inspirations by Four Eminent Poetswill be held on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 8 p.m. at the Metcalf Trustee Center at Boston University. The evening will feature readings and a reception with

David Ferry, poet, translator, and recent winner of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement.

George Kalogeris, poet and teacher of English Literature and Classics in Translation at Suffolk University.

Robert Pinsky, former United States Poet Laureate and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. 

Rosanna Warren, poet and Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Professor of the Humanities at Boston University.

A pre-performance dinner with the poets for top-tier ticket purchasers will be held at the former President’s residence, known as The Castle, one of Boston University’s most elegant buildings.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 09/23/2011 - 2:50pm by Adam Blistein.

The Packard Humanities Institute has made its database of Classical Latin texts available online at http://latin.packhum.org/index. Click on "Word Search," then click on the symbol next to the "search" button for directions.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:50am by .

"Before he became a Professor of literature at Harvard, and way before he wrote his classic Shakespeare biography, Will in The World, Stephen Greenblatt was an I'll-read-anything kind of kid. One day, he was standing in the campus book store, and there, in a bin, selling for ten cents (good price, even in 1961) he noticed a thin, little volume called On the Nature of Things, by a Roman writer named Lucretius. When he opened it, he found a description of how the universe came to be. Because Lucretius lived a couple of generations before the birth of Jesus, Stephen was expecting a tale of how gods, goddesses, earth, air, fire and water and an assortment of miracles created everything we see, but as he turned the pages, he says 'his jaw dropped' and 'his head began to burst open,' because Lucretius' creation story doesn't feel remotely ancient. First of all, it's a radically secular account, ignoring gods, goddesses, heaven, hell, life after death, and intelligent design, but more surprising, its logic is eerily, almost spookily modern." Read more, or listen to the interview at NPR.org.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 09/19/2011 - 5:20pm by Information Architect.

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