CFP: (In)equity and Marginalization in Ancient Mediterranean Studies

Now and Then: (In)equity and Marginalization in Ancient Mediterranean Studies

March 12th and 13th, 2021 (via Zoom)

The First Biennial Bryn Mawr College SPEAC Conference for Undergraduate and Graduate Research

Deadline for submission: December 1st, 2020

Bryn Mawr College’s new group SPEAC (Students Promoting Equity in Archaeology and Classics) is happy to announce our first biennial research conference, to be held virtually. As a group, we are dedicated to amplifying the voices of academically marginalized and underrepresented communities (including, but not limited to, BIPOC, FGLI, disabled, and LGBTQ+ scholars) in the fields of Greek, Latin, Classical Studies, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies. For this conference, we are seeking research from undergraduate and graduate students, as well as unaffiliated and unfunded early-career scholars, that centers around topics of racism, white supremacy, race, identity, gender, justice, and inequity in both the ancient world and the modern disciplines that study it. As this is our inaugural conference, we are keeping the theme deliberately expansive; our idea is that future years will have more nuanced themes.

The fields of Classics, Archaeology, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies can not ignore the racist and white supremacist underpinnings of our disciplines, and we as young and/or early-career scholars have an ethical obligation to interrogate and address the ways in which our fields have benefited from and perpetuated inequity and elitism. Problems of racism, sexism, ableism, and homophobia are nowhere near new to our disciplines, and this summer’s protests and calls for accountability and reform spurred largely by the murder of George Floyd (as just one victim in a long history of systemic racism) have highlighted the importance of meaningfully addressing Classics’ complicity in these structures. Academia does not have the privilege of operating within a vacuum, so it is incumbent upon us to understand how to make our work socially and politically relevant. We must examine our field’s relationship with frameworks rooted in injustice as well as such issues in the ancient world to fully understand how to utilize our studies for real good. This conference is aimed at working toward these ideals and amplifying the many voices already engaging in these discussions.

Potential paper topics include:

  • Conceptions of identity (race, ethnicity, class, and/or gender) in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East
  • Conceptions of status (inequality, marginalization, immigration, and outcasts) in the ancient Mediterranean and Near East
  • Problems inherent to the term “Classics” and periodization as a whole
  • Marginalization and white supremacy in the historiography of our disciplines
  • Disability studies in the ancient world and/or in the modern fields of Classics, Archaeology, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies
  • Reception—whether that’s a white supremacist group interpreting a historiographical text to support their racist ideology, or a Black filmmaker interpreting a Greek tragedy as an act of political resistance—we want to talk about both the destructive and constructive potentials of reception and reception theory
  • Methods for using work in these fields for social justice purposes
  • Anti-racist work in the classroom, publishing, etc.
  • Current racism and inequity in our fields

This list is by no means exhaustive, and we are very open to highlighting a wide variety of topics. We are hoping to have 2 panels on the first day focusing on the ancient world, followed by a keynote speaker; then the second day will feature 2 panels focusing on the modern field, followed by a summative roundtable discussion. This obviously depends on the submissions we receive, but our goal is a relatively even distribution of work focusing on the ancient world and the modern. Papers should be around 15 minutes in length.

Please fill out this form to submit your 300-word abstract. Feel free to email brynmawrspeac@gmail.com with any questions or concerns. Abstracts are due by December 1st and we aim to get back to applicants by the middle of January.

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

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