CFP: Race and Racism: Beyond the Spectacular

Revised 7/30/20

As previously announced, Patrice Rankine and Sasha-Mae Eccleston will serve as guest editors of a future issue of TAPA with the theme of race, racism, and Classics (issue 153:1, to appear April 2023). Covid-19 and the global Movement 4 Black Lives have highlighted the extent to which racism is a public health emergency whose reach extends across the Black Atlantic and far beyond. In light of these deeply imbricated developments of 2020, this volume becomes even more timely. A detailed call for papers, along with instructions and deadlines for submission in 2021, follows.

Race and Racism: Beyond the Spectacular

 

…the “cultural logic” of lynching enables it to emerge and persist throughout the modern era because its violence “fit” within the broader, national cultural developments. This synchronicity captures why I refer to lynching as “spectacular”: the violence made certain cultural developments and tensions visible for Americans to confront.

Jacqueline Goldsby, A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature

 

The last few annual meetings of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) have been the staging ground for long overdue discussions about race and other marginalized identities within the discipline of Classics. These discussions have taken place in spectacular fashion, to borrow from Jacqueline Goldsby’s analysis of the cultural logic of lynching, a violent example of the pervasive yet less visible realities structuring American life. This heightened awareness of race and racism might be a new watershed, but it recalls the polarizing controversies that revolved around Bernal’s Black Athena during the culture wars of the 1980s and 90s. That is, having escaped notice for a time, Classical Studies is once again being made to confront its relationship to broader cultural developments. Through keynotes, presidential panels, award ceremonies, and gatherings of caucus groups, classicists have sought of late to counter the public and blatant acts of racism that have drawn the attention of outlets outside of the regular disciplinary orbit. SCS sessions such as Robin DiAngelo’s “white fragility” workshop have revealed the stability of majoritarian, white supremacist practices, exposing what minoritized members of the field have long known: spectacular acts of bigotry and endangerment are not exceptional, not a blip in the otherwise ‘civilized’ rhythms of scholarly life. They are better publicized iterations of everyday experiences.

For Classical Studies, the spectacular is also prismatic. Modern instantiations of whiteness, race, and racism project back onto the past, so that scholarship regularly and unremarkably advances the cultural logic. This logic likewise recurs in conversations about representational diversity and inclusion. The academy at large has only recently begun to systematically interrogate how professional routines normalize racism and racialize other forms of discrimination.  As a field, the Classics must also imagine a full-throated response to the realities of this discrimination in both its spectacular and mundane manifestations. 

This issue of TAPA intends to be a catalyst for transformative ideas regarding the reality of race and racism within all aspects of Greek and Roman Studies. We seek contributions that analyze and critically engage phenomena which have been considered unrelated to race, have been so familiar as to remain un-critiqued as spectacular, have not yet been brought to light, or that have tended to be avoided for being too disruptive of the disciplinary status quo. Rather than cordon off advances from other branches of scholarship, this issue welcomes reflections on Classical Studies from other disciplines. We remain attentive to the discipline’s self-declared roots in philology. But the scope of this endeavor demands that we also open ourselves up to other models of critique and to the insights that those models produce. To that end, scholars from fields with similar disciplinary trajectories, with research interests that dovetail with Classics, or whose work is assumed to have no relationship to race and/in the Classics are especially encouraged to submit abstracts.

We offer the following clusters of questions as non-exhaustive entry points into a longer conversation:

What, if any, is the semantic force of the term ‘Classical Studies,’ as opposed to other potential rubrics, e.g., Greek and Roman Studies, Mediterranean Studies, etc.? What is the force of ‘Classical Studies’ in relation to Indigenous Studies, Asian American Studies, Arab American Studies, Latinx Studies and so on?

Are there disciplinary transformations we might use as guides for an anti-racist restructuring of the field?

Though it is often posited as objective and therefore outside of or resistant to so-called 'cultural difference', how can philology and other formalisms shed the garb of objectivity to operationalize racial competence?

How has the elasticity of whiteness manifested in periods when the discipline of Classical Studies has been most self-conscious? Has the warm reception of postcolonial studies within the field obscured the relationship between Classical Studies and contemporary forms of imperial conquest, e.g., global markets, philanthropy and humanitarian relief in the Global South, and American educational expansionism?

How can critical approaches to work and other institutions—universities, prisons, the healthcare industry and so on—inform our understanding of the entanglements of our field and its practitioners? What coalitions does such an approach make possible, perhaps at both the local/regional and national levels?

Submission deadlines and instructions:

  • Articles for this issue should be submitted no earlier than August 1, 2021, and no later than January 1, 2022.
  • Submissions should be directed to the regular TAPA editor (tapa@uci.edu).
  • Contributors should consult the current TAPA guidelines for authors and style sheet.
  • All submissions will receive double-blind refereeing as is usual for TAPA.

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

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Faculty, their administrations, and non-profit organizations, including SCS, around the country are engaging in the necessary work of addressing racism within their institutions. In recognition of this work and in support of it, the Executive Committee of SCS is reiterating the board statement of June 3, 2020:

https://classicalstudies.org/scs-news/statement-police-brutality-systemic-racism-and-death-george-floyd

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Mon, 07/13/2020 - 2:30pm by Helen Cullyer.

In light of the present administration’s brazen disregard for facts and the public good, you’ve got to admire past leaders’ nonpartisan concern to preserve knowledge for the future. 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 07/10/2020 - 9:04am by Nandini Pandey.

The SCS Board has joined many other scholarly societies in endorsing this letter imploring the federal government to "reinstate the temporary visa exemptions for international students and faculty members while we are in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, including at least the Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 semesters."

You can read more at the link above.

If you want to take action, please consult the National Humanities Alliance's action alert on the issue here.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 07/09/2020 - 6:46am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers

February 27th, 2021

University of Florida (Gainesville, FL)

Fourth University of Florida Classics Graduate Student Symposium
Myths and Societies: A Cross-Cultural and Intertemporal Approach

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 10:33am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers

The Fourteenth Conference on Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World will take place in Jerusalem (Israel) from Sunday 20 June 2021 to Wednesday 23 June 2021. Classicists, historians, students of comparative religion, the Hebrew Bible, early Christian and Rabbinic traditions, as well as scholars in other fields with an interest in oral cultures are cordially invited.

The conference will follow the same format as the previous conferences, held in Hobart (1994), Durban (1996), Wellington (1998), Columbia, Missouri (2000), Melbourne (2002), Winnipeg (2004), Auckland (2006), Nijmegen (2008), Canberra (2010), Ann Arbor (2012), Atlanta (2014), Lausanne (2016), and Austin TX (2019). It is planned that the refereed proceedings once again be published by E.J. Brill in the “Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World” series.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 7:28am by Erik Shell.

Body and Medicine in Latin Poetry’, which will take place online on the 17th and 18th September 2020. 

The ongoing epidemic crisis brought forth by the spread of Covid-19 compels us to rethink the concepts of body and disease in light of  their effect on human nature, as well as seek new methods to cope with the sense of anxiety and vulnerability generated by such pandemic diseases. 

This conference will navigate the relationship between Medical Science and Humanities in Antiquity, with papers exploring how medicine can be integrated into poetry and how poetry, in turn, can propagate medical knowledge across various social classes and cultural contexts. Further to that, the conference will explore the extent to which such a relationship reflects our individual concerns about the validity and consistence of medicine as a science of the Human.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 07/06/2020 - 5:57am by Erik Shell.

Finishing my third trimester in the midst of a pandemic was not what I had planned for the last months of pregnancy. Since the Ides of March, we have sequestered ourselves in our house in Iowa City and cancelled any and all social gatherings––including the planned baby shower––as has almost everyone else across the globe. Although I lamented not being able to celebrate with family and friends in person, every day it seemed, small book-shaped cardboard boxes began to populate the front stoop. Their opening revealed that our academic friends had sent us their favorite books in hopes that reading to our little one might bring comfort, amusement, and maybe a little sleep into our lives. As her library began to grow with the reading selections of our fellow classicists, archaeologists, and university librarians, the broad selection of children’s books focused on the ancient Mediterranean became apparent.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 07/03/2020 - 9:28am by Sarah E. Bond.

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. This post centers on projects that promote emotional well-being and use Greek texts to facilitate conversations on current social justice issues, from New York to Chicago and San Francisco.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/26/2020 - 7:31am by .

Dear members (and past Annual Meeting participants),

After extensive research and discussion, AIA and SCS staff and officers have decided that the January 2021 Joint Annual Meeting scheduled to take place from January 7-10 in Chicago will now be a virtual event. We know that many of you were looking forward to attending paper sessions and other events, to seeing old friends and colleagues, and to making new connections and we recognize that a virtual event cannot substitute in many ways for a face-to-face experience. However, after full consideration of the public health risks and significant impact of COVID-19 on the ability of most of you to travel to and participate in a large conference in the upcoming months, AIA and SCS have decided that a virtual event is the most prudent course.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 06/25/2020 - 7:13am by Helen Cullyer.

In 2018, a group of scholars founded Mountaintop Coalition, an SCS-affiliated group with a shared interest in advancing the professional goals of Classicists who identify as members of ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in the field. Mountaintop’s activities focus on practical issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in professional settings.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/19/2020 - 8:30am by Samuel Ortencio Flores.

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