CFP: Specialized Labor in Classical Antiquity

Specialized Labor in Classical Antiquity: Economy, Identity, Community

May 14-15, 2021, Zoom Webinar

Keynote Speakers: David Hollander (Iowa State University) and Lynne Kvapil (Butler University)

The notion of ‘specialized labor’ informs research on economic growth in antiquity, ancient slavery, urbanism, philosophical discussions of craft and knowledge, and so much more. But what is specialized labor? In what contexts did it exist in classical antiquity, and why? What were its economic consequences, and how did its existence shape discourses concerning work, knowledge, and identity? Who were the people performing this labor, and what impact did it have on their lives?

The past decade has seen a surge in interest about the lives of workers both in the ancient Mediterranean and beyond. From in-depth case studies (such as Flohr 2013; Tran 2013) to expansive volumes (Verboven and Laes, eds. 2017; Stewart, Harris, and Lewis, eds. 2020) and dedicated conferences, there is an increasing awareness of and interest in what labor looked like in classical antiquity. This conference will join that conversation. Specialized labor provides an approach to understanding labor that bypasses the valuation of labor as ‘skilled’ or ‘unskilled’ by focusing more closely on the division of labor rather than its social prestige. Charcoal burners and mosaicists alike may be specialists, for all the differences in their professional lives.

For our upcoming online conference, “Specialized Labor in Classical Antiquity,” we invite graduate students and other early career scholars from Classics, Archaeology, Ancient History, Anthropology, and related disciplines to join us in investigating the role of specialized labor in Classical antiquity. In addition to discussions of specific professions, possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Definitions of specialized labor, both in antiquity and developed by modern scholars

  • Ancient attitudes towards specialized labor or laborers in literary, documentary, epigraphical, and visual sources

  • Tools and technologies which enable and define specialized labor

  • Agricultural work and urbanism

  • Personal and communal identities

  • Education and training

  • Specialized labor and religion/magic

  • Free(d) and enslaved labor

While this conference is centered on the Greco-Roman world(s), proposals may also include comparative research and/or research which interrogates the framework of the conference itself. The conference will be conducted as a Zoom webinar. Each session will consist of 3-4 prerecorded papers followed by time for a question/answer session.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words (excluding bibliography) by January 13th, 2021 to specializedlabor.classics@gmail.com. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length. Please include in the email your name, affiliation, and contact information. The abstract itself should be anonymous. Be sure to include any audio-visual needs in this email. Questions may be sent to the same email. Successful applicants should expect to hear back from conference organizers by February 5th, 2021.

Email: specializedlabor.classics@gmail.com

Twitter: @LaborClassics21
Organizers: Elliot Wilson (eawilson@princeton.edu), Selena Ross (selena.ross@rutgers.edu), Kate Stevens (katharine.stevens@rutgers.edu)

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Text reads "Ego, Polyphemus, a Latin novella by Andrew Olimpi." A blue sky behind an upside-down image of a bald man with gray skin, wearing a black one-shoulder garment, with a single eye in the middle of his forehead.

The sudden rise of Latin novellas might come as a surprise to anyone outside of high-school classrooms. This genre, which didn’t exist seven years ago, now counts over a hundred published works. These novellas are largely written by and for those outside the world of higher ed, but they should be of interest to the larger scholarly community—not just because they will increasingly form the background and expectations of Latin students coming into college, but also because they are one part of a larger pedagogical movement that is in the midst of transforming the teaching of Latin.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 09/07/2021 - 10:18am by .

(Provided by the department at William & Mary)

Chancellor Professor Emeritus of Classical Studies Julian Ward Jones Jr. passed away on August 28, 2021. He was born on July 11, 1930, at Essex County, Virginia and grew up in Fredericksburg. He graduated in 1948 from James Monroe High School as valedictorian. He read Latin at the University of Richmond. During the period 1953-1955, he served as a dental technician in the US Army at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and still found time to read Homer. He pursued a PhD in Classics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he met his wife, Liz, about whom he had written, “the most brilliant linguist I ever knew.” After two years of teaching at Ohio State University, he accepted a position as Associate Professor at William & Mary in the Department of Ancient Languages in 1961. In his long career at W&M, Professor Jones served as Chair of the Department for over ten years and was instrumental in revising its curriculum and renaming it as the Department of Classical Studies. He also served as the President of several important professional organizations, including the Classical Association of Virginia, the Southern Section of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, and the Mediterranean Society of America.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Thu, 09/02/2021 - 9:56am by Erik Shell.

Seventh Interdisciplinary Symposium on the Heritage of Western Greece

Paideia and Performance”

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 09/02/2021 - 9:53am by Erik Shell.
Roman civilians examining the Twelve Tables after they were first implemented.

Omnia mutantur, nos et mutamur in illis. The Society for Classical Studies’ Communications Committee has approved a few changes to the SCS Blog guidelines, and we thought we’d get the word out about a couple consequential ones.

First, anonymous and pseudonymous posts are no longer strictly out of the question. The new bottom line:

The SCS Blog does not, as a rule, post anonymous content, meaning content written and submitted by one or more authors whose identities are unknown even to the editors of the blog. However, we are aware that there are situations where someone(s) might have valuable insight to share but not be able to do so out of concerns for retaliation or professional repercussions.

We expect anonymous/pseudonymous posts will be rare; in cases where authors seek anonymity/pseudonymity, we have adopted a consent-based confidentiality policy detailed in full on the guidelines page.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 09/02/2021 - 9:27am by T. H. M. Gellar-Goad.
Hephaestus returns to Olympus riding a donkey and carrying hammer and tongs. He is led by Dionysus, who bears a thyrsos (pine-cone tipped staff) and drinking cup.

Content warning: disability slurs & ableist language

As our culture changes, so, too, does the language that we use. This post is an invitation to discuss what is, at present, a culturally appropriate approach to language for writing or teaching about disability in the ancient world. We must always reflect on the importance of language and strive to learn the best practices for acknowledging the lives of the subjects of our research. At the same time, we must show due respect to our disabled colleagues and students. Our choice of language is important because, statistically speaking, you already have disabled colleagues and students. This is not an issue for other people or another time, but for all of us, disabled and nondisabled, right now.

This is a work in progress, but our goals are threefold: to demystify the language around disability; to encourage you to consider the ways that your language can humanize or dehumanize disabled people, ancient and modern; and to bring new voices to the discussion.

Language and Culture

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 08/30/2021 - 10:18am by .

The Newberry Library invites interested individuals who wish to utilize the Newberry's collection to apply for their many fellowship opportunities in 2022-2023:

The Newberry Library's long-standing fellowship program provides outstanding scholars with the time, space, and community required to pursue innovative and ground-breaking scholarship. In addition to the Library's collections, fellows are supported by a collegial interdisciplinary community of researchers, curators, and librarians. An array of scholarly and public programs also contributes to an engaging intellectual environment.

Long-Term Fellowships are available to scholars who hold a PhD or other terminal degree for continuous residence at the Newberry for periods of 4 to 9 months; the stipend is $5,000 per month. Applicants must hold a PhD or equivalent degree by the application deadline in order to be eligible. Long-Term Fellowships are intended to support individual scholarly research and promote serious intellectual exchange through active participation in the fellowship program. The deadline for long-term fellowships is November 1.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 08/26/2021 - 3:18pm by Helen Cullyer.
Header image: Telemachus and Mentor in the Odyssey. Ilustration by Pablo E. Fabisch for Aventuras de Telémaco by François Fénelon, 1699. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Organizing a mentorship program was a crucial directive from the earliest days of the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus. The founding members envisioned building a vibrant community of APIDA (Asian Pacific Islander Desi American) scholars. Kelly Nguyen, an IDEAL Provostial Fellow at Stanford University and the AAACC’s original Mentorship Coordinator, had been shocked to discover that so many other APIDA classicists even existed. “As we set about to establish the AAACC, we always knew that we wanted the organization to be about community building, but one of the main challenges was finding that community,” she said. “We, the founders, had been surprised to even find each other after all these years of often being the only Asian in the room.” The creation of a mentorship program was important in breaking down the isolation experienced by so many APIDA scholars. “So we set out to fix this visibility issue by creating a strong network of APIDA classicists,” Nguyen recounted. “We thought that one of the best ways to do this [wa]s through a mentorship program where people could form meaningful relationships.”

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 08/23/2021 - 10:09am by .

FemClas 2022, the eighth quadrennial conference of its kind, has been rescheduled from its original dates (delayed by the pandemic) and will now take place on May 19–22, 2022, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, at the invitation of the Wake Forest University Department of Classics and Department of Philosophy.  **Virtual presentation and attendance is supported, as well.**  The conference theme is “body/language,” broadly construed, and papers on all topics connected to feminism, Classics, Philosophy, and related fields are welcome.

This conference focuses on the use of the body and/or language to gain, lose, contest, or express power and agency in the ancient Mediterranean world.  Bodies and words, at both the physical and the conceptual levels, can exert disproportionate, oppositional, or complementary forces.  Both have the power to transform their surrounding environments significantly.  Yet there is a problematic dichotomy between body/physicality and language/reason, a problem long noted by philosophers, literary theorists, and social historians. FemClas 2022 seeks to contest, blur, and even eradicate these boundaries through papers, panels, and other programming that promotes interdisciplinary exploration of the ancient world.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 08/20/2021 - 11:44am by Helen Cullyer.
CFP: Forwards and Backwards in Ancient Portraiture (College Art Association, Chicago, 16-19 February, 2022)
 
View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 08/16/2021 - 1:28pm by Erik Shell.
Fra Mauro map of the world. A circular map depicting Asia, Africa, and Europe.

For this installment of the SCS Blog, Chris Waldo asked Nandini Pandey and Ethan Ganesh Warren to compare notes about their experiences as South Asians in classics. Ethan, a current classics Ph.D. student at UT Austin, started Latin at the Brookfield Academy in Wisconsin and earned a B.A. from Rochester. Nandini is currently transitioning to a position at Johns Hopkins after seven years as an Associate Professor of Classics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She and Ethan first met years ago over coffee in Madison. This transcript has been lightly edited for length and clarity.

Nandini: Ethan, it’s a great pleasure to get to speak to you today…because you and I first interacted in 2018. You’d grown up in Wisconsin, and you were finishing your undergrad at Rochester, and you had just read an article of mine on Eidolon on “turning the tables on dominance and diversity in Classics.” And it meant so much to me that you reached out.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 08/16/2021 - 9:44am by .

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