CFP: TAPA - Race and Racism: Beyond the Spectacular - Final Reminder

Final Reminder: Revised 9/23/21 with updated submission deadline of Friday, February 18, 2022.

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). Their detailed call for papers, along with submission instructions, follows.

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, this volume becomes even more timely.

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 papers.

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 February 18, 2022.
  • Submissions should be uploaded via the TAPA online submission system. Please add a note in the title field indicating that you submission is intended for this special issue.
  • Contributors should consult the current Style Sheet for Authors (revised July 13, 2021)
  • 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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A Black woman with short hair posed as Venus in Boticelli's Birth of Venus. She stands on an open seashell in the sea, and her body is adorned with patches of gold. On the right, a dark-skinned hand coming out of a white blouse holds an orange tapestry.

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative (AnWoMoCo), launched by the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiative, supports projects that seek to engage broader publics — individuals, groups, and communities — in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean, the global reception of Greek and Roman culture, and the history of teaching and scholarship in the field of classical studies. As part of this initiative, the SCS has funded 132 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. To date, it has funded projects in 28 states and 11 countries, including Canada, the UK, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 07/01/2022 - 10:52am by .
A white marble stele featuring two standing women and two seated women. The central standing woman holds the hand of the central seated woman.

With weary hearts, we consider with you what Classics can do in the face of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992). We bring you what we can from our own experience: Amy Richlin spent the 1990s teaching half in Gender Studies in the aftermath of the Reagan-Bush administration, when Planned Parenthood v. Casey was heard, and also taught Roman women’s history and sometimes Roman law during her years at USC and UCLA. Bruce Frier has been on the Faculty of the Michigan Law School since 1986 and has participated in numerous discussions and debates concerning Constitutional interpretation; he also chaired a Provostal Committee to improve the campus climate for LGBTQ+ faculty, students, and staff.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 06/29/2022 - 10:50am by .
A dark painting featuring men in togas. A number of men in the center wearing white togas reach towards an older man, seated in a brown toga. As they extend arms towards him, he pushes them away and looks aside.

This two-part series reflects upon AAPI experiences in Classical Studies. Part 1 is catalyzed by the author’s personal experience teaching race & ethnicity in antiquity in the context of the ongoing surge of anti-Asian violence in the country. Part 2 will reflect upon the shared experiences of students and scholars of Asian descent in Classical Studies through a series of interviews.

“Do you know about your Penn Law School colleague Amy Wax?,” a friend texted me in January, as the semester was starting.

“Blocked it out,” I thumbed back. I had, in fact, dimly seen the news, but the idea that a professor at the same university where I was excited to be newly teaching might be publicly rejecting the civic fitness of Asian Americans like me had, frankly, been too much to contemplate. “Good mental health strategy,” my friend responded dryly.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/27/2022 - 9:05am by .
A black-and-white image of the reverse of a diadrachm of Magas, dated 300–275 BCE, depicting the silphium plant, with a small crab on the right side and Greek letters interspersed in the branches of the plant.

I guess I should say “thank you.” Gratias vobis ago. Thank you to the Republican Party’s long game, a partisan SCOTUS, years of deliberate Democratic avoidance. You see, I’ve been wanting for a while to write a book about social control, forced reproduction, and their effects on real people living under an authoritarian government. Of course, I was planning to write about Augustan Rome. But with the Court’s decision yesterday, ending nearly 50 years of Roe (that is, legal abortion in America), I’ve got a great reception study. And in real time.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 06/25/2022 - 1:39am by .

The 2023 Alexander G. McKay Prize competition for the best new book in Vergilian studies is now open!

The Vergilian Society is pleased to announce the opening of the next competition for the Alexander G. McKay Prize for the best book in Vergilian studies. The prize, which is accompanied by a cash award of $500 or a life membership in the Vergilian Society (valued at $800), is awarded every other year to the book that, in the opinion of the prize evaluation committee, makes the greatest contribution toward our understanding and appreciation of Vergil or topics related to Vergil. Works of literary criticism, biography, bibliography, textual criticism, reference, history, archaeology, and the classical tradition are all eligible, provided that Vergilian studies represent a significant portion of the discussion. The current competition will cover books published during the years 2020 and 2021. The winner will be announced at the Vergilian Society session at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in New Orleans in January 2023. The authors of books being considered for the McKay Prize must be members of the Vergilian Society at the time their books are submitted; for new members or to renew memberships see https://www.vergiliansociety.org/memberships-and-donations.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/21/2022 - 11:44am by .

Symposium Cumanum – Call for Proposals for June 2023

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/21/2022 - 11:40am by .
A row of six people, all but one dressed in varied togas. Two of the men raise their right hands in an oratorical gesture. Above each person is the name of a character in the Phormio.

In a discussion of the concept of the “good slave” in her book Reconstructing the Slave: The Image of the Slave in Ancient Greece, Kelly Wrenhaven rightly argues that “representations of good slaves are as much a part of the rationalizing ideology of slavery as bad slaves, as both help to justify and reinforce the institution.” Examining enslaved nurses depicted on Athenian tombstones, Wrenhaven points out that, out of a total of 15 extant tombstones for nurses, nine include the word chreste. Other inscriptions further confirm the association between the adjective chrestos and enslavement. On a 4th-century tombstone from Thasos, a shepherd named Manes is described as chrestos tais despotais (“useful to his masters”). Enslaved people are also described with this adjective in Menander as well as in Greek tragedy. What we get from considering the adjective chrestos in these and other contexts, as Wrenhaven makes clear, is that “the positive qualities most often attributed to slaves are precisely those which were most useful in the context of slavery.”

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/20/2022 - 10:24am by .
A mosaic with a black background. The top reads SCA PERPETUA. Beneath that is a bust image of a woman in a circle. She has brown hair pulled back, wears gold robes, and has a gold saint halo around her head.

Last year, I published an edition of Perpetua’s Passio together with a group of students: Mia Donato, Carolyn Engargiola, Eli Gendreau-Distler, Elizabeth Hasapis, Jacob Nguyen, Siddharth Pant, Shamika Podila, Anna Riordan, and Oliver Thompson. I worried that a book with ten names in the byline would look like a monstrosity. I worried that, since nine of those names belong to students, people would dismiss it as a school project, of interest only to the parents of the students on the cover. Yet the book has been warmly received: reviewed in journals, adopted for classes, and most recently honored with the 2022 Ladislaus J. Bolchazy Pedagogy Book Award from CAMWS. I say this not to trumpet their work (though I’m certainly proud of it), but rather because I think it speaks to a question that is relevant to the wider scholarly world: what role can students take in academic research and publication?

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/13/2022 - 1:50pm by .
A screencap from Hypotactic.com showing the text of Catullus, Poem 1. The words in the second line are highlighted in different colors by syllable.

Hypotactic.com is a website that provides open-license metrical scansions for a broad range of Greek and Latin texts. The main project interface, while relatively simple in its design, supports the user in reading ancient texts metrically through a variety of customizable annotations. The user can toggle between various display formats, including the addition of macrons, scansion, and marks for foot-breaks and/or caesuras. Particularly helpful for reading aloud is the innovative option to apply color-coding that highlights metrical units (and elisions) without the need to consult a separate line of metrical annotations.

A screencap from Hypotactic.com showing the text of Catullus, Poem 1. The words in the second line are highlighted in different colors by syllable.

Figure 1: Clicking on a line reveals the metrical analysis.

In metrically complex texts, such as Plautus or Pindar, every line is annotated with its metrical identification (e.g., ia6 for iambic senarii), such that transitions between meters are obvious to the reader without having to consult a separate commentary.

A screencap showing text with annotations. One line is highlighted green and blue by syllable.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/10/2022 - 11:32am by .
TAPA Books Fanned

JOIN TAPA FOR A VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE

Join co-editors Joshua Billings and Irene Peirano Garrison, and editorial board members Catherine Conybeare, Lorenzo Garcia, and Nandini Pandey, for an open house via Zoom on June 15, 2022 @12:00 pm EDT.

Click Below to Register Now!

CLICK TO REGISTER

*Once you are registered you will receive a Zoom link 24 hours before the event and a reminder on the morning of June 15.

Open house attendees will learn about how to submit to TAPA, the peer review and editorial process, and particular areas of focus.

The Spring 2022 issue of TAPA is now out and that it includes scholarly articles and also short essays on Classics after COVID.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 06/07/2022 - 10:15am by .

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