Diversity and Equality

I should like to bring you up to date on the Society’s efforts to encourage the development of a more diverse profession of Classics. It is perhaps appropriate that I write these words in St. Louis, which has become one of the symbols of our nation’s failure to achieve equity in a diverse population. It might also, however, become representative of what can be achieved by people of very different outlooks and interests, working together for the common good. Last night, my daughter attended a meeting of a civic coalition devoted to reforming local governance; it framed its discussions, before an overflow audience, with the question, “Why does a region with world-class resources struggle to thrive?” Social justice groups and the Chamber of Commerce came together around the task of thinking through some practical approaches to fixing the extreme governmental fragmentation that has made St. Louis County notably ineffective in many domains, not least in the justice system.

Mutatis mutandis, a similar question was one of the driving forces behind parts of the reorganization of our Society’s committee structure about which I wrote earlier this year. The creation of a new Committee on Diversity in the Profession was part of our response to this challenge. Although our new bylaws and committee structure officially come into force only in January, I felt we should not wait to get this committee formed and given its charge. It is already at work by email conversation in advance of meeting in Toronto for the first time. 

One of the stimuli to the Board’s thinking, and now to the Committee’s work, was an essay sent me by Bob Connor, whose blog on liberal education, begun during his years as president of the Teagle Foundation, is a constant source of ideas and prod to the conscience (http://www.wrobertconnor.com/). Bob challenged the Society to take a more activist and thoughtful approach to the long-standing and persistent underrepresentation of African-Americans in Classics, and without offering a detailed blueprint, he pointed to directions he thought might be most productive and yet within the capabilities of a learned society like ours.  This paper will soon be available at Inside Higher Ed.  You can read it now here.

We should have no illusions that a small organization like the SCS can solve fundamental problems in American society. But the worst illusion would be that we can’t do anything to make it better. We can, and with your help we will. This matters to all of us, both because a diverse profession will be a better one and, above all, because our classical heritage belongs to all of humanity; it is not the possession of any national or ethnic group, and we should reject any attempt to use it against anyone.

Roger Bagnall

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Dear APA Friends:

I have learned from close colleagues in my field of Hellenistic poetry at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki of the dire situation of their resources: they have no funds whatever to buy books for their library. For one of the prominent European departments in Classics, this is a truly difficult situation: senior professors and young scholars alike are deprived of access to the most recent scholarship and bibliographies, namely our newly published books. The situation is particularly hard on the graduate students, of which the department has a flourishing number. I have sent them copies of the costly new Callimachus volumes in the past year, but feel I really should try to do more, which is why I appeal to all of us as a community. Please consider donating any new books that you can spare, perhaps gratis or author discounted copies. I am aware that there are many competing demands on this resource, from significant omaggi to the convenience (often significant) of having a copy for one’s home study and university office. But given the gravity of their situation, I appeal to all of us to reconsider our priorities at this time: remember, ὑπá½²ρ πάντων – our debt to Greece is not a small one.

Packages may be sent to:

Prof. Ioannis Tzifopoulos, Chairman

or

Prof. Aimilios Mavroudis, Head of Department

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Mon, 12/31/2012 - 6:59pm by .

For the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle rooms at the convention rate ($139/night plus tax) are no longer available at the Sheraton Seattle Hotel.  The convention rate is still available at the Grand Hyatt Seattle Hotel.  The Hyatt is less than a city block away from the Washington State Convention Center where most sessions take place and almost as close to the Sheraton where many committee meetings and receptions will be located.  The institutions conducting job interviews who have rented their own suites are all located in the Hyatt.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/18/2012 - 5:05pm by Adam Blistein.

I have posted the Association's audited financial statements for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2012.  I will discuss this report in my own Report of the Executive Director to be published at the end of this month, and I am happy to answer any individual questions that members may have. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/11/2012 - 6:43pm by Adam Blistein.

We have just posted the schedule of APA committee meetings and special events at the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 12/06/2012 - 2:56pm by Adam Blistein.

The Greek Ministry of Education is studying a plan to relocate the University of Patras Department of Philology (24 faculty members and highly ranked) to a new university in Kalamata (175 miles away) and blend it with other humanities programs, against the recommendation of a recent external review. The decision will be made on the 15th of this month. Those interested in seeing the petition against this action, which needs a minimum of 454 signatures to be accepted by the Ministry, will find it here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/department-of-philology-university-of-patras-keep-the-department-in-patras-stop-its-relocation

Jeffrey Henderson

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 12/05/2012 - 8:17pm by Adam Blistein.

The American Philological Association (APA) will present the following awards for 2012 at the Plenary Session of its 144th Annual Meeting in Seattle

Distinguished Service Awards (awarded occasionally for extraordinary service to the profession of classics and the American Philological Association)
Ward W. Briggs, Jr., University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC
David H. Porter, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, NY
Michael C. J. Putnam, Brown University, Providence, RI

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 12/04/2012 - 9:21pm by Adam Blistein.

As promised earlier, I have prepared the following summary of over 200 responses to my request for comments about the Board's proposal that we consider changing the name of the Association.  The Board now wishes to move to a public discussion phase that will inform its deliberations going forward.  Our Information Architect Sam Huskey has created a discussion forum so that all with an interest can exchange views and suggest or express preferences for specific names.  The forum can be accessed here after 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time) today (November 30).

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 11/30/2012 - 5:08pm by Adam Blistein.

The Departments of Classical Studies and Philosophy at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, Canada, are pleased to announce a new two-year M.A. in Ancient Philosophy, now accepting applications for September 2013. This program is aimed primarily at undergraduate students interested in pursuing ancient philosophy at the doctoral level. Western has one of the largest concentrations of faculty in the field, including five specialists in ancient philosophy and an additional four core members with areas of research related to Greek and Roman language and history. This interdisciplinary program is the only M.A. program of its kind in North America and only one of a handful of similar programs in the world.

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Wed, 11/28/2012 - 9:07pm by .

James J. O'Donnell of Georgetown University has been appointed Chair of the Board of Directors of the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) effective January 1, 2013.  Prof. O'Donnell has served the APA in many capacities including terms as President and as Vice President for Publications.  APA was a founding member of the ACLS in 1919.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 11/28/2012 - 8:40pm by Adam Blistein.

Over the last few days we have posted a great deal of new information about the upcoming annual meeting in Seattle.  In addition to information about registering for seminars (posted last week), you can now find abstracts of almost all papers to be presented at the meeting as well as information on special events at the meeting.  In the latter document please note especially that the President’s Reception on Saturday afternoon, January 5, will celebrate the successful conclusion of the Gateway Campaign.  The Board of Directors has therefore approved a larger budget for hors d’oeuvres and snacks at this event than has been the custom in recent years.  The Board urges all APA members to attend this celebration.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/27/2012 - 8:25pm by Adam Blistein.

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Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A.

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