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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"Strolling through outer peristyle of the Getty Villa in Malibu, Calif., is about as close as you can get to time travelling. It’s easy to feel just like a Roman citizen discussing the affairs of the day while meandering through the gardens dotted with bronze statues or sitting at the edge of the 67-metre-long reflecting pool beneath a low-hanging sun. The only thing missing is the toga. While the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in southern Italy leave visitors to piece together in their own minds what the daily lives of Romans must have been like, the Getty Villa leaves very little to the imagination." Read more in the Toronto Star.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 12:05pm by Information Architect.

Mike Lippman, a professor of Classics at the University of Arizona, is featured in an article about marathon readings on Insidehighered.com.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 1:21pm by .

This Thursday's poem at 3 Quarks Daily is full of puns with a classical theme:

The Agamemnon Rag

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 1:13pm by Information Architect.

Read Mary Beard's review of two new books on Hannibal at The Times Literary Supplement.

View full article. | Posted in Book Reviews on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 1:09pm by Information Architect.

"Eric Dugdale, associate professor of classics at Gustavus Adolphus College, received the 2011 Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award on May 7 at the College’s Honors Day Convocation." Read more at the Gustavus Adolphus Blog.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:57am by .

The complete financial statement for fiscal year 2009 - 2010 is now available. Click here to download it as a pdf, or go to the Financial Statements page to view current and previous statements.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sun, 05/08/2011 - 4:07pm by .

Audiences are invited to get intimate with the action in the second instalment of a fresh take on Camus' 'Caligula.'

"As many countries in the world struggle to depose tyrants, a timely play is taking to a Bangkok stage, transporting audiences to ancient Rome to unseat an emperor who has just elected his horse as prime minister. Fancy a stab?" Read more in The Bangkok Post …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/08/2011 - 12:25am by Information Architect.

"'Heracles to Alexander the Great: Treasures from the Royal Capital of Macedon, a Hellenic Kingdom in the Age of Democracy' is as crowded with objects as its title is with ideas. The Ashmolean manages to cram in about 500 objects, discovered in the royal tombs and palaces of Aegae (modern-day Vergina in the north of Greece), most of which are being displayed for the very first time." Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 2:11am by Information Architect.

"The transformation of humans into monsters or animals is a standard feature of two great genres: classical Greek and Roman myth and American comic books. As those of us know who spent our childhoods and teenaged years greedily hoarding the latter, such transformations are only occasionally effected by a mere change of costume. Batman, for instance (introduced in 1939), is an ordinary Homo sapiens who simply dons his bat-like hood and cape when he wants to battle evildoers; his extraordinary powers are the fruit of disciplined intellectual and physical training. More often—and more excitingly—the metamorphoses occur at the genetic level. The Incredible Hulk, who debuted in 1962, is a hypertrophied Hercules-like giant, the Mr. Hyde aspect of an otherwise mild-mannered scientist named Bruce Banner, created during a laboratory accident involving gamma rays. Wolverine, one of the X-men, who sports lupine traits following his transformations, belongs to a despised race of “mutants” with remarkable powers. (The comic book series, now reincarnated as a hugely popular film franchise, debuted in 1963.)" Read more at The New York Review of Books.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 12:25am by Information Architect.

"Jeffrey Henderson, the University’s William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Greek Language and Literature and a world-renowned classics scholar, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)." Read the article at BU Today.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 12:21am by .

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