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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"One of the best preserved sculptures from Roman antiquity is about to make its Washington, D.C., debut. Host Scott Simon reports the Capitoline Venus will go on display next Wednesday at the National Gallery of Art." Read or listen to the story at NPR.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 12:27pm by Information Architect.

"Listening to Cynthia Shelmerdine describe the writing on a Greek tablet from more than 3,000 years ago, it’s like she was looking over the scribe’s shoulder as he worked. She points out details and nuance of technique, the condition of the tablet and what it means, literally, and for the world of Greek archaeology." Read more …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 06/03/2011 - 3:58pm by Information Architect.

"An ancient Roman shipwreck nearly 2,000 years old may once have held an aquarium onboard capable of carrying live fish, archaeologists suggest." Read more at CBSNews.com.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/02/2011 - 5:37pm by Information Architect.

"The State College Area School District faces controversial choices about program reductions in next year’s budget. To meet this challenge the district administration recommended phasing out the four-year Latin program at State College Area High School beginning next year. But the vox populi — students, parents, and the community — vigorously defended the importance of Latin to high school education." Read more of Stephen Wheeler's letter here: http://www.centredaily.com/2011/05/05/2691912/proposed-changes-to-latin-miss.html#ixzz1O3aMAaLD.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/01/2011 - 7:05pm by Information Architect.

Princeton Classics major Veronica Shi delivered the traditional Latin oration at commencement ceremonies on May 31. Here is the text and translation of her Carmen Salutationis:

Salutatio

Habita in Comitiis Academicis Princetoniae
In Nova Caesarea prid. Kal. Iun.
Anno Salutis MMXI
Anno Academiae CCLXIV

Carmen Salutationis

quibus modis, quîs principiis, amans
Mater, salutem progeniem tuam?
    favete opus, Musae, novis ne
       nunc titubem pedibus rubescens!
nobis aratrix splendida messium
felixque dux, te, praesidium bonum,
    primam saluto, namque florent
       omnia lumine sub tuo; nec
vos nunc silebo, qui sapientia
tuentur Almam semper et omnibus
    Matrem; professoresque laudo
        filia grata scientiamque
eorum cano, quae discipulos alit
virtute, curis et patientia
    benignius: vobis pietas
        magna, amor altus et eruditus.
et vos, parentes: mane scholasticos
nos creditis, quos canticulo meo
   gaudere nunc vidistis: ecce
        spes modo perficimus decoras.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/01/2011 - 1:15pm by Information Architect.

The Winter 2011 Newsletter is now available for downloading as a pdf. It is also available online.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/25/2011 - 5:46pm by .

"Second-grader Joshua Jayne was decked out as a Roman centurion Tuesday, surrounded by classmates in bedsheets, as they visited ancient Rome in their own school cafeteria. Each year, Abington Christian Academy holds a living history day to give students a chance for hands-on learning, said school administrator Jan Wells." Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/students-visit-ancient-rome-without-leaving-clarks-green-classrooms-1.1152101#ixzz1NNOaWZx4

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 05/25/2011 - 1:56pm by Information Architect.

Princeton's web site has a nice story about Veronica Shi, a classics major, who will deliver the traditional Latin oration at commencement ceremonies on May 31. Read it online here.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 05/24/2011 - 6:02pm by Information Architect.

The Boston Globe published a nice remembrance of Ernst Badian today. Read it online here …

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 05/23/2011 - 11:38am by .

"In the Bulgarian seaside resort town of Sozopol, archaeologists have unearthed an ancient temple of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, the private television channel bTV Reported on May 18 2011. The finds were made at Cape Skamnii in the ancient town of Sozopol. Numerous statues and other artifacts have been found, indicating that the site was, indeed, a temple dedicated to Demeter and Persephone." Read more in The Sofia Echo

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 12:09pm by Information Architect.

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