The Erich S. Gruen Prize

THE ERICH S. GRUEN PRIZE

On behalf of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS), the Erich S. Gruen Prize Committee invites all graduate students in North America to enter the first annual competition for the best graduate research paper on multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean. This year the prize will be a cash award of $500. 

The prize is intended to honor Erich S. Gruen, renowned ancient historian and long-time Gladys Rehard Wood Professor of History and Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Gruen was born in Vienna in 1935 and came to the United States in 1939. He earned his B.A. at Columbia, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford where he achieved First Class Honours in Literae Humaniores (Ancient History and Philosophy), and received his Ph.D. from Harvard. Since then, he has become one of the most respected and beloved scholars in the field, making lasting contributions to our understanding of ethnicity, identity, and exchange in the multicultural ancient Mediterranean world. Professor Gruen has served on the dissertation committees of over one hundred Ph.D. students, and he continues to correspond with and support them long after graduation, as scholars and as people. He also touches the lives of countless other scholars across the world through his tireless traveling, mentorship, and service to the profession, including as president of the American Philological Association (now the Society for Classical Studies) in 1992. 

In honor of all these achievements, with the help of his former students, and in celebration of his 85th birthday in May 2020, the SCS Board has set up an award in order to celebrate Professor Gruen’s living legacy. We therefore invite high-quality papers treating any aspect of race, ethnicity, or cultural exchange as it pertains to the ancient Mediterranean by any student currently enrolled in a North American graduate program, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. A Prize Committee has been charged with selecting the most original and well-argued research paper to receive a cash award and public recognition by SCS. Membership in SCS and/or attendance at the annual meeting are not expected or required of any applicant.

The 2020 Gruen Prize Competition Guidelines

The deadline for submissions is October 9, 2020. Essays should not exceed the length of 30 pages, including notes but excluding bibliography and illustrations or figures. Text must be double-spaced in 12-point font with 1-inch margins; notes may be single-spaced and must be displayed as footnotes. Electronic submission via Google form is required unless prior arrangements have been made for good reason with the committee. Essays should be submitted in PDF format by direct upload using the Google form found here.

The Gruen Prize is intended to encourage new avenues of intellectual development and the graduate-level mentorship that supports and nurtures it. Submissions should therefore not be previously published, in full or in part, and authors who already have Ph.D. in hand by October 9, 2020, are ineligible. SCS reserves the right not to confer the prize in any year in which no suitable candidate is found. The winner of the 2020 Gruen Prize will be selected by a jury. Please direct to both Nandini Pandey (nandini.pandey@wisc.edu) and Kristen Seaman (kseaman@uoregon.edu) remaining questions regarding eligibility, requirements, submission, or other matters.

Support the Gruen Fund

SCS has established the Gruen Fund to support this important new prize. The initial value of the prize will be $500 and will be funded by spendable Annual Giving donations while SCS raises funds for an endowment to sustain the prize over the long term. It is hoped that fundraising will be sufficient to increase the value of the prize after the first five years. All other funds raised in this fiscal year will be invested in the endowment for long-term support of the prize. Donations can be made via this online form on the SCS website. SCS has received a challenge gift which will match all contributions made in 2020 up to a total of $10,000. SCS is a 501(c)3 public charity and donations may be tax deductible.

About Erich Gruen

Erich Gruen was born in Vienna in 1935 and came to the United States in 1939. He lived in Washington, D.C. before doing his undergraduate work at Columbia University. Erich spent 3 years at Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar where he achieved First Class Honours in Literae Humaniores (Ancient History and Philosophy) and then returned to the States to do his Ph.D. at Harvard University. After teaching for several years at Harvard, Erich took up his post at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught for over 40 years as a member of both the History and the Classics Departments, serving simultaneously as chair of the Group in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology. At Berkeley, he held the Gladys Rehard Wood Chair. He spent terms as a visiting professor at the University of Colorado, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Princeton University, Cornell University, Oxford University, the University of Minnesota, and Tel Aviv University. He also served as the Villa Professor at the Getty Center.

Erich has received many honors and awards. Although it is impossible to list them all, these honors include Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowships and appointments at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton and the Stanford Humanities Center. Erich has also given the Townsend Classical Lectures at Cornell University, the Semple Classical Lectures at the University of Cincinnati, and the Martin Classical Lectures at Oberlin. He has been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the Roman Society of Great Britain (Honorary Member), and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Erich was also awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Arts and Letters. U.C. Berkeley has honored Erich by appointing him Faculty Research Lecturer, awarding him a Distinguished Teaching Award, and giving him the Berkeley Citation for distinguished achievement and notable service to the University.

Erich has contributed major scholarship in three distinctly different areas – the Roman Republic, the Hellenistic world, and the Jews of the ancient Mediterranean, each one of these areas being the equivalent of a complete career for most scholars. His seminal book, The Last Generation of the Roman Republic, is so well known in the field that it is referred to affectionately as LGRR.  Other books that have cemented his reputation as an eminent scholar in his chosen fields include The Hellenistic World and the Coming of Rome (University of California Press, 1984) (received the James H. Breasted Prize), Culture and National Identity in Republican Rome (Cornell University Press, 1992), Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (University of California Press, 1998), Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans (Harvard University Press, 2004), Rethinking the Other in Antiquity (Princeton University Press, 2011), and Constructs of Identity in Hellenistic Judaism: Essays on Early Jewish Literature and History (De Gruyter, 2016). His new book, Ethnicity in the Ancient World: Did It Matter?, will be published in Fall 2020 (De Gruyter). In addition to his books, Erich has written over 100 articles and has given over 300 lectures and invited papers round the world.

Erich has also contributed to the Society for Classical Studies in major ways over the years. He served simultaneously on the Board of Directors and the Program Committee (1983-1986) when SCS was known as the APA, and he was Vice President for Programs (1987-1990), President-Elect in 1991, and President in 1992. He also served as a Vice-President for Professional Matters for the APA from 1997-2000. 

He has been on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Interdisciplinary History, the American Journal of Ancient History, California Studies in Classical Antiquity, and Classical Antiquity, and he was an editor of the very successful University of California Press series “Hellenistic Culture and Society.”   

However, what Erich is proudest of are the graduate students whom he has mentored over the years. Erich has supervised or served on the dissertation committees of over 100 students, and there are many others to whom he has given wise counsel. Erich’s pride and joy are the three full shelves of books written by his students.

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The Bridge, a digital humanities initiative out of Haverford College, allows users to generate customized vocabulary lists in both Greek and Latin. Bret Mulligan and a team of dedicated students have done an admirable job of adding texts to their database and are responsive to requests from users (both students and instructors). An accompanying blog helpfully documents the different updates as they are released, as well as a list of requested features, so users can get a sense of what’s in the works for The Bridge. Development has been funded both by Haverford College as well as by a Mellon Digital Humanities Grant and a program grant from the Classical Association of the Atlantic States (CAAS). There have also been collaborators from Bryn Mawr College and Laboratoire d’Analyse Statistique des Langues Anciennes (LASLA) at the Université de Liège, making this a model of a collaborative digital project that can draw on funding and labor from a number of institutions to create an open resource that helps all teachers and students.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 02/07/2020 - 6:37am by .

In 2020 the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) will again award the David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship for study and travel in classical lands.

The Fellowship is intended to recognize secondary-school teachers of Greek or Latin who are as dedicated to their students as the Coffins themselves by giving them the opportunity to enrich their teaching and their lives through direct acquaintance with the classical world.  It will support study in classical lands (not limited to Greece and Italy); the recipient may use it to attend an educational program in (e.g. American Academy, American School) or to undertake an individual plan of study or research. It may be used either for summer study or during a sabbatical leave, and it may be used to supplement other awards or prizes.

For full details and instructions please visit the David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship page. Materials must be received no later than February 27, 2020.

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 02/04/2020 - 12:35pm by Erik Shell.

Cultural Identity in Political Rhetoric: Past and Present

Society for Classical Studies 2021 Annual Meeting – January 7-10, Chicago, IL

Organizer: Tedd A. Wimperis (twimperis@elon.edu)

Rhetorical appeals to ethnic or civic identity were a mainstay of political discourse in the ancient Mediterranean. Arguments from cultural heritage and mythical kinship between peoples supported diplomatic negotiation; orators invoked values and traditions inherited from past generations to sway audiences; autocrats wove their personal iconography into the fabric of the “national story” to legitimize and authorize their power. Politically-guided ideations of identity were promoted through literature, art, architecture, coinage, and various forms of performance, and relied on effective appropriations of cultural symbolism and myth. Here and now in our own modern world, these kinds of discourse remain entrenched in political communication, from the extremes of ethno-nationalism to the commonplaces of campaign rhetoric, where appeals to “who we are” and “what our values are” appear explicitly and subtly in televised debates and hearings, tweets, billboards, and bumper stickers.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 02/04/2020 - 8:47am by Erik Shell.

“Koinonia” in Plato’s Philosophy

March 8-12, 2021
Pontifical Catholic University of Peru
Lima, Peru

Plato uses the term “Koinonia” in a wide variety of important ways.  It signifies the relation of the forms with each other as well as the relation we can have with them, but also both relations between individual people and between individuals and the community as a whole.  Although this term has been the object of intense scholarly scrutiny, many issues remain to be explored.  We will consider abstracts on any aspect of the subject, including the metaphysical, epistemological, social, and ethical dimensions of koinonia.

Submission guidelines:

1. Please submit titles and abstracts of 500 words (maximum), double-spaced, 12 point type, formatted for anonymous review

2. Name, Paper Title, Affiliation, Postal Address, Email Address included as an attachment in the email to which the abstract is sent

3. Abstracts can be in any of the IPS’s official languages: English, Spanish, German, Italian, French

4. Abstracts Submission Deadline: July 31, 2020.

5. All abstracts must be sent with the subject "IPS Mid-Term Meeting" to the following address: cef@pucp.edu.pe

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 01/31/2020 - 8:58am by Erik Shell.

On January 5, 2020, the SCS Board of Directors approved a name change for the Minority Scholarship in Classics and Classics Archaeology. The scholarships will now be known as the Frank M. Snowden Jr. Undergraduate Scholarships. The name change was recommended by President-Elect Shelley P. Haley and the SCS Committee on Diversity in the Profession.

The new name honors Frank M. Snowden Jr., the renowned black classicist, chair for many years of the Howard Classics Department, and author of Blacks in Antiquity, which won the Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit in 1973. Prof. Snowden was also a recipient of the National Humanities Medal and was elected by the SCS (then APA) membership to the position of second Vice President, serving in that role in 1983-84. According to the cursus honorum at the time, Prof. Snowden should have become President in 1986. However, he had to step down owing to poor health, which was a huge loss to the organization and the profession. You can read a full biography of Professor Snowden here.   

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 01/30/2020 - 9:49am by Helen Cullyer.

The tale of Orpheus and Eurydice has long been a popular myth in music, drama, literature, and film. Anais Mitchell’s recent musical sensation Hadestown (which was workshopped from 2006 and had an off-Broadway debut during the 2017-18 season) is but one example of the reworking of the legendary love story. Although Mitchell’s musical is broadly defined as a folk opera, it is just the latest instance amongst many pop culture reinterpretations of the Orpheus myth across different musical genres. The tragic tale of a famed musician who traveled to the underworld to retrieve his love from the grips of death has inspired several musicians during the 1990s and the 2000s. Many of these retellings have engaged with one of the most important themes of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth: the power of music and art to provide salvation.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 01/30/2020 - 9:29am by .

Please see our 2021 Annual Meeting page for a number of calls for abstracts from our affiliated groups, organizers of organizer-refereed panels, the Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance, and the Committee on Translations of Classical Authors.

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(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/27/2020 - 5:45pm by Helen Cullyer.

Call for Abstracts: Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy

Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting, Jan 7–10, 2021

Curtis Dozier, director of Pharos: Doing Justice to the Classics (pharosclassics.vassar.edu), invites the submission of abstracts on any aspect of the relationship of Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy. Selected abstracts will form a proposal for a panel on the topic to be held at the 2021 Society for Classical Studies annual meeting in Chicago, IL (Jan 7–10, 2021). If the SCS Program committee accepts our proposed panel, the Vassar College Department of Greek and Roman Studies will offer panelists who do not have tenured or tenure-track positions a $500 stipend toward the cost of attending the conference. Pharos is also offering a research service for those interested in preparing abstracts but who prefer not to visit White Supremacist websites (on which see below).

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/27/2020 - 11:46am by Erik Shell.

Flavian Sicily: An Academic Conference and Tour of Ancient Sites

Organizers: Antony Augoustakis and Joy Littlewood

Exedra Mediterranean Center
Syracuse, Sicily, 22-27 October 2020

Southern Italy and Sicily (including nearby islands) are featured in Flavian literature, most prominently Silius Italicus’ Punica among others, as places with a rich Greco-Roman history, exceptional fertility, and idyllic landscapes. This conference builds on many recent conferences on Flavian literature and published volumes (e.g., Campania in the Flavian Poetic Imagination, Oxford 2019) and aims to explore the representation and significance of the region in the literature of the period (69-96 CE). The goal of this conference is to bring scholars to Siracusa to discuss these works of literature and visit the sites mentioned and celebrated in our sources. Our conference will take place at the Exedra Mediterranean Center, adjacent to the Piazza Duomo on Ortigia. It will include academic presentations as well as visits to the archeological park and museum and various other sites in the city. We will also enjoy traditional Sicilian hospitality, with group dinners and catered lunches featuring local specialties.  At the conclusion of the conference, an optional tour of relevant sites will include Enna and Piazza Armerina, Agrigento, and Selinunte.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/27/2020 - 8:39am by Erik Shell.

In addition to presenting the latest research on Greco-Roman antiquity and the ancient Mediterranean, attendees at the SCS annual meeting have increasingly had the opportunity to discuss other important issues such as the history of Classics as a field; systemic concerns and directions for the future; and ways to make the field more accessible to people from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. The SCS has recently also incorporated into the annual meeting lectures by influential artists and writers whose work draws on, adapts, and interprets ancient Greek and Roman texts for the broad public. Luis Alfaro, the Chicano playwright and performance artist, spoke about his adaptations of Greek tragedy during the 2019 annual meeting in San Diego, while this year in Washington, D.C., Madeline Miller, writer of best-selling novels Circe (2018) and Song of Achilles (2012), discussed imaginative takes on Homer’s epics. Their contributions to the field indicate the value in seeking out conversations with those who engage with the Greek and Roman worlds outside the Classics classroom.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:00pm by .

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