James Werner Halporn (January 14, 1929 — November 13, 2011)

Jim Halporn was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island and carried his accent from there for his whole life — much of it spent far from there. His mother Louisa taught English in the public schools. His father Robert brought much of the influence of his Gymnasium education and Viennese values to educating his son. (Much later, in retirement, Robert moved to Bloomington, where he took a number of Latin and Greek classes with his son’s Indiana University colleagues.)

After a year at St. John’s College, Jim entered Columbia College with the full intention of becoming a chemist, despite his strong interest in literature — from childhood he was a constant reader of anything at hand. That interest, the year at St. John’s, and the first-year humanities courses at Columbia influenced his decision by his senior year to major in classics rather than chemistry. He then concentrated on Latin and started Greek in order to prepare for the Masters degree program at Columbia; following that, he earned his Ph.D. at Cornell. His previous scientific training and inclination gave him a discipline and focus that was an asset to his linguistic and philological future. While at Columbia, he was coxswain for the junior varsity crew. Chosen for his very lightweight physique, his winter training consisted of smoking and playing cards while the oarsmen worked out. He was bemused to have earned a letter in the sport.

Jim's experiences – both as a student and as a teacher of the Columbia humanities core — informed his teaching style and expectations throughout his career. He liked to talk, and he liked to provoke or elicit discussion from his students. Jim had studied under Gilbert Highet, that gifted teacher and scholar of the classics, and thought he had his best lessons in how to teach from him. One of his undergraduate students says, “He was an amusing and very engaging teacher — unsentimental, shrewdly critical, and just. He took pleasure in his students’ peculiarities, and never pressed us into a conventional mold.”

When Jim entered the field of classics his interests were more philological than literary and he edited the text of Cassiodorus' treatise De Anima for his dissertation. This set him on the course of study of early Church Fathers and late antiquity that dominated his research activity. He often strayed into other areas of classics, however, during a distinguished career as a Latin scholar at Indiana University where he taught from 1960 to 1993 and served as chair from 1985 to 1993. As scholar, Jim made significant contributions in three areas: editions and translations of works by Cassiodorus; Latin meter; and Roman comedy. 

His edition of De Anima by Cassiodorus is still the standard edition, quoted by everyone who has occasion to mention Cassiodorus and the remarkable age of Theoderic. In retirement he completed his translation of Cassiodorus’ Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning and On the Soul. Two months before his death he submitted a detailed and positive review of a work on Cassiodorus to a grateful university press editor. It must have given him satisfaction to be recognized as the reigning expert in this area, and to feel that with that report he was passing the torch to a worthy scholar of the next generation.

Of his work on metrics, the best known to several generations of grateful students at all levels is the clear and succinct co-authored handbook The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry. The contributions of Jim and Martin Oswald to that work were translated into German in 1962 as Lateinische Metrik; the rubric beneath the title — Berechtigte Übersetzung aus dem Amerikanischen — must have amused him as a linguist.

Jim’s interest in Roman comedy may have been inspired in part by his maternal grandfather, a Yiddish playwright, who played scenes with him as a young child. Jim passed his expertise in that area down to the graduate students whom he taught, including Sander Goldberg — Jim supervised his special author work on Terence and his dissertation on Menander.

Jim left deep impressions on other graduate students he taught and supervised. John Wright, another of his Ph.D. students, credits Jim with turning him into a scholar —  “it's all thanks to him.” From his experiences as an M.A. student, Brent Froberg recalls that Jim “gave our written work the kind of sandpapering that it needed so that we could write clear, persuasive prose.” While that “sandpapering” sometimes drew blood, metaphorically, both in the heavily red-penned results and in battered egos, those who persevered emerged with polished work, which led in turn to jobs, publications, and successful careers.

In the mainframe era of computers (1960s), Jim explored their use in the humanities but was often critical of some of the early applications which he considered too crude for the useful analysis of literary texts. He was, however, quite impressed by the sophisticated digital tools that now support classical scholarship. At the last APA meeting he attended, he discovered electronic devices on display among the publishers' exhibits. He heard Virgil being read on an iPod and bought one immediately after returning home. Following that, he embraced all things “i” and loaded his devices with apps. 

After retiring from Indiana University, Jim moved with his wife Barbara to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was head of the Widener Library’s Collection Development Department. He was actively involved with the Harvard Classics Department as an adjunct professor for almost twenty years, attending talks and conferences, serving on the committee of at least one doctoral student, participating faithfully in a number of graduate seminars, catching up with journals in the Smyth Classical Library, and attending monthly faculty-student lunches, including the one in October, weeks before his death.

A voracious reader since childhood, a haunter of large research libraries since college — how fitting that he was able in retirement to spend so many pleasant and satisfying days in the Widener stacks!

Submitted by Betty Rose Nagle, his student and then colleague at Indiana (heavily indebted to the eulogy delivered at his memorial service by Kathleen Coleman, to the recollections of his wife of 51 years, Barbara, and of several graduate students whom he taught and supervised).

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Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants, January – April 2020

Some of our short-term fellowship and Classics Everywhere award winners are deferring use of their awards until Fall 2020 or 2021 owing to COVID-19. However, we congratulate everyone who was awarded a scholarship, fellowship or grant this spring, and we thank our selection committees for their hard work.

TLL Fellowship:

Amy Koenig

Pearson Fellowship:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

Please see below a message from the SCS President, followed by a listing of 2020 graduates:

With in-person celebrations ruled out by the coronavirus pandemic, the Society for Classical Studies is proud to recognize the many graduates at all levels across North America who have chosen to make serious and sustained study of the ancient Mediterranean world a significant part of their education.  For those who are earning PhD’s, we welcome the new contributions to knowledge that each of you has made, and we pledge our support and guidance as you negotiate an even more challenging professional landscape than you signed up for.  We warmly salute all degree-recipients who are pursuing careers in the vital enterprise of K-12 education.  For those who are going in other directions, we take great satisfaction in the variety of paths you will be following.  We hope the classical world will remain an important part of your lives, and we invite you to visit our website, read our blog, and join the SCS as “Friends of Classics.”  And we count on you as lifelong advocates for the value of studying Greco-Roman and ancient Mediterranean history and culture: please take every opportunity to spread the word that the ancient world still presents us with new questions to investigate and with multiple points of reference for thinking through our present-day concerns.  Heartfelt congratulations to all!

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

The Arabic and Latin Glossary (hereafter al-gloss) is a free, online dictionary of the vocabulary used by medieval translators, primarily working in eleventh- to thirteenth-century Italy and Spain, to render the Arabic versions of Greek scientific and philosophical texts and original Arabic compositions into Latin. It is parallel, in terms of its scholarly goals and methodology, to the database Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum (hereafter gloss-ga), which is also run out of Germany but by a different team. In this review, I will refer to gloss-ga because it offers a point of comparison for assessing al-gloss’ editorial decisions and accessibility.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/22/2020 - 3:23pm by .
Books

Loeb Classical Library Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Classics

2021-2023

The Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library Foundation announce funding of four two-year postdoctoral fellowships to be held in the academic years 2021–2023. [A further four fellowships will be funded for the academic years 2022–2024] The details for the first round of competition for these fellowships are as follows:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 2:30pm by Helen Cullyer.

Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A. in Education Policy from NYU. Erik has been working part-time on his degree while working full-time for SCS in many roles. He runs the the Placement Service, works on social media and our website, coordinates our departmental membership program, edits video, and does so many other things. Thank you, Erik, for everything you do for SCS and its members, and congratulations on a well-deserved Masters degree!

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/20/2020 - 8:09am by Helen Cullyer.

Have you ever thought about a terminal MA in Classics?

I have to confess, I hadn’t before coming to teach at Boston College, where we have such a graduate program. I had firsthand experience with Classics BAs in colleges that only granted undergraduate degrees, BAs and MAs in PhD-granting departments — heck, even a combined BA/MA program. But a freestanding MA degree that was a purposeful end goal rather than an add-on, an along-the-way, or a no-more-thanks? It never crossed my mind. To judge from the conversations that I’ve had since joining a department with a terminal MA program, I think that’s true of a lot of Classics faculty, as well as for a lot of students. And I also think that has led to some unfortunate misunderstandings about terminal MAs and their contributions, both to the field as a whole and to the personal and professional development of individual students.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/15/2020 - 8:26am by Christopher Polt.

Barbara K. Gold is Edward North Professor of Classics at Hamilton College, Emerita. She received her B.A. at the University of Michigan in 1966, her master’s degree in 1968 and her doctorate in 1975, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on Greek and Roman literature, particularly Roman elegy, lyric, and satire; medieval literature, culture, and history; Roman social history; women in the ancient world; and feminist criticism. A prolific author and recipient of numerous grants and awards, Professor Gold was the first woman editor of The American Journal of Philology from 2000 to 2008 and is currently Vice President for Professional Matters of the Society for Classical Studies. She has also served on numerous college committees and was Associate Dean of Faculty at Hamilton College (1997-2001).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/08/2020 - 5:01am by Claire Catenaccio.

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. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/07/2020 - 6:55am by Erik Shell.

(From Anthony Preus and Caleb Cohoe)

Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy Network Facebook group has been set up as a forum for scholars working in any area of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, from Thales of Miletus through to Boethius and Byzantium. All members are encouraged to share ancient philosophy related events, questions, books and articles (including their own), and teaching materials. Any scholar with an interest in ancient philosophy, whatever their academic discipline, is welcome to join. Caleb will generally be able to respond to membership requests within 24 hours. 

He'll still be posting events and other key information on my ancient philosophy events calendar. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/06/2020 - 12:52pm by Erik Shell.

(Sent by the National Humanities Alliance on May 5, 2020)

As Congress considers additional COVID-19 stimulus funding packages, we are once again calling on you to advocate for additional relief funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

While we are very grateful for the $75 million awarded to the NEH in the CARES Act, currently available funding will cover only a fraction of the needed assistance.

Humanities educators and organizations across the country continue to face intense strains as they try to meet the growing needs of their communities. Whether it's humanities programming that connects people, scholars contributing to public discourse about the pandemic, or archives that have made a quick pivot to preserve artifacts of this moment, the humanities are proving crucial to community life.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/05/2020 - 3:11pm by Erik Shell.

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

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