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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A yellowed manuscript page with Ancient Greek script written on it, with large margins and a letter M drop cap at the beginning.

When I learned that I would be teaching my department’s graduate Greek survey in Fall 2021, I promptly burst into tears. The assignment was not what I was expecting; more painfully, it brought up all the barely suppressed memories of my own survey experience.

In one sense, that experience had been a success. It transformed me from a glacially slow reader of Greek into a slightly faster one, familiar with a range of authors and genres and capable of passing my Greek qualifying exam. It also left me with an enduring sense of inferiority, even fraudulence. I didn’t make it through a single one of our assignments (the standard 1,000 lines per week). I never felt in command of the language or my own learning. The fact that I had improved seemed more like a happy accident than an effect of the curriculum, let alone something I could be proud of. For years afterwards, even post-graduation, I would wake up wondering how many lines I had to read that day and then calculate by how far I would fail.

This might seem like an extreme reaction, but from what I can tell, it’s not uncommon. Greek and Latin Surveys, the foundation of Classics graduate curricula in the US, leave many people feeling ashamed of their language skills.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 08/09/2022 - 12:51pm by .

Program of the 1st IConiC Conference

Audience Response in Ancient Greek and Latin Literature 

02-03 September 2022  

https://sites.google.com/uoi.gr/iconic 

Via Ms Teams 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 08/09/2022 - 11:50am by .

Directed by Christopher Bungard

Erin Moodie translator 

The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance (CAMP) presents a script-in-hand reading of a new translation by Erin Moodie of Terence’s Phormio. The African born Terence often gets short shrift when it comes to ancient drama, but he is tremendously influential in the history of western theatre.  

View full article. | Posted in Performances on Sun, 08/07/2022 - 1:45pm by Helen Cullyer.

Kairos in ancient arts and techniques

Submission deadlines:

October 1, 2022 (Title & Abstract)
April 30, 2023 (Text)

Vol. 11, Issue 2, 2023 

Edited by Giada Capasso & Alessandro Stavru

The international Journal Thaumàzein devotes a special issue to the relationship between kairos and the techniques in Graeco-Roman antiquity.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 08/03/2022 - 10:24am by .

August 15 is the final abstract deadline for A Conference on Homer in Sicily, October 5-8 with a Homer-themed post-conference tour October 9-10, 2022

Keynote Speakers: Jenny Strauss Clay (Virginia) and Stamatia Dova (Hellenic College and CHS)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 08/02/2022 - 2:47pm by .
A fresco with a red background. In the middle is a circle, in which a young man reads a papyrus scroll.

This is Part 3 of a three-part series. Find Part 1 and Part 2 here.

There is nothing ideologically neutral about grades, and there is nothing ideologically neutral about the idea that we can neatly and tidily do away with grades. We can't simply take away grades without re-examining all of our pedagogical approaches, and this work looks different for each teacher, in each context, and with each group of students.

— Jesse Stommel, “Grades are Dehumanizing

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 08/01/2022 - 3:33pm by .

The following obituary is reposted from legacy.com.

You can read the original posting at this link.

"We collectively mourn the loss of Dr. Corinne Ondine Pache, Professor of Classical Studies and a cherished member of the Trinity University community, who ended her battle with cancer on July 20, 2022. Corinne was an accomplished scholar, revered teacher and mentor, and terrific friend to many all over the globe. She will be sorely missed.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Wed, 07/27/2022 - 2:19pm by .
A mosaic featuring a group of men in togas, variously sitting and standing outdoors. Some are reading, while others engage in conversation.

This is Part 2 of a three-part series. Find Part 1 and Part 3 here.

Only by abandoning traditional grading and performance assessment practices can we achieve our ultimate educational objectives.

Alfie Kohn

Tradition in Classics is powerful. When the three of us started teaching as graduate students, we drew on our experiences as undergraduates in the many Classics courses we had taken, particularly when it came to assessing students. This is not a bad thing! We all need to start somewhere while we are growing as educators. Nevertheless, it was difficult for us to imagine, for instance, teaching Latin without traditional assessment practices (such as high-stakes tests), because that’s how we were taught.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 07/25/2022 - 10:03am by .

The National Humanities Center invites applications for academic-year or one-semester residential fellowships. Mid-career, senior, and emerging scholars from all areas of the humanities with a strong record of peer-reviewed work are encouraged to apply. Scholars from all parts of the globe are eligible; stipends and travel expenses are provided. Fellowship applicants must have a PhD or equivalent scholarly credentials. Fellowships are supported by the Center’s own endowment, private foundation grants, contributions from alumni and friends, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Located in the vibrant Research Triangle region of North Carolina, the Center affords access to the rich cultural and intellectual communities supported by the area’s research institutes, universities, and dynamic arts scene. Fellows enjoy private studies, in-house dining, and superb library services that deliver all research materials.

Applications and all accompanying materials are due by 11:59 p.m. EDT, October 6, 2022.
 

For more information and to apply, please visit:
https://nationalhumanitiescenter.org/become-a-fellow/.
 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 07/20/2022 - 10:27am by .
A bronze statue of a girl sitting on the side of a bench in reading pose, though she does not hold a book. Her hand is open as if a book is missing. She is barefoot, her hair tied up, wearing a draped dress.

This is Part 1 of a three-part series. Find Part 2 and Part 3 here.

Picture a student getting back a graded essay or exam. They glance at the letter or number at the top of the page and throw the paper in the recycling on their way out the door without reading the feedback, even when you think it will help them succeed on the next major assignment.

Imagine being consistently impressed by a student’s in-class work. Their insights and positive attitude contribute significantly to the learning environment. However, they do very poorly on the first major assessment, a midterm exam. Both of you are surprised and dismayed, and the student is discouraged.

Consider grading a batch of assignments. Looking at your rubric, you are struggling with the difference between an A– and a B+ for a few essays. You put them down to look at later.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 07/18/2022 - 11:01am by .

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