Letter on the Annual Meeting from Joseph Farrell

January 15, 2018

Dear Members,

Looking back on the recently concluded Annual Meeting, I’m of two minds. For those who took part, I think it was a big success. Newer-format events, like Career Networking and Ancient Maker Spaces, were really lively and well attended, especially by younger members. Georgia Nugent’s presidential panel on the PhD as a launching pad for careers other than college teaching was really inspiring. And the Program Committee’s special session on “Rhetoric: Then and Now” brought our professional responsibility to be political into the spotlight in a way that I feel was both fruitful and long overdue.

The success of these events is all the more impressive because every one of them underwent major changes at the last minute when key participants simply could not make it to Boston because of the weather. Amazingly few sessions were actually cancelled. But if you couldn’t get to Boston, it wasn’t a good convention for you. I’m very sorry for those whose travel plans were thwarted, and I’m extremely grateful to all those got there in spite of the extra effort, expense, and delay that it cost. Frankly, your success in doing so probably saved the convention from being a total disaster.

(Speaking of expense, Helen Cullyer and her staff are working with those who couldn’t get in to mitigate their financial exposure. Everyone affected has now received instructions on requesting refunds.)

Since this is the second Annual Meeting in four years to suffer the impact of extreme winter weather, many members are asking why we continue to meet in early January and in cities like Boston and Chicago. The question is important, and we have to take it seriously. Two events like this in just four years could be coincidental, but in view of all of the other extreme weather events in recent years, you would have to be a climate-change denier to think that this won’t happen again. So the issue is now top priority for the SCS Board of Directors, and I was happy to learn that Jodi Magness, the President of the AIA, is more than willing to work with us.

That said, just what to do is not obvious. Many members already wonder why we don’t meet more often in warm-weather cities, but even at this time of year we do not have our pick of venues; far from it. Next year, at least, we do have San Diego, and we can look forward to celebrating the Society’s Sesquicentennial in a warm climate. Still, another badly timed storm on the east coast or in the midwest might prevent many of us from arriving in time for the start of the conference. So, in addition to the question of where we meet, we also have to raise the question of when.

We have already signed contracts through 2024, and the time to identify venues for the years beyond that — while they are still available — is now. If we moved to a new time of year in 2025, we would have to avoid conflicts with CAMWS, CAAS, and the other Classical organizations, as well as with CAA, AAR-SBL, and other conventions that our members attend. Holidays and teaching schedules also come into play. It would not be easy. These are the reasons why we meet when we do, in the first place, and it is not impossible that we will continue to do so, although something has to be done to mitigate the risk of another Bomb Cyclone or Polar Vortex. Disruptions like that are bad for our members — especially younger members, those with families, those who have no access to research and travel funds, and so on — and they threaten the Society’s financial health while taxing our professional staff, who worked heroically to keep the most recent convention on track, and who are still dealing with a vastly more complicated aftermath than they expected. Thanks to them, as well as to all of you who made it to Boston in spite of everything, the convention was, against the odds, a success, intellectually and socially. And I promise that we will do everything possible to ensure that future events will be even more successful, and that the risk of weather-related disruption will be as small as possible.

Sincerely,

Joseph Farrell

SCS President, 2018

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Last week the SCS blog reflected on what really does seem to be a golden age of Classics podcasting, where audio content that you can listen to on a portable device whenever convenient has made it easier than ever to teach people about ancient history, to help teachers develop the active use of ancient languages, and to share cutting edge research and scholarly perspectives on the material we study.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/31/2018 - 6:07am by Curtis Dozier.

By Erin Averett, Sarah E. Bond, Derek Counts, and Bethany Wasik
 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 12/28/2018 - 6:26am by Erin Averett.

By Curtis Dozier and Christopher B. Polt

In order to prepare for the SCS’s upcoming sesquicentennial at the annual meeting in San Diego from January 3–6, 2019, the SCS blog is highlighting panels, keynotes, and workshops from the schedule. This week we are focusing on the Podcasting the Classics panel (8:00am–10:30am on Saturday, Jan. 5) by pointing to some resources for those who want to explore the medium more fully.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 12/27/2018 - 5:48am by Curtis Dozier.
150th Logo

Mary Beard

What is Classics?

Saturday, January 5, 6:15-7:30pm

San Diego Marriott Marquis at the Marina

Marriott Grand Ballroom 9

This lecture is free and open to the public.

What do we mean by Classics now? Why should we study the ancient Greeks and Romans (and other ancient cultures)? How do we think through its apparently reactionary heritage?

This lecture goes back through the 150 year history of the SCS in an attempt to give an optimistic view of the future of the past.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 12/26/2018 - 8:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

In order to prepare for the SCS’s upcoming sesquicentennial at the annual meeting in San Diego from January 3–6, 2019, the SCS blog is highlighting panels, keynotes, and workshops from the schedule. This week we are focusing on the Podcasting the Classics panel (8:00am–10:30am on Saturday, Jan. 5) by pointing to some resources for those who want to explore the medium more fully.

Today we feature a set of podcasts in which the host(s) interview guest classicists to discuss their work, their insights into the ancient world and its relevance for modernity, and their personal and professional experiences.

Ancient Greece Declassified (w/ Vanya Visnjic)

http://www.greecepodcast.com

Explicitly aiming to demystify and to share scholarship on ancient Greece with the non-specialist public, this podcast explores Greek literature, history, philosophy and connects them to modern issues and interests (e.g., the possible causes of the Bronze Age collapse, how Athens dealt with demagogues, what makes Homer’s Odyssey great story-telling).

Classics Confidential (w/ The Open University’s Department of Classical Studies)

https://classicsconfidential.co.uk

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 12/26/2018 - 5:54am by Christopher Polt.

In order to prepare for the SCS’s upcoming sesquicentennial at the annual meeting in San Diego from January 3–6, 2019, the SCS blog is highlighting panels, keynotes, and workshops from the schedule. This week we are focusing on the Podcasting the Classics panel (8:00am–10:30am on Saturday, Jan. 5) by pointing to some resources for those who want to explore the medium more fully. 

Today we feature a set of podcasts in which the host(s) present material about the ancient world directly to audiences, focusing variously on history, biography, culture, literature, archaeology, and reception. We’ve tried to select series that represent the enormous chronological, topical, and tonal variety that can be found in classics podcasts today (but there are so many available options that we simple couldn’t list everything here, so apologies to all the excellent podcasters we didn’t get to include!).

History of Egypt (w/ Dominic Perry)

https://egyptianhistorypodcast.com

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 12/25/2018 - 9:19am by Christopher Polt.

In order to prepare for the SCS’s upcoming sesquicentennial at the annual meeting in San Diego from January 3–6, 2019, the SCS blog is highlighting panels, keynotes, and workshops from the schedule. This week we are focusing on the Podcasting the Classics panel (8:00am–10:30am on Saturday, Jan. 5) by pointing to some resources for those who want to explore the medium more fully.

In Epistles 2.1, Horace argues that poets are useful to the city because they can teach the young how to speak, turn people’s ears from crude discourse, and mold the hearts of others with kindly teachings. And what fuels their work? Why, “they live on pods” (vivit siliquis, 2.1.123)!

Horace is thinking legumes, but the same could easily be said of a different kind of pod—the podcast, or siliquasparsio, si licet Latine—which in recent years has helped to cultivate new audiences for classical studies and to find new avenues through which to share knowledge about the classical world. There’s now a podcast for almost every taste: the general public eager to fill their commute and feed their fascination with antiquity; teachers looking for alternative ways to engage with their students; professional classicists seeking metascholarly insights; and so on.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/24/2018 - 6:09am by Christopher Polt.
San Diego Reflecting Pond

Luis Alfaro

From the Ancient to the Streets of L.A.: Imagining the Greek Classics for Communities Today

Thursday, January 3, 8:15-9:30PM

San Diego Marriott Marquis at the Marina

Marriott Grand Ballroom 9

Hosted by the SCS and co-organized by Classics and Social Justice and the Onassis Foundation USA


In his lecture, playwright Luis Alfaro, author of Mojada and Oedipus El Rey, guides us on a journey from Athens to East L.A. as we connect the ancient myths and bring them alive for contemporary audiences today. Socrates reminds us that storytelling changes and grows, but do stories ever lose their meaning and power? Come discover the journey that makes these classics still essential today.

Luis Alfaro works in theater, performance, poetry and is an associate professor at the University of Southern California. A Chicano born and raised in the Pico-Union district of downtown Los Angeles, Alfaro is the recipient of a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation fellowship, popularly known as a “genius grant”, awarded to people who have demonstrated expertise and exceptional creativity in their respective fields. He is the first Playwright-in-Residence in the 84-year history of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the largest repertory theatre company in the United States, serving for six seasons (2013-2019).

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 12/20/2018 - 10:14pm by Helen Cullyer.

As the field of Classical Studies has sought to maintain its relevance in our ever-changing modern world, it has begun to incorporate new approaches. Today there is much more scholarship on topics such as gender, sexuality, and race in the ancient world, for example, than there was even thirty years ago. Much of this change has resulted from the incorporation of theoretical frameworks from fields outside of classical studies, including literary criticism, gender and sexuality studies, and social theory. Yet there is still so much work to be done, especially when it comes to understanding marginal groups in antiquity, such as women, ethnic minorities, and sexual minorities.

One framework that has been underutilized in the field of Classical Studies is global/transnational feminism, a feminist approach that challenges the tendencies of Western feminism to universalize the Western experience onto other cultures. Global/transnational feminism instead examines the diverse experiences of women and sexual minorities across the globe and takes into consideration how the intersections of cultural, economic, religious, social, and political structures impact individuals in different places.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 12/20/2018 - 9:22pm by Andrea F. Gatzke.
Map of Atlantis by Athanasius Kircher, Mundus subterraneus, vol. 1. (Amsterdam 1678) (Image in the Public Domain via Wikimedia).

A recent surge of critical focus on pseudoscience and classics focused on issues from Hippocrates and scientific racism to the racial bias of Ancient Aliens sees scholars doing the work to convince our field that classicists, historians, and archaeologists ought to take action to address the dissemination of pseudoscientific views in popular media.[1] Yet once we’ve accepted that we should confront pseudoscience in classics and archaeology, we find ourselves confronted with a rather different question: how can we best teach this in our classrooms?

When I was assigned as a teaching assistant for Intro to Greek Art and Archaeology last winter, I admit my first feeling was of slight trepidation: outside one requisite archaeology course for my bachelor’s degree, my classical training had skewed heavily toward philology and literary analysis.[2] How could I hope to leave a lasting impression on fifty students, with material I hadn’t “officially” studied in a course since my own freshman year, with only one fifty-minute discussion section per week?

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 12/13/2018 - 5:09pm by Ana Maria Guay.

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