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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13th London Ancient Science Conference

Institute of Classical Studies, Senate House, University of London
Monday, February 11th to Friday, February 15th 2019.

Abstracts of around 200 words should be sent to Prof. Andrew Gregory (andrew.gregory@ucl.ac.uk) by 31st October. Decisions early November.

Papers are welcomed from established academics, postdocs and postgraduate students. Papers are welcomed on science in any ancient culture treated historically, philosophically, sociologically or technically. Science is construed quite broadly and may include epistemology, metaphysics and ontology relating to the natural world.

This year there will be three panel sessions:

  • Prof. Mark Geller will chair a session on Babylonian Science and Medicine.
  • Prof. Robert Hahn will chair a session on The Material Dimensions of Ancient Philosophy and Science.
  • Prof. Andrew Gregory will chair a session on Early Greek Philosophies of Nature.

Paper proposals are welcomed for all of these sessions.

Papers generally will be 20 minutes with 10 minutes for discussion though some papers may be invited to give longer presentations.

There is a website for this conference at:

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 09/26/2018 - 9:00am by Erik Shell.

Solmsen Fellowships 

The Institute for Research in the Humanities of the University of Wisconsin-Madison will offer five Solmsen Fellowships for 2019-2020 to be awarded to scholars from outside UW-Madison. Through a generous bequest from Friedrich and Lieselotte Solmsen, the Solmsen Fellowships sponsor scholars working in the humanities on European history, literature, philosophy, politics, religion, art and culture in the classical, medieval, and/or early modern periods before 1700. Projects on the relationship of pre-1700 Europe to other parts of the world are also welcome. The Solmsen Fellowship does not typically support editions or translations. 

Solmsen Fellows are expected to be in residence throughout the academic year (except for short research trips, lectures, conferences, etc.) and may extend their residency through the following summer on a non-stipendary basis. However, the fellowship may not be deferred for any reason. The award provides a stipend of $55,000, office space, support services, and access to all university facilities.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 09/25/2018 - 12:28pm by Erik Shell.
"Authority in Creating Contemporary Narratives About the Classics"
 
School of History, Classics and Archaeology
Newcastle University, 21-22 February 2019

The current boom of works and media about the Ancient World aimed at a general audience is a product of some converging circumstances: the rethinking of meaning and value of the Classics among scholars, in need of justifying our very own existence in contemporary academia; a market-driven demand for either recalling Western tradition and exempla from the ancients – on the conservative side, or questioning the multiple facets of elite privilege – on a progressive approach; and ultimately as a consequence of the “explosion of information” in the hyper-connected XXI century. In this last regard, narratives from non-scholars ranging from fairly accurate Wikipedia articles to “fake news” tweets are now competing with classicists for space and authority.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 09/25/2018 - 10:00am by Erik Shell.

SCS Digital Project Reviews

Since October 2016, the SCS Communications Committee has been responsible for the editing and publication of a number of Digital Project Reviews on the front page of the SCS website. These have appeared alongside SCS blog postings. As of October 1, 2018, the editing and review of Digital Project Reviews will be handled by a special editorial board, working under the aegis of the Publications and Research division of SCS. This will enable the Communications Committee to focus on blog posts of broad interest, while the new editorial board will be responsible for reviews of digital projects, tools, and resources in the field of Classics. Should you wish to submit a Digital Project Review or suggest a project to be reviewed, please see the SCS guidelines here.  Digital Project Reviews will continue to be published on the front page of the SCS website.

The members of the Digital Project Reviews Editorial Board are:

  • Scott Arcenas
  • Chris Francese (chair)
  • Ivy Livingston
  • Matthew Loar
  • Donald Mastronarde (ex officio)
View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/24/2018 - 10:11am by Erik Shell.

SEX, GENDER, AND SCIENCE IN ANCIENT GREECE

Sex and gender are problematic concepts in contemporary scholarship, and we should expect them to be even more so when speaking of ancient Greece.  Even the concept of science is problematic, though less so than sex and gender. ‘Sex’, used in the biological sense, is derived from French and Latin and does not appear before the 14th century CE. ‘Gender’ is also derived from French and appears first in the 14th century CE in the grammatical sense.  ‘Science’ is, of course, a transliteration of a Latin expression, and when we speak of ancient science we refer to an enterprise that differs markedly from our contemporary practices.  

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 09/24/2018 - 9:24am by Erik Shell.

The following members were elected in the ballot held this Summer. They take office in January 2019, except for the two new members of the Nominating Committee who take office immediately.  Thank you to all SCS members who agreed to stand for election this year.

President-Elect

Sheila Murnaghan

Junior Financial Trustee

Laura McClure

Vice President for Program

Cynthia Damon

Board of Directors

Anthony Corbeil

Robin Mitchel-Boysak

Goodwin Award Committee

David Konstan

Jim Porter

Nominating Committee

Laurel Fulkerson

Celia Schultz

Program Committee

Johanna Hanink

Committee on Professional Ethics

Kathleen Coleman

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/24/2018 - 9:00am by Erik Shell.
Title: Papyrus in Greek regarding tax issues (3rd ca. BC.)  Currently in the Metropolitan Mueum of Art. https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/251788 Source: Wikipedia Commons https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Papyrus_in_Greek_regarding_tax

Papyri.info is a resource for the study of documentary papyri with two parts. The first, the Papyrological Navigator (PN), whose development began in 2006, aims to integrate and allow simultaneous querying of five existing papyrological databases. The focus thus far is on Greek and Latin texts, with selective inclusion of Coptic. A later development, the Papyrological Editor (PE), launched in 2010, offers the facility for users to contribute directly, in the form of corrections to entered data, new data entry, in particular new text editions, and even “born digital” editions of their own, all reviewed by an editorial board.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 09/24/2018 - 7:10am by Michael Zellmann-Rohrer.

Mary Beard – “The Classical Body: The Naked and the Nude”

Tuesday, 25 September 2018, 6:00pm 
Villa Aurelia 
Largo di Porta San Pancrazio, Rome 

The American Academy in Rome opens its 2018–19 season of programs with a lecture by Mary Beard, a renowned scholar of antiquity and professor of classics at Newnham College, University of Cambridge. Beard will explore the idea of the human body in classical sculpture: female and male, normative and conservative, subversive and transgressive. Her lecture will aim to pull apart the image of the body in classical sculpture as a dead weight on our imagination, and to follow the edgy awkwardness that the work of the Greeks and Romans bravely faced. 

Beard is the 2018–19 Lucy Shoe Meritt Resident in Classical Studies and Archaeology at the American Academy in Rome. This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: The Body.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 09/21/2018 - 8:33am by Erik Shell.

Lynne C. Lancaster just began her three-year appointment as the Andrew W. Mellon Professor-in-Charge of the Humanities at the American Academy in Rome. She is a Professor in the Department of Classics and World Religions at Ohio University. I recently interviewed Professor Lancaster to discuss her research and her goals for her time in Rome. 

C: Can you briefly tell me about your own research, both past and current?

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 09/20/2018 - 8:59am by Catherine Bonesho.

"Thresholds"

During the last century, liminality as a concept became a matter of interest to many fields: from Psychology to Anthropology, from Philosophy to Cultural and Literary Studies. Yet, the condition this word describes predates the term itself: one can, for instance, consider the classical binomial katabasis/ anabasis to fathom the historical roots of the reality the term encompasses.

As stated by Mircea Eliade, in The Sacred and the Profane, the liminal space is a paradoxical place that connects the space it severs: under the sign of ritual though, the liminal not only allows passage, but almost demands it. As far as etymology is concerned, the term derives from the Latin word limen, which shares the same root as the latin word limes: limit, margin, border. On the one hand, limen constitutes the threshold of a building or a room; on the other hand, its relation to the act of passage is clearly antithetical to that of the limes, whose role is to assure the impermeability between spaces. If the orthographic similarity hints at a common thread – a rock or a piece of wood that is placed crosswise in order to signal the end/beginning of a place – the minor spelling difference reveals deep functional and ontological differences. 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 09/20/2018 - 8:39am by Erik Shell.

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