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

Categories

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Olivia Sutherland stars in MacMillan Films staging of Medea. James MacMillan (Image via Wikimedia under a CC-BY-SA 4.0 License).

In our third ‘Letters from CAMP’ blogpost, Prof. Emily Jusino discusses the trials and tribulations of picking a translation of an ancient drama for live performance.

“People expect Greek tragedy to sound a little stilted and awkward.” This is a paraphrase of a comment made to me recently by a director planning on staging the Medea. It was his defense of the translation he had chosen when I said that I disliked his choice. What made this translation appeal to him was precisely what made it seem terrible to me: the stiltedness and awkward English that comes across both as “translation-ese” and as a refusal to update any references in the text for a modern audience. But, of course, he could get the rights to use this translation for free.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 06/21/2018 - 3:23pm by Emily Jusino.

We have updated our "Related Careers" page to include information on career paths open to Classicists and professional academics who study the ancient world.

This update includes a write-up from the Career Networking event at our 2018 Annual Meeting in Boston, as well as past conversations about academic career paths and new online resources.

You can view the new page here: https://classicalstudies.org/placement-service/related-careers

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 06/20/2018 - 2:57pm by Erik Shell.
NZ

(Message sent to SCS by James McNamara)

The New Zealand Qualifications Authority is proposing to drop the scholarship exam in Latin (for final year pupils) in 2019. The exam offers students recognition and a monetary award for high achievement. It may be that this would be a precursor to dropping Latin in New Zealand schools altogether.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal in support of continuing the scholarship exam in Latin, it would be greatly appreciated if you could submit feedback to the review, which closes this Friday 22 June, NZ time.

Details of the scholarship review are here:

http://www.nzqa.govt.nz/about-us/publications/newsletters-and-circulars/assessment-matters/consultation-on-the-nz-scholarship-subject-list/

The feedback form and details of where to send it are here:

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 06/19/2018 - 8:14am by Erik Shell.

ἀγών agōn: struggle, contest, trial, conflict, challenge, strife

with a pre-conference seminar on Empedocles’ Poem on nature and an Empedocles-themed post-conference tour

Sicily Center for International Education
Syracuse, Sicily, 12-15 June , 2019

The cultural and intellectual legacy of Western Greece—the coastal areas of Southern Italy and Sicily settled by Hellenes in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE—is sometimes overlooked in academia.  Yet evidence suggests that poets, playwrights, philosophers, and other maverick intellectuals found fertile ground here for the growth of their ideas and the harvesting of their work.  The goal of the Fonte Aretusa organization is to revive the distinctive spirit of Western Greece by exploring it from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including art history, archaeology, classics, drama, epigraphy, history, philosophy and religion.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 06/18/2018 - 9:54am by Erik Shell.
Façade of the Celsus library, in Ephesus, near Selçuk, west Turkey. Benh Lieu Song (Image via Wikimedia under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 License).

SCS’s Executive Director reflects on the experiences, challenges, and future of independent scholarship in our ongoing series on the subject.

All of our Independent Scholar blogposts have drawn on personal experiences, and mine is also personal.  Your posts have certainly helped me think more deeply and creatively about how the national classical society can support independent scholarship. My response falls into two parts: a celebration of the scholarly work that independent scholars are all currently doing in different ways, and some constructive responses to the challenges that independent scholars face.  


Now to address some challenges:

1. Access to Scholarly Resources

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 06/14/2018 - 4:46pm by Helen Cullyer.

Plato's Alcibiades I

20-22 Sept. 2018, Cambridge (UK)
Abstract submission deadline: 15 July 2018

Although the Platonic dialogue Alcibiades I was highly regarded in late antiquity and occupied a prominent place within the Neoplatonist curriculum, the dialogue has suffered from relative neglect both within classical and philosophical scholarship ever since Schleiermacher denounced it as spurious at the beginning of the 19th century. This conference will be dedicated wholly to the Alcibiades I, bringing together scholars who have been central in rekindling recent interest in the dialogue while also welcoming contributions from new researchers on the dialogue, including early career researchers and graduate students. Questions that might be addressed include, but are not limited to, questions about self-hood and self-knowledge, the soul-body relationship, politics and political influence, love, the role of the divine within the dialogue, as well as questions about authenticity and the place of the Alcibiades I within – or outside of – the Platonic corpus.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 2:08pm by Erik Shell.
Gravestone of a woman with her attendant (100 BCE). Getty Villa (Image via Wikimedia under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 License).

Hackathons, events where software developers gather together to create in community a usable piece of computer programming in a short frame of time, are common occurrences in tech circles. One hosted this past February by the College of the Holy Cross, however, was the first time I’d seen this type of group work applied to translating ancient manuscripts.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 06/06/2018 - 4:38pm by Liz Penland.
Death of Socrates

The Association of American Colleges & Universities and the American Association of University Professors have recently signed on to a statement condemning the multi-front attack on the Humanities and a Liberal Arts education. 

"The disciplines of the liberal arts—and the overall benefit of a liberal education--are exemplary in this regard, for they foster intellectual curiosity about questions that will never be definitively settled..."

You can read the full statement here: https://www.aacu.org/about/statements/2018/joint-statement-value-liberal...

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(Photo: "The Death of Socrates" by Jacques-Louis David, public domain)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 06/01/2018 - 10:50am by Erik Shell.
Trajan’s Column: detail of frieze reliefs (image via Flickr by MCAD under a CC BY 2.0)

In her monthly SCS column, Dr. Cate Bonesho provides a photo essay recounting her trip inside of Trajan's Column and underneath the oculus of the Pantheon during Pentecost. 

Living in Rome has its perks. In addition to the amazing food and constant museum visits, there are a couple opportunities that are impossible to pass up. This past week in Rome, I took part in two of these events and, in the process, was able to cross two items off of my bucket list: climbing Trajan’s Column and watching the rose petals drop from the oculus of the Pantheon on Pentecost.






















The Imperial Fora from the Viewing Platform of Trajan’s Column. Image by Catherine Bonesho, unpublished.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/01/2018 - 5:56am by Catherine Bonesho.

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