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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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.

MISSION

The Career Enhancement Fellowship Program seeks to increase the presence of minority junior faculty members and other faculty members committed to eradicating racial disparities in core fields in the arts and humanities. The Fellowship, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, supports the Mellon Foundation's mission to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

The Fellowship, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, provides each Fellow with a six-month or one-year sabbatical grant; a research, travel, or publication stipend; and participation in an annual conference/retreat. A total of 30 Fellowships are awarded each year.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 09/19/2018 - 10:10am by Erik Shell.

Animal/Language: An Interdisciplinary Conference

In conjunction with the art exhibition “Assembling Animal Communication” Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX
21-23 March 2019

Animals and language have a complicated relationship with one another in human understanding. Every period of history evinces a fascination with the diverse modes of communicative exchange and possibilities of linguistic community that exist both within and between species. Recent critics of anthropocentrism are far from the first to question the supposed muteness of the “dumb animal” and its ontological and ethical ramifications. Various cultures have historically attributed language to animals, and we have developed an increasingly sophisticated scientific understanding of the complex non-verbal communicative systems that animals use among themselves. New research complements millennia of human-animal communication in the contexts of work, play, and domestic life.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 09/17/2018 - 1:59pm by Erik Shell.

The presence of Plotinus: The self, contemplation, and spiritual exercise in the Enneads

Poznań, Poland, 9th-10th June 2020
An international conference organized by the Scientific Committee on Ancient Culture of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Department of Classical Studies of  Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań

In the center of “The School of Athens”, the famous fresco by Raphael, we can see Plato and Aristotle, the two philosophers who may indeed have been the greatest thinkers of antiquity. However, the scholarly endeavor of the last century has demonstrated with increasing consistency that Plotinus – although his name and legacy are not so popular – could well stand next to them, especially so because he attempted to synthetize the views of those great masters of the past. His presence in  Western philosophy was, perhaps a more silent one, but also very influential. Since Late Antiquity, Christian, Jewish and Muslim philosophers were inspired by him as well as Renaissance Platonists and German idealists. In year 2020, 1750 years will have passed by since his solitary death in a Campanian villa or, in his view, since his final ascent from “the divine in us to the divine in the All”. On this occasion, we want to celebrate Plotinus’ presence by organizing an international conference.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 09/17/2018 - 9:48am by Erik Shell.
Rebecca Futo Kennedy teaching in Rome. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Futo Kennedy.

A Day in the Life of a Classicist is a monthly column on the SCS blog written by Prof. Ayelet Haimson Lushkov celebrating the working lives of classicists. If you’d like to share your day, let us know here.

Rebecca Futo Kennedy is Associate Professor of Classics and Administrative Director, Denison Museum

Since being tenured in 2015, I have actually held two separate positions at my university - professor of Classics and director of the Denison Museum. As a result, my time is now split between the department and the museum (and, if you have to ask - no, I had no experience running a museum before they asked me to do it, and, no, I don’t intend to do it forever; I’d like to go back to full-time teaching someday). So, my average day(s) look something like this:


Rebecca Futo Kennedy teaching students. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Futo Kennedy.
Rebecca Futo Kennedy with students. Photo courtesy of Rebecca Futo Kennedy.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 09/13/2018 - 10:40am by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World will hold a conference, co-hosted by the SCS, on digital pedagogy:

"Digital resources have become an essential part of studying the languages, history, and material culture of the Ancient Mediterranean. This one-day conference looks at how this disciplinary turn is being integrated into both undergraduate and graduate courses. There will be sustained attention during the day on current practice in recent courses, and the speakers all have considerable teaching experience. Speakers will also address the goals of using digital methods, tools and resources in a wide range of pedagogic and institutional settings. Digital approaches to teaching do not merely replicate earlier methods so that new possibilities for the expanding the scope of curricula will be an important topic. The day will end with a panel discussion and we will welcome input from all who are in attendance."

The conference will take place at their New York headquarters on October 26th, 2018 beginning at 9:15am. To see the full schedule and RSVP you can visit the conference webpage here.

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View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Wed, 09/12/2018 - 11:08am by Erik Shell.
CFP: Failure and Flaws in Classical Antiquity
January 25-26, 2019, UCLA
 
In the poem “Failing and Flying”, Jack Gilbert appeals to classical imagery to reconfigure the notion of failure: “Icarus was not failing as he fell,” the poem concludes, “but only coming to the end of his triumph.” Throughout antiquity, numerous forms of literary and material culture, as well as forms of reception, have grappled with real or imagined failure and flaws. The concept of failure is especially pressing because modern society persistently looks back to antiquity’s failures in order to understand its own. By interrogating the use and meaning of failure both within classical works and in discussions about canon, genre, and reception, we aim to explore the interpretive value of failure for our understanding of the classical world.
 
View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 09/11/2018 - 2:29pm by Erik Shell.

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