Letter from President Mary T. Boatwright

As some of you witnessed personally and all can now read (see, e.g., The Chronicle), the 150th Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies last weekend in San Diego was disgraced by two shocking incidents. One occurred when an independent scholar attending a panel told Princeton Assistant Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta that he got his job because he is black. The SCS, after consulting internally and in accordance with our annual meeting harassment policy, notified the scholar that she should no longer attend SCS sessions and events in San Diego. In the other incident, the founders of the Sportula, two students of color, were questioned by a hotel staff member about their presence at the conference. We are in contact with the Marriott. We have reached out to the students to express our support. We also understand that the Marriott has contacted them to better understand their experience and apologize.

But these and other immediate responses, such as the Board statement the SCS passed on the meeting’s last day, by themselves can do little to redress the real and deep-seated problems the incidents disclose about not only US society but also about our field. The events reveal fears, resentments, and anger among our members. Dan-el Padilla Peralta makes the case on Medium that our field “lacks the courage to acknowledge its historical and ongoing inability to value scholars from underrepresented groups.” Other colleagues also express despair at the incidents, which resonate with micro-aggressions, and worse, that they themselves have experienced.

We must confront, meet, and remedy the problems so appallingly revealed in San Diego. It is more than ironic that the accusation of preferential job treatment on the basis of race was made at a special Sesquicentennial panel on “The Future of Classics,” and that the two students representing Sportula had received awards from WCC and LCC for advancing equality and diversity. The future of our discipline depends on expansion and inclusion. Just as importantly, the integrity and value of the Society and of all classicists are inseparable from equity and respect for everyone.

The SCS has been working consciously towards expansion and inclusion since the 1970s, if not before, through changes such as anonymous submissions for the program, the creation of committees to safeguard the rights and promote the interests of specific groups of our members, and the establishment of policies against harassment. There is obviously very much more to be done. I am working with the SCS Past President (2018) and President Elect (2020) Joseph Farrell and Sheila Murnaghan, with the SCS Executive Director Dr. Helen Cullyer, and with the Board of Directors. But everyone must work together and we must listen to one another honestly and openly, for the SCS and our discipline to move forward. In the meantime, we deeply regret the insulting events that occurred at the 2019 SCS annual meeting, and we recommit to effecting change in the field.

Sincerely,  

Mary T. Boatwright, President of the SCS, 2019

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Two long-time SCS members were among the 33 scholars and leaders in other fields elected this year to membership in the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States.  They are

  • Sarah B. Pomeroy, Distinguished Professor of Classics and History Emerita, City University of New York
  • Richard J. Tarrant, Pope Professor of the Latin Language and Literature, Harvard University

We congratulate Professors Pomeroy and Tarrant on this high honor.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 06/04/2014 - 8:45am by Adam Blistein.

In accordance with the Board’s direction, yesterday Executive Director Adam Blistein submitted the filings necessary for the legal change of the Association’s name to Society for Classical Studies.  We are, of course, announcing the advent of this transition first to the membership; but will also distribute a press release to relevant organizations, publications, and individuals within and outside the field of Classical Studies.  We expect to receive confirmation of the name change from the State of Delaware (where we are incorporated) in about a week, and the new name will gradually appear in stationery and our credit card and checking accounts over the coming month.

I am pleased to share with you the new logo in the attached PowerPoint document that shows several versions of the logo as it will appear in various media and on our new stationery.  As directed by the Board, the Name Change Committee began planning for our organizational transition to the Society for Classical Studies and started the process of logo design in October 2013.  We have devoted almost eight months to this effort in order to give the transition the careful deliberation warranted by such a momentous change.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 05/29/2014 - 8:59am by .

The Pontificium Institutum Altioris Latinitatis of the Salesian Pontifical University will be organizing an International Conference on the vitality of Latin and the methods to teach and learn it: “Studia Latinitatis provehenda. Vitalità del latino ed esperienze didattiche”.  The conference marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of the Institute and will be held in Rome from 7th to 8th November 2014.  For further information, please write to convegnolatinitas@unisal.it

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 05/26/2014 - 8:45pm by Adam Blistein.

Hortensii, a new initiative to tackle the problems facing PhDs without permanent academic positions, has been launched as a result of a survey in which many Women’s Classical Caucus members participated. The survey found a serious problem affecting large numbers of people, but also that there are many things that could be done to improve the situation. A full report of the survey results and suggested action plans can be found at http://hortensii.wordpress.com  The project urgently needs volunteers to help implement the suggestions; offers of help will be gratefully received E.Dickey@reading.ac.uk.

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Mon, 05/26/2014 - 8:39pm by Adam Blistein.

As I try to wrap up a busy year in the dean's office, I want to post the graduation address I delivered last week to the NYU College of Arts and Sciences. This was a chance to try to usethe Roman world to get people thinking afresh about liberal arts education. How can we create more such moments (that don't rely on graduation ceremonies)? What would you say to audiences outside of academia? How can I improve my own argument? (Do keep in mind that I had less than ten minutes to address a body of parents, graduates,and faculty, and it's a celebratory event.)

Deputy President Yu, Dean Starr, my distinguished faculty colleagues, students of the great Class of 2014, and finally an audience I am especially pleased to address, our students' parents, family members, and friends: thank you. It is a great honor and a frank pleasure to speak to you on this day of celebration.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 05/26/2014 - 1:21pm by Joy Connolly.

This workshop will take place at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung and Topoi), 6-8 October, 2014.  The workshop is free to attend, but registration is required for organisational purposes, and in order to gain access to the material for discussion. For registration please email our administrator, Dr Friederike Herklotz (f.herklotz@staff.hu-berlin.de).  Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the workshop organiser, Chiara Thumiger (chiara.thumiger@hu-berlin.de).

http://www.classicsmedicine.org/news/workshop-mental-diseases-2014

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Sat, 05/24/2014 - 10:51am by Adam Blistein.

This conference will take place at the University of Hamburg, 27–29 November 2014.  Increasingly, cultural studies focus on stories and the narration of stories as important catalysts for the constitution, confirmation, and modification of cultural identities. Not only in times of what seems like floods of images but since images are made a large part of these stories and narratives is communicated by visual media. Constantly it can be observed that elaborate iconographic programs are developed to establish specific meanings more or less successfully as essential elements of cultural identities.

To analyse and interpret visual media from such a perspective it is, on the one hand, necessary to develop categories to describe their narrative aspect. The current state of research is heterogeneous: On narratology of film and graphic literature there are rich discussions and developed methods and theories whilst research in the field of single and static images is quite fragmentary. On the other hand methods have to be explored which facilitate cultural interpretations of visual narratives and which may decode the deeper meanings transmitted – also from times and epochs long gone. Finally, it has to be considered how narrative contents participate in the construction of cultural identities.

Basic questions for the conference could be:

  • By which means may the narrative aspects of visual media be described?

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Sat, 05/24/2014 - 10:43am by Adam Blistein.

Applications are now being accepted for PhD students in Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage for the 2014/15 PhD program at IMT Institute for Advanced Studies Lucca (www.imtlucca.it).  The three year doctoral program is articulated in curricula. The 8 curricula currently offered are field-specific, although in many instances they share a common scientific background. The Analysis and Management of Cultural Heritage curriculum proposes courses in Management of Cultural Heritage and Cultural Institutions, European and International Legislation on Cultural Heritage and Art History/Museology. Among the multidisciplinary research units at IMT, the research unit LYNX (Center for the Interdisciplinary Analysis of Images, http://lynx.imtlucca.it/) will be the primary contributor to the curriculum.

In particular, the curriculum promotes research offering the students a lively contact with different research approaches and methodologies applied in the research fields related to cultural heritage and art history. Graduates will be able to pursue an academic career in Art History or appointments within public and private institutions dealing with the concrete management of Cultural Heritage, the promotion of culture, the organization of cultural events; or the diffusion and teaching of culture.

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Tue, 05/20/2014 - 11:20am by Adam Blistein.

Harriet Jacobs, born in Edenton, North Carolina, in 1813, was the first formerly enslaved woman to write a narrative of freedom: Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Written by Herself, first published in 1861, now widely recognized as a masterpiece and a seminal part of the genre of 19th-century African American narratives of freedom.  Incidents pseudonymously details Jacobs’ early life in slavery, her exposure to grievous harm and sexual violence at the hands of a cruel master, her marriage to and bearing of children by a different white man, her efforts to get her children out of the South, and her own flight from slavery — first hiding locally for seven years in her grandmother’s attic, and then fleeing to New York and eventual, hard-bought freedom.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 05/20/2014 - 7:27am by T. H. M. Gellar-Goad.

            The By-Laws of our organization, as written at its founding 145 years ago, specify that “any lover of philological studies may become a member of the Association” (article 18). Since that nineteenth-century statement was penned, much has changed for our organization. Early on, scholars of other languages decamped to form their own learned societies. As a result, the term “philological studies” gradually acquired a specialized reference to ancient Greek and Latin, and then over time to the expanded study of the Greeks and Romans in terms of literature, history, philosophy, and culture. Our impending name change to Society for Classical Studies aims to encode more accurately the current character of our organization, though always with recognition of our long history as the American Philological Association. What I want to point out, however, is that as the APA became increasingly a professional organization for academic classicists, one thing largely lost was the idea that its members were to be not just scholars of classical philology but more broadly its lovers. Plato might have called such people ἐρασταὶ τῆς φιλολογίας, but in searching for a twenty-first century equivalent of “lovers” the best terms I have found are “enthusiasts” or “friends.” It is to recapture these enthusiasts as members that, upon my proposal, the Board has created an associate membership known as Friends of Classics.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 05/05/2014 - 3:35pm by .

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Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A.

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