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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Over the summer I saw a production of Antigone at the Schaubühne in Berlin, and for the most part I absolutely hated it. In a way this was rather good – I’ve seen so many blah-blah-just-fine productions of Greek tragedy that it’s easy to forget the invigorating ire that trickles down your spine when you see the immortal lines to which you’ve devoted your career trampled into the dust before your eyes. It was a classic example of artistic navel-gazing at its most extreme: the whole play was set in a therapy group, where the actors took it in turns to adopt the roles of different participants in the myth to work through their own issues, and then came out of character to discuss what they’d learned from the process. Everything was blasted with self-referential irony until every last trace of emotion withered and died. Tiresias was played by a glove-puppet who threw fried chicken all over the stage while uttering his prophecies in a squeaky voice. The duel between Polynices and Eteocles was staged as a wet towel fight. There was far too much silver glitter involved at every point.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 11/06/2013 - 8:30am by Laura Swift.

“At last my love has come along.” — At Last, written by Mack Gordon and Harry Warren
tandem uenit amor (at last my love has come along) — Sulpicia poem 1, line 1

Etta James’ most famous song quotes the first line of the love-elegist Sulpicia, one of the few surviving Graeco-Roman women poets.  One of the song’s composers, Harry Warren (born Salvatore Antonio Guaragna), was the son of Italian immigrants.  Perhaps he encountered the line through them, and it stuck with him over the years?  More likely a coincidence.  In “Rumour Has It,” a recent chart-topper by the pop star Adele—a self-described admirer of Etta James and lover of poetry—the plot is one of love unrequited and rumor at large, a scenario reminiscent of Dido, Aeneas, and Rumor in Vergil Aeneid book 4.  (I’m not the first to make this association: see @calpunzel on Twitter.)  Even closer correspondences with Vergil appear in the songs of the singer Dido, particularly “My Lover’s Gone,” as Alden Smith has pointed out.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 11/05/2013 - 2:24pm by T. H. M. Gellar-Goad.

For several weeks in August and September, the United States government considered whether or not to bomb Syria. Public support for bombing hovered around ten percent, but the nation’s leaders seemed open to proceeding with military action. Various reasons were offered – to prevent further deaths from gas attacks by Syrian government forces; to degrade the Assad regime’s capacity to launch such attacks; to enforce international laws banning chemical weapons; to honor President Obama’s “red line” ultimatum of some months earlier; and to show rogue regimes and the world that the United States meant business when it made threats. An addendum to the last argument was that inaction would embolden the likes of Iran or North Korea. This line of thought got me thinking of a course I teach at Penn State, and the “logic of empire.”

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 11/05/2013 - 10:56am by Garrett Fagan.

Here in Europe, one of the expectations that come with a university position is that one will apply for big-money research grants. This is both a blessing and a curse. It’s a blessing because there genuinely is extra money on offer: if you want to run a complex collaborative project with postdoctoral researchers and extra PhD students, you can. It’s a curse because universities, which are (traditionally) almost all publicly funded and minimally endowed, are increasingly reliant on that extra income to keep afloat. As a result, there is pressure on the professors to bring in research money, sometimes against their own better judgment. At best, it’s a virtuous circle: the academic wants to do the research, and the grant enables it. At worst, the tail of the research grant wags the academic dog: the professor designs the application just to satisfy the university’s demand for income-generation, and ends up either rejected or (worse) running a project ineptly and unhappily.

Overall, though, I do think it is a good thing: it does mean that there are rich opportunities for collaboration between individuals, disciplines and institutions. I like to think of myself, however naively, as one of those classicists who can flourish in the new world order. I like working with other people and other universities, I like the energy, inventiveness and drive of early-career researchers, and I’m not too troubled by the organizational side of things.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/04/2013 - 9:09pm by Tim Whitmarsh.

We are launching a new feature on our website, "Guest Blogs," and we invite you to check it out and see what you think. Our field is amazingly varied, and there are new developments on the move in all parts of that variety, so that it seemed a good idea to have a forum where members can be kept up to date, informed, and--ideally-entertained in the process. We have invited a dozen Classicists to contribute regular columns (to keep an archaic print term that seems to have survived into the new medium).  We have tried to cover as much of the range of our subject as we can, and a geographical span as well, to capture at least some of the range of perspectives and expertises under the umbrella of our organization.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/04/2013 - 3:10pm by Adam Blistein.

We are posting a call for signatures to a petition launched by our colleagues in France, and circulated by John Bulwer of Euroclassica.  We thought this was an important petition to draw to your attention, and we urge members to read the message and to consider signing the petition.

Denis Feeney

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sun, 11/03/2013 - 1:47pm by Adam Blistein.

If you are a teacher at the pre-collegiate level and have student loans, please read carefully through everything at the following link. You may be eligible for forgiveness and/or cancellation.

http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/teacher

Ronnie Ancona

APA VP for Education

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 10/30/2013 - 10:03pm by Ronnie Ancona.

From the iTunes App Store:

Use one app to look up any Greek or Latin word: Logeion was developed at the University of Chicago to provide simultaneous lookup of entries in the many reference works that make up the Perseus Classical collection. Most reference works represented in this app are based on digitized texts from the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University.

  • Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon (1940)
  • Liddell and Scott's Intermediate Greek Lexicon (1889)
  • Autenrieth's Homeric Dictionary
  • Slater's Lexicon to Pindar (1969)
  • Lewis's Elementary Latin Dictionary (1890)
  • Harper's Dictionary of Classical Antiquities
  • Princeton Encyclopedia of Classical Sites
  • Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography
  • Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities
  • Perseus Encyclopedia

The app draws data from the following Greek and Latin textbooks.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Sat, 10/26/2013 - 10:08am by .

In recognition of Open Access Week, the "Profhacker" blog at The Chronicle for Higher Education has posted an instructional video about open access. Although it deals exclusively with open access as it applies to research in the sciences, it is relevant for scholars in the humanities, too.

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Thu, 10/24/2013 - 9:39am by .

California Classical Studies is pleased to announce as No. 2 in its series the publication of a digital edition of Edward Courtney, A Commentary on the Satires of Juvenal, a reprint with corrections of the edition of 1980. The 555-page book may be read in page view at the open-access eScholarship repository operated by the California Digital Library of the University of California. It is also available as a Print on Demand paperback ($49.95) or in ePub format ($29.95). After an embargo period of 2 years, the open-access site will provide a free download of the full print-quality PDF.

Open-access page for A Commentary on the Satires of Juvenal:

http://escholarship.org/uc/item/4jh846pn

Site for purchase of POD paperback or ePub version of California Classical Studies books:

http://escholarship-california_classical_studies.lulu.com/spotlight/

Information for potential contributors to the series:

http://calclassicalstudies.org/?page_id=42

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Mon, 10/21/2013 - 9:48pm by .

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