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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The Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance (CAMP) of the American Philological Association invites proposals for a panel to be held under the Committee’s sponsorship at the 146th Annual Meeting of the APA (New Orleans, January 8-11, 2015).  Submissions, which should not exceed 500 words in length, should include:
 
(1)  the title of the proposed panel;
(2)  a general outline of the proposed topic;
(3)  a brief explanation of the topic's relevant to the performance of ancient or modern drama;
(4)  and, where relevant, a brief bibliography.

APA panels usually comprise either four 20-minute papers in a two-hour session, or four 20-minute papers plus short introduction and response in a

two-and-a-half-hour session.  Panel proposals should be sent via e-mail to Amy R. Cohen, Chair of the Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance (acohen@randolphcollege.edu), by December 30, 2013 (note extended deadline).
 
It should be noted that selection and sponsorship of a panel topic by the Committee does not in itself guarantee final acceptance of the panel by the
APA Program Committee.  Note that the organizer of any panel selected by the Committee will have to be a fully paid-up member of the APA for 2014.
View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 11/21/2013 - 9:14am by Adam Blistein.

I want to provide an update on the steps we are taking to implement the change in the name of the  Association that the members approved this summer.  With the help of incoming President Kathryn Gutzwiller, I formed an ad hoc committee consisting of members who represent various communities in our society to consider issues such as communicating with audiences outside the membership and guiding the graphic designer who is creating a new logo for us.

As part of this process we have learned that taking the legal steps required to change our name is the easiest task ahead of us.  We are incorporated in Delaware, and that state requires only that we file a simple form and pay a modest fee.  Legally we will become the Society for Classical Studies as soon as we make that filing.  Before we take that step, we want to have a logo ready and decide how the new name and its “subtitle” (founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association) will appear on our printed and electronic publications.  We also want to identify and prepare communications for all the audiences (both internal and external) who need to know about our change.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/18/2013 - 1:50pm by Adam Blistein.

California State University Long Beach’s Classics program would like to announce that we are making our upper division Latin reading classes available to students via the web. These are not “online” classes; they are classes conducted with students in real time. People who are interested in joining our classes would attend class sessions virtually through a web interface, and thus anyone who wants to participate would have to be online during the specific class time.

For Spring semester 2014, we are offering two reading courses, Cicero and Caesar. The semester begins on Tuesday, January 21, and concludes on Friday, May 23, with Spring Break during the week of March 21. Each class meets three hours per week and earns a student 3 semester units. The prerequisite for each class is intermediate Latin; i.e., students will be expected to have facility with noun and verb morphology and an introductory knowledge of Latin grammatical constructions.

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Mon, 11/18/2013 - 10:08am by .

The Department of Classical Studies at the College of William and Mary is currently accepting applications for its first incoming class of students interested in pursuing a Post-baccalaureate Certificate in Classical Studies.  This is a flexible program of study for students who have an undergraduate degree and who wish to pursue an intensive course of study in the Classical languages in preparation for graduate studies, teaching, or personal enrichment.  Students in the program take specific courses in Latin, Greek, and classical civilization appropriate to their level of preparation.  This program is especially designed for students who wish to:

  • pursue graduate study in Classical Studies but do not have enough Latin and Greek to be competitive in applying to Ph.D. programs.
  • teach Greek, Latin, or a related field in Classical Studies but have only a limited number of courses in Greek or Latin as an undergraduate student.
  • study Latin or Greek (or both) for personal intellectual growth and satisfaction.

A complete program description and application for admission can be found at: www.wm.edu/as/classicalstudies/post-bac-program/index.php.  For additional information, please contact: John Donahue, Chair, Department of Classical Studies at jfdona@wm.edu or at 757-221-1930.

View full article. | Posted in Degree and Certificate Programs on Wed, 11/13/2013 - 4:19pm by .

Classico Contemporaneo is a new international review aimed at sharing themes, methods and experiences dealing with the persistence of the classical tradition in western cultural memory. The review’s focus converges on the relationship between modernity and Classics and its influence on the daily collective imagination.

The guidelines for submissions include, but are not limited to, didactical practices, research themes, and methodology. Experiences from abroad and reviews of literary and visual works inspired by Classics are welcome.

The first issue of Classico Contemporaneo will collect contributions about the classical tradition in western cultural memory and new perspectives that modern knowledge transmission has created.  For information please contact us: redazione@classicocontemporaneo.eu
 

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Tue, 11/12/2013 - 10:26am by Adam Blistein.

OK, my title is a more than a little tongue in cheek. Blogging for the APA doesn’t make me a public intellectual. Nor does the one article I’ve published for a wider public, a piece on Petronius for Salon.com. But by the same token it seems to me that most professional classical scholars don't pursue publishing in such venues, and I think more of us should attempt it. There are a lot of reasons why we don't. We’re not trained to write for broad audiences, and the tenure and promotion system demands that we devote our energy to peer-reviewed publications. Most of us don't know how we would go about finding a venue (I got published on Salon by pure, naïve luck, a shot in the dark to a culture editor. There must be better ways to do it, and I now know that your college’s office of communications can help, but I would welcome an APA panel with advice from those who have actually done it). But I also wonder whether many of us, self-conscious about the specialization of our expertise, don't think of ourselves as having much to say. So I think it’s useful to deflate the vaunted designation of “public intellectual” a bit, because too much vaunting discourages us from trying to attain it. It’s bad for our field if no one is speaking to the public about what we do.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/11/2013 - 3:59pm by Curtis Dozier.

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.

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