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 Board of Directors of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) condemns the racist acts and speech that occurred at the 2019 SCS annual meeting. The Society’s policy on harassment addresses, among other things, hostility and abuse based on race and ethnicity. There is no place for racism on the part of members, attendees, vendors, and contractors at the meeting.  In addition, the Board reaffirms its statement of November 2016 in which the directors condemned “the use of the texts, ideals, and images of the Greek and Roman world to promote racism or a view of the Classical world as the unique inheritance of a falsely-imagined and narrowly-conceived western civilization.” 

January 6, 2019

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Sun, 01/06/2019 - 7:36pm by Helen Cullyer.

Perhaps paradoxically, Classicists spend a lot of time thinking about the future of our field. Although we spend the majority of our working days researching ancient material, teaching such material to students, and thinking about the particulars of a Latin text, North African relief, Hellenistic religious rite, or exceptionally obscure Greek gnome (e.g. “Water is best”), we often wonder (with various levels of anxiety) how such work will be done in the future, or if there will even be Classics in the future.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 01/04/2019 - 6:18am by Christopher Trinacty.
San Diego Reflecting Pond

Mary Beard

What is Classics?

Saturday, January 5, 6:15-7:30pm

San Diego Marriott Marquis at the Marina

Marriott Grand Ballroom 9

This lecture is free and open to the public.

What do we mean by Classics now? Why should we study the ancient Greeks and Romans (and other ancient cultures)? How do we think through its apparently reactionary heritage?

This lecture goes back through the 150 year history of the SCS in an attempt to give an optimistic view of the future of the past.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 01/02/2019 - 9:38am by Helen Cullyer.
150th Logo

Registered meeting attendees are invited to the SCS Plenary Session and Presidential Reception on Saturday January 5 at the AIA-SCS Annual Meeting in San Diego.

Plenary Session
5:00 P.M. to 6:00 P.M.
Marriott Grand Ballroom 11
The plenary session will feature the presentation of the SCS awards, and Joe Farrell will deliver his Presidential Address entitled “Ancient and Modern: A Critical Reflection.” Copies of the Goodwin Award books will be awarded as door prizes.
 
SCS Presidential Reception
7:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
Marriott Grand Ballroom 8
 
The Board of Directors cordially invites all SCS members attending the 150th Annual Meeting to a reception honoring President Joe Farrell on Saturday, January 5. The Board encourages all members to attend the reception and meet those colleagues they may not have seen earlier in the meeting. This event is sponsored by the American Classical League in recognition of the centennial of the ACL and the sesquicentennial of the SCS.
 
View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/01/2019 - 11:46am by Helen Cullyer.
San Diego Reflecting Pond

Luis Alfaro

From the Ancient to the Streets of L.A.: Imagining the Greek Classics for Communities Today

Thursday, January 3, 8:15-9:30PM

San Diego Marriott Marquis at the Marina

Marriott Grand Ballroom 9

Hosted by the SCS and co-organized by Classics and Social Justice and the Onassis Foundation USA


In his lecture, playwright Luis Alfaro, author of Mojada and Oedipus El Rey, guides us on a journey from Athens to East L.A. as we connect the ancient myths and bring them alive for contemporary audiences today. Socrates reminds us that storytelling changes and grows, but do stories ever lose their meaning and power? Come discover the journey that makes these classics still essential today.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/01/2019 - 11:38am by Helen Cullyer.

Last week the SCS blog reflected on what really does seem to be a golden age of Classics podcasting, where audio content that you can listen to on a portable device whenever convenient has made it easier than ever to teach people about ancient history, to help teachers develop the active use of ancient languages, and to share cutting edge research and scholarly perspectives on the material we study.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/31/2018 - 6:07am by Curtis Dozier.

By Erin Averett, Sarah E. Bond, Derek Counts, and Bethany Wasik
 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 12/28/2018 - 6:26am by Erin Averett.

By Curtis Dozier and Christopher B. Polt

In order to prepare for the SCS’s upcoming sesquicentennial at the annual meeting in San Diego from January 3–6, 2019, the SCS blog is highlighting panels, keynotes, and workshops from the schedule. This week we are focusing on the Podcasting the Classics panel (8:00am–10:30am on Saturday, Jan. 5) by pointing to some resources for those who want to explore the medium more fully.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 12/27/2018 - 5:48am by Curtis Dozier.
150th Logo

Mary Beard

What is Classics?

Saturday, January 5, 6:15-7:30pm

San Diego Marriott Marquis at the Marina

Marriott Grand Ballroom 9

This lecture is free and open to the public.

What do we mean by Classics now? Why should we study the ancient Greeks and Romans (and other ancient cultures)? How do we think through its apparently reactionary heritage?

This lecture goes back through the 150 year history of the SCS in an attempt to give an optimistic view of the future of the past.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 12/26/2018 - 8:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

In order to prepare for the SCS’s upcoming sesquicentennial at the annual meeting in San Diego from January 3–6, 2019, the SCS blog is highlighting panels, keynotes, and workshops from the schedule. This week we are focusing on the Podcasting the Classics panel (8:00am–10:30am on Saturday, Jan. 5) by pointing to some resources for those who want to explore the medium more fully.

Today we feature a set of podcasts in which the host(s) interview guest classicists to discuss their work, their insights into the ancient world and its relevance for modernity, and their personal and professional experiences.

Ancient Greece Declassified (w/ Vanya Visnjic)

http://www.greecepodcast.com

Explicitly aiming to demystify and to share scholarship on ancient Greece with the non-specialist public, this podcast explores Greek literature, history, philosophy and connects them to modern issues and interests (e.g., the possible causes of the Bronze Age collapse, how Athens dealt with demagogues, what makes Homer’s Odyssey great story-telling).

Classics Confidential (w/ The Open University’s Department of Classical Studies)

https://classicsconfidential.co.uk

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 12/26/2018 - 5:54am by Christopher Polt.

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