A Letter from President Sheila Murnaghan

As we all contend with the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 Coronavirus, I want to start by highlighting a gratifying fact: the indispensable expert and voice of reason, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, majored in Classics as an undergraduate at Holy Cross!  This is a timely and inspiring reminder that Classics majors go on to distinguish themselves in many different careers and to perform many kinds of vital service.

I also want to emphasize that, despite the ongoing crisis, the SCS is fully up-and-running. Our three fulltime staff members, Helen Cullyer, Cherane Ali, and Erik Shell, have made a seamless transition to working remotely, thanks to careful advance planning on their part. They are maintaining regular business hours even as they work remotely, and are available to help our members however they can.

We have, inevitably, been making other necessary adjustments to our operations.  As has already been announced, we have extended the deadline for submissions to the program for the 2021 Annual Meeting, and our award letters to fellowship recipients will include provisions for deferral of the award if that becomes necessary.  We have now decided to conduct the June meeting of the Program Committee virtually rather than in person.  Other committee and board meetings in 2020 will now be held by remote means. Some of these were already planned as virtual, while others will be virtual in response to COVID-19.

There are, of course, many reasons for concern about how the disruptions caused by the pandemic are affecting members of the Classical Studies community, many of whom are devoting large amounts of time and energy to the transition to remote teaching.  Thanks are especially due to the K-12 teachers who are delivering a fulltime curriculum to students whose access to broadband internet is especially variable, while dealing with a host of other issues, including the needs of those who qualify for school meals. We applaud your service to the students who represent our future.  We are also mindful of the extra stress on graduate students, international students, contingent faculty, and those at early stages of their careers.  The Board of Directors has voted unanimously to endorse a statement by the American Sociological Association calling for adjustments to the review and reappointment processes for tenure-track and contingent faculty. 

In addition, the SCS is calling on all Colleges and Universities offering degree programs in Classical Studies to make fair and compassionate accommodations to their students.  We ask that, where possible, graduate fellowships be extended by a semester or a year, although we realize that this may not possible at all institutions owing to financial pressures.  We also ask that other appropriate adjustments be made on a program-by-program or case-by-case basis, recognizing that the structures and requirements of graduate programs vary widely, and that students whose research requires physical access to museum or library collections or study abroad are disproportionately affected. These accommodations might include extension of the date by which admitted students are required to respond to offers, uninterrupted access to health insurance, enhanced access to electronic resources provided by libraries and publishers, the postponement of exams and other requirements, and extensions to the expected time to degree. We note how important it is for graduate students to be heard, to be given transparent information, and to feel fully supported as they face an even more uncertain academic job market.

With regard to undergraduate programs, we urge institutions to make fair and compassionate accommodations to displaced students. These might include efforts to assure that all students have well-functioning access to remote content and judicious reconsideration of grading and evaluation procedures. Many institutions have already made most or all courses pass / fail or made adjustments to their regular grading scheme.  We also hope that, when current undergraduates eventually apply to graduate programs, their Spring 2020 performance will be evaluated with appropriate understanding of the difficulties they faced. 

Finally, we realize that most if not all students graduating this summer with a Classics degree will not be able to attend graduation ceremonies, which normally mark important milestones and honor significant achievements.  We hope that institutions will find ways to celebrate their graduates remotely. In addition, SCS plans to recognize these students by publishing a list of all Classics graduates in North America in this academic year, at every level from BA through PhD.  The Executive Director will reach out to department chairs in April in order to gather information on eligible students.

I wish you all as healthy and productive a Spring as is possible under the current circumstances.  Take care!

Sheila Murnaghan

SCS President

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Session Recordings Available

All sessions that gave unanimous consent for post-conference publication have been made available on the OpenWater annual meeting platform.

You can access these recordings by logging in the same way you logged in for the annual meeting, navigating to the paper session you want to see, and watching the recording streamed on the registration site itself.

You can find a list of available recordings below. All those not listed did not give consent for their sessions to be published.

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Tuesday, January 5

  • SCS 1- Merchants and Market in Late Antiquity
  • SCS 6- New Approaches to Spectatorship
  • SCS 10- Roman Comedy

 Wednesday, January 6

  • SCS 15-Staging Epic and Tragedy
  • SCS 16- Virgil and Religion
  • SCS 17-Usurpers, Rivals, and Regime Change: The Evidence of Coins
  • SCS 24- Lightning Session 2: Crossing Boundaries

 Thursday, January 7

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 01/20/2021 - 12:48pm by Erik Shell.
57th Presidential Inauguration, 21 January 2013. View of the U.S. Capitol building from the crowd, with people waving flags.

Were Joe Biden ascending to the chief executive office in Ancient Rome — as one of the year’s two elected consuls — he would start his inauguration day with augury—that is, by taking the auspices. It would, first of all, be January 1, rather than the 20th; according to a surviving Roman calendar, in fact, the state’s year began then “because on that day magistrates enter office” (Fasti Praenestini, Jan. 1). That morning, Biden would look to the sky and request a sign from the gods. If Jupiter announced his favor — a lightning flash on the left was the best omen for this occasion—then the installation could proceed.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 01/20/2021 - 9:44am by .

The Society for Classical Studies is delighted to announce that the TAPA Editor Search Committee has selected Joshua Billings and Irene Peirano Garrison as the new co-editors of TAPA. This is the first time in its history that TAPA will be led by two co-editors. Professors Billings and Peirano Garrison will cover TAPA volumes 152-155 (2022-2025).

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 01/20/2021 - 8:38am by Helen Cullyer.

On December 21, 2020, which now seems like eons ago, Donald Trump issued the “Executive Order on Promoting Beautiful Federal Civic Architecture” (EOPBFCA). This understandably has been overshadowed in recent days by discussions of the Executive Order on Promoting Besiegement of Federal Civic Architecture (also EOPBFCA). Nevertheless, we should not forget to examine the original document (which, in draft form, was opposed by the SCS Board in February 2020), especially since the two occurrences are closely related — and not only in the sense that the latter action seems in direct violation of the first. The two are actually intellectual cousins.

The “Purpose” section sets the tone for all that follows:

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 01/15/2021 - 9:21am by .

Against the backdrop of the United States’ first non-peaceful transition of power, there is a much smaller-scale — and much more peaceful — transition happening: the changeover of the SCS Communications Committee chair and SCS blog Editor-in-Chief. Sarah Bond, after three years of visionary leadership and fantastic direction of the blog, has handed the reins over to me, as a veteran Committee member. I think I speak for the Committee and for the blog’s readership when I offer Sarah my profoundest gratitude and appreciation for her awe-inspiring work during her term. I’ll be standing on the shoulders and following in the footsteps of a giant.

View full article. | Posted in on Tue, 01/12/2021 - 7:47am by T. H. M. Gellar-Goad.

Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies Postdoctoral Fellowship September 2021 – August 2022

For the third year in a row, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies (SNF CHS) at Simon Fraser University invites applications for a one-year Postdoctoral Fellowship focused on Hellenisms Past and Present, Local and Global. Our search committee welcomes applications that span disciplinary boundaries from candidates working on comparative approaches to the advertised fellowship theme. Applicants from all fields of the humanities and the social sciences are encouraged to apply.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 3:02pm by Erik Shell.

34th Biennial Conference of the Classical Association of South Africa

Order and Chaos

19 – 22 January 2022

University of Cape Town

FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/11/2021 - 2:57pm by Erik Shell.

The Ausonius Institute (CNRS – Université Bordeaux Montaigne), under the patronage of the  Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres (AIBL, Paris), the International Association of Greek and Latin Epigraphy (AIEGL) and the Société Française d'études épigraphiques sur Rome et le monde romain is pleased to invite you to the 16th International Congress of Greek and Latin Epigraphy, which will take place in Bordeaux  from August 29 to September 2, 2022.

The aim of the conference is to reflect on the situation of epigraphy and the role of the epigrapher in the 21st century. The congress will, therefore, be organized around thematic, chronological or geographical reports, which will allow us to assess advances in our knowledge with regards to methodological, technical or ethical issues that occur in contemporary epigraphic studies. Particular attention will be paid to new epigraphic perspectives made possible by the development of digital humanities.

You can find more information on the conference website here: https://ciegl2022.sciencesconf.org/

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 12/28/2020 - 12:03pm by Erik Shell.
NEH Logo

December, 2020

Below is a list of the most recent NEH grantees and their Classically-themed projects. The NEH helps fund a number of SCS initiatives, and their support affects the field of Classics at a national and local level.

Grantees

  • Mark Fisher (Georgetown University) - "Thucydides and the Heroic Democracy"
  • Sinclair Bell (Northern Illinois University) - "Research and Preparation of a Book on the Representation of Africans in Ancient Roman Art"
  • William Seales (University of Kentucky Research Foundation) - "The Digital Restoration Initiative: A Cultural Heritage Imaging and Analysis LabSo"
  • Melissa Mueller (University of Massachusetts, Amherst) - "Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading"

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(Photo: "Logo of the United States National Endowment for the Humanities" by National Endowment for the Humanities, public domain, edited to fit thumbnail template)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 12/28/2020 - 12:01pm by Erik Shell.

The Presidential Panel at the 2021 Annual Meeting will be held on Friday January 8, 5:30-7:30pm CST. Registered attendees can access the panel via the virtual annual meeting platform.

This panel responds to a shameful episode in the history of American classics: in 1909, the distinguished Black classicist and President of Wilberforce University, William Sanders Scarborough (1852-1926), chose not to attend the annual meeting of the American Philological Association (now the SCS) in Baltimore because the hotel where the conference banquet was to be held refused to serve him.  The speakers will contextualize Scarborough’s exclusion from the annual meeting within the history of Baltimore as well as the profession of Classical Studies and will address the aspirations and achievements of Scarborough himself and of the many Black writers and scholars of his period who engaged with classical antiquity, a rich legacy from which we have much to learn as we strive to make our profession truly inclusive and anti-racist.

1. Michele Valerie Ronnick (Wayne State University): "A Portrait of William Sanders Scarborough in 1909"

2. Andre Davis (University of Maryland Carey School of Law): "Ruminations on Place, Privilege, and Prejudice: Baltimore at the Dawn of the Twentieth Century"

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Tue, 12/22/2020 - 8:41pm by Helen Cullyer.

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