In Memoriam: Aryeh Kosman

(Originally posted on haverford.edu)

Aryeh Kosman, Haverford's John Whitehead Professor of Philosophy Emeritus, died early [June 17] of complications following a fall. He was 85.

After receiving his undergraduate and M.A. degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, he briefly studied at Hebrew University before earning his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He joined the Haverford faculty as an assistant professor in 1962, was promoted to full professor in 1973, became the Whitehead Professor in 1987, and retired in 2010.

"Aryeh was a star in Greek Philosophy," says Joel Yurdin, Haverford associate professor of philosophy. "Many of his articles are required reading for anyone writing on the topic, and they covered virtually every area of the field, including metaphysics, ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science." Such scholarship led to visiting professorships at Princeton, UCLA, and Berkeley and, in 1985, an award for distinguished teaching from the Lindback Foundation. That honor affirmed what, by then, thousands of Fords already knew: Prof. Kosman was thoroughly devoted to his Haverford students.

"I cannot think of Haverford College without thinking of Aryeh Kosman," says Jim Friedman '67. "He embodied the very best of Haverford: brilliant scholarship, deep concern for his students and colleagues, warmth, humor, and an awareness of our collective strengths and foibles. He was my teacher for four years and my friend for almost 60 years. For the last 15 years, we met frequently to discuss philosophy. Sadly the meeting scheduled for today will never take place. Our community has lost one of its luminaries. We will all miss him."

John Parachini '82 remembers Prof. Kosman's course on Aristotle as "an epic experience for any philosophy major in the 1980s. His guidance on how to read Aristotle’s Metaphysics helped me understand the importance of light as the medium for perceiving the world visually and consciously." Tom Navratil '82 took the same class as a philosophy major. "I'd put it among the top tier of all my classes at Haverford for both challenge and benefit."

Larry Tint '67 says he was not "a philosophy guy" while at Haverford, preferring math and science and seeing the humanities as "a necessary step towards graduation." While on that path, he took two classes with Prof. Kosman. "He was the quintessential Haverford professor, completely dedicated to enlightening his students, bringing an enormous knowledge base to the classroom, understanding the needs and limitations of his students, always available and willing to give his time graciously, allowing for divergence of opinion, and doing all of this with a sense of humor worthy of a stand-up comic. I, Haverford, and the world have lost a truly remarkable man." In a Facebook post, Hannah Turner '13 described Prof. Kosman's freshman writing seminar as "a joy," noting how she was "touched that he remembered me at my reunion. I was lucky to learn from him."

An article in the Spring 1976 issue of Haverford's alumni magazine pointed out that philosophy courses were among the College's most popular, with "historians, biologists, and musicians" vying to enroll. That the department was attracting so many non-majors was fine with Prof. Kosman. "Our purpose," he said at the time, "isn't to train philosophy scholars. It's to try to continue the tradition of Rufus Jones, to educate people in a moral way." Profiled again nearly a dozen years later, he said that "(h)uman beings are born with a deep desire to know. Curiosity knows no limits. We must think through an issue and follow the truth wherever it may go. There is no pleasure as deep as thinking."

Aryeh Kosman is survived by his wife, Deborah Roberts, the William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature at Haverford, former wife Tracy Kosman, and children Joshua (Nan Wiener), Isaac (Catherine Poisson), Jacob (Julie Urvater) and Hannah, and grandchildren Naomi, Natania, Noah, and Celia.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 18, at Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El, in Wynnewood, PA. All mourners in attendance will be required to wear masks.

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This is a reminder that the AIA-SCS Future Meetings Survey is now available.

Please click here to access the survey, which should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

The survey will remain open until May 31.

The 2022 Annual Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 5 – Saturday, January 8 in San Francisco at the Hilton Union Square, with the Parc 55 hotel serving as an overflow property. AIA and SCS signed contracts with these hotels several years prior to COVID-19, and we realize that attendees’ expectations and needs have changed since then owing to concerns about public health, accessibility, and cost. With this in mind, please take some time to fill out our survey on the 2022 meeting and on longer term planning for our conferences. The survey results will assist us in determining the optimal format and structure for our 2022 meeting and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/25/2021 - 1:36pm by Erik Shell.

Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop 2021: Ovid’s Little Aeneid

Dates: July 12-16, 2021

Location: Zoom link to be provided to registered participants

Text: Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.623–14.582

Moderators: Meghan Reedy (D. Phil. Oxford), Christopher Francese (Prof. of Classical Studies, Dickinson College)

Cost: $200

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 05/24/2021 - 5:36pm by Erik Shell.
14th century illustrated manuscript of Omne Bonum (by James le Palmer – British Library MS Royal 6 E. VI, fol. 301ra); it shows a bishop instructing clerics with leprosy.

What use is Covid-19? Despite its epidemiological and socioeconomic consequences, can this pandemic do anything good for scholars? For Classicists? For one thing, we have seen the capacity of the virus to generate numerous themed conferences, journal volumes, and lecture series. Whether that’s a “good thing” is another matter. But, at the very least, we may say that this global pandemic renders a cluster of ideas more broadly interesting and salient than usual.

For some scholars, such events have proved fortuitous: say, for example, Kyle Harper, whose The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of and Empire appeared in late 2017 and dealt with disease and pandemic in late antiquity. Frank M. Snowden’s Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present has witnessed renewed interest. For some scholars, Classicists or not, Covid-19 has highlighted their work. No one likes to benefit from a public emergency — as a former wildland firefighter, a profession which lives for forest fires, I know the feeling — but it happens. It is outside our control.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/21/2021 - 10:08am by Carson M Bay.
Mary Beard in conversation with Vanessa Stovall and Ky Merkley

In Dialogue: Trans Studies and Classics works to bring some of the insights and lived experiences found in transgender studies into conversation with the Classics, in the hope that bringing these into dialogue with each other will enrich our pedagogy, deepen our understanding of what gender as an identity category even means, and help critique the various ways gender has been used as an instrument of power throughout history, while also creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for our students. If you’d like to contribute to this column or have ideas that could add to this conversation, email Ky Merkley.

When the latest ‘Twitter storm’ (to quote Mary Beard) broke out, my Twitter feed rapidly filled with heated denunciations of ‘cancel culture,’ cruel words directed at trans folx, and pontifications about the state of Classics. For many members of the trans community, this Twitter ‘dialogue’ was exhausting. Every day, a new blog post or article added more fuel to an ever-growing fire.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 05/17/2021 - 10:19am by .
LGBT Meets SPQR Logo

I wish that LGBT Meets SQPR had existed as I began my journey into Greco-Roman antiquity in high school. As a closeted gay youth, I was eager to find stories, experiences, and anecdotes that could help me understand my identity better and not feel quite so alone. Modern LGBTQIA+ youth seem to gravitate towards Classics for such resources and community-building. In a survey conducted by Hannah Clarke, young queer people indicated that their interest in Classics stemmed from the fact that “Classics remedies, to a certain extent, anxieties of feeling culturally temporary. [The survey respondents] describe the visibility of queer figures in Classics classes as providing a sort of temporal anchor, which proves that they are not the result of a trend, something that came about in the 70s, something that is having a moment and could potentially vanish once more.”

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/14/2021 - 10:06am by Daniel Libatique.

The 2021 season of the Digital Classicist London seminar is on the theme of world classics: we have put together a programme of speakers who are working with digital humanities and digital classics methods to the study of antiquity—whether language, corpora, archaeology—from across the world. All sessions are streamed live on Youtube, and will also be available to watch there afterwards.

All seminars at 17:00 (UK time).

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 05/11/2021 - 5:27pm by Erik Shell.

(Sent on behalf of Lawrence Kowerski)

Dear friends of the Classics Program at Hunter College,

Please join us Friday, May 14, at 5pm for the 83rd Josephine Earle Memorial Lecture (see the attached poster). The lecture is taking place virtually over Zoom, and pre-registration is required at the link below. In addition to the lecture, the event will begin with a student award ceremony and a celebration of recent graduates from the Classics Program at Hunter.

83rd Josephine Earle Memorial Lecture, Friday, May 14, 5-7pm

"What did the Romans want from their law?"

Michael Peachin, Professor of Classics (New York University)

Register at this link:

https://huntercollege.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwodu2prDwjHd0KuXntHJFFpwQ8YOY6WivN

(If the link doesn't take you to a registration screen when you click on it, please try cutting and pasting it manually into your browser. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)

We hope to see many of you there!

Lawrence Kowerski
Associate Professor in Classics (Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center)

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 05/11/2021 - 4:41pm by Erik Shell.
"Empty Theatre (almost)"by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0

THE WINNER OF THE 2020 LONDON HELLENIC PRIZE  -- PRESS RELEASE

The LHP adjudicating committee met by teleconference on May 7th to discuss the Shortlist of candidates for books published in 2020 and select the winner. The committee was chaired by A.G. Leventis Professor emeritus Paul Cartledge (Clare College, University of Cambridge) and also included Professor Peter Frankopan (Worcester College, Oxford), Mr Robin Lane Fox (New College, Oxford), Dr Nick Lowe (Royal Holloway, University of London), Professor emeritus Michael Paschalis (University of Crete), and Dr Jennifer Wallace (Peterhouse, University of Cambridge).

The five books shortlisted by the committee were:

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 05/11/2021 - 12:52pm by Erik Shell.

Statius – author of a coherent œuvre?

Newcastle University, 26-28 May 2022

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 1:55pm by Erik Shell.

(A message from Dennis Looney, MLA)

I hope the semester/quarter is ending up well. Come celebrate at the 2021 MLA Leadership Institute: Why Humanities Now: https://www.adfl.mla.org/Seminars/MLA-Academic-Program-Services-Leadership-Institute-Why-Humanities-Now

In addition to a robust set of plenaries and discussion groups (full program is online), there are three workshops that will be of interest: one for chairs, one for directors of graduate studies, and one for department leaders interested in using data for advocacy. 

See below for brief descriptions.  Use the link above for access to the full program and registration.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 10:14am by Erik Shell.

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