In memoriam: Charles L. Babcock (1924-2012)

Charles Luther Babcock died December 7, 2012 at the age of 88. He was born in Whittier California, May 26, 1924. After attending Whittier Union High School, he enrolled in the University of California—Berkeley in 1941, where he became a member of ROTC. In 1943 he entered the US Army and served in General Patton’s Third Army in the invasion of Germany in 1945. There, as Second Lieutenant, he earned the Bronze Medal for leading his platoon through heavy fire at Neumarkt, assisting the wounded, personally liberating nine POWs and capturing the local civilian leader of the resistance. After the war as Captain he became aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. John Coulter, who went on to become Deputy Commander of the Fourth Army.

In 1947 Capt. Babcock resumed his studies at Berkeley, where he earned a BA (Phi Beta Kappa) in Latin in 1948 and a PhD in Classics in 1953, with a dissertation on The Dating of the Capitoline Fasti and the Erasure of the Antonii Names, written under Arthur E. Gordon. So began Charles Babcock’s lifelong interest in Latin Epigraphy and the history of the Roman Empire. He continued his pursuit of Roman history and epigraphy at the American Academy in Rome as a Fulbright Scholar and Academy Fellow (1953-55). While sailing to Rome with other Americans heading for the Academy, he met Mary A. Taylor, a graduate student from Bryn Mawr. They were married in 1955 and raised three children.

After two years as Instructor at Cornell University (1955-57), Charles became Assistant Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania, where he remained for nine years (1957-66), being promoted to Associate Professor in 1962. At Penn he discovered his talent for administration, serving in due course as Assistant Dean, Vice-Dean, and Acting Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

He came to The Ohio State University as Professor of Classics and Chair of the department in 1966. In 1968 when the arts and sciences were reorganized into five separate colleges, Charles became the first Dean of the College of Humanities. After one term as dean he returned to teaching, specializing in Latin Epigraphy and literature, especially Horace and Tacitus, while Horace and Augustan Rome became the focus of his papers and publications.

From 1980-88 he served as Chair of the Department of Classics. In 1986 he and his colleague, Stephen Tracy, established a research center for the study of Greek and Latin inscriptions. Subsequently expanded to include paleography, the Center for Epigraphical and Palaeographical Studies, is now the only comprehensive research facility for the study of Greek and Latin inscriptions and manuscripts in the United States.  

At Ohio State Charles  won numerous awards:  the Alfred J. Wright Award "for significant service to organized student activities and for the development of effective student leadership" (1968); The Alumni Distinguished Teaching Award (1982), the first Exemplary Faculty Award in the College of Humanities (1989); and the Distinguished Service Award (1996).          

Charles was also active in many national and regional classical associations. He was Director of the American Philological Association (1968-72); Executive Committee Member (1970-74), President-Elect (1976-77) and President (1977-78) of the Classical Association of the Middle West and South; and Trustee (1967-70), which  awarded him the OVATIO Award of Merit in 1982. He also served as Vice-President (1971-72) and President (1972-73) of the Vergilian Society.

Ever since his original residency at American Academy in Rome Charles maintained a lively interest in that institution. In 1966 he was Professor-in-Charge of the Summer School. In 1986 he was a resident in Classical Studies, and in 1988-89 became Acting Mellon Professor-in-Charge. He also participated in the administration of the Academy. He served as Trustee (1981-83), chaired the Friends of the Library (1985-86), and, after serving as Mellon Professor, chaired the Advisory Council to the School of Classical Studies (1992-94).

Charles was equally involved with the Intercollegiate Center for Classical Studies in Rome, familiarly known as the “Centro.”  The Centro was established in 1965 at the instigation of Brooks Otis to provide a study-abroad experience for undergraduates. Charles, with an interest in the project from its inception, became Professor-in-Charge in 1974-75 and then served as Chair of the Managing Committee for the next seven years (1975-82). He continued to recruit students for both the Centro and the American Academy throughout his career and long into retirement.

After retirement in 1992 Charles continued to serve the Ohio State University in various capacities.  The Thompson Memorial Library held a special place in his heart. During the critical time of raising money for its renovation, he co-chaired Campus Campaign, the annual fundraising effort of the university, for two years (2001-02), and then served as President of the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Library. He saw his efforts on behalf of the library rewarded with the completion of the $120 million renovation in 2009.


For information on the memorial service, go to http://classics.osu.edu/events/memorial-service-emeritus-professor-charles-luther-babcock.

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The panel seeks to bring together academics and non-academics to brainstorm ways in which we can effect positive changes to the field of Classics given its negative past, public perception of the field, and the various institutional policies that hamper its effective teaching and study in sub-Saharan Africa. What has been done so far? What critical challenges persist? And what are the ways forward? 

Date: Monday, December 13, 2021

Time: 2pm-4pm GMT

Venue: Zoom (the link will be sent to registered participants).

Organizer: Michael K. Okyere Asante (UESD, Somanya/Stellenbosch University)

Moderator: Dr Nandini Pandey (John Hopkins University)

The panel discussion will be held in two parts: first, we will receive short presentations from speakers, followed by a general discussion of the issues raised in the various speakers' presentations. We intend documenting the discussions and coming up with a report on the issues raised to guide us in forming collaborations which will address these issues for a better future.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Wed, 12/08/2021 - 9:38pm by Helen Cullyer.

"'What Has Antiquity Ever Done for Us?'

The Vitality of Ancient Reception Studies, Now."

Online, Wednesday, 15 December to Saturday, 18 December

With #ClassicsTwitter Movie on Sunday, 19 December

View the program at antiquityinmediastudies.wordpress.com/program

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Wed, 12/08/2021 - 9:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

The graduate students of the Department of Classics at The Graduate Center at CUNY are happy to share the call for papers for our Spring 2022 14th annual Graduate Conference, entitled ‘Secret Knowledge in the Ancient World: Acquisition and Concealment.’ The conference will be held via Zoom on Friday, May 6, 2022.

We are pleased to announce our keynote speaker, Prof. Radcliffe G. Edmonds III (Bryn Mawr College).

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 12/07/2021 - 3:15pm by Erik Shell.

MAY 12, 2022 – MAY 15, 2022:

ANNUAL MEETING OF THE CLASSICAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

CALL FOR PAPERS

                                                             (Français à suivre)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 12/07/2021 - 1:44pm by Erik Shell.
People sit around a table playing a board game. Two women on the left reach their arms across the board. One is pointing with her index finger.

The last decade or so has seen growing interest in “immersive” representations of antiquity: representations that seem to replace a subject’s real experience of the present with compelling simulation of the past. Thus scholars have worked, for example, on “immersion” in Homer, Herodotus and Thucydides, adaptations of Aeschylus, and in postdramatic tragedies. The topic is an outgrowth of longer-standing study of “immersivity” in theater, especially contemporary theater, and in literature, where an early watershed has led more recently to interdisciplinary approaches. In the first half of this post, I sketch a theory for approaching the phenomenon; in the second half, I describe some examples centered on games.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/06/2021 - 12:22pm by Benjamin Stevens.
A mosaic featuring two rows of light-skinned women wearing brown bikinis. On top, two women are running, one hold a large object, and one stands still. On the bottom, one holds a crown, one holds a branch, and two play catch with a ball.

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative (AnWoMoCo), launched by the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiative, supports projects that seek to engage broader publics — individuals, groups, and communities — in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean, the global reception of Greek and Roman culture, and the history of teaching and scholarship in the field of classical studies. As part of this initiative, the SCS has funded 125 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. To date, it has funded projects in 28 states and 11 countries, including Canada, the UK, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 12/03/2021 - 11:23am by .

In 2021, the second year of the SCS Erich S. Gruen Prize, the selection committee received 15 submissions from graduate students across North America treating aspects of race, ethnicity, or cultural exchange in the ancient Mediterranean. The committee was impressed by the papers’ quality and range of disciplinary perspectives, methodologies, types of evidence, and time periods across the multicultural ancient world.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 11/30/2021 - 9:13am by Helen Cullyer.
An engraving showing a muscly man in a helmet carrying an elderly, also muscly man in his arms. A woman with long hair and a small child are also in motion. The figures are moving over fallen statues and weapons inside a large building next to a staircase

A few years ago, I read an essay by Elena Giusti in the now sadly defunct Eidolon. In this piece, Giusti considers the responsibilities of Classicists today, viewed from her perspective as a scholar of Italian origin based in the UK. Drawing attention to the use of Roman antiquity among the contemporary far-right in Italy, she goes on to state that,

No, it is simply not enough to remind readers that Aeneas was a migrant himself in this loaded climate of the migrant crisis (a recurrent reminder in the Italian press of late — counteracted, I now see, by the young alt-right journal Giovani a destra, whose claim to philological accuracy cares to stress, with Vergil, the Western origin of Dardanus).

This 21st-century contestation over the identity of Aeneas, the origins of Dardanus, founder of Troy, and what, if any, the responsibilities of Classicists confronted with such contestations are, piqued my interest.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/29/2021 - 10:31am by .

The SCS Committee on Contingent Faculty is once again organizing mentoring opportunities for contingent faculty.

You can use this form to sign up to participate in one-on-one mentoring meetups during the AIA/SCS 2022 Annual Meeting (January 6-8). This year there will be both virtual and in-person meetings! Once committee members have received your information, they will match you with either a mentor or mentee.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/29/2021 - 9:06am by Helen Cullyer.
An ornate carved gold square, at the center of which is a stylized horse with a small winged animal resting on its hind quarters. There are decorative patterns forming a border around the horse.

Classical Greeks often articulated a worldview that divided the world between Greeks and all other ethnic groups. This fundamental distinction served to justify war and slavery. The tragedian Aeschylus portrays non-Greeks as slavish and decadent in his Persians. Aristotle thought enslaving non-Greeks was a just cause for waging war (Politics 7.15.21). The Greeks called non-Greeks barbaroi, or “barbarians,” because of the unintelligible sounds of their foreign languages (they said bar bar). The historian Herodotus has long been a central figure in scholarly discourse about the creation and articulation of the boundary between Greeks and others.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/22/2021 - 10:34am by .

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