In Memoriam: Grace Starry West

(Written by David T. West)

Grace Starry West (1946-2019)

Grace Starry West, 72, died of complications from lung cancer on Sunday, May 19 at her home. She was a member of the SCS since 1973, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee in 1999, and trustee of the Vergilian Society from 1986-1989. Her name will be especially familiar to Vergilians on account of her groundbreaking UCLA dissertation on “Women in Vergil’s Aeneid” (1975), and to students and colleagues from the University of Dallas, where she helped Classics grow into an outstanding program with three tenured faculty members and a steady flow of majors. As John F. Miller, Professor of Classics at the University of Virginia, recently observed: “Her work on Virgilian women was pioneering; her leadership at Dallas admirable.”

GSW wrote most of her dissertation on Vergil as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Heidelberg (1972-1974). Her doctoral research resulted in a series of articles early in her career, most notably “Vergil’s Helpful Sisters: Anna and Juturna in the Aeneid” (Vergilius 25 [1979]: 10-19); “Caeneus and Dido” (TAPA 110 [1980]: 315-324); and “Andromache and Dido” (AJP 104 [1983]: 257-267). Her most widely read work, however, is doubtless 4 Texts on Socrates (Cornell 1984; Revised Edition 1998), containing Plato’s Euthyphro, Apology, & Crito and Aristophanes’ Clouds (co-translated with her husband). This collection remains a popular choice for the college classroom. Soon afterwards she published Bryn Mawr Commentaries on Nepos’s Dion (1985) and Cicero’s Pro Archia (1988).

These commentaries were the outgrowth of her Intermediate Latin courses at the University of Dallas, where she spent most of her career (1975-2011), eventually attaining the rank of Associate Professor of Classics. Early in her time at UD, she was instrumental in growing the Latin side of the program and in galvanizing colleagues to establish Classics as an independent department. While raising four children over the years, GSW taught Greek and Latin at all levels, gave courses in translation on Classical Mythology and Ancient Epic, supervised senior projects in Classics, served as department Chair (1997-2006), and was a tireless and outspoken advocate for the preservation of the Core Curriculum and other mainstays of traditional liberal arts education at UD.

GSW will also be remembered for her support of the greater Classics community in the state of Texas, where she was an active member of the Texas Classical Association and served as President from 1998-2000. Donna Gerard, a longtime friend who taught Latin in public and private schools in Texas, said: “She was always supportive of teaching Latin at all levels. She gave us high school teachers so much help and presented materials at many TCA conferences that were topics she knew could be used at any level. She started the Metroplex Classical Association and hosted it for the DFW area at UD for several years. From that came the impetus to start a reading group to read Latin each month. Several of us still do that.” Likewise, Larry Martin, recent past president of TCA, wrote that “she was an important and supportive mentor for many of us.”

GSW was also a devoted mentor to her students. One young man who was struggling to fulfill an ancient language requirement for his PhD in Political Science at UD recalls: “I would not have gotten through Greek without that woman.” “She was an influential mentor in my life and helped to set me on my current path,” wrote one Classics major from UD who went on to receive her MA from KU and now teaches Latin at a Texas high school. A former student who now works in Washington, D.C. recalled: “She had a firmness and a kindness to her that gave me direction more times than I'd like to count… I got to be her administrative assistant for the UD classics department, and her guest in her home, where I benefited so much from her professorial gatherings that I lucked out with an entire second graduate education… She had a razor sharp, dry wit.” Others concur about her sense of humor: “I took one Latin class with her—I still remember asking her about the upcoming test, and her telling me that it would be fine and I didn’t need to give her ‘that River Tam look’” (for the pop-culturally ignorant, this was apparently an allusion to Firefly). “She was not my official advisor, but she always had time to advise. Her classes were fun, and I enjoyed her humor.”

From 2011, she taught at Hillsdale College, where she was promoted to Professor of Classics in 2016. There, she continued her habit of “switch-hitting,” offering a variety of advanced courses in both languages, such as Aeschylus’ Persians, Euripides’ Bacchae, Sophocles’ Philoctetes, Lucretius, and Catullus’s polymetrics with Caesar’s BG. A note from a recent student reads: “I have greatly enjoyed our Latin class and always look forward to the laughter the class holds… Thanks for all you do for me.” The breadth of her interests continued to show during her Hillsdale years, as she pursued research projects on Vergil’s portraits of Augustus, philosophical connections between the Aeneid and De Officiis, and Margaret Atwood’s The Penelopiad.

In her later years as a scholar, GSW also turned to classical depictions of tyranny. At a 2003 conference on ancient tyranny at Cardiff University, she delivered a long paper analyzing this theme in Plato’s Republic and Laws, and Xenophon’s Hiero. She also recently finished a student-oriented philological commentary on the Hiero, which will hopefully soon see the light of day, a fitting last testament to her passion for Greek and Latin pedagogy and philological rigor.

She is survived by her beloved husband of forty-five years, Thomas G. West; her sister-in-law Wende; her children Susannah (Peter), David (Alessia), Michael (Mary), and James (Leslie); and seven grandchildren. Uxor, mater, magistra optima, vale! Requiescas in pace.

---

(Photo: "Candle" by Shawn Carpenter, licensed under CC BY 2.0)   

Categories

Follow SCS News for information about the SCS and all things classical.

Use this field to search SCS News
Select a category from this list to limit the content on this page.

The Classical Association of Ghana

2nd International Classics Conference in Ghana (ICCG)
8th to 11th October 2020

University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana

Theme: Global Classics and Africa: Past, Present, and Future

The late 1950s and early 1960s ushered in a period when many African countries were gaining political independence. Immediately, there was an agenda to unite African nations, and a policy of Africanization began to gain ground. In the area of education, this Africanization process was vigorously pursued. In Ghana the Institute of African Studies was established, and an Encyclopaedia Africana project, originally conceived by W. E. B. DuBois, was revived. In Nigeria, new universities were established to counter the colonial-based education that was present at the University of Ibadan, and in some East African countries there were fears that foreign university teachers would not be able to further the Africanization of university education.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 1:52pm by Erik Shell.

The Ancient Novel and Material Culture

The ancient novels are populated not just by people but also by objects. While individual studies, particularly on ekphrasis, have examined some of the uses of physical objects in ancient novels (Bartsch 1989; Holzmeister 2014) or the depiction of scenes from ancient novels on objects (e.g. Bruneau 1965), there have been few systematic examinations of the presence, function, and interpretations of material objects in and about ancient prose fiction more broadly. Notable exceptions include Magdeleine Clo’s 2014 thesis, Les objets dans le roman grec, and the 2016 Rethymnon International Conference on the Ancient Novel on “Material Culture and the Ancient Novel” (Oct. 14-15), both of which have demonstrated the potential of examining objects within ancient novels as tools of characterization, plot devices, and symbols, but the topic has thus far received little attention in the United States.

We therefore invite submissions on the ancient novel and material culture. Papers may examine any of the ancient novels or other works of ancient prose fiction, including Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and Byzantine. We are especially interested in applications of new theoretical perspectives, examinations of social interaction and cultural exchange in one or more novels or cultures, and/or collaborations between different subdisciplines such as philology and archaeology.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 10:42am by Erik Shell.

Honor and Shame in Classical Antiquity

Thirteenth Annual Graduate Conference in Classics
Friday, March 20, 2020
The Graduate Center, City University of New York

Keynote Speaker: Margaret Graver, Dartmouth College

Virtue, Cicero argues, seeks no other reward for its labors and dangers beyond that of praise and glory. From the earliest days of the ancient Mediterranean, the pursuit of honor and avoidance of shame have shaped societies’ value systems. Achilles wages war according to a strict honor code, while Hesiod’s personified goddess, Shame, is the last to depart the earth as a rebuke of humanity’s wickedness. Far from belonging to the static code of an aristocratic warrior class, as was once understood, honor and shame are increasingly seen as part of a complex and polyvalent ethical system. They manifest themselves not only in the heroic self-assertion of ancient epic but also in a variety of other arenas, such as, for example, philosophical treatises, gender relations and sexual mores, the lives of enslaved peoples, Athenian law and politics, the performance of Roman state identity, and religious belief.  Thus they are pervasive throughout literature, thought, and society in the ancient world.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 09/16/2019 - 9:57am by Erik Shell.

High school Latin programs (along with Classics programs at the college or university level) are in perpetual peril, and keeping any program alive contributes to the ongoing effort to keep our field afloat and relevant, while also continuing to provide students with all of the benefits that we know that Latin offers. Monmouth College’s Classics Department spearheaded a successful, broad-based effort to resist the proposed elimination of the thriving Latin program at Monmouth-Roseville (IL) High School (MRHS) in Spring 2019.

This reflection is meant as a case study for understanding and then addressing the issue of threatened Latin programs across the country. I will lay out the factors and steps that led to the initial decision to drop the program, those that we discovered were critical in the eventual success of the resistance effort, and roles that a college or university Classics programs can play to retain their comrade programs, which cultivate many eventual Classics students and majors. 


Figure 1: Monmouth-Roseville High School in Monmouth, IL. Photo Credit: Robert Holschuh Simmons.

Background on the situation at Monmouth-Roseville 

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 09/12/2019 - 8:49pm by Robert Holschuh Simmons.

Sailing with the Gods: Religion and Maritime Mobility in the Ancient World

           Sponsored by: The Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions

           Location: Grand Hotel Excelsior, Floriana, Malta

           Dates: June 17-21, 2020

           Ritual practices dedicated to maritime success appear across a wide span of human cultural history, from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, Southeast Asia across the Pacific to the west coast of the Americas. Culturally-constructed seafaring rituals could be seen as spiritual or superstitious, and respond to the combination of risk and profit endemic in even short voyages by water. Maritime religion infuses all water-borne contact across cultural boundaries; the crafts of those who build rafts, canoes, and sailing vessels; navigational skills which may reach back to ancestors who have faded into cultural legend; and myriad mnemonic and naming strategies extending to littoral markers and celestial patterns. Mythic and ritual responses are accordingly complex, ranging from apotropaia to the divine authorization of civic structures, shipboard shrines and functional epithets which could link divinities, heroes and nearly-deified rulers to the control of the waves and winds.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 09/09/2019 - 2:33pm by Erik Shell.

Please find a list of award and fellowship deadlines for this Fall:

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/09/2019 - 9:09am by Erik Shell.

ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World (from now on: Orbis) is an interactive scholarly web application that provides a simulation model of travel and transport cost in the Roman Empire around 200 CE. Walter Scheidel and his team at Stanford University designed and launched the site in 2011–12, and the project saw a significant upgrade in 2014 (the old version is still available). The project is currently concluded.

The aim of Orbis is to allow investigation of the concrete conditions of travel in the ancient world, with a particular focus on the 3rd-century Roman route and transportation network. Orbis is a response to the long-standing scholarly debate about visual representations and study of “spatial practice” in the premodern world: traditional mapping approaches fail to convey the complexity of the variables involved in travel practices and provide a flat view of phenomena that are strongly connected with space and movement, such as trade, economic control, and imperialism. Orbis was conceived to respond to the specific question of how travel and transport constraints affected the expansion of the Roman Empire.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:02pm by Chiara Palladino.
The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation is now accepting applications for the Career Enhancement Fellowship for Junior Faculty program and the Career Enhancement Adjunct Faculty Fellowship. The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation administers these fellowships through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, along with the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows Dissertation Grants, which opens in mid-September.
 
View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:55am by Erik Shell.
"Empty Theatre (almost)"by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0

The Braggart Soldier

The Shackouls Honors College at Mississippi State University presents a performance of the Braggart Soldier, a Roman comedy by Plautus.

The play, directed by Dr. Donna L. Clevinger, will be performed at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, September 24th and Wednesday, September 25th, 2019 in Griffis Hall Courtyard, Zacharias Village. Both performances will go up rain or shine and be free to the public.

This production is part of the Honors College Classical Week 2019. For additional information, call 662-325-2522.

---

(Photo: "Empty Theatre (almost)" by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Performances on Thu, 09/05/2019 - 10:17am by Erik Shell.

Pages

Latest Stories

Calls for Papers
The Classical Association of Ghana
Calls for Papers
The Ancient Novel and Material Culture
Calls for Papers
Honor and Shame in Classical Antiquity
Calls for Papers
Sailing with the Gods: Religion and Maritime Mobility in the Ancient

© 2019, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy