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.

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

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January, 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

  • Nathanael Stein (Florida State University) - "Causation and Explanation in Aristotle"
  • Marcus Folch (Columbia University) - "A Cultural History of Incarceration and the Prison in Greece and Rome"
  • Alexander Jones (New York University) - "Reconstructing the Daily Ancient Babylonian Chronology in Synchronization with the Proleptic Julian Calendar"

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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 Fri, 01/17/2020 - 10:45am by Erik Shell.

(The website for Keely Lake's In Memoriam can be found here)

Keely K. Lake, 48, passed away on January 15, 2020, at the age of 48.  

She was the daughter of James and Dorothy (Burcham) Lake, born on December 8, 1971.  She had recently moved back to Hot Springs to care for her father.

Keely graduated from Hot Springs High school in 1990, the University of South Dakota with a BA in Classics in 1994 and the University of Iowa with a PhD in Classics in 2001.

She was a visiting guest professor at Gettysburg College in 2001 and Professor of Classical Greek and Latin at Wayland Academy from 2002 until 2018.

She was teaching online courses for Montclair State, Wayne State University and One Schoolhouse.

She was an active member of the Vergilian Society, several Classic related boards and organizations and was a reader/table leader for standardized AP exams in Latin.

Keely was an avid gardener, enjoyed cooking, reading, traveling, and collecting books.  She also traveled extensively which was a passion of hers. 

She is survived by her father, James Lake; and her precious cats, Penelope and Gemini.  She is preceded in death by her mother.

Visitation services will be held 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., Thursday, January 23, 2020, at Chamberlain McColley’s Funeral Home in Hot Springs, SD.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Fri, 01/17/2020 - 9:53am by Erik Shell.

CFP: "Transitions of Power" for SAGE Business Cases

The Ancient Leadership collection within SAGE Business Cases explores leadership in Classical history, mythology, philosophy, and material culture in a way that is engaging and useful for business students and instructors at the undergraduate and graduate level. This project is a chance for those of us who work in the ancient world to experiment with a very mainstream method of leadership pedagogy and hopefully to teach a wider audience about the central importance of the humanities for leadership study and training. We expect that each of the case studies will illustrate the ways in which the humanities makes important–if not unique–contributions to the study of leadership and the training of leaders:

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 01/16/2020 - 10:19am by Erik Shell.

The Theory and Practice of Cosmic Ascent: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Approaches

Trinity College, Dublin
19-20 June, 2020

Conference Sponsors: Trinity College Department of Classics, and The Centre for the Study of the Platonic Tradition, Trinity College, Dublin

Conference Organisers: Professor John Dillon (Emeritus, Trinity College, Dublin) and Nicholas Banner (Trinity College, Dublin) 

Date:  19-20 June, 2020
Submission Deadline:  13 March, 2020
Confirmation Date:  01 April, 2020

One of the most striking tropes in the history of western thought is the account of cosmic ascent; we find narratives of humans ascending to the stars and beyond in a vast array of sources from among the earliest written accounts of western literature, through antiquity, and up to (at least) the High Middle Ages. From the Hellenistic period onward, Mediterranean religions and philosophies (understood broadly) looked increasingly to a model of human ascent as a primary locus for spiritual achievement; however, the ways in which such ascent was conceptualized vary enormously from tradition to tradition (we might compare e.g. Jewish apocalyptic texts with the ascent-accounts of Platonist philosophers, or Hermetic with Sethian ascent-accounts), and even from thinker to thinker (we might contrast e.g. Plutarch with Plotinus or St Paul with Clement of Alexandria). 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 01/14/2020 - 9:31am by Erik Shell.

Call for Papers
Sapiens Ubique Civis VIII – Szeged 2020
PhD Student and Young Scholar Conference on Classics and the Reception of Antiquity
Szeged, Hungary, September 2–4, 2020

The Department of Classical Philology and Neo-Latin Studies, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Szeged, Hungary is pleased to announce its International Conference Sapiens Ubique Civis VIII – Szeged 2020, for PhD Students, Young Scholars, as well as M.A. students aspiring to apply to a PhD program.

The aim of the conference is to bring together an international group of young scholars working in a variety of periods, places, languages, and fields. Papers on a wide range of subjects, including but not limited to the literature, history, philology, philosophy, linguistics and archaeology of Greece and Rome, Byzantinology, Neo-Latin studies, and reception of the classics, as well as papers dealing with theatre studies, comparative literature, contemporary literature, and fine arts related to the Antiquity are welcome.

Lectures: The language of the conference is English. Thematic sessions and plenary lectures will be scheduled. The time limit for each lecture is 20 minutes, followed by discussion. It is not possible to present via Skype.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 01/14/2020 - 9:26am by Erik Shell.

Our second interview in the Women in Classics series is with Shelley Haley, Edward North Chair of Classics and Professor of Africana Studies at Hamilton College. This is the second of a two-part interview with Prof. Haley, which picks up at the point when she decided to apply to graduate school to study Classics.

CC: How did you decide to apply to graduate school?  

This was a very turbulent time in American history. I was fed up with the United States of America, absolutely fed up. I remember the conversations we used to have about the women’s movement. This was back in the dark ages. There were three or four white women on my floor in college having a deep discussion, wringing their hands and saying, “But how, how, how are we going to have a family and a career? How?” In my head I was just frustrated. My mother, my grandmother, her mother before her, all of them always had to work, and always had family. It can be done. I think that was my first introduction to black feminism, and to the line that divides it from white feminism. I had had enough.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 01/13/2020 - 6:24am by Claire Catenaccio.

Our second interview in the Women in Classics series is with Shelley Haley, Edward North Chair of Classics and Professor of Africana Studies at Hamilton College. She was born in upstate New York and earned her B.A. from Syracuse University in 1972. She received her M.A. in 1975 and her Ph.D. in 1977, both from the University of Michigan. An expert on the figure of Cleopatra, Dr. Haley has discussed the subject on both the BBC and the Learning Channel. Her publications include Fanny Jackson Coppin’s Reminiscences of School Life, and Hints on Teaching (1995) and numerous articles on the role of women in the ancient world and on race in the discipline of Classics.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 01/09/2020 - 4:47pm by Claire Catenaccio.
First USA Cicero Awayday
 
Saturday April 18, 2020, 8am-5.45pm
University of Virginia
Gibson Room, First floor Cocke Hall

8:00 am

Light breakfast and coffee in Gibson Room

8:50 - 9:00 am

Welcome and introduction

First session (Chair TBD)

9:00 - 9:45 am

Ben Watson (University of Oklahoma): "A New Commentary on Cicero’s Divinatio in Caecilium"

9:45 - 10:30 am

Gina White (University of Kansas): "Emulation and Moral Development in the De Officiis"

10:30-10:45 am

Coffee

Second session (Chair TBD)

10:45 - 11:30 am

Amanda Wilcox (Williams College): "Cicero on Paternal Authority and the Domus"

11:30 - 12:15 pm

Peter White (University of Chicago): "The Mirage of the Tirocinium Fori"

12:15-1:30 pm

Lunch (in Gibson Room)

Third session (Chair TBD)

1:30 - 2:15 pm

Francesca Martelli (UCLA): "Historical Irony in the Ordination of Cicero Ad familiares 10-12"

2:15 - 3:00 pm

Spencer Cole (University of Minnesota): "Cicero and Populism, Then and Now"

3:00 - 3:45 pm

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 01/09/2020 - 9:32am by Erik Shell.

“Whose Heritage is it Anyway?”: Local Responses to Cultural Heritage Preservation in the Age of UNESCO

UT Antiquities Action 2020 Annual Symposium
Keynote speaker: Yvonne Therese Holden, Director of Operations, Whitney Plantation

UT Antiquities Action invites the submission of abstracts for its 5th annual symposium, to be held on Saturday, the 4th of April, 2020 at the University of Texas at Austin. 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 01/09/2020 - 9:23am by Erik Shell.

Homer in Sicily: An Academic Conference and Tour of Ancient Sites

Exedra Mediterranean Center
Syracuse, Sicily, 12-15 January, 2021
With a post-conference tour of Greek Sicily, 16-18 January

Homeric Thrinacia – our Sicily – is the legendary home of the Cattle of the Sun, the Cyclops, the Laestrygonians, Aeolus, and close neighbor of Skylla and Charybdis. Samuel Butler, in the nineteenth century, memorably theorized that the Odyssey’s author was a young Sicilian woman, glimpsed in the figure of Nausicaa. Otherwise, surprisingly few scholars have explored Sicily’s association with the Homeric epics, the Odyssey in particular. The goal of this conference is to bring scholars from a variety of disciplines to Siracusa to discuss Homer’s epic vision and to visit the archaeological traces of the mythic places and beings of the Odyssey.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 01/09/2020 - 9:00am by Erik Shell.

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In Memoriam
(The website for Keely Lake's In Memoriam can be found
Calls for Papers
CFP: "Transitions of Power" for SAGE Business Cases
Calls for Papers
The Theory and Practice of Cosmic Ascent: Comparative and Interdiscip

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