In Memoriam: Lucy Turnbull

(From the University of Mississippi's website)

Former University of Mississippi professor Lucy Turnbull will always be remembered as a beloved educator who could make her curriculum both easy to understand and infinitely interesting to her students, a mentor and a champion of civil rights at Ole Miss.

Her enthusiasm for the classics was contagious, which propelled her students to success in her art history, archaeology, mythology and classical civilization courses. Turnbull, 87, of Oxford, joined the university faculty in 1961 and taught until 1990. She died Sunday (April 21).

Dewey Knight, recently retired UM associate director of the Center for Student Success and First-Year Experience, was one of Turnbull’s friends. He entered the university as a freshman in 1966 and found himself in one of her classes that year.

“She walked into the classroom that first day,” Knight said. “There were about 25 of us, and we were immediately very afraid of Professor Turnbull. She was incredibly intelligent. She could read Greek like we read English.

“We all were in fear of her, but we had the ultimate respect for her, because it was very obvious she was brilliant.”

Services for Turnbull are set for 11 a.m. Friday (April 26) at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Oxford. A visitation will precede the service starting at 9 a.m. in the church’s Parish Hall.

Knight calls his former professor “one of the most important change agents” in the university’s history. Her biographical bullet points support that claim.

Born in Lancaster, Ohio, Turnbull earned a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Radcliffe. She was a John Williams White Fellow and Charles Eliot Norton Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens. She was the author of many scholarly articles and contributed to books, mainly in the areas of Greek vase painting, mythology and poetry.

After holding positions as a museum assistant at Wellesley College and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, she joined the UM classics faculty in 1961, as a classical archaeologist.

“Teaching is very energizing, but I didn’t really understand that at the time,” she later recalled. “When you’re teaching, you’re giving something to the students, but they’re also giving back to you. I enjoyed it very much.”

Turnbull was active in the integration of Ole Miss in 1962, when James Meredith became the first black student to enroll at the university. She, as a relatively new faculty member, was among the professors who vocally supported Meredith pursuing his education at the university.

Provost Emeritus Gerald Walton, who joined the UM faculty in 1962, later recalled that the professors who supported integration as part of the local chapter of the American Association of University Professors held formal meetings. Turnbull was elected the group’s secretary.

“Those of us who supported integration became a kind of fraternal group and talked among ourselves a good deal,” Walton said in 2012. “It was good to learn that Lucy was one who did not mind speaking her mind even though we weren’t sure in those days how such people as board of trustees members or legislators – or members of the Ole Miss administration, for that matter – might act. Lucy was a brave woman.”

Meredith often found himself alone on campus. Knight remembers seeing a photo of his friend Turnbull having lunch in Johnson Commons with Meredith and UM professor James Silver, author of “Mississippi: The Closed Society,” surrounded by a sea of empty tables.

She also was an active member of the American Civil Liberties Union, Common Cause, Mississippi Council on Human Relations, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian Associates and the National Organization of Women, among other groups.

Turnbull helped establish the University Museum and served as its director toward the end of her career, from 1983 to 1990. Its opening was one of her favorite memories, as the Department of Classics‘ large collection of Greek and Roman antiquities was moved from Bondurant Hall to the museum, where they remain.

Turnbull’s classroom presence had a lasting effect on Knight, he said. The two became friends, and for 20 years, beginning in 1996, they jointly taught a Sunday school class at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where Turnbull was a devoted member who will be memorialized there Friday.

Knight and his wife, Theresa, also were among those invited to “The Christmas Party” at Turnbull’s house each year, where she lived alone, having never married.

The parties, which Knight said she hosted for nearly 50 years, included a who’s who of the university’s liberal arts community and ornaments that Turnbull made by hand.

“The first time we got the invitation, it just said ‘The Christmas Party,’” Knight said. “We didn’t know what was happening. We finally ultimately realized it was a big event, and if you were invited to her house, you felt special.”

He will always remember Turnbull as one of the most important figures in the university’s history and a fierce advocate for the liberal arts education.

“I never met anybody who didn’t like Lucy,” Knight said. “She was just a really special person who was very opinionated and very principled. Even if you didn’t agree with her, you liked her.

“She was an unwavering force. She was a scholar, but she was also a quality person. She made the university better by being a part of it.”

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

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Expanding the Reach of Doctoral Education in the Humanities

The American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) invites applications for the fourth competition of the Public Fellows program. The program will place 20 recent humanities Ph.D.s in two- year staff positions at partnering organizations in government and the nonprofit sector. This career-launching initiative aims to demonstrate that the capacities developed in the advanced study of the humanities have wide application, both within and beyond the academy.

In 2014, Public Fellows have the opportunity to join one of the following organizations:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 01/27/2014 - 3:14pm by Adam Blistein.

It was recently reported that the EU, in the face of continuing economic hardship, may contemplate scaling back its rules on carbon emissions. Here in the United States climate change remains a political football, as established science is denied by politicians and every effort is made to obfuscate the facts and create the illusion of uncertainty where, in reality, none exists. As many of us endured the recent “polar vortex” that dropped temperatures across much of the country to Arctic levels (and stranded castaways at the Annual Meeting hotel), we were treated to the spectacle of pundits and other climate-change deniers scoffing at the notion of “global warming,” since it was cold outside. Indeed.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 01/27/2014 - 1:19pm by Garrett Fagan.

Classical studies as we know it today grew partly from the pressure of politics — from people’s need for a repertoire of words and images that could respond to the new political possibilities in early modern Europe.  When Coluccio Salutati studied Latin prose composition at his boarding school in Bologna, he focused on the art of letter-writing (the ars dictaminis), as generations of Italian boys had done before him.  But his teacher also lectured on Cicero and other classical authors — and as Salutati’s career took him to the chancellorships of Todi, Lucca, and Florence, his administrative vision was broadened by his knowledge of classical history and moral philosophy.  

Leonardo Bruni, Salutati’s disciple from Arezzo, drew on Athenian and Roman ideals to create a compelling picture of secular civic virtue that could absorb and transcend dominant Christian ideals. In his famous letter to his friend Francesco Vettori, Machiavelli took note of the “capital” he made from conversation with classical authors, which inspired him to write “a little work De Principatibus, where I delve as deeply as I can into reflections on this subject, debating what a principality is, of what kinds they are, how they are acquired, how they are maintained, why they are lost.”  

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 01/26/2014 - 8:38pm by Joy Connolly.

One of the great things about working on a commentary is the random avenues it leads you down.  What starts out looking like an unpromising bit of text turns out to raise issues about the ancient world that you’d never have thought of. Before you know it, you’re discovering all kinds of obscure debates, bizarre ancient texts, and random pieces of trivia: it’s the scholarly equivalent of link-surfing on wikipedia.

My most recent experience of this began with one of Archilochus’ least known fragments, 217 West, 'with hair shorn away from the shoulders close to the skin'. Not a line that sets the world on fire, all things considered. It might well have been really interesting in its original context, but we don’t know anything about it,  since the line is quoted  simply as an example of accentuation. But where it led me to was the wonderful world of Greek haircuts, and in particular to two notorious haircuts of the modern era, the bowl cut and the mullet.

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 01/26/2014 - 10:52am by Laura Swift.

Due to bad weather conditions, the University of Pennsylvania has suspended normal operations for January 22, 2014.  The APA Office will therefore be closed as well.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/21/2014 - 9:43pm by Adam Blistein.

To assist developers of websites who wish to embed New Athena Unicode font, the APA has recently clarified that the Open Font License for New Athena Unicode applies to the woff format as well as to the TrueType format that is installed by users on their own computers.

In addition, all four styles of New Athena Unicode version 4.05 have been converted to woff format and are available for download at the GreekKeys site.

This new font format is for hosting on web servers. Users of GreekKeys 2008 for Mac OS X and Windows should continue to use the TrueType version (newathu.ttf) in their own work in word processors or other desktop applications.

For more information see:

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Tue, 01/21/2014 - 10:17am by Information Architect.

The editors and editorial board of the APA’s outreach publication Amphora are very pleased to announce Amphora is making itself yet more available to its readership. In coming weeks, in addition to its annual print appearance, Amphora will also publish its articles and reviews via the APA’s blog.

Articles and reviews will each have a tag of Amphora, to help readers determine which content stream is which, as usual for the blog. Such tagged pieces will also appear in the print version of the publication, possibly with minor modification as called for by a switch from one format to another.

This improvement to the availability of Amphora means we will now be able to work with authors who might have a prospective contribution with digital elements – images, perhaps, or film or sound clips, or a desire for a discussion thread or feedback – as well as with contributors whose works benefit from a print treatment.

As always, your Amphora editors welcome submissions, including submissions that take advantage of this new presentation.  These are important days for outreach activity by our professional association, and the Amphora and Outreach committees believe this new format will enable us all to reach a yet-larger market.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 01/20/2014 - 8:43pm by .

Individuals who registered in advance for the recent annual meeting in Chicago but who were unable to attend because their flights were canceled, and they could not obtain new reservations in time to attend the meeting should use this form to claim a refund for registration and publication fees.  As you will see, the form can be completed electronically.  We suggest that you save and rename the form, fill it out, and then submit it as an e-mail attachment to apameetings@sas.upenn.edu.  All claims must be received by January 31, 2014.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/14/2014 - 10:08am by Adam Blistein.

In last month’s column, I offered an overview of the Greek myth of the Titanomachy, the war between the Olympian gods (Zeus, Hera, and all the rest) and the earlier generation, the Titans; and I discussed some recent media telling of the escape of the Titans from their underworld prison and a second Titanomachy: in Disney’s 1997 Hercules, in the 1998 straight-to-video Hercules and Xena animated movie, in the 2012 movie Wrath of the Titans (sequel to the remake of Clash of the Titans), in the 2013 movie Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, in the 2011 movie Immortals, and in the video game series God of War.

Today I finish the journey by exploring the ramifications of these stories and their thematic material.

There’s a pattern to these stories.  In all of them, the Titans are reawakened and they are opposed by a half-god protagonist: Perseus, Hercules, Percy, Theseus, Kratos (sort of).  In each, the protagonist has a history of family loss.  Perseus in Wrath of the Titans is a widower.  The Disney Hercules is estranged from his birth parents, while the Kevin Sorbo version lost his wife and children to a fireball sent by Hera.  Percy Jackson feels abandoned by his father Poseidon.  Theseus in Immortals endures the death of his mother during the film.  Kratos accidentally killed his family and is killed by his own father.  Most of the protagonists are soldiers — Percy Jackson, for instance, is a teenager at a “camp” filled with what are essentially child/teen demigod soldiers.  The Titans themselves are generally either monstrous or demonic in appearance, in contrast to the ancient Greek depictions of them as essentially anthropomorphic (as in the vase painting to the right).​

So what’s the meaning behind all these modern Titanomachies?  The surface explanation — that gods fighting gods makes for cool action scenes — isn’t all there is to it.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 01/10/2014 - 9:05am by .

Ancient Greek and Roman philosophy is often characterised in terms of competitive individuals debating orally with one another in public arenas.  But it also developed over its long history a sense in which philosophers might look to an authority and offer to that authority explicit intellectual allegiance.  This is most obvious in the development of the philosophical ‘schools’ with agreed founders and canonical founding texts.  There also developed a tradition of commentary, interpretation, and discussion of texts—composed by ‘authorities’—which often became the focus of disagreement between members of the same school or movement and also useful targets for critics interested in attacking a whole tradition.  Discussing the meaning, force, and even the authorship itself of these texts became a mode of philosophical debate.

This international conference will investigate the twin notions of ‘authorship’ and ‘authority’—the Latin word auctoritas combines these two—in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy.  Topics to be explored include: philosophical allegiance and schism, commentary and quotation, the treatment of anonymous texts or texts of disputed authorship, the collection of authorised corpora of texts and the rejection of spurious or non-canonical works.

More details will be posted on the Faculty of Classics website.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 01/09/2014 - 3:25pm by Adam Blistein.

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