Message from President Denis Feeney on Proposed Name Change

Last October Jeffrey Henderson began a discussion of one of the major recommendations to emerge from the APA Board’s March 2012 retreat, that our organization should change its name so as better to reflect who we are and what we aim to do.  In late November he reported to the membership on the over 200 comments received to date, and announced a discussion forum to host further debate.  At our Board meeting in Seattle, we took note of the responses and had a wide-ranging discussion of the views of the membership, which at that point were running about 3 to 1 in favor of a change of name, although without consensus on an alternative. 

After a lengthy and full discussion, the Board voted in favor of a change of name, to “Society for Classical Studies”, with “Founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association” as a permanent subtitle. 

This proposal will be on your ballot in July when you are voting in the usual way in elections for new officers, and it will be a straight up and down, “yes” or “no” vote.  We are including the proposal on the election ballot because this is the best way to ensure that as many members as possible will vote on the question of a name change; we want everyone to have the opportunity to express their view on such an important change in the history of our organization.

Let me set out the reasons why the Board believes it is important for our organization to do this (naturally, I am following the lead of Jeffrey Henderson here).

The APA was founded in 1869 as an umbrella group for scholars who were, in the broadest sense, students of language—“philologists”.  If you look in the first issues of the Transactions of the American Philological Association (as it then was), you will find articles on Greek and Latin philology, but these are outnumbered by titles such as “On the German vernacular of Pennsylvania”, “On some mistaken notions of Algonkin grammar”, “Contributions to Creole grammar”, “On English vowel quantity in the thirteenth century and in the nineteenth”.  As time went by, sub-groups of “philologists” developed new group identities and broke off to form their own associations—the Modern Language Association of America (MLA), for example, in 1883, or the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), in 1924.  Classicists were left as the custodians of “Philology”, a term which had originally had a much broader application than what it fairly soon came to represent, “Classics”.

The resulting organization has been highly successful in adapting to all of the changes in life and education over the last century, but we have become more and more a professional organization as well as a learned society, and if we are to flourish then we must, as Jeffrey Henderson put it back in October, adapt to playing “ever broader roles as an academic, professional, and public resource”.  While continuing to provide all the professional services which our core constituency needs, we must also advocate for the importance of the Classics in a more engaged way, and we must take seriously our stated Gateway Campaign goal of becoming the go-to place for anyone anywhere interested in anything Classical. 

The Board believes that the current name of our organization has become an impediment to these new needs, however proud of and emotionally attached to the name we may be (in my own case, as a member since 1987, I feel very proud and emotionally attached).  On the basis of their own personal experience, all members will acknowledge how hard it is to explain to “civilians” what the name of our organization actually means.  Certainly, as many contributors to the discussion forum pointed out, “Classics” and “Classical” are not 100% transparent either, but to our colleagues, our students, and to the general public they are far more recognizable and accessible terms than “philology”.  Our discipline exists under the terms “Classics” or “Classical” in most institutions of higher education, as a departmental or program name, while many of our journals and affiliated regional and other societies have these words in their names and titles.  If we have a brand, “Classics” and “Classical” capture it better than any other language.

This has been a subject of debate within the APA for at least a decade.  The Board of Directors believe it is time for the membership to vote on the question.  The discussion forum is open.  Log in to the forum here, and then click on “Name Change Forum”.  Sam Huskey has made these remarks the beginning of a new topic; you can respond to that topic or create a new one of your own.  We invite members to engage in debate in our usual positive and constructive manner so that we may have an informed vote in July.

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The SCS Board of Directors has approved the following statement:
 
The SCS Board of Directors condemns the practice of writing and circulating anonymous ad hominem attacks. Frank exchange among its members, including openly expressed criticism, are ideals of a scholarly community.  Anonymous attacks contradict the principle of frank exchange.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Tue, 01/22/2019 - 1:44pm by Helen Cullyer.

SCS is planning to make available videos of the Sesquicentennial sessions and the public lectures by Luis Alfaro and Mary Beard.  We are currently preparing videos for release. Please note that we will not distribute any video of a paper or lecture without consent from the presenter(s).

The SCS Board of Directors has approved the following resolution of thanks for the 2019 public lecturers.

The SCS Board of Directors hereby thanks playwright Luis Alfaro for delivering a public lecture hosted by the SCS at the 2019 Annual Meeting in San Diego; we are also grateful to Classics and Social Justice and the Onassis Foundation USA for co-organizing the lecture and inviting Luis Alfaro to speak. On the first night of the Meetings in San Diego, he generously shared his creative process with an audience of conference attendees and members of the public. This process involves bringing ancient myths and plays to communities across the US and reimagining them as modern dramas, not for but with community members as active participants in the creation and performance of those dramas. We will post video of his lecture when it is available, so as to make it accessible to those who could not attend. For his lecture, for his plays that connect the ancient and modern, and for bringing new voices to classical studies, we thank Luis Alfaro.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/22/2019 - 10:08am by Helen Cullyer.

Thank you to all those who have emailed, written blogs, and posted on social media suggestions for the 2020 Annual Meeting. We are interested in, and are already working on, plans for 2020 incorporating many of the excellent suggestions that we have received. In 2020, we plan to address race and racism in the field head-on with workshops, panels, and special events organized by the SCS President and a number of committees, and to promote equity in all aspects of our programming. We will also work closely with our affiliated groups.

Please help us by submitting abstracts for diverse, inclusive, and innovative panels, workshops, papers, and lightning talks, and see the calls for abstracts already posted. Please consult the individual calls for submission deadlines for affiliated group, organizer-refereed and committee panels on our 2020 Annual Meeting page. Deadlines for panel and workshop proposals and individual abstracts submitted to the program committee will fall in April and the program submission system will open in late February.

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/22/2019 - 8:52am by Erik Shell.

It has now been nearly two weeks since the SCS-AIA annual meeting in San Diego, and many have written evocative, emotional, and important pieces about the racist events that occurred there. Instead of posting each separately on our social media or blog, I have tried to compile as many as I could in this post.
 

In their own words:

Dan-el Padilla Peralta, “Some thoughts on AIA-SCS 2019,” Medium (January 7, 2019).

----- "SCS 2019: The Future of Classics: Racial Equity and the Production of Knowledge,” Future of Classics Panel (January 5, 2019).

Emma Pettit, “‘My Merit and My Blackness Are Fused to Each Other,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 11, 2019).

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 01/18/2019 - 6:19am by Sarah Bond.

14th Moisa Research Seminar on Ancient Greek and Roman Music Bressanone/Brixen, 2-6 July 2019

The 14th Moisa Research Seminar will take place from July 2nd to July 6th, 2019 in Bressanone/Brixen (Italy) with the commitment of Padua University and of its Department of Cultural Heritage (https://www.brixen.org/en/bressanone/city-centre.html). 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 01/17/2019 - 12:29pm by Erik Shell.

Vergilian Society Seeks Directors for Oct 2020 Symposium in Italy 

(deadline Tuesday April 30, 2019)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 01/16/2019 - 9:52am by Erik Shell.

INDA - Italy's National Institute for Ancient Drama, based in Siracusa (http://www.indafondazione.org) and the journal "Dioniso. Rivista di studi sul teatro antico" are happy to announce the programme of their yearly conference on ancient drama introducing the traditional festival, which will take place in Siracusa from May 9 to Jul. 6. 

The conference will be held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 in Siracusa (Salone Amorelli, Palazzo Greco, Corso Matteotti), and its title will be The representation of the divine in ancient theatre. Please find below the full programme: 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 01/15/2019 - 2:00pm by Erik Shell.

David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship for Travel in Classical Lands

The Fellowship is intended to recognize secondary-school teachers of Greek or Latin who are as dedicated to their students as the Coffins themselves by giving them the opportunity to enrich their teaching and their lives through direct acquaintance with the classical world.

All materials must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on February 27, 2019.

Pedagogy Award

Open to both collegiate and pre-collegiate teachers of classics

The application deadline is March 4, 2019.

Zeph Stewart Latin Teacher Training Award

Open to those preparing for Latin teacher certification.

The application deadline is March 4, 2019.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 01/15/2019 - 10:46am by Erik Shell.
CfP: Song, Lament, Love: Harking Back to the Sounds of Elegy 
(submission deadline: 28.02.2019)
 
University of Coimbra, June 26-29, 2019

Panel coordinators:
Eva Anagnostou-Laoutides (Macquarie University, NSW) Email: Eva.Anagnostou-Laoutides@mq.edu.au
Bill Gladhill (McGill University) Email: charles.gladhill@mcgill.ca
Micah Myers (Kenyon College) Email: myersm1@kenyon.edu

The nature of archaic Greek elegy and its performative culture, its interface with other Greek literary genres as well as its Hellenistic and Roman adaptation(s) have already commanded an impressive amount of scholarship. Despite, however, appreciating that the functions of elegy were hugely diversified early on (Nagy 2010; Barbantani 2018), despite overcoming the simplistic classification of elegies to subjective and objective (Cairns 1979; Murray 2010; Miller 2012), and even despite doubting Quintilian’s criticism of Propertius as an obscure poet (Inst.Or.10.1.93), foundational questions on the origins, nature, and meaning(s) of Elegy remain unanswered. Elegy, one of the oldest Greek poetic genres, remains the most elusive.  

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 2:35pm by Erik Shell.

Untold and Inexpressible: Gaps and Ambiguities in the Medicine as an Epistemological Challenge

39th meeting of the Ancient Medicine Interdisciplinary Working Group

Date: 15-16 June 2019
Place: Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Institute for History, Theory and Ethics of Medicine of the University Medical Center Mainz, Am Pulverturm 13, basement (lecture hall U1125)
Deadline: 31 January 2019
Organisation: Norbert W. Paul, Tanja Pommerening

Medical treatments aim to improve the patient’s health. From the patient’s perspective, the elimination of the suffering and the restitution of “normal” life is a crucial part of the process. Patients express this in communication with the practitioner by describing symptoms on one side and impairments affecting their lives on the other. Much of this can hardly be described in words, especially embodied experiences which do not correlate with medical findings and thus are often not deemed relevant. In this regard, the patient faces the rigid and rational diagnostical categories of the practitioner that sometimes do not at all coincide with the patient’s own categories. However, how the gap between the concepts used by the practitioner and the patient could be bridged does rarely come up for discussion.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/14/2019 - 1:33pm by Erik Shell.

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