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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ἀγών agōn: struggle, contest, trial, conflict, challenge, strife

with a pre-conference seminar on Empedocles’ Poem on nature and an Empedocles-themed post-conference tour

Sicily Center for International Education
Syracuse, Sicily, 12-15 June , 2019

The cultural and intellectual legacy of Western Greece—the coastal areas of Southern Italy and Sicily settled by Hellenes in the 8th and 7th centuries BCE—is sometimes overlooked in academia.  Yet evidence suggests that poets, playwrights, philosophers, and other maverick intellectuals found fertile ground here for the growth of their ideas and the harvesting of their work.  The goal of the Fonte Aretusa organization is to revive the distinctive spirit of Western Greece by exploring it from a variety of disciplinary perspectives including art history, archaeology, classics, drama, epigraphy, history, philosophy and religion.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 06/18/2018 - 9:54am by Erik Shell.
Façade of the Celsus library, in Ephesus, near Selçuk, west Turkey. Benh Lieu Song (Image via Wikimedia under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 License).

SCS’s Executive Director reflects on the experiences, challenges, and future of independent scholarship in our ongoing series on the subject.

All of our Independent Scholar blogposts have drawn on personal experiences, and mine is also personal.  Your posts have certainly helped me think more deeply and creatively about how the national classical society can support independent scholarship. My response falls into two parts: a celebration of the scholarly work that independent scholars are all currently doing in different ways, and some constructive responses to the challenges that independent scholars face.  


Now to address some challenges:

1. Access to Scholarly Resources

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 06/14/2018 - 4:46pm by Helen Cullyer.

Plato's Alcibiades I

20-22 Sept. 2018, Cambridge (UK)
Abstract submission deadline: 15 July 2018

Although the Platonic dialogue Alcibiades I was highly regarded in late antiquity and occupied a prominent place within the Neoplatonist curriculum, the dialogue has suffered from relative neglect both within classical and philosophical scholarship ever since Schleiermacher denounced it as spurious at the beginning of the 19th century. This conference will be dedicated wholly to the Alcibiades I, bringing together scholars who have been central in rekindling recent interest in the dialogue while also welcoming contributions from new researchers on the dialogue, including early career researchers and graduate students. Questions that might be addressed include, but are not limited to, questions about self-hood and self-knowledge, the soul-body relationship, politics and political influence, love, the role of the divine within the dialogue, as well as questions about authenticity and the place of the Alcibiades I within – or outside of – the Platonic corpus.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 06/13/2018 - 2:08pm by Erik Shell.
Gravestone of a woman with her attendant (100 BCE). Getty Villa (Image via Wikimedia under a CC-BY-SA 3.0 License).

Hackathons, events where software developers gather together to create in community a usable piece of computer programming in a short frame of time, are common occurrences in tech circles. One hosted this past February by the College of the Holy Cross, however, was the first time I’d seen this type of group work applied to translating ancient manuscripts.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 06/06/2018 - 4:38pm by Liz Penland.
Death of Socrates

The Association of American Colleges & Universities and the American Association of University Professors have recently signed on to a statement condemning the multi-front attack on the Humanities and a Liberal Arts education. 

"The disciplines of the liberal arts—and the overall benefit of a liberal education--are exemplary in this regard, for they foster intellectual curiosity about questions that will never be definitively settled..."

You can read the full statement here: https://www.aacu.org/about/statements/2018/joint-statement-value-liberal...

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(Photo: "The Death of Socrates" by Jacques-Louis David, public domain)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 06/01/2018 - 10:50am by Erik Shell.
Trajan’s Column: detail of frieze reliefs (image via Flickr by MCAD under a CC BY 2.0)

In her monthly SCS column, Dr. Cate Bonesho provides a photo essay recounting her trip inside of Trajan's Column and underneath the oculus of the Pantheon during Pentecost. 

Living in Rome has its perks. In addition to the amazing food and constant museum visits, there are a couple opportunities that are impossible to pass up. This past week in Rome, I took part in two of these events and, in the process, was able to cross two items off of my bucket list: climbing Trajan’s Column and watching the rose petals drop from the oculus of the Pantheon on Pentecost.






















The Imperial Fora from the Viewing Platform of Trajan’s Column. Image by Catherine Bonesho, unpublished.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/01/2018 - 5:56am by Catherine Bonesho.

CALL FOR PAPERS

Migrants and Refugees In the Law: Historic Evolution, Current Situation and Unsolved Questions

Murcia, Spain. December 12-14, 2018

International Chair Innocent III calls on all interested researchers to submit papers related to the human mobility and the reception of refugees according to History of Law, Canon Law, Roman Law, Comparative Law, Philosophy, Theology, History, Sociology, Historiography and any other discipline related to the main theme, as stated in the following:

SESSIONS

December 12: session 1. THE MIGRATION IN THE ANCIENT AND MEDIEVAL HISTORY. Historical approach to human mobility.

December 13: session 2. NATION, STATE, REVOLUTION. The situation of the migrants and the refugees from the origin of the modern State.

December 14: session 3. BETWEEN EMERGENCY AND ORDINARINESS: Proposals for the enhancement of a constant phenomenon in the contemporary age.

PROPOSALS

Title, academic affiliation, short CV and Abstract - 200 words - (EN, IT, ES, DE, FR), via mail: catedrainocencio@gmail.com

DEADLINE

September 15, 2018. The Scientific Committee will respond to the proposal before September 30, 2018.

PUBLICATION

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 05/31/2018 - 9:26am by Erik Shell.
Some of the blacksmith buildings for the video game 0 A.D (Image via Wikimedia under a CC BY-SA 3.0 by Wildfire Games).

A Day in the Life of A Classicist is a monthly column on the SCS blog, celebrating the working lives of classicists. In this month’s edition, we speak with Hamish Cameron, who is a digital humanist, game designer, and lecturer in Classical and Medieval Studies at Bates College.

I’m an ancient historian who specializes in the Roman Near East, ancient geography, and borderland theory. I am beginning to branch into the reception of the classical world in contemporary pop-culture, especially games and movies.

As well as an academic, I’m a practicing analog game designer. Most of my hobbies are related to games in some way, so I’m always learning about how different games work and how different people encounter them. The close relationship between game design and classroom pedagogy means that thinking about games also bleeds into the classroom. As a game designer, everything I encounter, view and experience, becomes fodder for a game, and in many ways, also becomes fodder for pedagogy.

Hamish Cameron

Prof. Cameron at work at his desk at Bates College. 

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 05/28/2018 - 6:05am by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.
Call for Papers
October 13, 2018.
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Second University of Florida Classics Graduate Student Symposium

NATURA/φύσις vs. ARS/τέχνη: Artificial vs. Natural, in the Ancient World and Beyond

The development of ancient civilizations, reflected today in their literary, artistic, and architectural artifacts, was made possible by several scientific and technological advances. Aimed at improving the human condition, and enhanced by the philosophical observation of the natural world, ancient technologies gradually allowed for human habitation and expansion, and opened new avenues to artistic creation. Whether in the form of grand irrigation systems, harbors and ships, road systems, or city walls, ancient societies dynamically manifested their will to control the natural environment. Viewed, in contrast, as a domain of the divine, nature held an ambiguous position in the imagination of ancient peoples: it could be both hostile and propitious. In the realms of artistic and scientific invention, human creations are in constant dialogue with nature, trying either to imitate it, with varying levels of success, or to surpass it in perfection.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 05/24/2018 - 12:54pm by Erik Shell.

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