Message from the President - February 2014

Unexpectedly spending a couple of extra days in Chicago this January, as I viewed quiet snowfall against the backdrop of the seasonal lights on the Wrigley Building and watched the gradual freezing of the Chicago River, I found moments of calm to reflect on the state of our APA as I had come to know it during my year as President-Elect. One deceptively simple word seemed to encapsulate the complex process of finding our way forward in this fast-paced world as an organization devoted to the distant past, and that word is service. The APA is a service organization, which has traditionally meant service to those who choose to be members but now increasingly means also service to others, to any and all who wish to participate in our various explorations of the classical world. How to frame the interaction of these two is our current challenge.

The traditional services offered by the APA are alive and well. Our professional staff, typically unobserved, continues to put on a smooth-running annual meeting where members present their scholarship, learn from others, and exchange ideas with old friends and new acquaintances. Again somewhat inconspicuously, APA officers and volunteer members offer advice to departments and programs in difficulty and uphold standards of ethical behavior in scholarly and professional activities. The future of the Placement Service was a concern this past year, when the AIA withdrew from joint participation with the APA to set up their own service that did not include arrangement of interviews. As it turns out, however, our initial concern was misplaced because participation of institutions and candidates in the APA Placement Service actually increased at the 2014 meeting. In addition, our system of arranging interviews proved vital as many candidates and interviewers were delayed due to the weather and our staff was called upon to revise schedules.

The APA has long been devoted to undertaking key projects that promote research. Members are familiar with the essential work performed by the American Office of L’année philologique, supported by your dues, generous annual giving, and a significant endowment raised through our capital campaign. I call your attention as well to the APA’s newest research initiative, the Digital Latin Library (DLL), undertaken in conjunction with the Medieval Academy of America and the Renaissance Society of America. Supported by grant funding from the Mellon Foundation, the DLL is envisioned, broadly speaking, as the APA’s contribution to the revolution that is digital humanities. It will provide a website populated by editions of Latin works that include an apparatus criticus, where individuals can browse, read, comment, edit, and publish new digital editions that exceed the possibilities offered by printed texts. For instance, these editions could include links to manuscripts and collations, lists of variants not placed in the apparatus, and commentary at adjustable levels of detail, including discussion of editorial choices. In the language of Sam Huskey, the project’s director, scholars using the site will be able to combine “traditional philological methods with new technology to expand the reach and capabilities of Latin scholarship and pedagogy.” Click here for a fuller description. 

While we remain true to our core identity as the principal North American organization devoted to advancing knowledge about the classical world, the APA is also increasingly committed to becoming a public voice in support of study of classics and a resource for non-professionals who wish to learn from our explorations. This means that the service provided by the APA, soon to become the SCS (Society for Classical Studies), is now directed not just to serving its membership but also increasingly to informing others who share our enthusiasms or may come to do so. Your support for the APA, through membership and volunteer work, is thus expanding to become support for classics more broadly conceived. I consider this expansion of the activities of the APA essential to the future of classics, as our organization learns how to share the conversations we have as scholars with the broader public. As part of this approach, the Board of Directors recently approved two new categories of associate membership which are designed to affiliate persons who desire to engage with and support our mission but do not require the benefits of full membership. Ronnie Ancona, before completing her term as Vice-President for Education, proposed an associate membership for K-12 teachers who wish to receive information from the APA but not be active members, and I proposed a similar associate membership, called Friends of Classics, directed toward non-professionals who wish to learn about the ancient world and to support the work of our organization. As potential Friends, I was thinking particularly of the thousands who have studied Classics at some level, whether in high school, as a classics major, or at the graduate level, and who remain passionate about antiquity while enjoying careers in other fields. Many of these, as well as others fascinated by the ancient world, now have a means to affiliate themselves with the APA/SCS. These associate memberships will create an eager audience to whom we may communicate about Classics and will help to create a network of persons who support our initiatives.

Since its founding in 1869, the APA has continually evolved to meet the needs of scholars who study Greek and Latin texts and the cultures in which they were produced. In our contemporary world where Greek and Latin have long since ceased to be the core of higher education, our organization continues its journey, by serving the professional needs of its members while sharing their intellectual and scholarly endeavors with a wider community.  Clearly the name change to Society for Classical Studies, which will take effect in the coming months, marks a watershed in the organization’s history. My personal message to you, however, is that the change is in no way a diminution of what the organization stands for but a sign of its commitment to increasing its range of service. As a member of the APA/SCS, you will be a part of the efforts to do more. You will not only continue to receive the benefits of professional services and intellectual exchange but also contribute to increasing awareness of classics as a fundamental part of our cultural heritage.

Kathryn J. Gutzwiller

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Oil painting of a white man sitting in a large chair facing left with a dissatisfied expression. He wears a white toga with red drapery over his left arm, a crown, a gold cuff bracelet, and short curly hair. A tiger sits between his legs.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that humor ages poorly. Jokes tend to be topical, and to be based on the social expectations of a particular group at a particular moment. The deterioration of humor over time is often a matter of changing contexts as well as changing tastes: ideas that once made a coherent joke cease to fit together.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/27/2021 - 8:34am by .

Call for Papers

Exemplary Representation(s) of the Past:

New Readings of Valerius Maximus’ Facta et dicta memorabilia

The last thirty years have seen an increase in interest in Valerius Maximus and his Facta et dicta memorabilia. Willing to consider Valerius’ collection of historical exempla as a piece of literature in its own right, scholars have started to scrutinise its moral, social, and intellectual significance at the time of the early Roman Empire and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 12/23/2021 - 9:24am by Erik Shell.

Since issues pertaining to social media continue to arise, the Society for Classical Studies wishes as a supplement to its earlier statement to caution its members and the members of its various affiliated organizations that they should take great care before making allegations on matters of fact about members of the scholarly community or repeating such assertions in their own media posts. Strong criticism is protected by academic freedom, but falsehood is not. Repeating false information or false rumors, or encouraging false inferences about another person, or about scientific or other factual matters, could hurt the public image and long-term health of our Society and our discipline, and could cause harm—both reputational harm and legal liability—to the original poster and to others. The SCS Statement of Professional Ethics prohibits harassment and intimidation, which can take place on social media, and the Committee on Professional Ethics may review complaints about such harassment.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Tue, 12/21/2021 - 9:13am by Helen Cullyer.
A white woman wearing rectangular glasses, a black mask, and a purple t-shirt holds a white flag. Behind her, a person in a black jacket with a fur-trimmed hood holds a sign. They are outdoors on the sidewalk, and the sky is cloudy.

Our sixth interview in the Contingent Faculty Series is a virtual conversation between Dr. Joshua Nudell and Dr. Aven McMaster.

Joshua Nudell: There is no easy way into this conversation, but, until recently, you were tenured at a university that went through bankruptcy and now you are a contingent faculty member. Without dwelling on the events at Laurentian, how has this transition informed your view of contingency in particular and academia in general?

Aven McMaster: Don’t worry, I’m used to talking about all this! In fact, it’s a reminder of how entwined we tend to be with our jobs.

Before all this happened, I’d already been grappling with the problems of contingency, since my partner has been a sessional lecturer (Canadian term for “adjunct”) for years now. But obviously it has made this issue even more personal. Losing the only job I’ve trained for, after 15 years of full-time employment, certainly has made me doubt a lot of what I thought was stable or certain in this world.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/20/2021 - 9:21am by .

The American School of Classical Studies at Athens is pleased to announce its summer seminars for 2022:

Thanatopsis: Greek Funerary Customs Through the Ages (June 6-24, 2022), led by Professor Daniel B. Levine

and

The Northern Aegean: Macedon and Thrace (June 30 - July 18, 2022), led by Professors Amalia Avramidou and Denise Demetriou

For more details see https://www.ascsa.edu.gr/programs/summerseminars

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 12/20/2021 - 8:37am by Helen Cullyer.
Roman Forum

Travel and see ancient sites in the Mediterranean and Europe in 2022!

The Vergilian Society is offering exciting tours of ancient sites in Sicily, Naples, Malta, Portugal and Romania.   

The Vergilian Society is also offering stimulating Latin workshops for teachers that include opportunities to visit a variety of ancient sites to reinforce their teachings of the ancient world. 

For a description and details of the tours and workshops, visit https://www.vergiliansociety.org/2020-vergilian-society-study-tours-and-workshops/

Over $100,000 in scholarship money available: https://www.vergiliansociety.org/tours/scholarships/

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 12/20/2021 - 8:28am by Helen Cullyer.

Basler Homer-Kommentar [zur Ilias] (BK) /  Homer’s Iliad. The Basel Commentary (BKE)

Project promoter: Swiss National Science Foundation in support of scientific research (SNSF), Berne.

Place of work: University of Basel, Department of Ancient Civilizations, professorial chair for Greek Philology, Petersgraben 51, CH-4051 Basel.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 12/16/2021 - 10:36am by Helen Cullyer.

The Multi-Sensory Experience of Mystery Cults

in the Graeco-Roman Mediterranean:

Making Sense of the Emotions of the Ancient Worshippers

Universität Erfurt, 6-8 May 2022

Call for Papers (Online Conference):

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 12/14/2021 - 3:11pm by Erik Shell.
A beige terracotta vessel shaped like a long tear drop. A dark-skinned figure faces left wearing striped pants and a draped mantle holds an ax and an arrow.

To say that there was such a thing as racism in classical antiquity would strike most modern readers as odd. However, if we examine what racism means, it is not as striking. The modern connotations of “racism” often instantly call up differences in biological features such as skin color. Historians of antiquity, such as Frank Snowden, have examined ancient evidence in search of racial hatred, working from these modern assumptions about what “race” is. Given those assumptions, Snowden concluded that the ancients did not have an idea of racism or hatred of black people more specifically.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/13/2021 - 12:35pm by .

The panel seeks to bring together academics and non-academics to brainstorm ways in which we can effect positive changes to the field of Classics given its negative past, public perception of the field, and the various institutional policies that hamper its effective teaching and study in sub-Saharan Africa. What has been done so far? What critical challenges persist? And what are the ways forward? 

Date: Monday, December 13, 2021

Time: 2pm-4pm GMT

Venue: Zoom (the link will be sent to registered participants).

Organizer: Michael K. Okyere Asante (UESD, Somanya/Stellenbosch University)

Moderator: Dr Nandini Pandey (John Hopkins University)

The panel discussion will be held in two parts: first, we will receive short presentations from speakers, followed by a general discussion of the issues raised in the various speakers' presentations. We intend documenting the discussions and coming up with a report on the issues raised to guide us in forming collaborations which will address these issues for a better future.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Wed, 12/08/2021 - 9:38pm by Helen Cullyer.

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