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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Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”

Dipartimento di Studi letterari, filosofici e di storia dell’arte

EARLY MODERN AND MODERN COMMENTARIES ON VIRGIL 

June 14-16, 2021

An Online Conference 

Link Zoom: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/81909339883

All times are CEST (Rome time).

For more information: casali@uniroma2.it

Monday, June 14, 2pm-2:20pm

Welcoming words by EMORE PAOLI (Director of the Department of Studi letterari, filosofici e di storia dell’arte, Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”) and introduction by SERGIO CASALI

SESSION 1 

Monday, June 14, 2:20pm-5pm 

Chair: VIRGILIO COSTA (Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”)

DAVID WILSON-OKAMURA (East Carolina University)

Afterimages of Lucretius 

FABIO STOK (Università di Roma “Tor Vergata”) 

Commenting on Virgil in the 15th Century: from Barzizza (?) to Parrasio (?)-I 

GIANCARLO ABBAMONTE (Università di Napoli Federico II)

Commenting on Virgil in the 15th Century: from Barzizza (?) to Parrasio (?)-II 

NICOLA LANZARONE (Università di Salerno)

Il commento di Pomponio Leto all’Eneide: sondaggi relativi ad Aen. 1 e 2

5pm-5:20pm 

Break

SESSION 2 

Monday, June 14, 5:20pm-8pm 

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 06/03/2021 - 4:34pm by Erik Shell.
Broken Statue of Ramses II

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiative, supports projects that seek to engage broader publics — individuals, groups, and communities — in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean, the global reception of Greek and Roman culture, and the history of teaching and scholarship in the field of classical studies. As part of this initiative, the SCS has funded 98 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks and conferences, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. The initiative welcomes applications from all over the world. To date, it has funded projects in 25 states and 10 countries, including Canada, UK, Italy, Greece, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina and India.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 06/02/2021 - 8:07pm by .
Penelope and the Suitors, by John William Waterhouse. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Blog: Weaving Humanity Together: How Weaving Reveals Human Unity in Ancient Times

To start with, she lived a respectable life, frugal and hard;
she earned her living by weaving and spinning wool.

primum haec pudice uitam parce ac duriter
agebat, lana ac tela uictum quaeritans.

— Terence the African (P. Terentius Afer), The Girl from Andros, 74–75

This line drew my attention because I am an avid fiber artist. When I am not reading, teaching, and writing about Classics and its connection to Black people, I am in my wool room, lost in the magical world of fiber arts. This line from The Girl from Andros has led me on a new journey of discovering fiber arts in ancient times.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 06/02/2021 - 1:18pm by .
Ravenna Mosaic. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Herzfeldt-Kamprath.

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought historical epidemics into contemporary public awareness on a massive scale. Although ancient pandemics have been studied in detail since at least the 19th century, over the past year, outbreaks of the past have become apparently more relevant for what they might offer us today. Of course, the interest in historical pandemics seems to increase every time contemporary diseases draw public attention. Over the last three decades, HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and Zika, among others, have made headlines, increasing interest in past diseases, even if not on the same scale as Covid. Presentist concerns, unsurprisingly, drive historical research.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/28/2021 - 10:26am by .

This is a reminder that the AIA-SCS Future Meetings Survey is now available.

Please click here to access the survey, which should take no more than 15 minutes to complete.

The survey will remain open until May 31.

The 2022 Annual Meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, January 5 – Saturday, January 8 in San Francisco at the Hilton Union Square, with the Parc 55 hotel serving as an overflow property. AIA and SCS signed contracts with these hotels several years prior to COVID-19, and we realize that attendees’ expectations and needs have changed since then owing to concerns about public health, accessibility, and cost. With this in mind, please take some time to fill out our survey on the 2022 meeting and on longer term planning for our conferences. The survey results will assist us in determining the optimal format and structure for our 2022 meeting and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/25/2021 - 1:36pm by Erik Shell.

Dickinson Summer Latin Workshop 2021: Ovid’s Little Aeneid

Dates: July 12-16, 2021

Location: Zoom link to be provided to registered participants

Text: Ovid, Metamorphoses 13.623–14.582

Moderators: Meghan Reedy (D. Phil. Oxford), Christopher Francese (Prof. of Classical Studies, Dickinson College)

Cost: $200

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 05/24/2021 - 5:36pm by Erik Shell.
14th century illustrated manuscript of Omne Bonum (by James le Palmer – British Library MS Royal 6 E. VI, fol. 301ra); it shows a bishop instructing clerics with leprosy.

What use is Covid-19? Despite its epidemiological and socioeconomic consequences, can this pandemic do anything good for scholars? For Classicists? For one thing, we have seen the capacity of the virus to generate numerous themed conferences, journal volumes, and lecture series. Whether that’s a “good thing” is another matter. But, at the very least, we may say that this global pandemic renders a cluster of ideas more broadly interesting and salient than usual.

For some scholars, such events have proved fortuitous: say, for example, Kyle Harper, whose The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of and Empire appeared in late 2017 and dealt with disease and pandemic in late antiquity. Frank M. Snowden’s Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present has witnessed renewed interest. For some scholars, Classicists or not, Covid-19 has highlighted their work. No one likes to benefit from a public emergency — as a former wildland firefighter, a profession which lives for forest fires, I know the feeling — but it happens. It is outside our control.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/21/2021 - 10:08am by Carson M Bay.
Mary Beard in conversation with Vanessa Stovall and Ky Merkley

In Dialogue: Trans Studies and Classics works to bring some of the insights and lived experiences found in transgender studies into conversation with the Classics, in the hope that bringing these into dialogue with each other will enrich our pedagogy, deepen our understanding of what gender as an identity category even means, and help critique the various ways gender has been used as an instrument of power throughout history, while also creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for our students. If you’d like to contribute to this column or have ideas that could add to this conversation, email Ky Merkley.

When the latest ‘Twitter storm’ (to quote Mary Beard) broke out, my Twitter feed rapidly filled with heated denunciations of ‘cancel culture,’ cruel words directed at trans folx, and pontifications about the state of Classics. For many members of the trans community, this Twitter ‘dialogue’ was exhausting. Every day, a new blog post or article added more fuel to an ever-growing fire.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 05/17/2021 - 10:19am by .
LGBT Meets SPQR Logo

I wish that LGBT Meets SQPR had existed as I began my journey into Greco-Roman antiquity in high school. As a closeted gay youth, I was eager to find stories, experiences, and anecdotes that could help me understand my identity better and not feel quite so alone. Modern LGBTQIA+ youth seem to gravitate towards Classics for such resources and community-building. In a survey conducted by Hannah Clarke, young queer people indicated that their interest in Classics stemmed from the fact that “Classics remedies, to a certain extent, anxieties of feeling culturally temporary. [The survey respondents] describe the visibility of queer figures in Classics classes as providing a sort of temporal anchor, which proves that they are not the result of a trend, something that came about in the 70s, something that is having a moment and could potentially vanish once more.”

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/14/2021 - 10:06am by Daniel Libatique.

The 2021 season of the Digital Classicist London seminar is on the theme of world classics: we have put together a programme of speakers who are working with digital humanities and digital classics methods to the study of antiquity—whether language, corpora, archaeology—from across the world. All sessions are streamed live on Youtube, and will also be available to watch there afterwards.

All seminars at 17:00 (UK time).

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 05/11/2021 - 5:27pm by Erik Shell.

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