Message from the President - Looking Ahead

In my final letter to the membership, I would like to give you all an idea of where we are headed as an organization in the near future.  Our organization is evolving in an exciting way.  We are the heirs of a distinguished history of developing and supporting research and teaching in all the areas of our discipline, and we shall continue to foster those goals as energetically and creatively as we can.  In my last letter I referred to some of the most conspicuous ways in which we are fulfilling this vital part of our mission, in particular with support for L’Année philologique and development of the Digital Latin Library.  At the same time, we are taking seriously the commitments we made in the Gateway Campaign to making the world of classics and the work of APA members valuable to a larger audience, both within and outside academia.  We are in the process of journeying through that Gateway – including evolution of our name, our logo, our web site, our annual meeting, our organizational structure, and our advocacy messages.  No part of our new orientation involves abandoning our history and mission.  In fact, without the foundation of the scholarly and teaching work of our members, we would have little to offer. 

Our commitment to outreach and dialog is by no means new, but we are intensifying it, with the change of name and logo, and with a new emphasis on public programming and web resources for the lay person.  We are mindful of pressures in the academic world that are severely challenging the field of Classics and the whole domain of the liberal arts– for example, emphasis on STEM education and devaluation of the humanities, a revolution in publishing and how scholarly research is communicated both within and outside the field, budget woes in universities, and the continual need to justify the study of Latin and ancient Greek at all levels of education: See the recent Guest Blog from Garrett Fagan for an overview of the latest debates on these questions (do follow up his invitation to comment!).  We need more people to care about Classics, be involved in Classics, and ascribe value to Classics in order to hold our own in schools and universities.  We all know how to make the case, from our daily experience in the classroom: I hope I won’t be accused of parochialism if I direct you to a recent Blog posting with videos of a wide range of Princeton Classics alumni testifying to the broad and lasting value of an education in Classics.  We need to take that case to the largest possible audience.

As we do so, you will be seeing increasing development of our web site encouraging communication among members, featured bloggers, new membership categories, improvements to data collection processes, extensions of annual meetings by recording sessions, and social media discussions.  In particular, the new website has to be accessible and adaptable, and it has to be useable on a wide variety of platforms.  We are moving ahead with these changes in a deliberative and consultative way, as we prepare a new logo and adapt the new name and its “subtitle” (“founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association”) for its appearance on our printed and electronic publications.  In the Spring we shall be able to roll out the new website, at which point we shall go over to our new name of Society for Classical Studies.

As I sign off, I can’t help reflecting on how fortunate we are to be members of such an organization and discipline.  I have been deeply impressed by the professionalism and dedication of the officers and members of the APA.  This commitment comes directly from your devotion to the inexhaustibly rewarding field of Classics. It is necessary in certain contexts to think in terms of “defending” our discipline, but whenever we go into a classroom or a library it certainly doesn’t feel like that.  It has been a privilege to work with a group of people who fit the paradigm of the “plain russet-coated captain” identified by Oliver Cromwell as his ideal, “that knows what he fights for and loves what he knows.”

Denis Feeney
President

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Adam Kirsch reviews Rome: Day One, Rome and Rhetoric, The Romans and Their World, Caligula, Invisible Romans, and Rome: A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History in the January 9th issue of The New Yorker. An abstract of the review is available online for free; subscribers have full access.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 01/16/2012 - 2:41am by Information Architect.

"You might not think that a collaboration to study the chemical and physical properties of ancient Attic pottery would have anything to do with space missions, but, well, you'd be mistaken. Earlier this year, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded nearly $500,000 to scientists from the Getty Conservation Institute, Stanford's National Accelerator Laboratory (SLAC) and the Aerospace Corporation to do just that."

Read more at discovery.com.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 01/01/2012 - 7:31pm by Information Architect.

"Emmett L. Bennett Jr., a classicist who played a vital role in deciphering Linear B, the Bronze Age Aegean script that defied solution for more than 50 years after it was unearthed on clay tablets in 1900, died on Dec. 15 in Madison, Wis. He was 93. His daughter Cynthia Bennett confirmed the death. Professor Bennett was considered the father of Mycenaean epigraphy — that is, the intricate art of reading inscriptions from the Mycenaean period, as the slice of the Greek Bronze Age from about 1600 to 1200 B.C. is known. His work, which entailed analysis so minute that he could eventually distinguish the handwritings of many different Bronze Age scribes, helped open a window onto the Mycenaean world."

Read the entire obituary online at The New York Times.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Sun, 01/01/2012 - 4:28pm by .

APA Annual Meeting Session 35 (Saturday, January 7, 11:15 a.m.-1:15 p.m., Marriott Grand Ballroom I), is a discussion of the literary, historical, art historical, religious, and political possibilities raised by John Miller's Goodwin Prize-Winning book.  Incoming President-Elect Denis Feeney will be the moderator.  Panelists will briefly summarize their papers but will not read them in their entirety so as to leave more time for discussion.  The papers are therefore posted here.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 12/30/2011 - 4:01pm by Adam Blistein.

To complement her Presidential Panel, “Images for Classicists,” to be held at the 2012 Joint Meeting of the APA/AIA in Philadelphia, Kathleen Coleman has assembled an online resource to help scholars locate and use images in their teaching and research.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/26/2011 - 5:59pm by .

 By Kathleen Coleman, President, 2011

As a one-off project in 2011, the year in which the citations for award winners were curtailed for delivery at the annual meeting, the then President, Kathleen Coleman, conducted interviews with the 2010 prize-winners, to give them more prominence than the new format at the annual meeting allowed. The interviews are archived here for their intrinsic value. This site is not part of a series, but simply a unique exercise showcasing the dedication and talent of members of the Classics profession at a specific moment in its history, and memorializing their example.

The citations for the APA award winners are eloquent testimony to their excellence.  But what do the winners themselves think about the job they do and how to do it?  Along the lines of the former “Questions for . . .” column by Deborah Solomons in the New York Times Magazine and its successor, “The interview” by Andrew Goldman, the President set about finding out over the course of the year via Skype.

Click on the links below to read the Q&A for …

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/26/2011 - 5:52pm by .

The complete 2012 Annual Meeting Program is now posted. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 12/23/2011 - 6:31pm by Adam Blistein.

"In a scene out of Monty Python’s Life of Brian, John Cleese’s character asked: “Apart from the sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, the fresh water system and public health, what have the Romans ever done for us?” Turns out the plebeians and freemen of ancient Rome had it pretty good, at least compared to today’s “working” class in the United States. A pair of historians recently concluded that the richest 1% of the population in the Roman Empire controlled about 16% of the wealth. Here in America, that deep-pocketed sliver of society owns some 40% of it."

Read more at Marketwatch.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 12/22/2011 - 1:58pm by Information Architect.

The Academy Vivarium Novum is offering four full tuition scholarships for high school students of the European Union (16-18 years old) and five full tuition scholarships for University students (18-24 years old) of any part of the world. The scholarships will cover all of the costs of room, board, teaching and didactic materials for courses to be held from January 10, 2011 until June 16, 2012 on the grounds of the Academy’s campus at Rome (Via Corrado Barbagallo, 20).

Application letters must be sent to info@vivariumnovum.it by January 5th in order to receive consideration.

A good knowledge of the fundamental of Latin and Greek is required (students must have covered at least the contents of the first 20 chapters of Ørberg’s Familia Romana and of the first 7 chapters of Balme’s and Lawall’s Athenaze).

The courses will be as follows:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 12/19/2011 - 10:18pm by Adam Blistein.

Following is the schedule for the APA Office for the next few weeks.  Our regular hours are 8:45 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

December 23, 2011                                        Office Open

December 24-26, 2011                                   Office Closed

December 27-29, 2011                                   Office Open (see Note A)

December 30, 2011-January 2, 2012               Office Closed

January 3, 2012                                              Office Open

January 4-8, 2012                                           Office Closed (see Note B)

January 9-13, 2012                                         Office Open (see Note C)

January 14-16, 2012                                       Office Closed

January 17, 2012                                            Normal Office Operations Resume

Note A:  The building where our offices are located at the University of Pennsylvania (220 S. 40th Street) will be locked, and the University will not be delivering mail during this period.  Courier services may be able to make deliveries, but the best ways of communicating with us will be via telephone and e-mail.

Note B:  All staff will be at the annual meeting in Philadelphia

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/19/2011 - 3:35pm by Adam Blistein.

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