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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"Strolling through outer peristyle of the Getty Villa in Malibu, Calif., is about as close as you can get to time travelling. It’s easy to feel just like a Roman citizen discussing the affairs of the day while meandering through the gardens dotted with bronze statues or sitting at the edge of the 67-metre-long reflecting pool beneath a low-hanging sun. The only thing missing is the toga. While the ancient ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum in southern Italy leave visitors to piece together in their own minds what the daily lives of Romans must have been like, the Getty Villa leaves very little to the imagination." Read more in the Toronto Star.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 12:05pm by Information Architect.

Mike Lippman, a professor of Classics at the University of Arizona, is featured in an article about marathon readings on Insidehighered.com.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 1:21pm by .

This Thursday's poem at 3 Quarks Daily is full of puns with a classical theme:

The Agamemnon Rag

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 1:13pm by Information Architect.

Read Mary Beard's review of two new books on Hannibal at The Times Literary Supplement.

View full article. | Posted in Book Reviews on Thu, 05/12/2011 - 1:09pm by Information Architect.

"Eric Dugdale, associate professor of classics at Gustavus Adolphus College, received the 2011 Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award on May 7 at the College’s Honors Day Convocation." Read more at the Gustavus Adolphus Blog.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Wed, 05/11/2011 - 12:57am by .

The complete financial statement for fiscal year 2009 - 2010 is now available. Click here to download it as a pdf, or go to the Financial Statements page to view current and previous statements.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sun, 05/08/2011 - 4:07pm by .

Audiences are invited to get intimate with the action in the second instalment of a fresh take on Camus' 'Caligula.'

"As many countries in the world struggle to depose tyrants, a timely play is taking to a Bangkok stage, transporting audiences to ancient Rome to unseat an emperor who has just elected his horse as prime minister. Fancy a stab?" Read more in The Bangkok Post …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/08/2011 - 12:25am by Information Architect.

"'Heracles to Alexander the Great: Treasures from the Royal Capital of Macedon, a Hellenic Kingdom in the Age of Democracy' is as crowded with objects as its title is with ideas. The Ashmolean manages to cram in about 500 objects, discovered in the royal tombs and palaces of Aegae (modern-day Vergina in the north of Greece), most of which are being displayed for the very first time." Read more at The Wall Street Journal.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 05/06/2011 - 2:11am by Information Architect.

"The transformation of humans into monsters or animals is a standard feature of two great genres: classical Greek and Roman myth and American comic books. As those of us know who spent our childhoods and teenaged years greedily hoarding the latter, such transformations are only occasionally effected by a mere change of costume. Batman, for instance (introduced in 1939), is an ordinary Homo sapiens who simply dons his bat-like hood and cape when he wants to battle evildoers; his extraordinary powers are the fruit of disciplined intellectual and physical training. More often—and more excitingly—the metamorphoses occur at the genetic level. The Incredible Hulk, who debuted in 1962, is a hypertrophied Hercules-like giant, the Mr. Hyde aspect of an otherwise mild-mannered scientist named Bruce Banner, created during a laboratory accident involving gamma rays. Wolverine, one of the X-men, who sports lupine traits following his transformations, belongs to a despised race of “mutants” with remarkable powers. (The comic book series, now reincarnated as a hugely popular film franchise, debuted in 1963.)" Read more at The New York Review of Books.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 12:25am by Information Architect.

"Jeffrey Henderson, the University’s William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Greek Language and Literature and a world-renowned classics scholar, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS)." Read the article at BU Today.

View full article. | Posted in Member News on Wed, 05/04/2011 - 12:21am by .

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