Message from the President - May 2012

As our capital campaign draws to a close (we still need everyone to help: be sure you are counted!), the APA is in a better position both to survive the challenges of our times and to seize the opportunities.  But we must continue to use our human and financial capital wisely as we do our best to assure that the Association knows and seeks to provide what members actually need and want, and promotes our field as effectively as possible within and without.  Now is the time to take stock, review priorities, and plan for the future.  And so in late March the Board of Directors, as planned (see the Executive Director’s Report for 2011), conducted a weekend retreat facilitated by Laura Lewis Mandeles, our development advisor.  Attending were the Executive Director; the Financial Trustees; the President, President-Elect, and two past Presidents; the divisional Vice Presidents; three Directors at large; a former President of the American Classical League; and to advise about issues affecting “adcons” (adjunct or contingent faculty), a non-classicist from the New Faculty Majority. The retreat was productive and promising, and this letter is a good opportunity to fulfill one of its next steps: to communicate to membership about the results of the retreat.

We came away with a strategic-planning framework whose essence is a clear definition of the Association’s mission and purpose – to sustain and advance the field of Classics and the people involved in it – and an organizational visionthat encourages a more collaborative approach among the Divisions and the membership, and with external constituencies.  We identified priorities and promising initiatives for further study, and in order to get moving we established, for a trial period of two years, a “Cabinet” that will spearhead and serve as a regular forum for refining and advancing the plan.  The Cabinet consists of the President and President-Elect, the divisional Vice Presidents, and the Executive Director, and has scheduled its first meeting (by conference-call) for mid-May.

The title “Cabinet” does not imply a one-way or top-down process: the APA has always relied on its members for initiatives and guidance, and for the volunteer effort needed to achieve results otherwise impossible for an organization of our size.  The planning framework calls for greater responsiveness to the membership and for enhanced communications, especially online and digital, to connect members and other constituencies on an ongoing, year-round basis and through the full spectrum of media: to build the Gateway that inspired our capital campaign.  As planning goes forward, members can expect to be consulted for feedback and advice, and polled for information.

The main roles of the Association should be along the following broad guidelines.  We should support and develop the people who will enliven teaching, learning, and scholarship now and in years to come.  Through our meetings and programs we should facilitate multiple opportunities for connection within the field, especially around research and teaching, that strengthen intellectual exchange, encourage collaboration, and provide mutual support.  We should build information paths that connect professionals in the field and the lay public to data and information about the state and value of Classics, to 21st century resources for research, and about materials for pedagogical development.  Our communications infrastructure should create an environment of support for Classics through outreach to and collaboration with educators, students, parents and the general public, articulate the case for the Classics, and advocate pro-actively for Classics among educational decision makers.

Strategic initiatives include: (1) A sophisticated program of data collection, analysis, and dissemination.  (2) A “year-round”, more inclusive and engaging annual meeting that features a variety of formats for presentation and discussion of scholarship and issues in the field; includes a significant component focused on pedagogy; and offers a well-publicized set of public engagement opportunities in the host city.  The meeting should be preceded and followed by continuing engagement with those who will or who have participated.  In addition, we should explore the potential for convening – virtually or in-person – field meetings that would reach membership unable to attend the annual meeting as well as those who do generally attend.  The Chicago 2014 annual meeting should be the target for significant retooling along these lines.  (3) Developing information-technology to increase accessible research tools and materials, capture and share data about the field, and offer learning opportunities for a variety of constituents.  Our website should become the “go-to place” for people involved in or interested in Classics and should make full use of social media on all media platforms, so that users can find information, follow developments in the field, enjoy presentations and other learning opportunities, and connect with colleagues.  (4) Developing the field’s “talent pipeline” through collaborations and other mechanisms that create a continuum of connection, support, and advocacy for K-12 to undergraduate, graduate studies and career development.

These initiatives may well require that the Board consider by-law and structural changes, e.g. mechanisms for broadening and diversifying our organizational leadership in terms of age, professional status (e.g. adjunct, tenure track), and type of institution.  And of course the Board, Financial Trustees, and staff will explore the potential for new revenue streams both earned and contributed; reallocation of resources in light of new priorities; and efficiencies through technology to reduce expenses.

As these initiatives are pursued, members can expect to be more frequently consulted or polled for needs, opinions, suggestions, and expertise – and also to be surveyed: at a time when we cannot have too much information about the field of Classics and the people involved in it, we have too little.  For professionals and lay people alike, the APA should be the go-to source for data and information about the state and value of Classics.  We will be exploring how to create and maintain a sophisticated program of data collection, analysis, and dissemination.  So please respond when survey instruments come your or your department’s way.  Something that you can do right now is to supply information about your own field(s) of expertise on the APA Membership Form, so that we can complete our online directory.

Among the first issues that members will be asked to consider is whether it is time to change the Association’s name.  The consensus of the retreat was that “philological” no longer defines all that our Association is about and is so obscure to all but practitioners as to impede our efforts to gain broader public visibility.  We need to be found when people search online for information about classics and the classical world.  American Classical Association and (preferred) Classical Association of North America were suggestions.

The enhancement of our Association along these lines is an exciting prospect.  So stay tuned and stay engaged!

Jeff Henderson

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On October 13, 2019, the SCS Board of Directors approved the following letter addressed to the Board of Directors of the Paideia Institute for Humanistic Study, Inc.

"The Society for Classical Studies joins the American Classical League in expressing deep concern in response to recent public statements regarding the Paideia Institute. Some of those statements are authored by individuals who have been closely associated with Paideia in various capacities and who have now resigned from the Institute.  Some of the published allegations are more generally about the Institute’s cultural climate, while others concern specific incidents. All the allegations are serious.

Accordingly, the SCS board of directors has approved a temporary hiatus on new funding for Paideia programs, including but not limited to support via the SCS Minority Scholarships, Coffin Fellowships, and Classics Everywhere micro-grants.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Mon, 10/14/2019 - 12:59pm by Helen Cullyer.

Years of restoration work on the Palatine Hill and in the Roman Forum which—together with the Colosseum—now make up the Parco Archeologico del Colosseo has been coming to fruition over the last few years. After decades of sporadic work, rusting scaffolding, and locked gates, a fabulous flurry of activity has yielded an ever greater number of visitable sites.

Many of these are accessible as part of the SUPER ticket, which provides access to the Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum (but not the Colosseum), and includes access to eight excellent “bonus” sites: Santa Maria Antiqua, Temple of Romulus, Palatine Museum, the Neronian Cryptoporticus, the Aula Isiaca and Loggia Mattei, the Houses of Augustus and Livia, and—most recently—the Domus Transitoria.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 10/11/2019 - 12:13am by Agnes Crawford.

Departmental memberships for 2020 are now available. This year's departmental membership includes new publication options as well as the ability to purchase membership for students and contingent faculty.

You can download the form here, then send it to the SCS office through fax or via email at info@classicalstudies.org

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 10/10/2019 - 10:38am by Erik Shell.

"Space and Governance: Towards a New Topography of Roman Administration"

Conference, 3-4 April 2020, Royal Academy of Spain at Rome (Real Academia de España en Roma)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 10/10/2019 - 8:53am by Erik Shell.

Call for Volunteers

The Society for Classical Studies seeks graduate, undergraduate, and contingent faculty volunteers for the 151th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., which will take place this coming January.  Assignments will include working in the registration area and assisting staff with some sessions and special events.

You can sign up to volunteer here.

In exchange for six hours of service (either in one continuous or in segmented assignments), volunteers receive a waiver of their annual meeting registration fees.  It is not necessary to be an SCS member to volunteer.

For more information about the meeting itself, visit our Annual Meeting page.

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 10/07/2019 - 10:25am by Erik Shell.

In response to problems and needs, some long-term and others exposed by events at San Diego, the SCS Board of Directors has voted to add an Equity Adviser to the SCS board as an advisory member, with voice but without vote. This will be a three-year appointment made by the President, upon approval of the directors. The position will replace on the board, as of January 5, 2020, the current chair of the Strategic Development Committee, who currently serves as an ex officio board member with voice but without vote. The Strategic Development Committee itself is being wound down as part of an attempt to rationalize our governance structure. This change will not affect the 16 elected board positions.

The main roles of the Equity Adviser (hereafter EA) will be to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity in all SCS activities, looking especially at elections, governance, publications, and the annual meeting.  The EA will consult with the Committee on Professional Matters to obtain an accurate understanding of topics and data relating to diversity, inclusion, and equity across the organization. This would be particularly important in the first year of an EA’s appointment, as the adviser assesses historical trends in diversity relating to:

1) our Board of Directors and our committees;

2) the program of our annual meeting, and its actual realization; and

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 10/04/2019 - 2:35pm by Erik Shell.

ANCHORING TECHNOLOGY IN GRECO-ROMAN ANTIQUITY

An interdisciplinary conference
Soeterbeeck (Radboud University), 10-13 December 2020

‘Anchoring Innovation’ is a Dutch research program in Classics that studies how people deal with ‘the new’ (http://www.ru.nl/oikos/anchoring-innovation/). We want to understand the multifarious ways in which relevant social groups connect what they perceive as new to what they feel is already familiar (‘anchoring’). In this conference, our focus will be on technological innovations in classical antiquity, and the ways in which these became acceptable, were adopted, and spread – or died an unceremonious death.

Technology is here understood in the widest sense of the word: it includes building materials and techniques, technical procedures and products, but also information technologies such as writing and calculating, coinage, medicine and military technology. Greco-Roman antiquity offers an ideal testing ground for understanding technological change in a complex, yet non-modern society: it is richly documented (both in the written record and in material remains), and the ‘sources’ are complex but also well-disclosed, which enables us to tackle complex research questions.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 10/04/2019 - 1:24pm by Erik Shell.

In the past year, the Society for Classical Studies website has published a number of pieces catalyzed by the blatant racism on display at the most recent annual meeting. Professor Joy Connolly wrote a piece called “Working Toward a Just and Inclusive Future for Classics,” which then generated a response by an anonymous graduate student group, which in turn led to further comment by the SCS, Professor Connolly, and the newly formed SCS Graduate Student Committee. These various pieces pointed to ways Classics could progress and thrive for generations to come. 

What became lost in this series of posts was a focus on racial diversity and inclusivity, as the conversation increasingly broadened to include all manner of injustice found in academic work conditions. The act of racism that started the conversation became overshadowed by much more general discussion about problems that affect the whole of academia, e.g., the increasing precarity of academic labor.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 10/04/2019 - 6:33am by Joy Reeber.

Below are the citations for the three winners of our 2019 Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit. Please join us in congratulating this year's winners and in thanking the Goodwin Committee members for their hard work.

Andrew C. Johnston

Josephine Quinn

Francesa Schironi

Andrew C. Johnston, The Sons of Remus: Identity in Roman Gaul and Spain. Harvard University Press, 2017

The story of the Roman Empire, much like the story of the American West, has long emphasized assimilation and Romanization: parcere subiectis et debellare superbos. Presumably discarded were the local identities and indigenous traditions that no longer defined or empowered the provincials. Unlike the cities of the Greek East, with their indigenous and hyper-literate insistence on their own distinctive identities, past and present, the Roman West has been thought to be a virtual tabula rasa, on which Romanness was inscribed with little difficulty. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 10/03/2019 - 12:58pm by Erik Shell.

For the first time since 2016, the SCS will be holding four seminars at this year’s annual meeting.

Seminars as a rule concentrate on more narrowly focused topics and aim at extensive discussion. In order to allow the time to be spent mainly on discussion, the SCS publishes a notice about the session in advance, and organizers distribute copies of the papers (normally three or four in number) to be discussed to those who request them.  Attendance at a seminar will, if necessary, be limited to the first 25 people who sign up. Seminars are normally three hours in length. Registered meeting attendees may sign up at no additional cost for one or more of these seminars during the month of October.

You can chceck out this year's seminars and sign up here: https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/2020/151/2020-annual-meeting-seminars

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/30/2019 - 10:40am by Erik Shell.

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