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17 January, 2024

Dear Colleagues,

I write in the happy aftermath of our 2024 Annual Meeting in Chicago earlier this month with some reflections on a highly successful conference. Our Meeting showcased a great variety of approaches and topics within our discipline and welcomed diverse and inclusive perspectives through our innovative, multimedia, and multi-modal sessions. These included panels – both in-person and in hybrid formats – on topics such as Essential Digital Classics, Indigenous Perspectives, Ancient and Modern (Mountaintop Coalition panel), Ancient MakerSpaces, and Gender, Queerness, and Disability in the Ancient World (WCC panel). Additionally, we hosted pedagogical panels and workshops on K-12 and collegiate collaborations and also several roundtable discussions and workshops on comparative perspectives of Classics across the Americas and on the classical east and west. Throughout the conference, I had the opportunity to meet many early career scholars and first-time attendees, who imparted a vibrant energy to the paper panels and informal receptions.

From day one at the first-time attendees’ cocktail hour in the historic Normandie Lounge and the subsequent opening reception of the meeting, I felt an energy that told me this SCS would be special. I would particularly like to thank the Program Committee and attendees for creating an environment that fostered the courteous engagement and academic commitment with which discussion was conducted throughout the weekend in the panels, seminars, and workshops. It was wonderful to hear such thoughtful feedback, constructive questions, and dynamic debate at session after session, often spilling into the hallways and continuing into the late hours.

Part of the reason for this rich engagement is that our Annual Meeting attendance numbers are increasing! We welcomed more people to the Chicago annual meeting than last year’s New Orleans meeting. The trend is definitely moving in the right direction! By the numbers, here are some quick stats for our 2024 Annual Meeting in Chicago:

  • Total attendees (AIA/SCS): 1911
    • In-person: 1645
    • Virtual: 266
  • SCS Paper sessions hosted: 44
  • SCS Individual abstracts accepted: 188
  • SCS Lightning talks accepted: 5

Drilling down further into these numbers, I would like to point out that graduate student participation was a substantial component of the Chicago meeting: 624 grad students attended (more than one-third of the total participants!) with an in-person attendance of 561 and virtual attendance of 63. We also had a strong presence of undergraduates in a panel organized by Eta Sigma Phi.

Miraculously, our time in Chicago was marked by good weather and fairly smooth technology in our hybrid sessions, and we are grateful that people on site and zooming in remotely had a fairly seamless experience. Hallelujah! Even the snowfall on Saturday morning only added to the beauty of our historic hotel’s setting on Lake Michigan.

As ever, the smooth running of our annual meeting in Chicago did not happen by accident. The superb team organizing this year’s event included: Cherane Ali, Director of Meetings, and Helen Cullyer, our former Executive Director. They had help from our new Communications and Services Coordinator Kelsey Skordal, who joined the SCS office in August, and Interim Executive Director John Vitali, who started last month – just in time for the annual meeting! I am profoundly grateful to all of them and want to give special thanks to my predecessors in the presidency Matt Roller and Matthew Santirocco, for devoting their energies to ensuring a successful meeting despite another tumultuous year.

As we look ahead, I would like to urge you to renew your membership now, if you haven’t done so already, in advance of our scheduled dues increase on February 1st. It’s our first increase in a decade, and we appreciate your contributing to the work and initiatives within the SCS, particularly those supporting early-career scholars and students, by keeping your membership current.

Let me close by thanking all remote and in-person participants for making the 2024 Annual Meeting such a success. Please save the date for our next annual meeting in Philadelphia: January 2-5, 2025! The system for accepting abstract submissions will open early next month. Stay tuned to our newsletter for updates on this and other news – the SCS office never sleeps!

Alison Keith
President, Society for Classical Studies

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