President Kathryn Gutzwiller Asks Members to Help in Promoting Friends of Classics

            The By-Laws of our organization, as written at its founding 145 years ago, specify that “any lover of philological studies may become a member of the Association” (article 18). Since that nineteenth-century statement was penned, much has changed for our organization. Early on, scholars of other languages decamped to form their own learned societies. As a result, the term “philological studies” gradually acquired a specialized reference to ancient Greek and Latin, and then over time to the expanded study of the Greeks and Romans in terms of literature, history, philosophy, and culture. Our impending name change to Society for Classical Studies aims to encode more accurately the current character of our organization, though always with recognition of our long history as the American Philological Association. What I want to point out, however, is that as the APA became increasingly a professional organization for academic classicists, one thing largely lost was the idea that its members were to be not just scholars of classical philology but more broadly its lovers. Plato might have called such people ἐρασταὶ τῆς φιλολογίας, but in searching for a twenty-first century equivalent of “lovers” the best terms I have found are “enthusiasts” or “friends.” It is to recapture these enthusiasts as members that, upon my proposal, the Board has created an associate membership known as Friends of Classics.

            Associate memberships are new to our organization. The Friends membership targets those who are not professional teachers or scholars of classics but do wish to have special access to information about the ancient world and contribute to our efforts to support a thriving climate for classical studies. The Board has also created a similar associate membership for K-12 teachers, designed for educators at those levels who do not require all the services offered to regular members. Of course the full range of professional benefits, including making a presentation at the annual meeting, using the Placement Service, and election to committees or voting, will be reserved for regular members. We do believe, however, that the benefits of a Friends membership will be attractive to many. These include Amphora, discounts on books, and participation in APA blogs, all at $35 a year (see the full list of benefits on the online signup site or the downloadable form). A special opportunity exists for Classics majors, who are eligible for a free one-year membership in Friends within the first two years after graduation. Our hope is that those majors who do not pursue an academic career in classics will nonetheless remain in touch with the field as Friends of our organization.

            To implement the Friends of Classics membership, Mary-Kay Gamel as Vice-President for Outreach and I are co-chairing a Making Friends Committee. We are grateful to the following for agreeing to serve on this committee:  Antony Augoustakis, Ward Briggs, Christopher Faraone, Joseph Farrell, Nancy Felson, Judith Hallett, Brooke Holmes, Alexander Loney, and Marilyn Skinner. So far we have undertaken to (1) find ways of identifying potential Friends so as to extend to them an invitation to join and (2) strategize about ways to enrich the Friends experience in the future.

            We believe that potential Friends easily number in the thousands. The most obvious group to solicit for membership are those who have studied Classics at some level, whether in high school, as Classics majors, or at the graduate level, and who remain passionate about antiquity while perhaps enjoying careers in other fields. The difficulty is to find them. Each of the members of the Making Friends Committee has provided the names of at least three persons who might wish to affiliate with our organization, and we have extended invitations to this initial group of potential members. In addition, we have written to chairs of Classics departments inviting them to give us the names of recent graduates (which we’re defining as those who received their degrees after December 2012) who qualify for a year’s free membership in this category. 

            We need your help as well. I call upon each of you as a member of our organization to notify us of three or more persons who you think would like to participate in this associate membership by sending their names with email or postal addresses to the APA Office (apastaff@sas.upenn.edu). If you are submitting the name of a recent undergraduate Classics major who is eligible for the one free year as a Friend of Classics described above, please be sure to communicate that. If you are involved with an organization, meeting group, or class to which you would like to distribute flyers about Friends, feel free to download and copy the one on our web site, or you may ask the APA office to send copies to you.

            The goal of these Friends memberships is to create an audience of enthusiasts with whom we may communicate about Classics and to establish a network of persons who support our initiatives. I am sure that I do not need to tell you how valuable a network like this can be in our ongoing efforts to advocate for Classics. The effort will only succeed, however, with the involvement of regular members. Please send in your names. I also invite you to communicate to me any suggestions and comments you may have on how to build the number of Friends and how to expand upon what we offer our new associate members. These suggestions will be added to the exciting ideas being generated by the Making Friends Committee for enhancing the benefits of becoming a Friend of Classics.

Kathryn Gutzwiller

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A Black woman with short hair posed as Venus in Boticelli's Birth of Venus. She stands on an open seashell in the sea, and her body is adorned with patches of gold. On the right, a dark-skinned hand coming out of a white blouse holds an orange tapestry.

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative (AnWoMoCo), 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 132 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. To date, it has funded projects in 28 states and 11 countries, including Canada, the UK, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 07/01/2022 - 10:52am by .
A white marble stele featuring two standing women and two seated women. The central standing woman holds the hand of the central seated woman.

With weary hearts, we consider with you what Classics can do in the face of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court decision overruling Roe v. Wade (1973) and Planned Parenthood of Pennsylvania v. Casey (1992). We bring you what we can from our own experience: Amy Richlin spent the 1990s teaching half in Gender Studies in the aftermath of the Reagan-Bush administration, when Planned Parenthood v. Casey was heard, and also taught Roman women’s history and sometimes Roman law during her years at USC and UCLA. Bruce Frier has been on the Faculty of the Michigan Law School since 1986 and has participated in numerous discussions and debates concerning Constitutional interpretation; he also chaired a Provostal Committee to improve the campus climate for LGBTQ+ faculty, students, and staff.

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 06/29/2022 - 10:50am by .
A dark painting featuring men in togas. A number of men in the center wearing white togas reach towards an older man, seated in a brown toga. As they extend arms towards him, he pushes them away and looks aside.

This two-part series reflects upon AAPI experiences in Classical Studies. Part 1 is catalyzed by the author’s personal experience teaching race & ethnicity in antiquity in the context of the ongoing surge of anti-Asian violence in the country. Part 2 will reflect upon the shared experiences of students and scholars of Asian descent in Classical Studies through a series of interviews.

“Do you know about your Penn Law School colleague Amy Wax?,” a friend texted me in January, as the semester was starting.

“Blocked it out,” I thumbed back. I had, in fact, dimly seen the news, but the idea that a professor at the same university where I was excited to be newly teaching might be publicly rejecting the civic fitness of Asian Americans like me had, frankly, been too much to contemplate. “Good mental health strategy,” my friend responded dryly.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/27/2022 - 9:05am by .
A black-and-white image of the reverse of a diadrachm of Magas, dated 300–275 BCE, depicting the silphium plant, with a small crab on the right side and Greek letters interspersed in the branches of the plant.

I guess I should say “thank you.” Gratias vobis ago. Thank you to the Republican Party’s long game, a partisan SCOTUS, years of deliberate Democratic avoidance. You see, I’ve been wanting for a while to write a book about social control, forced reproduction, and their effects on real people living under an authoritarian government. Of course, I was planning to write about Augustan Rome. But with the Court’s decision yesterday, ending nearly 50 years of Roe (that is, legal abortion in America), I’ve got a great reception study. And in real time.

View full article. | Posted in on Sat, 06/25/2022 - 1:39am by .

The 2023 Alexander G. McKay Prize competition for the best new book in Vergilian studies is now open!

The Vergilian Society is pleased to announce the opening of the next competition for the Alexander G. McKay Prize for the best book in Vergilian studies. The prize, which is accompanied by a cash award of $500 or a life membership in the Vergilian Society (valued at $800), is awarded every other year to the book that, in the opinion of the prize evaluation committee, makes the greatest contribution toward our understanding and appreciation of Vergil or topics related to Vergil. Works of literary criticism, biography, bibliography, textual criticism, reference, history, archaeology, and the classical tradition are all eligible, provided that Vergilian studies represent a significant portion of the discussion. The current competition will cover books published during the years 2020 and 2021. The winner will be announced at the Vergilian Society session at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in New Orleans in January 2023. The authors of books being considered for the McKay Prize must be members of the Vergilian Society at the time their books are submitted; for new members or to renew memberships see https://www.vergiliansociety.org/memberships-and-donations.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/21/2022 - 11:44am by .

Symposium Cumanum – Call for Proposals for June 2023

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/21/2022 - 11:40am by .
A row of six people, all but one dressed in varied togas. Two of the men raise their right hands in an oratorical gesture. Above each person is the name of a character in the Phormio.

In a discussion of the concept of the “good slave” in her book Reconstructing the Slave: The Image of the Slave in Ancient Greece, Kelly Wrenhaven rightly argues that “representations of good slaves are as much a part of the rationalizing ideology of slavery as bad slaves, as both help to justify and reinforce the institution.” Examining enslaved nurses depicted on Athenian tombstones, Wrenhaven points out that, out of a total of 15 extant tombstones for nurses, nine include the word chreste. Other inscriptions further confirm the association between the adjective chrestos and enslavement. On a 4th-century tombstone from Thasos, a shepherd named Manes is described as chrestos tais despotais (“useful to his masters”). Enslaved people are also described with this adjective in Menander as well as in Greek tragedy. What we get from considering the adjective chrestos in these and other contexts, as Wrenhaven makes clear, is that “the positive qualities most often attributed to slaves are precisely those which were most useful in the context of slavery.”

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/20/2022 - 10:24am by .
A mosaic with a black background. The top reads SCA PERPETUA. Beneath that is a bust image of a woman in a circle. She has brown hair pulled back, wears gold robes, and has a gold saint halo around her head.

Last year, I published an edition of Perpetua’s Passio together with a group of students: Mia Donato, Carolyn Engargiola, Eli Gendreau-Distler, Elizabeth Hasapis, Jacob Nguyen, Siddharth Pant, Shamika Podila, Anna Riordan, and Oliver Thompson. I worried that a book with ten names in the byline would look like a monstrosity. I worried that, since nine of those names belong to students, people would dismiss it as a school project, of interest only to the parents of the students on the cover. Yet the book has been warmly received: reviewed in journals, adopted for classes, and most recently honored with the 2022 Ladislaus J. Bolchazy Pedagogy Book Award from CAMWS. I say this not to trumpet their work (though I’m certainly proud of it), but rather because I think it speaks to a question that is relevant to the wider scholarly world: what role can students take in academic research and publication?

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 06/13/2022 - 1:50pm by .
A screencap from Hypotactic.com showing the text of Catullus, Poem 1. The words in the second line are highlighted in different colors by syllable.

Hypotactic.com is a website that provides open-license metrical scansions for a broad range of Greek and Latin texts. The main project interface, while relatively simple in its design, supports the user in reading ancient texts metrically through a variety of customizable annotations. The user can toggle between various display formats, including the addition of macrons, scansion, and marks for foot-breaks and/or caesuras. Particularly helpful for reading aloud is the innovative option to apply color-coding that highlights metrical units (and elisions) without the need to consult a separate line of metrical annotations.

A screencap from Hypotactic.com showing the text of Catullus, Poem 1. The words in the second line are highlighted in different colors by syllable.

Figure 1: Clicking on a line reveals the metrical analysis.

In metrically complex texts, such as Plautus or Pindar, every line is annotated with its metrical identification (e.g., ia6 for iambic senarii), such that transitions between meters are obvious to the reader without having to consult a separate commentary.

A screencap showing text with annotations. One line is highlighted green and blue by syllable.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/10/2022 - 11:32am by .
TAPA Books Fanned

JOIN TAPA FOR A VIRTUAL OPEN HOUSE

Join co-editors Joshua Billings and Irene Peirano Garrison, and editorial board members Catherine Conybeare, Lorenzo Garcia, and Nandini Pandey, for an open house via Zoom on June 15, 2022 @12:00 pm EDT.

Click Below to Register Now!

CLICK TO REGISTER

*Once you are registered you will receive a Zoom link 24 hours before the event and a reminder on the morning of June 15.

Open house attendees will learn about how to submit to TAPA, the peer review and editorial process, and particular areas of focus.

The Spring 2022 issue of TAPA is now out and that it includes scholarly articles and also short essays on Classics after COVID.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 06/07/2022 - 10:15am by .

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