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Like many others, I'm trying to funnel the anger and frustration that I felt at our panel on the "Future of Classics" at the Annual Meeting in San Diego toward taking action that can make a difference, even on a small scale. At the panel Professor Sarah Bond and Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta promptly condemned the comments a speaker from the audience made about Dan-el as well as her intellectually and politically regressive defense of classical studies. My thoughts here are intended to carry forward their energetic advocacy.
To combat racist attitudes and assumptions that persist not only at the margins of the field but among and around us, we must act now on our home campuses and schools. Here are five ideas to get us started. There are many more. It’s important to note that at some schools, faculty and students are already acting on these ideas or better versions of them. They arise from my experience as a university administrator, where I've seen countless discussions about diversity go in circles until faculty, students, and staff commit together to do specific things within a short time frame. They are designed for use at college and university campuses, the world I know best, but K-12 teachers and scholars are included here, and I welcome ideas from this crucially important sector of our field.
Ideas for action in the coming 30-60 days
We have now reviewed the video of the Panel on the Future of Classics, which will be disseminated online today, February 14, 2019.
The video makes it clear that what was said to Prof. Padilla Peralta was: “You may have got your job because you’re black, but I would prefer to think you got your job because of merit.”
Despite this factual correction to Presidential letter of 1/10/19, the SCS leadership stands by the substance of the Presidential letter and the actions taken onsite in San Diego, which have been reviewed by the Professional Ethics Committee. We repeat here that the future of classical studies depends on expansion, inclusion, and focused attention on and action to remedy the under-representation of people of color in Classics.
Mary T. Boatwright
(Update: the Future of Classics video is now available on the SCS YouTube Channel)
Celebrating the Divine — Roman Festivals in Art, Religion, and Literature
University of Virginia, 30–31 August 2019
Festivals are ubiquitous in the life of the Roman world, and so are their depictions in ancient art and texts. Reliefs, mosaics and paintings, but also coins all show scenes of festivity. Very often, these images reflect on the relationship of humans and gods and the special encounter between both spheres that takes place in a festive context. In literary texts, feast days often occupy a prominent position: they are crucial for the preservation of memory and identity, but they also mark fateful beginnings or momentous endings in a narrative and act as privileged sites of self-definition for individuals or the community.
This interdisciplinary conference aims to bring together scholars of literature, art, and religion to examine how Roman festivals are represented in different media and to explore the functions of such representations.
Possible questions include, but are by no means limited to the following:
How does one depict the particular type of event that is the festival? Is there a typical ‘festive scenery,’ and what are its elements? What are the techniques used for depicting the festive encounter of mortals and gods? How can the secret rites of the Mysteries be represented?
The conference is organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Science of Montenegro and will be held in Herceg Novi, an ancient town on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, and an intersecting point of different cultures during ancient and medieval times.
As one of the institutions participating in the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action entitled Reappraising Intellectual Debates on Civic Rights and Democracy in Europe, the Center for Hellenic Studies organized a series of lectures, presentations and round tables, participated by eminent experts in philosophy, history, political theory, theology, classics, and other disciplines. As the final phase of the project, the Center deemed opportune to initiate a debate on the achievements, values and guide marks that Hellenic political philosophy can have for contemporary Europe, in which the apprehension of the political is chiefly reduced to the interests of powers and corporations, being thus exclusively linked to the technique of conquering and maintaining dominance.
Ancient Hellenic conception, that gave birth to notions like freedom, democracy, parrhesia, publicity and other, reminds us that ancient Greeks understood politics not only as a fundamental designation of human beings – as, according to Aristotle, anyone who does not partake of society is either a beast or a god – but also as inseparably linked to ethics.
The program submission system is now open and accepting proposals.
You can visit the main page at https://program.classicalstudies.org/
The Odyssey: A Staged Reading and Discussion
Date/Time: March 15th, 7.30pm
Venue: Fishman Space, BAM Fisher (321 Ashland Pl, Brooklyn, NY 11217)
A distant war, a long-awaited return, a journey back, a homecoming, a wife and husband, and revenge: the arc of Homer’s Odyssey comes to life in Emily Wilson’s translation that is both contemporary and faithful to the musicality and physicality of the ancient Greek epic. Join the Aquila Theatre and Emily Wilson for a staged reading of an abbreviated version of Wilson’s translation; and a post-show discussion with the translator, an actor and veteran from Aquila’s Warrior Chorus, and a veteran’s partner. What does the Odyssey mean today to veterans and their families? What does Wilson’s new translation in iambic pentameter bring to the text that others have missed? How does performance help us to experience the Odyssey in new ways?
Ticket Price: FREE
PLEASE RESERVE TICKETS AT: https://odysseystagedreading.brownpapertickets.com
'Addressing the Divide' is a new column that looks at the ways in which the modern field of Classics was constructed and then explores ways to identify, modify, or simply abolish the lines between fields in order to embrace broader ideas of what Classics was, is, and could be. This month, Prof. Catherine Bonesho, an Assistant Professor at UCLA who specializes in the ancient history of Judaism and the Near East, speaks to classicist and Herodotus scholar Prof. Rachel Hart.
Where you work—and who you work with—can make a world of difference. A good chair, a charged computer, and my books were at one point all I thought I needed in my research. However, while still a graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I realized that it’s not just where you work or what your work is, but the colleagues you work with.
Resolution approved by the Board of Directors of the SCS, Jan. 6, 2019
The SCS Board of Directors approved the following recommendation at its meeting on January 6, 2019. It will be communicated to journal editors and to classics editors at relevant presses, that is, those whose publications fall under the responsibility of the American Office. We will also investigate whether the recommendation can be more widely discussed and adopted.
In view of the ever-growing number of articles and chapters in collective volumes that the American Office for L’Année philologique is responsible for processing, it is the strong recommendation of the SCS that journal and volume editors regard it as a best practice and a routine adjunct of the publication process that each article or chapter be accompanied by a brief abstract and a list of keywords.
To ensure the utility of abstracts and keywords for the efficient compilation of data for APh, please take note of the following guidelines:
1. The abstract should give a concise but informative summary of the article’s or chapter’s content, indicating important points of argumentation and main conclusions.
2. The abstract should refer to the types of evidence adduced in drawing these conclusions, and give specific information about the most important items.
Classical Charleston 2019: Diversifying Classics
The Department of Classics at the College of Charleston is pleased to announce the eighth annual colloquium of the Theodore B. Guérard Lecture Series, Classical Charleston: “Diversifying Classics.”
This colloquium focuses upon the ways in which Classics opens a window into a diverse and multicultural world, and how this diversity allows for a variety of methodological approaches and applications for cross-comparative cultural study. Discussion also turns to the structural elements that historically have constrained these approaches, and a wider discussion on how to move the discipline (and the perception of the discipline) forward into a redefinition of Classics for the 21st century.
E Pluribus Unum
The organizers of the 2019 CANE Summer Institute invite you to join us for a weeklong examination of peoples and cultures that comprised the Classical Greek and Roman worlds. We will not only look at the various components of the ancient world, but we will also consider what it meant for those components to be unum. The institute’s events and discussions will also consider modern and contemporary reflections of nationhood.
Whether you are a high school or college teacher of Latin and/or Greek, History, English, the Arts, or other related disciplines, an undergraduate or graduate student, or a devoted lifelong learner, you will enjoy a thoughtful and enriching experience that includes a wide variety of mini-courses, lectures, workshops, reading groups, and special events while also offering many opportunities for conversation and collegial interaction among participants. CE credits available.
For more information www.caneweb.org