Statement on Police Brutality, Systemic Racism, and the Death of George Floyd

From the SCS Board of Directors, approved 6/3/20

The Society for Classical Studies condemns the relentless horror of police brutality and murder of black men, women, and children, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Rodney King, to name just a few of the victims. Brutality perpetrated by the police and others stands with mass incarceration and unequal access to healthcare, education, and housing as symptoms of longstanding systemic, structural, and institutional racism in American and European cultures. These are deep problems in society that will not be fixed without radical policy changes at every level of government and across all institutions.   

Police brutality and the systemic racism that underlies it are the concerns of the Society for Classical Studies for two main reasons. First, every institution and organization in this country must speak against the continuing violence against people of color. Second, the Society for Classical Studies recognizes and acknowledges the complicity of Classics as a field in constructing and participating in racist and anti-black educational structures and attitudes. SCS itself has not been immune from acts of prejudice and intolerance.

On the one hand, white supremacist and nationalist groups have misappropriated Classics and other pre-modern fields for their own hateful agendas. On the other, within the discipline and profession itself scholars have perpetuated racist attitudes and ideas. These attitudes and ideas include but are not limited to the misleadingly reductive notion of a “Western Civilization” resulting from an allegedly linear transfer of knowledge from Greece to Rome to Western Europe; the whitewashing of ancient Mediterranean culture; the uncritical use of Greece and Rome as ideals that serve as the foundations of the notion of American “exceptionalism”; the inclusion in introductory Latin textbooks of stereotypes such as the “happy slave” that draw on 19th century pro-slavery arguments in the US; and the lack of support for, acknowledgement of, and credit accorded to black scholars in the field of Classics.

The SCS is committed to actions that promote racial justice and equity and to fighting anti-blackness and other forms of prejudice, and the recent events press us to intensify our efforts. We welcome suggestions and requests for action and policymaking.

We stand with the Sportula and the Asian and Asian American Classical Caucus in their endorsement of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The board of directors stands in solidarity with and support of all black and non-white members of our community. We also strongly urge white and non-black members to take action by advocating for racial justice and reform of the police and criminal justice system; listening to, ceding space to, and acknowledging, without any fragility, the concerns and anger of black scholars from students to senior faculty; and addressing teaching, research, and public engagement through the lens of anti-racism.

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The American Philological Association seeks to appoint an Editor for Monographs for a term of four years, to begin with the January 2012 meetings in Philadelphia.  We seek a senior scholar with editorial experience and an interest in shaping outstanding work for publication in a distinguished series.  The editor reviews proposals and manuscripts, works with authors to bring manuscripts to final form, and is the Association's contact with the publisher through the process.  While we continue our relationship with Oxford University Press, we particularly seek an editor willing to explore alternate and innovative forms of publication for appropriate scholarly works. Candidates should submit, and nominees will be invited to submit, a current c.v. and a brief statement outlining their interest. Applications and nominations may be submitted in confidence to the Vice President for Publications at provost@georgetown.edu. Consideration of candidates, who must be members of the APA in good standing, will begin on or after June 1, 2011. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 7:14pm by .

The Winter 2011 APA Newsletter is now online. A printable pdf version is coming soon.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 1:54am by .

The Penn Libraries have received a major collection of 280 Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, valued at over $20 million, from long-time benefactors and Library Board members Lawrence J. Schoenberg (C’53, WG’57, PAR’93) and Barbara Brizdle Schoenberg. To promote the use of this and other manuscript collections at Penn, the Libraries will create the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.

Full press release:
http://www.library.upenn.edu/docs/publications/SchoenbergMssCollection.pdf

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 1:47am by Information Architect.

"As a rule, digging beneath the surface of modern Rome turns up ancient buildings. Excavations conducted in 2007, just steps from the traffic hub of Piazza Venezia, revealed two Imperial era villas embellished with mosaics, polychrome wall veneers, fountains and frescoes. Dating back to the second and third centuries, these opulent dwellings were abandoned in late antiquity, filled with landfill, and unknowingly used as foundations for the 16th-century Palazzo Valentini, now seat of the Province of Rome’s offices." Read more in the New York Times…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 04/24/2011 - 1:41am by Information Architect.

"William F. Wyatt Jr., 78, professor emeritus and former chairman of the department of classics at Brown University, and a prolific contributor to the op-ed page of The Providence Journal, died March 25 in The Miriam Hospital, Providence." Read the full obituary at the Providence Journal Online…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 04/10/2011 - 9:58pm by Information Architect.

"THE 9/11 memorial in New York, still being planned, is to be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the attack. Intended as a place for commemoration, reflection, education and solace, the memorial and museum will serve as a repository for the remains of the victims.

"Some families of the victims have criticized the planned memorial because they are offended by the prospect of sharing the resting place of their loved ones with museum-going strangers. Because the structure will be built seven stories below the spot where the twin towers once stood, visitors will have to venture underground to pay their respects, a prospect that also is not comforting.

"But one feature of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum seems above reproach: a quotation from Virgil’s “Aeneid” that will be inscribed on a wall in front of the victims’ remains."

Read more of Caroline Alexander's essay in The New York Times

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 04/08/2011 - 7:14pm by Information Architect.

Put together by Pleiades, a collaborative project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities that is mapping ancient sites around the Mediterranean and beyond, the link shows sites throughout Libya.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Tue, 04/05/2011 - 1:24am by .

The American Philological Association (APA) will present the following awards at the Plenary Session of its upcoming 142nd Annual Meeting.   The Plenary Session will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in the San Antonio Rivercenter Hotel.  Full citations for these award winners will no longer be read at the Session proper but will be published in mid-December and will also be available as handouts at the Session.

President’s Award (honoring an individual, group, or organization outside of the Classics profession that has made significant contributions to advancing public appreciation and awareness of Classical antiquity)

Garry Wills, Northwestern University (emeritus), for a distinguished career as one of the United States’ most prominent and respected intellectuals and as a voice for the importance of the classical tradition in Western culture.

Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit (for an outstanding contribution to classical scholarship published by a member of the Association within the preceding three years)

John F. Miller, University of Virginia, Apollo, Augustus, and the Poets (Cambridge University Press)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/06/2010 - 3:54pm by .

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