Summary of Comments on Name Change and Further Discussion

As promised earlier, I have prepared the following summary of over 200 responses to my request for comments about the Board's proposal that we consider changing the name of the Association.  The Board now wishes to move to a public discussion phase that will inform its deliberations going forward.  Our Information Architect Sam Huskey has created a discussion forum so that all with an interest can exchange views and suggest or express preferences for specific names.  The forum can be accessed here after 8:00 p.m. (Eastern time) today (November 30).

The responders seem to a favor name change by about 3-1, though in many cases implicitly, with an opinion only about the two names suggested, and in some cases reluctantly.  Between Classical Association of North America and American Classical Association, CANA was only slightly more popular, and there were many alternative suggestions, as listed below.  I wrote separately to the boards of the American Classical League and the Classical Association of Canada: the ACL Board thinks that ACA would result in confusion for both organizations, especially from the perspective of the general public, while the CAC Board dislikes CANA for implying that it is in effect the parent association of the whole of North America and that all North American classicists claim membership in it.  Below are examples of arguments made to support various positions (indicated in boldface).

Against changing the name at all.  No name change can alter the underlying realities of our situation or likely increase our attractiveness to those not already aware of us; name changes can be branding and marketing disasters; though the practice of philology "no longer defines all that our association is about" it does, or at least should, remain at the heart of everything we do; we should not retreat from who we are and what we do but rather put our energies into revitalizing the use of the word philology; with the name goes a long and honorable tradition of scholarship and service on the part of colleagues, now deceased, who believed in its original aims.

In favor of the suggested names.  ACA: represents only a slight change from APA; "classical" more accurately encompasses the discipline in tune with similar organizations; ACA pleasingly mirrors CAC.  CANA: "North American" is properly inclusive and the acronym has positive associations.

Against the suggested names.  ACA: "classical" is broader than "philological" but not broad enough to represent all our disciplines, e.g. ancient history, archaeology, art history, philosophy; is becoming only slightly less mystifying than "philological," being more commonly associated with the likes of Shakespeare or Beethoven; has snobbish or elitist connotations; can no longer claim special status for its subject; valorizes (the idea of) a common intellectual and cultural heritage that is increasingly called into question; sounds like just another classical organization. CANA: the acronym has negative associations for some; sounds like just another regional association and too much like CANE.

Alternative suggestions.  Whatever the new name, a phrase like "founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association" should be added as a permanent subtitle; like the UK's Classical Association it should have no geographic or ethnic label; if it does, "United States / USA" is more accurate than "American"; some combination of Association / Institute / Organization / Society with Classical Studies (the simplest English expression of concept "Altertumswissenschaft"?), Greek and Roman, (Ancient) Greece and Rome, Greek and Latin, Greco-Roman (though also a form of wrestling), Ancient Mediterranean, Mediterranean, Study of the Ancient World, Antiquity, Classical Antiquity, Classics, Classicists, Languages Literatures and Cultures, Classical Literature and Civilization, and (Their) Pendant Traditions.

I look forward to the further discussion of this issue.

Jeffrey Henderson

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Delivered by Charlie Bridge (Class of 2011), a Classics Concentrator, at Harvard Commencement on May 27:

Rota Fortunae

Praeses Faust; Decani Professoresque sapientissimi; familiae, amici, et hospites honoratissimi; et tandem condiscipuli carissimi…salvete omnes!  Mihi voluptas magna atque honor altus est huius ceremoniae incipiendae in hoc theatro augusto Trecentensimo.  Nec solum conventum ultimum classis nostrae, anni duomillensimi et undecimi, sed etiam conventum trecentensimum et sexagensimum huius universitatis hodie celebramus. 

Hoc cum animadvertissem gaudebam, propter sensum singularem numeri trecenti et sexaginta.  Ne mihi quidem, litterarum antiquarum discipulo, latere potest orbem omnem in partes trecentas et sexaginta esse divisum.  Venit etiam in mentem orbis quidam praecipuus, qui vitas nostras hos quattuor annos rexit: Rota scilicet Fortunae Harvardiana.  Temporibus antiquis, rota signum erat levis mobilisque naturae fatorum – circuitus vel unus cladem felicissimis afferre atque miseros extollere potest.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 06/07/2011 - 7:05pm by Information Architect.

"One of the best preserved sculptures from Roman antiquity is about to make its Washington, D.C., debut. Host Scott Simon reports the Capitoline Venus will go on display next Wednesday at the National Gallery of Art." Read or listen to the story at NPR.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 12:27pm by Information Architect.

"Listening to Cynthia Shelmerdine describe the writing on a Greek tablet from more than 3,000 years ago, it’s like she was looking over the scribe’s shoulder as he worked. She points out details and nuance of technique, the condition of the tablet and what it means, literally, and for the world of Greek archaeology." Read more …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 06/03/2011 - 3:58pm by Information Architect.

"An ancient Roman shipwreck nearly 2,000 years old may once have held an aquarium onboard capable of carrying live fish, archaeologists suggest." Read more at CBSNews.com.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/02/2011 - 5:37pm by Information Architect.

"The State College Area School District faces controversial choices about program reductions in next year’s budget. To meet this challenge the district administration recommended phasing out the four-year Latin program at State College Area High School beginning next year. But the vox populi — students, parents, and the community — vigorously defended the importance of Latin to high school education." Read more of Stephen Wheeler's letter here: http://www.centredaily.com/2011/05/05/2691912/proposed-changes-to-latin-miss.html#ixzz1O3aMAaLD.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/01/2011 - 7:05pm by Information Architect.

Princeton Classics major Veronica Shi delivered the traditional Latin oration at commencement ceremonies on May 31. Here is the text and translation of her Carmen Salutationis:

Salutatio

Habita in Comitiis Academicis Princetoniae
In Nova Caesarea prid. Kal. Iun.
Anno Salutis MMXI
Anno Academiae CCLXIV

Carmen Salutationis

quibus modis, quîs principiis, amans
Mater, salutem progeniem tuam?
    favete opus, Musae, novis ne
       nunc titubem pedibus rubescens!
nobis aratrix splendida messium
felixque dux, te, praesidium bonum,
    primam saluto, namque florent
       omnia lumine sub tuo; nec
vos nunc silebo, qui sapientia
tuentur Almam semper et omnibus
    Matrem; professoresque laudo
        filia grata scientiamque
eorum cano, quae discipulos alit
virtute, curis et patientia
    benignius: vobis pietas
        magna, amor altus et eruditus.
et vos, parentes: mane scholasticos
nos creditis, quos canticulo meo
   gaudere nunc vidistis: ecce
        spes modo perficimus decoras.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/01/2011 - 1:15pm by Information Architect.

The Winter 2011 Newsletter is now available for downloading as a pdf. It is also available online.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/25/2011 - 5:46pm by .

"Second-grader Joshua Jayne was decked out as a Roman centurion Tuesday, surrounded by classmates in bedsheets, as they visited ancient Rome in their own school cafeteria. Each year, Abington Christian Academy holds a living history day to give students a chance for hands-on learning, said school administrator Jan Wells." Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/students-visit-ancient-rome-without-leaving-clarks-green-classrooms-1.1152101#ixzz1NNOaWZx4

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 05/25/2011 - 1:56pm by Information Architect.

Princeton's web site has a nice story about Veronica Shi, a classics major, who will deliver the traditional Latin oration at commencement ceremonies on May 31. Read it online here.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 05/24/2011 - 6:02pm by Information Architect.

The Boston Globe published a nice remembrance of Ernst Badian today. Read it online here …

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 05/23/2011 - 11:38am by .

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