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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Froma I. Zeitlin retired from Princeton University in 2010, where she was the Charles Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature in the Department of Classics and Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature. Dr. Zeitlin received her B.A. from Radcliffe-Harvard in 1954 and her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1970. She is a specialist in Greek literature from Homer to late antiquity, with particular interests in epic, drama and prose fiction. Her publications include Under the Sign of the Shield: Semiotics and Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes (1982; 2d ed.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/12/2020 - 8:50am by Claire Catenaccio.

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 2018 and 2019. The winner will be announced at the Vergilian Society session at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in Chicago in January 2021. 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 Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 06/09/2020 - 6:54am by Erik Shell.

A longstanding tendency to ethnocentrism and Hellenophilia implicit in the narrative of the rebirth of Greek science in the Renaissance has shaped the historiography of science and early modern historiography more generally. However, a digital project called Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus (PAL) presents an interdisciplinary, broadly conceived, and ongoing (2013–2038) challenge to this , which lies at the crossroads of Classics, Arabic Studies, History of Science and Digital Humanities. It presents a wide range of primary sources as well as translations and critical editions. Given these unusual features some words of introduction are needed to better understand the relevance of this project for the humanities at large. 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/05/2020 - 12:21pm by .

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.   

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Wed, 06/03/2020 - 6:20am by Helen Cullyer.

The new Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities worldwide with the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in new and meaningful ways. As part of this initiative the SCS has been funding a variety of projects ranging from reading groups comparing ancient to modern leadership practices to collaborations with artists in theater, music, and dance. In this post we focus on digital projects that engage with ancient texts and discuss the study of Classics during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:55am by .

Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants, January – April 2020

Some of our short-term fellowship and Classics Everywhere award winners are deferring use of their awards until Fall 2020 or 2021 owing to COVID-19. However, we congratulate everyone who was awarded a scholarship, fellowship or grant this spring, and we thank our selection committees for their hard work.

TLL Fellowship:

Amy Koenig

Pearson Fellowship:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

Please see below a message from the SCS President, followed by a listing of 2020 graduates:

With in-person celebrations ruled out by the coronavirus pandemic, the Society for Classical Studies is proud to recognize the many graduates at all levels across North America who have chosen to make serious and sustained study of the ancient Mediterranean world a significant part of their education.  For those who are earning PhD’s, we welcome the new contributions to knowledge that each of you has made, and we pledge our support and guidance as you negotiate an even more challenging professional landscape than you signed up for.  We warmly salute all degree-recipients who are pursuing careers in the vital enterprise of K-12 education.  For those who are going in other directions, we take great satisfaction in the variety of paths you will be following.  We hope the classical world will remain an important part of your lives, and we invite you to visit our website, read our blog, and join the SCS as “Friends of Classics.”  And we count on you as lifelong advocates for the value of studying Greco-Roman and ancient Mediterranean history and culture: please take every opportunity to spread the word that the ancient world still presents us with new questions to investigate and with multiple points of reference for thinking through our present-day concerns.  Heartfelt congratulations to all!

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

The Arabic and Latin Glossary (hereafter al-gloss) is a free, online dictionary of the vocabulary used by medieval translators, primarily working in eleventh- to thirteenth-century Italy and Spain, to render the Arabic versions of Greek scientific and philosophical texts and original Arabic compositions into Latin. It is parallel, in terms of its scholarly goals and methodology, to the database Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum (hereafter gloss-ga), which is also run out of Germany but by a different team. In this review, I will refer to gloss-ga because it offers a point of comparison for assessing al-gloss’ editorial decisions and accessibility.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/22/2020 - 3:23pm by .
Books

Loeb Classical Library Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowships in Classics

2021-2023

The Trustees of the Loeb Classical Library Foundation announce funding of four two-year postdoctoral fellowships to be held in the academic years 2021–2023. [A further four fellowships will be funded for the academic years 2022–2024] The details for the first round of competition for these fellowships are as follows:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 05/21/2020 - 2:30pm by Helen Cullyer.

Many congratulations to Erik Shell who graduates today with his M.A. in Education Policy from NYU. Erik has been working part-time on his degree while working full-time for SCS in many roles. He runs the the Placement Service, works on social media and our website, coordinates our departmental membership program, edits video, and does so many other things. Thank you, Erik, for everything you do for SCS and its members, and congratulations on a well-deserved Masters degree!

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/20/2020 - 8:09am by Helen Cullyer.

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