Summer 2018 Seminar on Material Culture: Nominations for Graduate Student Participants

Call for Nominations

The Use of Art and Material Culture in Scholarship and Teaching

A Seminar in Material Culture for Graduate Students in Classics and Ancient History

Directed by Professors Antony Augoustakis and Daniel Leon

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

21 May – 29 June 2018

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana IL

Supported by generous grants from the Leon Levy Foundation and the School of Literatures, and Cultures and Linguistics of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Society for Classical Studies (SCS) invites doctoral programs in Classics or Ancient History to nominate a student to participate in a 6-week seminar that will introduce participants to the use of material culture in their scholarship and teaching. The aim of the seminar is to familiarize students with archaeological material that goes hand in hand with the historical and literary records, and how to incorporate such evidence into historical or philological research. This will be the third of three planned seminars with the same purpose, although each had a different focus.  The first took place at the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2016, and the second at Emory University in 2017.

Background. Despite new awareness of the scope of material evidence, and the ready availability of excellent images, all too often literary scholars treat images as decoration or illustration, while historians exploit the material record only gingerly. Probably more important than “literature” was the oral tradition, and the essential web of images that arose from it. Conversely, it has been wisely said of archaeology that it is a branch of ancient history.

This seminar offers students an opportunity to engage with the material record on a daily basis. Over the six weeks, every effort will be made to introduce the widest range of possibilities encountered in the archaeological record. Not only pottery and sculpture in bronze and marble will be considered, but also works in precious or exotic materials like ivory, gold, silver, amber, gems, glass, faience, and colored stones. Questions of manufacture and circulation will predominate: how these objects were made, by whom, for whom, why, and how to recognize them in the literary, historical and epigraphic record.

Resources and Faculty. Participants will have access to the University’s two teaching and research museums which hold extensive Greek and Roman collections. The Krannert Art Museum has a fine collection of Attic vases dating from the middle Archaic to the early Classical periods (, published as a fascicule in the Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum (USA, fasc. 24, 1989). The Spurlock’s Museum Workman Gallery of the Ancient Mediterranean Cultures features an extensive collection of artifacts (pottery, sculpture, coins) from Greece and Rome, as well as an incomparable collection of plaster casts reproducing the whole Parthenon frieze, the Ara Pacis and numerous individual sculptures (

Furthermore, the Classics Library Collection is among the three largest libraries of its kind in the nation, and one of the most important in the world ( The collection was initially enriched by the acquisition of the libraries of Dittenberger and Vahlen. Perhaps more than any other American institution of higher learning, the University of Illinois has tied its academic enterprise to the cultivation of its research library, and the Classics collection is one of its jewels: it is autonomous (all books and journals located in one space), on the second floor of the Main Library, adjacent to the primary Reading Room and the Main Stacks.

The course is co-ordinated by Professors Antony Augoustakis and Daniel Leon together with a group of scholars from the University and neighboring schools: Professor Susan Rotroff (Greek Archaeology, Washington University in St. Louis), Professor Sinclair Bell (Etruscan and Roman Archaeology, Northern Illinois University), Professor James Dengate (Greek Archaeology and Numismatics, UIUC), Professor Susan Frankenberg (Coordinator of Museum Studies, UIUC), Dr. Katherine Kreindler (Etruscan Archaeology, UIUC), Professor John Senseney (Greek and Roman Architecture, UIUC), Dr. Maureen Warren (Curator of European and American Art, Krannert Art Museum, UIUC).

Proximity to Chicago and St. Louis will allow participants to benefit from two excursions to visit the Art Institute of Chicago and the St. Louis Art Museum in order to study additional artifacts.

Schedule. The seminar is structured in broadly chronological terms, from Greece and the Near East to Rome and the West, including lectures on museum studies and modern technological advances. Three two-hour classes are planned around an over-arching theme each week, outlined in the synopsis. Additional two-hour sessions will provide students with guided study regarding their projects. Excursions to local artists’ workshops and to Chicago/St. Louis are planned for the end of each week.  Click here for a synopsis of the schedule.

Expectations of Students. Students will be evaluated based on a combination of exercises on each week’s instruction and a larger research project developed on an individual basis. We expect students to identify a project that suits their interests and uses University of Illinois resources. Each student will pursue their project under the supervision of one of the leading discussants in the seminar and in collaboration with Professors Augoustakis and Leon. The seminar will include mini-presentations on objects from the collections as well as on the individual projects of the students. At the conclusion of the seminar the directors will submit a written report to each student’s home department, assessing the student’s progress in working with material culture.

Logistics and Funding. Students selected for the seminar will be offered free accommodation at the University of Illinois (furnished apartments). Bus service is provided for transportation to the Museums and classrooms/library. As a campus of about 50,000 students, options for food and entertainment are many and multicultural. The University is located 130 miles south of Chicago. Champaign-Urbana is accessible by airplane (University of Illinois Willard airport, serviced by American Airlines and United with several daily flights to and from Chicago and Dallas), as well as Amtrak trains and numerous bus routes. In addition, thanks to the generosity of the Leon Levy Foundation, the SCS will provide a stipend of up to $2,000 to cover the cost of travel to and from Illinois, and modest out of pocket expenses. The SCS believes that these arrangements will offset many but by no means all of the costs of attendance at the seminar.

Nomination Process. Each doctoral program may nominate only one student for the seminar. The focus of the student’s academic work should be classical languages, literatures, and/or history and not archaeology or other areas of material culture. Preference will be given to graduate students who are still taking coursework or in the early stages of writing their dissertation. Nominators should elicit from potential applicants a CV and a statement of the value that the student expects to derive from attending the seminar, choose one applicant to nominate, and forward the CV and statement to the SCS Executive Director (, along with a brief endorsement. The student’s statement should be 500 to 700 words in length and should describe how the seminar would advance the applicant’s education and scholarly interests. The student him or herself should also email the Executive Director ( with full name, mailing address, phone number.

A committee consisting of Professors Antony Augoustakis and Daniel Leon as co-chairs and Professors Mary English (SCS Vice President for Education) and Donald Mastronarde (SCS VP for Publications and Research) will select participants from ten different academic institutions and a variety of countries of origin. Although many applicants from North America are expected, students from all countries are equally welcome. Reasonable fluency in English is the only requirement.

Nominations by departments and emails from student nominees including their full contact information should be submitted electronically to no later than 15 February 2018. The SCS will announce the decisions of the selection committee by the end of February. Questions about the seminar program may be directed to Professor Augoustakis at or by telephone at 217 333 7327.


(Photo: Marble Head of Empress Fausta. Gift of Betty Campanile, 1982.07.000. Image courtesy of the Spurlock Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)


Follow SCS News for information about the SCS and all things classical.

Use this field to search SCS News
Select a category from this list to limit the content on this page.

This article was originally published on the Amphora blog on January 6, 2016.

If you’re new to academic conferences, or to the joint annual meeting of the SCS/AIA, you may be thinking that the Exhibit Hall is mostly for buying books. And if you’re at the start of your career and/or on a modest budget, you may think that there’s nothing for you in the Exhibit Hall as a result.  Au contraire!  Here’s a short list of things you can do there—completely aside from buying books—that can be beneficial to your career, fun, interesting, worthwhile, and generally good things to do. The Exhibit Hall is generally open about nine hours a day for the two full days of the conference, plus a half day on either side, so there’s plenty of time to try these in small bits.  As a press exhibitor myself (full disclosure) I spend many hours in the hall, so I have a chance to see the variety of exhibitors who transport their materials or goods or information to the conference, often from international origins, in hopes they’ll have an opportunity to talk with you.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/11/2017 - 12:00am by Ellen Bauerle.

Boston University Graduate Student Conference

Identity Under Empire: Defining the Self under the Cultural Hegemony of the Athenian, Macedonian, and Roman Empires

Date of Conference: March 17, 2018

Keynote Speaker
Steven Smith
Hofstra University

The Department of Classical Studies at Boston University is excited to accept papers for its 10th annual Graduate Studies Conference. This year, the conference will examine the question of regional, national, personal, artistic, religious, and ethnic identity under the Athenian and Roman Empires as well as the empires of Philip II and Alexander the Great, and the subsequent Hellenistic Kingdoms. The cultural and political influence of any ancient empire has a far-reaching effect on the populace not only of founding city-states, but also that of the extending territories within its dominion. This conference intends to explore how ancient peoples – citizens and non-citizens, male and female alike – negotiated the multifarious problem of identity within the complexity of a unified yet multicultural empire. We enthusiastically welcome submissions from any and all fields of the humanities covering material, textual, or other sources.

Possible paper topics might include, but are not limited to:

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 1:21pm by .

The University of Texas at Austin

Joint Classics Philosophy Graduate Program in Ancient Philosophy

Gregory Vlastos Archive: Research Possibilities 2017-2018

The large collection of papers from the Nachlass of Gregory Vlastos (1907-1991) is available for study at The University of Texas at Austin, in its Harry Ransom Center—one of the world's major and renowned repositories of manuscripts, rare books, and other materials in the fine arts and the humanities. The Vlastos Archive comprises published and unpublished studies, lecture notes for classes, research notes, books and offprints with annotations, and extensive files of correspondence. Under the auspices of the Joint Classics-Philosophy Graduate Program in Ancient Philosophy at UT Austin, a fund has been established for awards for travel expenses to scholars who are interested in conducting research at the Vlastos Archive.  Applications for these awards may be submitted at any time, provided the yearly allowance of funds has not been exhausted. Interested scholars should contact the Director of the Joint Program, Professor Matthew L. Evans, The University of Texas at Austin, Department of Philosophy, 2210 Speedway, Mail Code C3500, Austin, TX 78712, or via e-mail,

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 1:09pm by .
The Philosophy Department at Stanford University invites you to attend a two-day conference on Aristotle's Politics in Stanford, California on March 9-10 in Building 60, Room 109. Please register for the conference at Papers will be pre-circulated once available. 

Pierre Destrée
Associate Research Professor, Department of Philosophy, FNRS/University of Louvain

Terence Irwin
Faculty of Philosophy, Radcliffe Humanities, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Oxford University

Mariska Leunissen
Associate Professor, Department of Philosophy, UNC Chapel Hill

Thornton C. Lockwood
Associate Professor of Philosophy, Department of Philosophy and Political Science, Quinnipiac University

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 12:53pm by .

Early on Saturday morning, the US Senate passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. Given that the House passed its version of the tax bill on November 16, the House and Senate will now choose members for a conference committee to reconcile the two versions of the bill. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/04/2017 - 6:12am by Helen Cullyer.
Marble left hand holding a scroll

Co-authored with Richard J. Tarrant.

Editor’s note: The guidelines under review here, while publicly available for comment, represent a pre-release version.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 12/04/2017 - 12:00am by Donald J. Mastronarde.

Update, December 31, 2017:  Mark Thompson is unable to attend the Rhetoric panel due to unforseen circumstances.  In his place, Professor James Engell, Harvard University, will be speaking.

Dear Attendees:

The 2018 SCS-AIA Meeting in Boston is just a month away! The Program Committee has worked hard to put together a rewarding and stimulating meeting and, as Vice President for Programs, I am particularly pleased by the growing number of panels – some 18 were accepted for the Boston meeting, an increase by three over last year. I want now to call your attention to a few of the exciting events that are planned.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:31am by Erik Shell.
The Society for Classical Studies has signed on to a statement urging Congress to reject the proposed tax on graduate student tuition waivers.
You can read the full statement and list of signatories here:

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/28/2017 - 8:52am by Erik Shell.
Mosaic depicting theatrical masks of Tragedy and Comedy

Co-authored with T.H.M Gellar-Goad.

Ancient comedy was a thoroughly performative genre, meant to be seen and heard, not read. This point should be obvious, but it can easily get lost in a traditional college or university course on comedy in translation, given the textual nature of the transmission of comedies, their distance in time and culture, the difficulties presented by translated material, and the demands and traditions of teaching Greek and Roman literature generally. In this post I describe a comedy-in-performance assignment that T.H.M Gellar-Goad and I created and have used in teaching general-education courses at two different American universities. One of us employed it in lieu of the usual final exam and term paper; the other was bound by writing seminar standards to include a term paper in addition to the performance project. The basic idea is flexible enough to fit drama of any period or genre, and could be used in various levels and types of courses (not, admittedly, massive lecture courses), for teaching in the original languages, and for inclusion as a smaller unit within a larger course. Neither of us had prior experience acting or directing.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/27/2017 - 12:43pm by Serena S Witzke.

Gabrielle C. Stewart, a senior Classical Languages major at Duke University, has been named a Rhodes Scholar for 2018.

"In her time at Duke, she has demonstrated great leadership both on campus and off through her social justice work and her research on ancient Greece."

To read the full write-up, check out the article featured on Duke's website here.


(Photo: "Duke University" by Ilyse Whitney, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 11/22/2017 - 10:47am by Erik Shell.


Latest Stories

Calls for Papers
SCS Announcements
Calls for Papers
SCS Announcements

© 2017, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy