Tribute to R. Elaine Fantham

Please see the following tribute to R. Elaine Fantham, contributed by Prof. Alison Keith, Acting Chair, Dept. of Classics at the University of Toronto
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Dear Colleagues and friends – 
 
We were devastated to learn that R. Elaine Fantham, a giant in the field of classical scholarship and generous friend and mentor to generations of students and colleagues, died yesterday in Toronto at the age of 83. A member of the Classics department at Trinity College, in the University of Toronto, from 1968 to 1986, and again from 2000 to 2008 after her retirement from Princeton, Elaine was predeceased by her husband Peter, and is survived by her daughter Julia (grandchildren Peter, Alice, and Clare) and her son Roy (wife Jen and granddaughter Marley).

Born in Liverpool U.K. in May 1933, Elaine received her B.A. (first class in Literae Humaniores) and first graduate degree at Oxford University before returning to her home city as Leverhulme Research Fellow to earn her Ph.D. in 1965 with a dissertation on Plautus’ comedy Curculio, “The Boll-Weevil” (examined by R.G. Austin and O. Skutsch). Early training in the ways of roguery naturally equipped her for a meteoric rise in her chosen profession, and she held teaching posts all over the Anglo-American academy. She taught briefly at St Andrews University, as a fellow of St. Salvator’s College (1965-1966), before moving with her mathematician husband Peter to Indiana University in Bloomington. There she taught in the Department of Classics as a Visiting Lecturer (1966-1968), before moving again, in 1968, with their Scottish daughter Julia and American son Roy, to Toronto and Trinity College. There she taught for eighteen years (Assistant to Associate Professor 1968-1978, Professor 1978-86), in a college department celebrated for its collegiality and scholarship. She was welcomed right from the start by Mary White, as well as by the other members of the Classics contingent of that congenial college, including John Cole, Desmond Conacher, Alexander Dalzell, and George Grube. In retirement she returned to the college and was elected a Senior Fellow of Trinity College in September 2012.

During her professional years in Toronto, Elaine served on the editorial committee of Phoenix from 1976 to 1979; gave a series of papers across Canada on both the Atlantic and Western lecture tours sponsored by the Classical Association of Canada; and served as Vice-President of the Association from 1982-84, during which period she also served as Vice-President and then President of the Canadian Society for the History of Rhetoric (1983-1986). In 1996, she delivered the keynote lecture at the annual meeting of the CAC in St. Catharines, Ontario.

In addition to her valuable service to the Canadian academic community, Elaine was very active across North America, especially after moving to Princeton University in 1986, when she was appointed Giger Professor of Latin in the Department of Classics there. She enjoyed spells as a Visiting Professor of Classics at Ohio State University in Columbus OH (1983) and as Langford Visiting Professor at Florida State University in 2001; and in 1999-2000 she lectured for Phi Beta Kappa across the United States. She also contributed signal service to the American Philological Association, the largest professional classics association in the world, where she was an outstanding advocate for classical scholars and classics departments. She served as member, then chair, of the Goodwin Award Committee (1997-2000), and then, after her retirement from Princeton and return to Toronto in 2000, as President-Elect (2003) and President (2004) of the APA. In January 2009, she received the Distinguished Service Award from the American Philological Association in recognition of her superlative service to the profession.

After retiring from Princeton University in 2000, Elaine made her primary residence in Toronto, where her grown-up family lives, and she continued to make significant contributions to the research and teaching mission of the graduate department of Classics at the University of Toronto, where she had established her career. In the early years of the new millennium, she took on supplementary graduate teaching for the Toronto department in a wide range of M.A. and Ph.D. courses. In addition, and much more importantly, she was closely involved from the start of her retirement in mentoring across the country and around the world – not only senior graduate and undergraduate students but also friends and colleagues. She offered us all a model of the very highest standard of professional activity and collegiality. Her commitment to the Department, her colleagues and students – not only nationally and internationally, but also locally and provincially – was particularly valuable in this period, when she also served as the Honorary President of the Classical Association of Canada from 2001 to 2006. In May 2015 Elaine was honoured with the CAC Award of Merit.

Elaine continued to travel and lecture in the USA, Britain and Italy until recently, as she remained much in demand. Known both for the wide range and for the accessibility of her scholarship, Elaine was the grande dame of Latin studies in the English-speaking world, though it was not only amongst Anglo-American colleagues that she was celebrated. For her fluent Italian, German and French made her a very welcome guest-speaker throughout Europe as well. Outside of her home universities, Professor Fantham lectured across the United States for Phi Beta Kappa and presented lectures and conference papers around the world—including in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Argentina, and Australia.

The author of seventeen books (including scholarly monographs, commentaries, editions and translations, and an omnibus of her selected articles) and over a hundred articles and book chapters, she also co-authored the standard textbook on women in antiquity and served as Associate Editor in Chief of the seven-volume Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome (2010). Many of us encountered Latin literature through her scholarship – the comedies of Plautus and Terence in her first book Comparative Studies in Republican Latin Literature (Toronto 1972), the plays of Seneca and poetry of Lucan and Ovid in later commentaries (Princeton 1982; Cambridge 1992 and 1998) respectively), and of course her magisterial Roman Literary Culture from Cicero to Apuleius (Baltimore 1996), expanded in a second edition (2012) to cover Latin letters from Plautus to Macrobius.

She herself said that she was drawn to the study of Classics because of a glamorous ad for a tonic wine, which featured a handsome longhaired young man in a tunic, riding past the Acropolis in a chariot with an equally alluring young woman. Although the modern professoriate may have been something of a disappointment by comparison, there is no question that Professor Fantham’s career was attended by glamour and acclaim. From 1996 on, she contributed short comments on classical topics to National Public Radio in the United States, where a select company of famous classicists has interested millions in the study of classical antiquity. Always generous with her time and attention to her chosen profession, Elaine gave a public and very human voice to our discipline as a commentator on NPR.

Elaine was a valuable member of the Classics community not only in her former departments but also in both her adoptive countries and on her adoptive continent for nearly fifty years, as a faculty member and staunchly supportive colleague, serving even in retirement as an active participant in the teaching and research mission of classical studies around the world. She provided a model of classical scholarship and personal engagement for generations of students, friends, and colleagues, and served as a warm and generous mentor to many in the profession.

Her generosity was a byword amongst her friends and former students, and her calendar even in retirement was always full of visits from colleagues, who took her out for concerts, cream teas and debauched dinners. A witty raconteur, loyal friend and brilliant cook, she remained excellent company to the end – on the radio, in the classroom, and over the dinner table. She will be sorely missed by everyone whose life she touched.

Ave atque vale – S.T.T.L

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CFP: Truth and Relativism in Ancient Philosophy
Wednesday 19th June — Friday 21st June 2019
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Groningen

This conference will bring together philosophers interested in examining truth and relativism in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy.
Confirmed speakers include: Paolo Crivelli (Geneva); Matthew Duncombe (Nottingham); Marion Durand (Toronto); Paul Gottlieb (Wisconsin); Orna Harari (Tel Aviv); John MacFarlane (Berkeley); Tamer Nawar (Groningen); and Noburu Notomi (Tokyo).

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 11/16/2018 - 2:53pm by Erik Shell.

At last year’s SCS annual meeting in Boston, the Program Committee sponsored a panel called “Rhetoric: Then and Now.” Among the speakers constituting that panel was Princeton University Professor Dan-el Padilla Peralta, who, in lamenting the “inadequacy” and “meagerness” of a number of recent efforts in the field to diversify and expand access, delivered the following provocation: “perhaps it is time for this contemporary configuration of Classics to die so that it might be born into a new life.”

In response to Padilla Peralta’s provocation, I cheekily stood up and asked him where Classics ought to die and where it ought to live. (Full disclosure: Padilla Peralta and I are good friends from graduate school.) I asked this question because, living and working in flyover country—in the state of Nebraska—I can say that Classics here (and in the Midwestern states that surround me) is already dying. More often than not, where it lives is through symbiosis with another academic department.

View full article. | Posted in on Thu, 11/15/2018 - 4:27pm by Matthew P. Loar.
Hallway

The Society is delighted to announce this year's winners of the awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the Precollegiate Level.  We congratulate Susan Meyer and Thomas J. (TJ) Howell, who will both receive their awards at the Plenary Session in San Diego. You can read their citations below:

Thomas J. Howell Citation

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 11/15/2018 - 9:22am by Helen Cullyer.
Evening Temple of Zeus Columns
At the recommendation of the Committee on Public Information and Media Relations, the Society for Classical Studies awards the 2018 Forum Prize to Ryan Stitt for his non-fiction podcast, The History of Ancient Greece. The Forum Prize recognizes outstanding contributions to public engagement made by non-academic works about the Ancient Greek and Roman World.

Since its inception in 2016, Stitt has built an audience of academic and non-academic listeners and found a productive medium to promote Classical history, culture, languages, and the works of Classical authors and academic scholars. With over two million downloads, The History of Ancient Greece podcast serves as a model for how educational podcasts can engage with public audiences.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 11/15/2018 - 9:13am by Helen Cullyer.

Call for Volunteers

The Society for Classical Studies seeks graduate or undergraduate student volunteers for the 150th Annual Meeting in San Diego, California, which will take place this coming January.  Assignments will include working in the registration area and assisting staff with some sessions and special events.

In exchange for six hours of service (down two hours from last year), volunteers receive a waiver of their annual meeting registration fees.  It is not necessary to be an SCS member to volunteer.

You can sign up to be a volunteer here. The deadline to sign up is November 21st.

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/12/2018 - 10:49am by Erik Shell.

(Written by Ted Tarkow)

An alum of Dickinson, Brown, and the University of Missouri (MU), Bob Seelinger (1951-2018) taught classics at Westminster College in Fulton, MO, from 1979 until taking early retirement in 2015, necessitated by a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.  By the time of his death, he had served as professor of classics for over 20 years and in addition had served as Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of the College for over a half dozen years at the campus made famous by the “Iron Curtain” speech delivered there   in 1946 by Winston Churchill.

A beloved teacher, Bob taught all levels of both languages as well as a wide range of general education courses.  Not surprisingly to the scores of Westminster students who had studied with him, he received the APA Award for Excellence in the Teaching of the Classics, the Governor’s Award for Teaching, and the Parents’ Association Award for Teaching, among many other recognitions.    But his career also allowed presentations and publications in some of his favorite authors, from Apuleius (the focus of his PhD dissertation), to 4th century, Republican, and early Imperial authors and genres.  His abundant time at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens, as well as at two NEH Summer Seminars, enabled other students and scholars to make the most of their time there.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 11/12/2018 - 8:59am by Erik Shell.
150th Logo

Join us for the official start of our Sesquicentennial!

Transforming Classics: 150 Years of Classical Studies in New York

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 11/09/2018 - 11:38am by Helen Cullyer.

As one of the cornerstones upon which Classical scholarship has been built, much has already been said about Marcus Tullius Cicero. He has a sizable extant corpus that contains different genres, which in turn vary in style and topic. Furthermore, Cicero was a prominent political figure when the Roman Republic was falling and the Caesars were rising. Because of the nature of his corpus and the man himself, Cicero is an attractive topic of research not only for the traditional scholar but for a digital humanist as well. His large and varied corpus is promising for distant reading techniques, which allow us to examine and explore all of his works, thereby all of Cicero, easily and quickly. Through those digital techniques, we can gain a more complete view of who this ancient Roman man was.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/09/2018 - 7:50am by .
150th Logo

The early registration deadline for the 2019 AIA-SCS Annual Meeting in San Diego is Friday November 9. Register on or before that date in order to benefit from the early rate. You can register here.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/06/2018 - 6:20pm by Helen Cullyer.

This post has recently been updated with a response from Brill.

The SCS Statement on Professional Ethics emphasizes the need for due diligence regarding the provenance of artifacts in many different areas of scholarly work, including initial publications of objects and texts and the management of institutional collections. In recognition of the importance of this issue, the SCS Board of Directors has voted to endorse an open letter on the publication of fragments that were acquired by the Museum of the Bible and published by Brill. You can read the text of the letter below, which was originally published by Dr. Roberta Mazza on November 5, 2018 and signed by many individuals. You can also read the response from Brill, originally published by Dr. Mazza on November 7.

Open letter to Brill: Fake and unprovenanced manuscripts

For the attention of Brill.

FAKE AND UNPROVENANCED MANUSCRIPTS

On 22 October 2018, the Museum of the Bible issued a press release informing the public that five of their recently acquired fragments that were claimed to come from the Dead Sea Scrolls are modern forgeries. These five forgeries are included in the first volume of the series ‘Publications of Museum of the Bible’ which was published by Brill in 2016.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Tue, 11/06/2018 - 5:37pm by Helen Cullyer.

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