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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Below is a list of the most recent NEH grantees and their Classically-themed projects. The NEH helps fund a number of SCS initiatives, and their support affects the field of Classics at a national and local level.

  • Philip Sapirstein (University of Nebraska, Lincoln): "The Ancient Greek Temple of Hera at Olympia: A Digital Architectural History"
  • Ryan Horne (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill): "Understanding Ancient Economic and Social Networks Based on Evidence from Aeolian Coins" 
  • Etienne Helmer (University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras): "Ancient Greek Philosophers on Economics"
  • Michele Lowrie (University of Chicago) "The Concept of Security in Ancient Roman Literature and Politics"
  • Craig Williams (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign) "Orpheus Crosses the Atlantic: Native American Knowledge of Ancient Greece and Rome"
  • Susan Collins (University of Notre Dame) "Constituting the Ancient City: The Political Regime and Classical Sparta" 

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(Photo: "Logo of the United States National Endowment for the Humanities" by National Endowment for the Humanities, public domain, edited to fit thumbnail template)

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 2:56pm by .

Ancient Greek and Roman Painting and the Digital Humanities

6th-8th August, 2018 at Tufts University

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 2:14pm by .

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, evansmatt@utexas.edu

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 http://tinyurl.com/yc48ecd8. Papers will be pre-circulated once available. 
 
Speakers:

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.

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