Statements on the Paideia Institute

On October 1, 2019, the Sportula Collective published a statement detailing the experiences of many of their members at programs run by the Paideia Institute. The note that:

The Sportula believes that the Paideia Institute and its affiliated programs create an environment that is hostile to people of color, women, students from working-class backgrounds, the LGBTQ community, and other marginalized groups.

The leadership of the Classics and Social Justice group believes these accounts and stands in solidarity with the brave people who came forward to share their stories in an attempt to effect change at Paideia. We also recognize that the factors that contributed to this toxic culture are not unique to the Paideia Institute but are a pervasive issue within the field and we are committed to addressing these more pervasive issues as well as this specific situation.

We do not find that the responses offered by Paideia leadership have been sufficient or that they have adequately acknowledged the harm that their organization has done. Because of that, we heartily second the calls to action recommended by the Sportula:

  • Spread the word: Alert other community members, students, and peers to potential discrimination from the Paideia Institute.
  • Redirect support: Opt to support organizations in the field that are inclusive, safe spaces, and recommend such organizations to The Sportula and your community members.
  • Divest: Encourage your university to reconsider its relationship with Paideia.

In an attempt to amplify the voices of people who have been marginalized, exploited, and otherwise mistreated by people affiliated with the Paideia Institute, we are collecting the different statements that have been issued in response to the original Sportula statement. If we have missed any, please let us know.

SCS Board Letter to the Paideia Institute

CAAS Board of Directors letter to The Paideia Institute

ACL Statement concerning the Paideia Institute

Statement from CNSC GRECOLATINOVIVO regarding the publication on Medium by Sportula on October 1 and 2, addressing the Paideia Institute

Liz Butterworth, In Support of the Sportula’s Statement on the Paideia Institute

Gregory Stringer, Ending my association with Paideia

Bryan Whitchurch, Whitchurch and the Paideia Institute, October 2019

An older letter, but one that addresses some of the same fundamental issues, written by instructors affiliated with Paideia, though many have since ended their association

Umass statement.jpg

And finally, here is a thread breaking down some of the problems with the statement issued by Paideia:

 

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Teaching Classics in US Prison Settings

Good news! The volume growing out of CSJ panels and workshops, Teaching Classics in US Prison Settings (co-edited by Emilio Capetinni [UCSB] and Nancy Rabinowitz [Hamilton College]) has been accepted by Routledge.

It will appear in the series co-edited by Rabinowitz and Fiona McHardy, Classics In and Out of the Academy: Classical Pedagogy in the Twenty-First Century. Please consider submitting a proposal for consideration to f.mchardy@roehampton.ac.uk or nrabinow@hamilton.edu. Here is a description of the series:

This series explores the ways in which the study of antiquity can enrich the lives of diverse populations in the twenty-first century. The series covers two distinct, but interrelated topics: 1) ways in which classicists can engage new audiences within the academy by embedding inclusivity and diversity in university teaching practices, curricula, and assessments, and 2) the relevance of Classics to learners from the most marginalized social strata (i.e. the incarcerated, refugees, those suffering from mental illness).

CFP: Carthartic History, deadline: Nov. 12th

Conference: Cathartic History

University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA
February 25-27, 2021

 

The aim of this conference and the edited collection that will result is to propose Aristotelian catharsis as a new lens for historical inquiry. The project aims to do so, specifically, through the study of cathartic history as a phenomenon in the Greco-Roman Mediterranean and in the field of Classical history today. In the process, the project will serve as an example of the productive application of catharsis to the study of the past, and thus a model for other fields of historical research.

While the study of the past as a healing experience is not entirely new, no uniform vocabulary exists at this time for talking about cathartic history. Rather, scholars who have written to elicit an emotional response from their audiences about the past, or who have chosen to consider their own emotional response to the past, have largely done so in passing or in popularly oriented publications, rather than using that emotional response as a bona fide category of historical analysis in and of itself. And yet, the historian’s selection of topics of research, both in the ancient world and in the historical profession today, is often motivated by personal experiences, broadly defined. This project aims to show that thinking about the past as a cathartic experience whether for us as historians, and/or for the ancient historians we study, and/or for our modern audiences, provides a new bridge for a productive academic dialogue of the past with the present.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers that consider (but are not limited to) the following questions:

  • How might we apply the Aristotelian theory of catharsis to Greek and Roman historians?
  • In what ways might the lens of catharsis enrich our reading of narratives of trauma (whether personal or literary or national) in the ancient sources?
  • Are we pursuing catharsis in our own research whenever we focus on topics of personal relevance?
  • Is historical research a cathartic experience? Should it be?
  • In what ways could thinking about history through the lens of catharsis intersect with the increased interest in social justice within the field of Classics?

Please submit abstracts of 300-500 words by November 12, 2019 to Nadya Williams, nwilliam@westga.edu

LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at the University of Michigan. Deadline: Oct. 1 2019.

LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program at the University of Michigan
This is a two-year post doc aimed at recruiting and retaining exceptional early career scholars committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive intellectual community. The two-year fellowship program provides early career scholars with dedicated research time, mentorship, teaching experience, travel funding, and professional development opportunities to prepare them for a possible tenure-track appointment at the University of Michigan. The department wishes in particular to recruit and support young scholars from underrepresented cultural and economic backgrounds leading to a tenure track hire in Classical Studies. The application deadline is Oct. 1, 2019. Here is the link for the application: https://lsa.umich.edu/ncid/fellowships-awards/lsa-collegiate-postdoctoral-fellowship.html

Candidates whose scholarship, teaching, and service will contribute to the diversity, equity, and inclusion goals of LSA are encouraged to apply. Applicants in Classical Studies are encouraged to identify potential mentors on the faculty and contact them before the deadline for advice on preparation of materials.

Applicants are encouraged to write either to Basil Dufallo (dufallo@umich.edu) or to Artemis Leontis, Chair of the Department (aleontis@umich.edu), for any advice regarding the application letter, diversity statement, and narrative on the application.

CFP: “Res Difficiles: A Conference On Challenges and Pathways for Addressing Inequity” (**May 15th 2020**, UMW)

CALL FOR PAPERS
Res Difficiles:  A Conference On
Challenges and Pathways for Addressing Inequity 
In the Ancient Greek and Roman World

 

Organizers: Hannah Čulík-Baird (Boston University) and Joseph Romero (University of Mary Washington)
Date: **MAY 15th**, 2020
Place: Campus of the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, Virginia), HCC 136
*Please note that the date of this conference has been changed so as not to coincide with CAMWS*

One of the great benefits of the shift from a pedagogue-centered to a student-aware or student-centered classroom is that we listen more attentively to how our students experience the content of what we read.  A decided strength of Classical Studies is the simultaneous proximity and distance—temporally, geographically, ideologically—of the ancient Greek and Roman world. That distance is felt more keenly when potentially difficult subjects (res difficiles) in our readings—domination, inequity, violence both sexual and otherwise—present themselves for inspection. Often the underlying source of the dissonance or disconnect is the distance in our perceptions of social justice. 

 In a conference held on the campus of the University of Mary Washington (Fredericksburg, Virginia), we examine the challenges presented by this curriculum with students who are increasingly more diverse in gender identity, race, ethnicity, income, family structure, and more. We invite contributions from professors, graduate students, teachers, activists, and any interested in the issues under discussion. And while the society of our conference will examine pedagogical issues, we hope also to dilate outward to broader issues in education and society from (a) the current and future roles of Classics and the humanities in K-12 and higher education to (b) the ultimate goals of education.

 Our keynote speaker will be Dani Bostick (@danibostick) who teaches Latin in Winchester, VA, and who has garnered a national reputation as a writer, teacher, and advocate for victims of sexual violence.  Learn more at danibostick.net.

 We hope the conference will be attended by as many as possible in person, but a number (limited only by our subscription capacity), will be able to attend digitally. With the permission of the individual presenters, the proceedings of the conference will be live-tweeted on the conference hashtag (#resdiff).

 Abstracts of 350 words should be sent electronically to Joseph Romero (jromero@umw.edu) by November 1, 2019.  Papers will be 20-25 minutes long with coordinated discussion at the end of each session.  Any questions regarding abstract submission may be addressed to Professor Romero or Professor Čulík-Baird (culik@bu.edu). For more information see the conference website (http://cas.umw.edu/clpr/resdifficilesconference/).

CAAS Workshop — Beyond Content Warnings: Sexual Violence in the Secondary and Post-Secondary Classroom Workshop

Saturday, October 12, 8:00am-10am at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States in Silver Spring, MD.

Organized by David Wright and Dani Bostick

Abstract:

As the #MeToo movement has recently shown in an unprecedented way, sexual violence is everywhere in our world. Despite its prevalence, the topic of sexual violence is often rendered invisible in the classroom. The invisibility of sexual violence in the classics classroom is problematic since it obscures a common theme in ancient world and reinforces the cultural dynamics that contribute to the underreporting and normalization of sexual violence. This workshop will gather educators of all levels to address these topics.

 

Sexual violence is omnipresent in ancient literature and history, from the rape of the Thetis to the rape of the Sabine women. Sometimes ancient texts will sidestep discussion of the rape by calling it an “abduction” or by using a euphemism (γάμος can also indicate rape). Other times, instructors will internalize ancient ideas about rape and downplay the significance of this sexual violence: “The rape of the Sabine women wasn’t really rape.” Or instructors will fail to acknowledge the complex power dynamics of situations like sexual relationships between enslavers and the enslaved. Text books and commentaries often fail in this regard as well. Figures like Leda, Europa, and Io are considered Zeus/Jupiter’s “lovers.” Translators often use terms like “ravish” or render rape scenes consensual (McCarter 2018). There is also a lot of victim blaming in antiquity (e.g., Hdt. 1.4) or claiming that women are “liars” (as in the myth of Phaedra); These harmful and untrue narratives are repeated in contemporary rape culture. In reality, only 8% of rape claim are found out to be false. If these topics are not properly addressed, it could lead to students internalizing these regressive ideas about consent.

 

There are many reasons teachers prefer to avoid conversations about sexual violence in the classroom. For starters, sexual violence is a highly-stigmatized, uncomfortable topic. Few other types of trauma are cloaked in such frequent silence. The average age of disclosure for child sexual abuse, for example, is 52. Many survivors of this type of abuse and other forms of sexual violence never disclose. Educators also avoid this topic out of fear. Coverage of trigger warnings invariably includes the message — overt or implied — that discussing traumatic situations can harm students and make them so uncomfortable that they need to leave the classroom. Teachers of secondary students may worry that parents or administrators will complain or that these discussions are outside the bounds of their curriculum.
It is important for educators to be able to navigate this topic effectively since it is so prevalent in ancient history, literature, and art, and sexual violence and the abuse of power at its root are already familiar realities for many students because of personal experience, social media, news, and other modern rape narratives. It is also crucial for educators to be aware of the range of experiences: classrooms will be comprised of victims, perpetrators, and bystanders. Instructors need to make sure they do not reinforce harmful narratives of perpetrators and bystanders while simultaneously creating a safe environment for victims. Talking about sexual violence can help provide students a context while providing a deeper understanding of the ancient world.

The purpose of this workshop to equip attendees with tools for teachers of high school and college students to talk about this aspect of ancient art and literature in the classroom safely and effectively.

 

Topics will include: basic considerations & background on trauma/sexual violence (how to keep the conversation safe); inadequacy or harmful nature of materials; comparanda of practices from other disciplines; and the value and effective implementation of content warnings.

 

 

Select Bibliography

Beek, E.A. 2016. “Ovid’s Afterlives: Mythical Rapes and Rape Myths,” Eidolon.

Hong, Y. 2013. “Teaching Rape Texts in Classical Literature,” Classical World 106.4: 669-667.

James, S. 2014. “Talking Rape in the Classics Classroom: Further Thoughts,” From Abortion to

            Pederasty: Addressing Difficult Topics in the Classics Classroom (Ohio State University       Press), 171-182.

McCarter, S. 2018. “Rape, Lost in Translation,” Electric Literature.

Richlin, A. 1992. “Reading Ovid’s Rapes,” in Pornography and Representation in Greece and

Rome (Oxford University Press), 158-179.

Thakur, S. 2014. “Challenges in Teaching Sexual Violence and Rape: A Male Perspective,” in

From Abortion to Pederasty: Addressing Difficult Topics in the Classics Classroom

(Ohio State University Press), 152-170.

 

 

Classics and Social Justice Panels/Workshops for AIA/SCS 2020

Please let me know (amypistone at gmail dot com) if I’ve missed anything organized by our members or of interest to our members. We will update this post with more information as the AIA/SCS gets closer!

If Classics is for Everybody, Why Isn’t Everybody in My Class? Building Bridges and Opening Doors to the Study of Classics

Organizers: Elizabeth Bobrick and Dani Bostick

Classics and Civic Activism Workshop

Organizers: Amit Shilo, Yurie Hong, and Ted Gellar-Goad

Beyond Reception: Addressing Issues of Social Justice in the Classroom with Modern Comparisons

Organizers: Lindsey A. Mazurek and David Wright

Joint Workshop on Bystander Training/Intervention

Co-organized by members of Classics and Social Justice, as well as the WCC, CODIP, and COGSIP

Women in Rage, Women in Protest: Feminist Approaches to Ancient Anger

Organizers: Erika Weiberg and Mary Hamil Gilbert