Classics and Social Justice at the 2021 SCS/AIA

If you have things that seem related to the Classics and Social Justice mission that you would like to see included here, please email amypistone at gmail dot com.

All times listed are Central Time.

Meetings and Receptions of Interest

CSJ Open Meeting: Tuesday, January 5, 5-6pm CT (access link)

WCC’s Welcome Night Reception and Awards Ceremony: Tuesday, January 5, 8 – 10pm

Pachanga Latina: A Hispanic/Latinx Faculty and Grad Student Meet and Greet: Wednesday, January 6, 6:30 – 7:30pm

Reception: MRECC and EOS’s Reception in Honor of Shelley Haley and Her Assumption of the SCS Presidency: Thursday, January 7, 8 – 9pm

Mountaintop Coalition Virtual Reception: Friday, January 8, 7:30 – 8:30pm

WCC Open Meeting: Saturday, January 9, 12 – 1pm

January 5

9am – 12pm: Classics In/Out of Asia (AAACC panel)

2 – 5pm: Ancient Theater in Chicagoland (CAMP panel)

January 6

9am – 12pm: Believing Ancient Women: A Feminist Epistemology for Greece and Rome (seminar)
You must sign-up for this seminar before it takes place. The sign-up form is available here.

January 7

2 – 5pm: Eos READS: Toni Morrison, “Unspeakable Things Unspoken: The Afro-American Presence in American Literature”
Requires pre-reading and registration. Please find the required materials to prepare for the workshop here:

2 – 5pm: Classics and Childcare (workshop)

2 – 5pm: Legalize It: Gender and Sexuality in Ancient Law (LCC panel)

January 8

9am – 12pm: Indigenous Voices and Classical Literature

2 – 5pm: COVID-19 and the Future of Classics Graduate Study

5:30 – 7:30pm: Presidential Panel: William Sanders Scarborough and Black Classicism at the Turn of the Twentieth Century, organized by Sheila Murnaghan

January 9

9am – 12pm: Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy

9am – 12pm: Think of the Children!: The Reception of the Ancient World in Children’s Media (WCC panel)

2 – 5pm: Difficult Topics in the Classroom

January 10

2 – 5pm: Race, Classics, and the Latin Classroom


CFP: (Re)inventing Sappho: New Approaches to Sappho from the Greek Fragments to the Twenty-First Century

(Re)inventing Sappho: New Approaches to Sappho from the Greek Fragments to the Twenty-First Century

Panel at the 13th Celtic Conference in Classics

(Lyon, France, 15-18 July 2020)

Proposal submission deadline: 6th March 2020

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Sandra Boehringer (Université de Strasbourg)
  • Jacqueline Fabre-Serris (Université Charles-de-Gaulle Lille 3)
  • Ellen Greene (The University of Oklahoma)
  • Andre Lardinois (Radboud University)
  • Thea Selliaas Thorsen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Sappho’s manifold afterlives since antiquity have endowed her with a range of personas, going from the canonical and iconic, to the comical and the perverse. Spanning creative and scholarly responses to the poet, these various interpretations, (re)adaptations and (re)constructions have produced a “Sappho” who is now as fluid and queer as she has ever been. Concurrently, recent Sappho scholarship, as well as discoveries of new fragments, have given rise to several new methodologies and perspectives, including interdisciplinary, comparative, philological, and reception-based approaches. Our panel aims to embrace this plurality by bringing these contrasting methodologies into productive conversation with one another. By re-examining the notion of who (and what) Sappho is, this panel will problematise the “invention” of Sappho and resituate her, along with her poetic fragments and later receptions, in contemporary scholarly discourse.

We welcome papers in the fields of Classics, Ancient History, and Reception Studies, with a preference for talks which fully and boldly engage with new approaches to Sappho’s life, work, and reception. In keeping with the bilingual tradition of the Celtic Conference in Classics, and this year’s venue (Lyon), we are especially keen on contributions about the reception of Sappho by French poets, scholars and translators, as well as Francophone feminist writers such as Wittig, Kristeva and Irigaray. The panel will be fully bilingual and we therefore accept papers both in French and English. Papers might fall within but are not limited to the following categories:

  • Sappho’s fragments

  • Sappho as a historical personage

  • Sappho and literary theory, queer theory, feminist theory, and other ideological approaches

  • Ancient, medieval, or modern receptions of Sappho, including theatrical re-adaptations, Sappho in pedagogy and education, and multimedial representations of Sapphic poetry

  • The role played by Sappho within LGBTQ+ communities and literature

To encourage a variety of approaches, we will welcome two different paper lengths: 20 minutes and 40 minutes. Please, submit a proposal of 300 words for a 20-minute paper and 500 words for the 40-minute option. Abstracts must be written either in French or English. The submission deadline for abstracts is 6th March 2020.

Submissions and queries should be directed to the following address:

Please, include a short biography and specify your affiliation in the body of your email: attach the abstract as a separate file with no personal identification.

Notification of acceptance will be given in early April.


For further information on the Celtic Conference in Classics, please refer to the conference permanent website:

The panel convenors

  • Astrid Khoo (Harvard University)
  • Simona Martorana (Durham University)
  • Amy Pistone (Gonzaga University)
  • Rioghnach Sachs (King’s College London)

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:


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


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.



Responses to the SCS/AIA

We wanted to recognize and commend the departments and institutions who have made official statements condemning the racist events that took place at the 2019 SCS/AIA. If your organization or department has made a statement that is not included here, please let us know and we will include it.


UCLA Department of Classics

University of Washington Department of Classics

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of Classics


The Sportula

The Women’s Classical Caucus

Ancient Philosophy Society

Society of Classical Studies

Women’s Classical Committee UK

Council of University Classics Departments, Institute of Classical Studies, and the Women’s Classical Committee UK


Dan-el Padilla Peralta

Rebecca Futo Kennedy

Josephine Quinn

CFP: LGBT+ Classics: Teaching, Research, and Activism (February 2018, University of Reading)

The Women’s Classical Committee UK is delighted to announce the following event:

LGBT+ Classics: Teaching, Research, and Activism

12th February 2018

University of Reading

Organised by: Katherine Harloe, Talitha Kearey, and Irene Salvo

The Women’s Classical Committee UK is organising a one-day workshop on Classics and Queer studies to highlight current projects and activities that embrace the intersections of research, teaching, public engagement, and activism.

The day will feature a series of talks and a roundtable bringing together academics in Classics (and related fields), LGBT+ activists, museum curators and those working in other areas of outreach and public engagement. We intend to explore how LGBT+ themes are included in Classics curricula; how public engagement with queer Classics and history of sexualities can contribute to fight homophobia and transphobia; and the ways in which the boundaries between research, teaching, and activism can be crossed. The roundtable will focus in particular on strategies of support for LGBT+ students and staff, current policies in Higher Education, and what still needs to be improved. Confirmed speakers include: Beth Asbury, Clara Barker, Alan Greaves, Jennifer Grove, Rebecca Langlands, Sebastian Matzner, Cheryl Morgan, Nicki Ward, and Maria Moscati. Jennifer Ingleheart (Durham) will deliver the keynote address ‘Queer Classics: sexuality, scholarship, and the personal’.

We are also reserving time during the day’s schedule for a series of short (five-minute) spotlight talks by delegates. Through this session, we hope to provide a chance for delegates to share research projects, teaching programmes, and experiences related to LGBT+ issues. We are particularly interested in spotlight talks on:

new, queer and gender-informed work in classics, ancient history, archaeology, papyrology, philosophy, or classical reception;

fresh ideas on teaching the history of queerness through texts and material culture;

the difficulties and discriminatory experiences encountered by members of staff, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and early-career researchers, because of their gender identity and/or sexual orientation.

If you would like more information or to volunteer to give one of these talks, please send a brief description of your talk (about 80/150 words) to Irene Salvo, LBGT+ liaison officer, The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 5th December 2017.

People of any gender expression or identity who support the WCC’s aims are welcome to attend this event. For further details, see our website at

Attendance is free for WCC UK members, £10 for non-members (to cover catering costs). You can join the WCC UK here<; (and if you’re a student, underemployed, or unemployed, membership is only £5). As with all WCC events, travel bursaries will be available for students and the un/under-employed.

The WCC is committed to providing friendly and accessible environments for its events, so please do get in touch if you have any access, dietary, or childcare enquiries. For a full statement of the WCC’s childcare policy please see here

An Open Letter to UChicago History Department

Read the letter to the UChicago History department regarding recent problematic statements on white supremacy in medieval studies by Professor Brown which endanger Professor Kim.

If you wish, sign the letter on the following signature page showing your support.

Report: Classics and Social Justice at SCS 2017

This year’s SCS meeting saw the official launch of the new Affiliated Group for Classics and Social Justice. We hosted two very successful events—a round table attended by around 40 people, and an open meeting, where almost as many showed up. There were not even enough seats in our room to accommodate all the interested parties! In recognition of the immigration issues and other difficulties members faced in getting to Toronto, we streamed the meeting; you can view it at our Facebook page. We are also maintaining a listserv (contact Nancy Rabinowitz, to be added to it), a blog, and a Twitter account (please follow @classics_sj).

The new Affiliated Group has been discussing issues of concern to classicists for around a year now, since the Rhodessa Jones performance at SCS 2016. Members presented a panel on Prison Teaching at CAAS in 2016, and we are planning a panel at the SCS in 2018 (see the CFP on the SCS website and on our blog and Facebook page; abstracts are due by January 31st).

The topics of interest to members of the groups assembled were wide and various; we have formed committees to think about ways to address them. Of course there are significant overlaps between these, and we hope to address those in our activities.

Diversity outreach in the profession (Dan-el Padilla,, and Dominic Machado,

Economically disadvantaged (Amit Shilo,

Immigration/undocumented status (Dan-el Padilla,

Prisons (Nancy Rabinowitz,

Women-gender-sexuality issues (Amy Pistone,

Veterans (Roberta Stewart,

Mental health/disability issues (Clara Bosak Schroeder,

We are very grateful for the enthusiastic welcome given to our new group, and look forward to meeting more of you at regional meetings or at the next SCS.

CFP: Classics and Social Justice SCS 2018

CFP:  The Classics and Social Justice Affiliated Group invites paper proposals for its inaugural Panel at the 2018 meeting of the SCS.
The panel organizers are Jessica Wright (USC) and Amit Shilo (UCSB).

We welcome papers that discuss any aspect of social justice work in which you are engaged as well as papers that theorize the place of social justice work in Classics and the place of Classics in social justice work.

Possible topics might include: the presentation of projects already underway (for instance, prison education or the use of Classics in other sites such as homeless centers or with veterans’ groups); the scope and limits of academic activism; appropriate methods for approaching social issues; performance and activism; and the power of specific Classical traditions to address the urgency of social change.

Please send anonymous abstracts of approximately 500 words to Professor Alexandra Pappas (

Deadline for the receipt of abstracts is January 31, 2017.
More information: please write to 
Classicists involved in activism:

The newly formed Classics and Social Justice Affiliated Group is a forum for scholars who wish to integrate their academic expertise with community work promoting social justice and positive transformation. The group envisions its first panel as the beginning of a new, more formal conversation about Classics and Social Justice and an effort to discover what social justice work Classicists are doing outside of the classroom as well as inside of the classroom.