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, salvoirene@gmail.com. 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 http://wcc-uk.blogs.sas.ac.uk/about-us/.

Attendance is free for WCC UK members, £10 for non-members (to cover catering costs). You can join the WCC UK here<https://wcc-uk.blogs.sas.ac.uk/about-us/join-us/&gt; (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 https://wcc-uk.blogs.sas.ac.uk/events/.

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CFP: Making a Difference: Classics, Outreach, and Social Justice in the Classroom (CANE 2018)

CALL FOR PAPERS: “MAKING A DIFFERENCE: CLASSICS, OUTREACH, AND SOCIAL JUSTICE IN THE CLASSROOM”

Classical Association of New England (CANE) ANNUAL MEETING, 16-17 March 2018
University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI
Organizers: Roberta Stewart, Dartmouth College (Roberta.Stewart@Dartmouth.edu); Dominic Machado, Wake Forest University (machaddm@wfu.edu).

Submission Deadline: December 31, 2017.

As teachers, we engage in outreach on a daily basis. Every time we enter the classroom, we work to translate the ancient world, seeking to explain to our students why the classical past still matters for understanding modern realities, how the classical past–its texts and histories–might be “good to think with.”  

In this workshop, we hope to bring together a variety of perspectives about how we use the study of Classics to pursue social justice, inside and outside of our classrooms. We invite papers about classroom curricula addressing, e.g., definitions of citizenship and community, gender identities, diversity (race, class, ethnicity, religion). We also welcome papers that explore how we as teachers use the study of antiquity to engage with diverse populations outside of our classrooms and how our interactions with these populations can enrich our study of the subject. Our goal: to inspire further discussion about how Classics and the Humanities generally offer important tools and insights for dealing with contemporary realities.

We invite all who are interested to submit an abstract (maximum: 300 words) to Roberta Stewart (roberta.stewart@dartmouth.edu) and Dominic Machado (machaddm@wfu.edu).

Classics & Social Justice at the 2018 SCS

We’re pleased to announce that we will have a panel at the 2018 meeting for the Society for Classical Studies (Jan. 5th 8-10.30am), as well as a general meeting (Jan. 4th 4-5pm). Any interested members are welcome and encouraged to attend both. See below for details.

The Classics and Social Justice Open Meeting is scheduled to be held on:
Date: Thursday, January 4, 2018
Time: 4.00 pm – 5.00 pm
Assigned room: Columbus 1+2
Location: The Marriott Boston Copley.

The Classics and Social Justice panel is scheduled for Friday, January 5th, 8am-10.30am

Session 1: Classics and Social Justice (Organized by Jessica Wright, University of Southern California, and Amit Shilo, University of California, Santa Barbara)
Elina Salminen (University of Michigan) “At Intersections: Teaching about Power and Powerlessness in the Ancient World”
Casey C. Moore (Ridge View High School) “Engaging Minority Students: Modifying Pedagogical Practice for Social Justice”
Rodrigo Verano (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) “Reading Homer in and outside the Bars: An Educational Project in Post-Conflict Colombia”
Molly Harris (University of Wisconsin – Madison) “The Warrior Book Club: Advancing Social Justice for Veterans through Collaboration”
Amy Pistone (University of Michigan) “First Do No Harm: Responsible Outreach and Community Engagement”

 

Classics and Social Justice at CAAS 2017 (Oct. 5-7) NY

See below Classics and Social Justice and Women’s Classical Caucus at
CAAS (The Classical Association of the Atlantic States) 2017

October 5-7, 2017
New York Marriott East Side
New York City, New York

Thursday 8-10 pm
Panel Two: Classics and Social Activism
Amanda Gregory, Morrison-Beard School, and Nancy Rabinowitz, presiding
Somatic Sociology and Sexual Assault: Activism Through Nonnus
Nikolas Oktaba, Gates Scholar, Cambridge University
A Capstone Elective Course in the Bard Prison Initiative
Nancy Felson, University of Georgia
Greek Tragedy for Social Reform
Melinda Powers, John Jay College of Criminal Justice/The Graduate Center, CUNY
Registering for Expose Your Professor
Nancy Rabinowitz

Friday 8:00 am–10:00 am
Panel Three: Feminism and Classics Revisited: A Panel in Commemoration of Barbara McManus. Sponsored by the Women’s Classical Caucus
T.H.M. Gellar-Goad, Wake Forest University, and Nancy Rabinowitz, presiding
Twenty-Five years of Feminist Theory and the Classics: Now What?
Barbara K. Gold
Feminist Activism in Australasian Classics: Progress and Challenges
Maxine Lewis, University of Auckland
Helen and Penelope: A New Queer and Intertextual Feminist Approach
Rachel H. Lesser, Gettysburg College

Paper Session A: Gender and Power in Greek and Roman Culture and Society
Jessica Anderson and Frederick Booth, presiding
Decision is Difficult: Medical Decision-Making in the Hippocratic Corpus
Katherine van Schaik, Harvard University
Demagogia in Context
Aaron Hershkowitz, Rutgers University
Small Sacrifices: Miniature Altars and Household Religion in Hellenistic Sicily
Andrew Tharler, Bryn Mawr College
The Disappearance of Isis on Imperial Coinage
Elizabeth Mellen, Rutgers University

10:30 am–1:00 pm Panel Six:
Celebrating and Contextualizing Barbara McManus’s The Drunken Duchess of Vassar: Grace Harriet Macurdy, Pioneering Feminist Classical Scholar (Ohio State University Press, 2017)
Judith P. Hallett and Maria Marsilio, presiding
Presentations on the lives and works of Grace Harriet Macurdy (1866–1946) and Barbara McManus (1942–2015) by Sarah B. Pomeroy, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY; Donald Lateiner, Ohio Wesleyan University; Barbara Olsen, Vassar College; Robert Pounder, Vassar College; Eugene O’Connor, Ohio State University Press; Judith P. Hallett; and Christopher Stray, Swansea University and Institute of Classical Studies, London

Friday 2:30 pm–5:30 pm
Panel Nine: Theater of War: Dramatic Reading and Discussion of Sophocles’ Philoctetes
Thomas Falkner and John H. Starks, Jr., presiding
Introductory Remarks: Thomas Falkner and Bryan Doerries, Director, Theater of War
Performance of selections from Sophocles’ Philoctetes. Actors will be announced in September.
Responses: Shelley Haley; Sergios Paschalis, Harvard University; Victoria Pedrick and John H. Starks, Jr.
Facilitated Audience Discussion and Closing Remarks

9:30 pm Meeting of the newly formed SCS Affiliated Group for Classics and Social Justice, Nancy Rabinowitz, convener. All attendees are welcome.

Saturday
7:15 am–8:15 am Please join members of the Women’s Classical Caucus at a breakfast to find out more about the WCC and its programs, in particularly its longstanding mentoring initiative and a new initiative focused on combatting sexual harassment.

10:30 am–1:00 pm Panel Sixteen: Racism and Language in Classics Today
Sponsored by the Multiculturalism, Race, and Ethnicity in Classics Consortium
Aaron Hershkowitz and David Wright, Rutgers University, presiding
From “Greeks, Romans, and Barbarians” to “Race and the Classics”
Jackie Murray, University of Kentucky
“It’s What He Intended”: Translation, Authorial Intent and Racism in Classics
Shelley Haley
Positionality and Transitivity: The Syntax and Semantics of Intentional Action and Inclusion in the Language of Diversity Statements on Classics Websites
Kelly Dugan, University of Georgia

 

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.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mk2ifzv34803zlo/chicago_open_%20letter.pdf?dl=0

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

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1zKRLYSuifXs-vyTFB2420i-jAUPTyzpEajL15IeopR4/edit

LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program

LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program
Fellowship Period: August 1, 2018 – July 31, 2020

Application Deadline: Monday, October 2, 2017

The College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) at the University of Michigan invites applicants to our LSA Collegiate Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. 

This major initiative is aimed at promoting an inclusive scholarly environment, recruiting and retaining exceptional early career scholars, and supporting outstanding 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 possible tenure-track appointments in LSA. 

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; any emails should be copied to Ian Fielding (fieldian@umich.edu). 

Eligibility:

LSA review committees will evaluate applicants in all eligible fields according to their potential for success in an academic career and potential to contribute to higher education through their demonstrated commitment to diversity in scholarship and service. To be eligible, applicants’ doctoral degrees should be completed between January 1, 2015 and July 1, 2018.  

Additional program and application information can be found on LSA’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion website: http://lsa.umich.edu/lsa/about/diversity–equity-and-inclusion/lsa-collegiate-

postdoctoral-fellowship-program.html; Inquiries may be directed to lsacollegiatepostdoc@umich.edu.

#ClassicsSoWhite

Herakles statue.jpg

Terracotta column-krater, c. 360-350 BCE (The Met). An artist paints a statue of Herakles. The skin color of the statue is not represented as reflecting the skin color of the living figures.

By Hilary Lehmann.

The other day I was listening to an episode of the NPR podcast “Code Switch” covering the historical and political contexts of Charlottesville. The hosts, Shereen Marisol Miraji and Gene Demby, brought on a Republican operative, Alex Conant, who claimed that the president’s refusal to come down firmly against white supremacy could cause irrevocable damage to the Republican party. I listened to this with incredulity, particularly when Conant claimed that he had worked for “a lot of Republicans” and had “never heard any sort of racist sentiment at all.” But when he added that most Republicans “bemoan the fact that we underperform with minority voters,” I was shaken, despite having heard this sentiment from Republicans countless times before. Having just returned from a productive and invigorating workshop focusing on promoting the study of Classics, I had, even more than usual, the exact same concern on my mind.

The overwhelming whiteness of Classics, both faculty and majors, as well as the necessity of disrupting this racial disparity, has been well documented (and now, Denise McCoskey’s excellent essay). With regards to the Republicans, the reason why few people of color vote for them is laughably obvious. When Demby asked why the Republicans had such a hard time obtaining the support of minorities, Conant responded “well, obviously, episodes like this weekend [the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville] do not help with the Republican brand.” Republican policy and messaging is overtly, intentionally racist: it’s pro-police, anti-refugee, pro-gun, anti-welfare, and anti-immigrant. As much as Republican operatives like Conant like to cry ignorance, the fact that 90% of Republican voters are white is not an accident or a mystery. White supremacy is essential to the Republican ethos.

So if, in the case of Republicans, the answer to their diversity problem is obvious, could the same be said about Classics? When we wring our hands and bemoan the scarcity of minorities in our classes and conferences, is there an open secret that we are keeping from ourselves? Is Classics intentionally, explicitly excluding people of color, keeping our towers ivory? I know that some will find this association between the field of Classics and the Republican party hurtful, since most of the Classicists I’ve studied and worked with have been liberal, and I do not mean to call anyone out specifically. Nevertheless, within the discipline, I perceive a sense of complacency with, or perhaps resignation to, the status quo. We know it’s a problem, but I don’t see us making a real, concerted effort to change it.

I find this quote from Mathura Umachandran’s essay extremely telling:

“unless you can credibly defend the idea that black and brown people are either not interested or not smart enough to study ancient Greece and Rome, then structural oppression and discrimination have to be a plausible part of any account for this fact.”

I’ve heard my colleagues wonder, mystified, why Black students don’t want to take their classes, as if the problem lay with the students rather than the professors. Nobody is telling students of color that they’re not interested in taking Greek and Latin, that they don’t want to major in Classics (notwithstanding the convenient myth that minority students are only interested in the STEM fields) – nobody except us. Classics has the advantage of historical perspective; by its nature, Classics is incredibly chronologically, geographically, and ethnographically diverse. Our transhistorical perspective makes the artificiality of the East-West separation obvious: we study authors from modern Turkey, Syria, Libya, and Egypt, as well as modern Greece and Italy. As Classicists, we know that the capital of the Roman Empire was located in modern Istanbul for a thousand years. We know that the works of Plato, Aristotle, Galen, Hippocrates, and Euclid were translated and studied for centuries by Islamic scholars, without whom much of the Greek philosophical, mathematical, and medical thought upon which the myth of Western Civilization is based would have been lost. When we don’t talk about the inherent diversity of Classics more, when we go on and on about the “foundations of Western tradition” instead of pointing out that our field necessarily destabilizes the myth of the west, we are performing an act of active erasure, of intentional whitewashing. When we rewrite the history of Classics to exclude Asia and Africa, when we continue to propagate the narrative of a Western tradition rooted in the Greco-Roman past, we are the ones telling non-white students that Classics is not for them.

In my classes, I make a big deal about the historical construction of racial categories and try to impress upon my students that the Greeks and Romans were not white and should not be considered as belonging to the same racial or ethnic category as white Americans, because modern American whiteness is a construct of our unique, racist, historical circumstances. This message is a response not only to neo-Nazi agitators and political strategists who have appropriated classical imagery and thought, claiming to be the rightful heirs of the Greco-Roman traditions, but also to Bernard Knox’s description of the ancient Greeks as the “oldest dead white European males.” Knox attributes this epithet to “modern multicultural and radical feminist criticism” as a mark of the irrelevance of Classics, but doubles down in support of this characterization with the strange assertion that “they were undoubtedly white or, to be exact, a sort of Mediterranean olive color” (26). What could reveal the situatedness of race more strikingly than the assumption that white and olive are the same color?

Maybe I’m just arguing with a straw man – Knox’s book was published in 1993 and my students are unlikely either to have heard of it or to have encountered the white nationalists of the internet shouting about European heritage. But it is generally true that if my students have heard of Classics at all, it’s been indelibly linked in their minds with whiteness, whether because of images of austere temples and statues or because our society assumes everything old (even imaginarily old) is white. And so I lay out the evidence, every class I teach, for the diversity of the Greek world (Asia Minor was always a part of it! In the Hellenistic period it included North Africa and vast stretches of Asia! The Greeks were certainly xenophobic but not because of skin color!). I teach about how people of color and white women strove to enter academia when it excluded all but upper class white men, how their efforts gradually opened higher education to all people. They found something of themselves in the study of Classics.

But at the same time as I’ve been proselytizing the historical diversity of Classics and Classicists, I am aware that I’ve intentionally elided the equally real historical use of classical precedents to promote slavery, racial profiling, and sexism. In a way, to claim that Classics is, by nature, egalitarian is disingenuous – the discipline’s very name is a testament to its exclusivity. Classics is predicated on the notion of hierarchy, that some things are just better than others. The striving of people of color and white women to gain access to the study of Classics has as its obvious corollary the fact that it was their exclusion that made Classics an elite discipline, a desirable object of study. They were told they weren’t good enough for Classics, and that’s what made them work so hard to be included. The narrative of the Western Tradition is both untrue and true. It’s untrue because there’s never been an unbroken line of descent between Greco-Roman antiquity and modern Anglo-European identity, but also true because over the last several centuries, Classicists have manufactured and sold the world on their idea of Western Tradition, an inheritance they made up from the best and worst parts of the past. This myth-made-real isn’t going anywhere unless we confront it and the damages it has caused.

Talking to our students about the dark side of Classics’ whiteness is much harder and less pleasant than championing its diversity, but I think it’s necessary to be frank about the ways in which the elitism of Classics has been used to exclude and oppress. Perhaps we won’t be able to convince everyone – I don’t think we’re going to be able to “well, actually” the white supremacists; as Mary Beard’s constant Sisyphean battles with racist trolls demonstrate, the acolytes of a monochromatic classical past do not respond well to expertise or to evidence that falls outside of their carefully curated set of talking points. But what we can do is be upfront with our students about the dark history of Classics and our intentional goal of emphasizing the diversity rather than the elitism ancient Greek and Roman cultures. And to get to that place, we need to make sure that we, as educators, are all on the same page. We need to have these conversations with each other

Of course, it’s hard for those of us who are white to talk about race. Growing up in America, we’re taught that it’s racist to talk about race, that we should be colorblind. A lot of Classicists are socially awkward, anyway, and have perhaps internalized a kind of gentility that renders talking about worldly matters like race too gauche. I noticed this when I was on the job market the last two years, struggling over the Diversity Statement, wondering why it was so hard to just articulate that we need more people of color in this field or we risk collapsing into an echo chamber. There’s a lot of frustration surrounding the Diversity Statement – nobody seems to know what it’s for, either on the part of the applicants or sometimes even the hiring committees. Before we even talk to our students, we need to have a conversation among ourselves about why the Diversity Statement is required – we need to see it as more than just an HR requirement, to get to a place where the schools that are hiring, and the candidates they’re considering, are truly, deeply, from the heart committed to decolonizing Classics.