The APA Blog
The APA Blog provides announcements, news, and items of interest for members of the American Philological Association.
From President Denis Feeney: Gateway Campaign’s End is New Beginning for APA
After three weeks, the 144th Annual Meeting in Seattle is receding into history, and it is a good moment to take stock of what a successful meeting it proved to be. The host department from UW-Seattle, led by Ruby Blondell and Alain Gowing, did a superb job, and we thank them all for helping to make the Meeting such a success. Even the Northwest weather cooperated to make Seattle a great venue for us: on my fourth visit to Seattle I finally got to see Mt. Rainier. There was a tremendous program of panels and performances, even if your officers, including the President, were unable to emerge from their seclusion in committee rooms to enjoy more than a small fraction of the riches on offer.
In the Plenary Session, we honored a remarkable group of teachers and scholars for their achievements (see a full list of the APA Awards for 2012 here: From the point of view of our Association’s history and future, the most significant moment in the Plenary Session was the celebration of the triumphant conclusion of the Gateway Campaign, steered to its harbor by President Jeffrey Henderson. It was a delight to see the Campaign Committee members being honored, and to see Distinguished Service Awards presented to the three visionary and energetic APA members who provided such outstanding leadership from the beginning to the end of the Campaign: Ward W. Briggs, David H. Porter, and Michael C.J. Putnam.
The Campaign has been such a part of our lives for the last few years that it is important to take stock of what a remarkable achievement it has turned out to be. For a comparatively small society such as ours to raise over $3 million is truly extraordinary. Major sums were contributed by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation ($625,000), NEH ($650,000 in matching funds), and by our sister organization in the UK, the Classical Association ($265,000). But of particular note, I think, is that we received contributions from over 1,200 donors, and that more than 1,000 of these donors were members of the APA. This means that more than a third of our individual members contributed to the Campaign—a signal achievement. Not many colleges or universities can claim such a high response to an appeal, and the response of our members is a significant testimony to the loyalty that members of the APA feel towards their organization and towards the cause of Classics overall.
It is, after all, the cause of Classics that this Campaign has been all about, and it is already changing the APA, and what we all do as Classicists, for the better. Thanks to the Gateway Campaign, the future of the American Office of L’Année philologique is now secure right into that indefinite future for which development campaigns have to plan. Every time you read, or write, a work of scholarship you are indebted to L’Année philologique, and it was absolutely right that the foundation of the Campaign should be the goal of securing the future of this indispensable bedrock of what we do. Worth noting also is that, in addition to its generous support of the Campaign, the Mellon Foundation has independently provided a number of other grants that are making the online version of L’Année even more useful.
It was also part of our goal from the start to develop the next generation of inspired, diverse teachers of Classics and Classical Languages. The new awards for teachers are an important commitment to that objective, encouraging and acknowledging outstanding teachers. Every member of the APA is in the field, ultimately, because of at least one inspirational teacher. The importance of these life-changing individuals was attested by the success of the various Friends Funds to which members contributed so generously in honor of the teachers who inspired them: the Friends of Zeph Stewart Fund is being dedicated to the Awards for Classics Teachers.
We also made a commitment to increasing support for the Minority Scholarship in Classics, and a gift from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation to the Campaign is permitting us to fulfill that promise. Have a look at the list of previous recipients to see what a difference these awards can make to young people at a crucial phase in their development. Read about the impact that digging at Stabiae and attending the Epigraphical Congress in Berlin made on the formation and motivation of Mahmoud Akeen Samori (awardee in 2012); or read about the possibilities opened up to Timothy Castillo (2010) by an award that made it possible for him to take an intensive Greek summer course in preparation for graduate school. Many more young people will be able to have such doors opened for them in the future thanks to APA members’ support.
More broadly, we aim to make the APA website a gateway for anyone classical for anything classical. We are working on this now, aiming to transform our website so as to provide access to research tools and make it possible for individuals to reach the groups or the sites that they need. These individuals will of course include our usual current constituency of graduate students and faculty, but they will also range from the high school student writing a paper on Cleopatra to the former Classics major who wants to check up on what’s happening in the area in which she once wrote a Senior Thesis. Classics was the leader in Digital Humanities from the very beginning, and we will continue in that role. There are plans in place for a Digital Latin Library, for example; read here for a taste of what will be possible for students and scholars once this resource is enabled.
None of this would have been possible without the well-informed and movingly generous support of the members of the APA. Thank you, everyone.
CFP: Cargo Culture: Literary and Material Appropriative Practices in Rome
Stanford University / March 7th-8th, 2014
Deadline for Abstract Submission: August 1st, 2013
In the realm of Roman cultural studies, exciting conversations are taking place on parallel but largely unengaged tracks. Scholars of Latin literature have long studied Rome’s competitive emulation of Greek literary models: this practice has been identified in the earliest moments of Roman literature, which indeed tropes itself as a “takeover” of a specific form of Hellenism (Feeney 2005, rev. Suerbaum 2002). More recently there has also been a surge of interest in Roman material appropriation, particularly plunder and the significance of its display in the city (e.g., Miles 2008, Rutledge 2012). Until now, however, disciplinary boundaries have obscured possible parallels between literary and material modes of cultural appropriation. This conference aims to dissolve these boundaries—to bridge the “dirt-word” divide—by initiating an interdisciplinary conversation on appropriation in Rome, from plunder to evocatio to literary quotation and aemulatio.
More than a decade ago, Stephen Hinds’ Allusion and Intertext (1998) made a memorable first foray into tackling the “dynamics of [Roman] appropriation,” but many more questions remain on the table. One of this conference’s primary goals is to highlight significant points of contact and divergence between Rome’s various appropriative activities: how is quotation like/unlike spoliation, or evocatio like/unlike commercial importation? More importantly, what are the heuristic possibilities of treating appropriation in Rome as a foundational practice through which Roman culture made and remade itself? In other words, how does the importation, incorporation, and even worship of various kinds of literary and material cargo—a veritable “cult” of cargo—texture Roman culture?
To facilitate answering these questions and others, we encourage participants to experiment with bringing modern theoretical perspectives to bear on Roman appropriative practices. For example, Robert Nelson’s frequently cited discussion of appropriation, which compares appropriation to Roland Barthes’ theory of myth, suggests one approach: “appropriation, like myth…is a distortion, not a negation of the prior semiotic assemblage. When successful, it maintains but shifts the former connotations to create the new sign and accomplishes all this covertly, making the process appear ordinary or natural” (2009: 163). Nelson’s theorizing represents but one possible framework for enriching our discussion of appropriation in Rome. Other models are earnestly sought, and all will be interrogated rigorously in our efforts to generate new models capable of shedding light on the full range of Roman appropriative activities.
Papers are invited on a wide range of topics, including but not limited to the following.
- To what extent do pre-existing theoretical models of appropriation help us understand the Roman material?
- Is there a Roman discourse of appropriation? How do Romans reflect upon and justify their practices of cultural borrowing?
- Relatedly, how does appropriation function as a gauge or index for improving or declining social mores?
- What are the mechanics of Rome’s self-fashioning through appropriating foreign cultures?
- Similarly, what are the mechanics of Rome’s self-fashioning through appropriating previous iterations of itself? Specifically, how does Rome in the imperial period appropriate Republican versions of itself?
- How do Roman practices of material, literary, and cultural appropriation change over time?
- How are acts of Roman appropriation remembered? How long do appropriated res derive their meaning from the fact/memory of their appropriation?
- To what ends, and by what processes, is Rome appropriated in Late Antiquity, the Renaissance, and the modern age?
Submitting an abstract:
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to email@example.com. Final papers will be 20 minutes long. When submitting your abstract, please remove all identifying information from the abstract itself (i.e., name, university); provide this information in the body of your email. Abstracts are due by August 1, 2013. Individuals will be notified of their acceptance within one month of the deadline.
Confirmed participants currently include: Emma Dench (Harvard); Basil Dufallo (University of Michigan); Stephen Hinds (University of Washington); Scott McGill (Rice University); Ellen Perry (College of the Holy Cross); Stefano Rebeggiani (La Sapienza); Ann Marie Yasin (University of Southern California).
CFP: Beyond intolerance: the evolution of imperial religious policy and the meeting in Milan of 313
Historical and ideological premises and developments until Julian the Apostate
Parma (Italy), 28-29 November 2013
In common perception, AD 313 represents one of the most important years in the history of the Western world. In that year the notorious meeting between Constantine and Licinius took place, which led - according to a branch of modern historiography - to the so-called "Edict of Milan", whose historicity has been strongly questioned. Indeed, evidence on Constantine's religious policy and the surviving documents concerning the measure of 313 demonstrate how its importance needs to be settled back in the context of the relationships between Constantine and Licinius and reconsidered in the light of religious measures taken by Galerius and Maximinus Daia.
Moving from an edict issued by Galerius in 311, Constantine and Licinius brought to an end (despite occasional further outbreaks) anti-Christian persecutions. The way was now open for an ever more pervasive Christianization of the Empire on a social, political and cultural level, even if some interesing phenomena of cryptopaganism can still be found in later periods, until Julian's short "restoration". More than a "revolution", what was taking place was then a fundamental step in the "evolution" of imperial religious policy.
Association Rodopis, in partnership with Associazione di Studi Tardoantichi (Society of Late Antique Studies) and in cooperation with the Dipartimento di Giurisprudenza (Department of Law) of the University of Parma (Italy), organises a Postgraduate Conference in order to investigate specific juridical aspects of these changes - taking 313 as a benchmark - putting them it back into context, underlining elements of continuity and re-defining divergences and innovations in respect to previous religious policy, and considering further developments.
We accept proposals for 20 minutes papers concerning economic, juridical, social, political and cultural aspects of the Constantinian era, with a particular focus on the first decade of the IV century. Papers dealing with the analysis of the documents concerning the "edict of Milan" and with the religious policy of the other protagoninsts of the period are also welcome, as well as contributions concerning the reception and different interpretations of the measure by its conteporaries, both pagan and Christian, and by Roman authorities. Proposals may concern the relatioship between religion and law until the reign of Julian the Apostate.
Those willing to take part at the Conference are invited to send an anonymous abstract in pdf format (file name: first three words of the title) of max 300 words to the following e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, by 15 September 2013.
Abstracts will be selected within the following three weeks.To allow everybody's comprehension, papers will be accepted exclusively in Italian and English.
Viola Gheller (Associazione Rodopis - Università degli Studi di Trento)
Prof. Salvatore Puliatti (Associazione di Studi Tardoantichi - Università degli Studi di Parma)
CFP: Ut Fama Est: Rumor and Reputation in Antiquity
University of Florida Classics Graduate Student Conference
Friday & Saturday, October 24-25, 2013
Keynote Speaker: TBA
Ancient culture and literature developed and manipulated gossip, rumor, defamation and calumny in many ways for the detraction, augmentation, or proliferation of reputation. Such rumor, whether true or false, good or bad, has long occupied a principal role in the development of reputation and the pursuit of truth. In his Works and Days, for example, Hesiod suggests avoiding the talk of men, since talk is “mischievous, light, and easily raised, but hard to bear and difficult to be rid of” (760-763). Fama proves crucial to the development and organization of Vergil’s Aeneid. Report rebuking various individuals and peoples, e. g. the Vandals, has left for modern historians the task of sorting fact from fictions promulgated as truth. Indeed, the uses and misuses of rumor and reputation are many.
We invite papers that investigate a range of issues surrounding rumor and reputations from Bronze Age to Late Antiquity and Early Byzantium. Abstracts can, but need not, belong to the following topics:
- the nature, causes and function of ancient rumor
- the growth or erosion of reputation
- the fear of rumor or reputation
- the development of historical reputations
- the political applications of rumor
- the use and misuse of public and personal opinion
- the language of rumor
- rumor and stereotypes
We welcome submissions from graduate students representing various disciplines, including classics, comparative literature, linguistics, history, art history, archeology, religion, philosophy and education. We ask that you submit an anonymous abstract of no more than 300 words as an attachment to email@example.com by August 20th, 2013. Please include in the body of your email your name and university afﬁliation as well as your phone number and the email address at which you can best be reached. Notiﬁcations will be sent out by be sent shortly thereafter. Questions may be addressed to Andrew Roth and Sara Agnelli at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Conclusion of 2012-2013 Placement Year
The 2012-2013 Placement Service Year will end on June 30, 2013. During the next few weeks, we will perform maintenance on the Placement Service Portal Page to prepare it for 2013-2014. If you plan to enroll with the Service for 2013-14, PLEASE WAIT for our announcement that will state when enrollment is open for the upcoming Placement Year. If you enroll prior to our announcement, you will not be issued a refund.
After more than 30 years, the AIA has chosen to terminate its participation with the APA in the Placement Service. For more information, please visit http://apaclassics.org/index.php/apa_blog/apa_blog_entry/4171/. If you are currently an AIA member, and you plan to enroll with the APA Placement Service in 2013-2014, you will have to pay the higher, non-member fee (USD $55.00) to enroll. The APA Member’s fee to utilize the Placement Service is USD $20.00. The APA welcomes all students of the ancient world, and its members advance the study of the classical antiquity in all its aspects.
President’s Letter on Volunteering
Adam Blistein recently sent a message to all members inviting you to volunteer to stand for election to Association offices and to serve on APA committees. The required form may be accessed here, and you may find full information about what is involved in serving in the various positions here.
Why do we send this message every year, and why is it important that we have members respond?
Things are changing fast in the world of education and research, and it is crucial that the principal professional organization of American Classicists should have the benefit of the wisdom of a broad and deep representation of the membership as we plan our responses to these transformations. It’s especially important that we can draw upon the insights and the energy of our younger members. You are the ones who have the best knowledge of the opportunities and the risks coming our way in terms of the electronic revolution, educational change, and career transformation. You are also the ones who are going to be living your professional lives while swimming in the current of these changes, and serving as an officer or committee member enables you not only to get a national perspective on these issues but also to have some chance of influencing them.
We are well aware that everyone is busy, and younger members in particular will rightly be concerned about the value of spending time doing something for the APA and the profession as a whole when they could be working on their research and teaching. When I was Chair of my department I spent a good bit of time giving advice to junior colleagues about how to manage their priorities as they came up through the ranks—even if they didn’t always take my advice! So, by all means talk to your Chairs and senior colleagues and get their opinion. But the value of this service is very high to the individuals who volunteer as well as to the profession, because you meet a number of colleagues you wouldn’t otherwise meet and you learn a lot about the world of Classics in the broadest sense.
The APA is very fortunate to have the dedicated services of a professional Executive Director, Adam Blistein, and with his small staff he keeps the organization running throughout the year. Yet nothing of what we do would be possible without the service of dozens of our members who volunteer or agree to stand for election. Ever since Robert D. Putnam’s 1995 essay on “Bowling Alone” it’s been something of a cliché in sociology that participation in community activities and in civic groups of all kinds has been steadily declining for decades. His thesis has attracted a lot of criticism from scholars, and I’m certainly not competent to assess the debate. What I do know is that every year the APA at least does its bit to prove him wrong.
Have a look at the list of possibilities for service, and see what you might find interesting and rewarding to become involved in. You’ll do some good for your colleagues and your profession, you’ll meet a lot of interesting people, and you’ll make some new friends. It’s worth it.
A Different Connection between Classics and Cinema
The New York Times makes a case that Hollywood learned about the wisdom of producing sequels, prequels, etc. from - among others - ancient Greek tragedians.
In the News: Duke Classics Scholar Finds Another Home in the Library
In high school, Joshua D. Sosin had two favorite subjects: Latin and biology. "In the end I decided that my Latin teacher was cooler, and if I, too, wanted to be cool, I should do Latin," he says. That led to a concentration in classics, philosophy, and religion at what is now the University of Mary Washington, where he studied not only Latin but also Greek and Egyptian Coptic. He got a Ph.D. in classics from Duke University in 2000. "At no point did I consider what I would do with any of this," he says.
What he did was go on to a career as a papyrologist and epigraphist, a scholar of inscriptions. Now Mr. Sosin, who is 40, is about to put that training to fresh uses in a job configured unlike any other at Duke. In July he will become director of the Duke Collaboratory for Classics Computing, a new digital-humanities unit of the Duke University Libraries.
Read more at The Chronicle of Higher Education.
CFP: Pilgrims’ Progress: Pilgrimage across Time and Cultures
An Interdisciplinary Conference Sponsored by
the Institute for Pilgrimage Studies and
the International Consortium for Pilgrimage Studies
College of William & Mary
October 4–6, 2013
“Curiosity does, no less than devotion, pilgrims make.”
Abraham Cowley (English Poet 1618-1667)
The Institute of Pilgrimage Studies in conjunction with the International Consortium for Pilgrimage Studies invites abstracts for the 2nd annual Symposium to be held October 4-6, 2013 at the College of William & Mary, Williamsburg, Virginia. The conference will embrace thematic sessions including:
- Artistic and Literary Responses to Pilgrimage
- Health and Pilgrimage
- Material Culture of Pilgrimage
- Pilgrimage in the Eastern Mediterranean
- Pilgrimage in the Ancient World
- Personal Reflections on Pilgrimage
- Space, Place and Lived Experience of Pilgrimage
We encourage submission of papers involving research and creative activity on journeys to a sacred center or travel for transformation from a broad range of disciplines and perspectives including religious studies, anthropology, literature, art history, kinesiology, classical studies, history, sociology, theater and dance. Individual presentations will last no more than 20 minutes, with time for discussion between papers.
Abstracts of 500 words from faculty, independent researchers, graduate and undergraduate students may be submitted on-line at until June 30th, 2013. Faculty and independent researchers should submit a short CV with their abstract; students should provide a recommendation from a faculty mentor. Students may propose to either present papers or participate in a poster session. Notification of acceptance will be sent by August 1st, 2013. Please check the Symposium website or contact Prof. Brennan Harris for further information.
Septimana Californiana, based on the lovely campus of Loyola Marymount University, is a full-immersion Latin workshop offering thought-provoking discussions, readings from Latin literature, Latin composition exercises, communal meals (most of which are included in the price), and informative lectures given by expert Latin speakers on a variety of topics. Participants will also enjoy guided tours, given in Latin, to many of Los Angeles' sights. Excursions include the Huntington Library, the Getty Center, the Long Beach Aquarium, and downtown Los Angeles.
Program Dates: July 1-8, 2013
Head Instructor: Dr. Stephen Berard, World Languages, Wenatchee Valley College.