CFP: CUNY Graduate Student Conference in Classics

Weaving Words, Sculpting Sentiments: Manipulating Emotions in Public Spaces of the Ancient Mediterranean

The graduate students of the Department of Classics at the CUNY Graduate Center are pleased to announce the call for papers for our 16th annual Graduate Student Conference. The conference will be held in person and via Zoom on Friday, April 5th, 2024 at the Graduate Center (365 Fifth Ave, New York, NY). This year’s Keynote Speaker will be Prof. David Konstan (NYU).

Click here to view/download the CFP in PDF format or here for Word format

Emotions play a large role in even basic decision-making, as recent research continues to demonstrate.  Fear, sadness, pride, guilt, shame, awe, joy, and disgust all inform our decisions and influence our participation in social movements. Emotional responses can arise from our relationships with other people, impacted by their own decisions that affect us, but also from our relationship with institutions. For various reasons, these institutions often manipulate emotional responses across the entire public through rhetoric, iconography, space, religion, or architecture.

In this conference, we would like to explore the interplay in antiquity between the manipulation of emotions through public displays (written, spoken, material, or visual mediums) and the collective or individual responses to these manipulations.

  • What are the modes of emotional control imposed upon the public?
  • What degree of success did these methods of control see, or to what degree was resistance to emotional manipulation present?
  • Were there emotional responses that were more commonly evoked in people collectively, and in what contexts do these appear?

Possible topics include but are not at all limited to:

  • Speech as a form of emotional persuasion and/or manipulation in ancient epic
  • Appeals to renew empathy and religious duty in prophetic and other religious texts
  • Weaponization of shame and outrage in epideictic, deliberative, and forensic rhetoric
  • Collective processing of the trauma of war and plague in Greek theater
  • Public responses to iconography and architectural space in Roman Republican and Imperial Fora, including pride, fear, and awe
  • Fear and disgust in mythic depictions of monsters and the unknown
  • Rebuilding, reimagining, and continued use of public spaces into the modern era in efforts to manipulate or erase collective memory
  • Philosophical approaches to emotion and emotional manipulation in the civic realm
  • Any other literary, visual, or historical engagement with emotions in public space

We invite papers from a variety of disciplines beyond Classics, such as Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, Art History, Political Science, Gender Studies, Psychology, Near Eastern studies, and others. We welcome and encourage submissions from individuals of all underrepresented backgrounds.

Please send anonymous abstracts of up to 300 words, along with an optional bibliography, for a 20-minute presentation to cunyclassicsconference@gmail.com in PDF format, no later than January 19, 2024. Please send personal details, such as full name and affiliation, in the body text of your email. Notifications to all applicants will be given by mid-February 2024. Questions may be sent to the co-organizers, Nan Coffey, Kevin Nobel, and Jen Ranck at the same email address.

We look forward to an engaging and diverse exploration of the topic.

Call for Proposals: CAAS 2024 Annual Meeting

The Classical Association of the Atlantic States 2024 Annual Meeting
Dates: October 17-19, 2024
Venue: The Heldrich Hotel & Conference Center, New Brunswick, NJ

Deadline for all proposals: Friday, February 16, 2024 (11:59 p.m ET)

Click here to view/download CFP (PDF format)

We invite proposals for individual papers, panels, and workshops/roundtables on all aspects of the ancient world and its afterlife. Especially welcome are submissions that propose groundbreaking approaches to established scholarly debates on classical antiquity; that aim at maximum audience participation and integrate the interests of K-12 and college faculty; that explore new strategies and resources for improved and inclusive teaching; that share fresh ideas about communicating the importance of ancient Greece and Rome beyond our discipline and profession; that explore connections between the Greco-Roman world and other ancient civilizations; and that reflect on the past, present, and future of Classical Studies in the CAAS region and beyond.

SUBMISSION DETAILS

Eligibility to submit a proposal:  All submitters must be members of CAAS when they submit their proposal.  The CAAS membership year is January 1-December 31.  Organizers of panels and workshops must verify participants’ membership status before submitting the proposal.  Undergraduate students making an individual submission must ensure their mentors have paid the CAAS membership fee for 2024 before making a submission.  

Single appearance policy:  Each submitter must not submit more than one abstract (whether single- or co-authored).  Authors of individual paper proposals cannot simultaneously submit an abstract as part of a panel or workshop proposal.  Panel and workshop organizers should ensure that participants in their proposed sessions do not intend to appear anywhere else on the program as speakers.   

Individual Paper Proposals must be drafted for a presentation of 15 minutes in length.  When the Program is finalized, additional time may be granted depending on the number of papers included in each session.  Abstracts of circa (but no more than) 300 words must be uploaded as an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file and:

  1. Include a clear thesis and state the paper’s original contribution(s) by situating it in a larger scholarly context.  The Program Committee expects to see this at the outset of the abstract.
  2. Be accompanied by a bibliography of five items (not included in the word limit).  The expectation of the Program Committee is that submitters weave these references into the narrative (using parenthetical citations) to build the argument, rather than just listing them at the end.  A couple of major/recent publications (depending on the topic of the presentation) should feature in the bibliography.  Pedagogy abstracts may reference innovative teaching approaches in progress explored by the submitter(s) and/or other educators. 
  3. Be anonymous. The author’s name should not appear anywhere in the submission.  References to the author’s own publications or pedagogical techniques should be done in the third person.  Abstracts that include the names of authors and/or their institutional affiliations will be rejected automatically.   

If you are an undergraduate student, please first select “Individual” under Type of Submission and then “Undergraduate Paper.” 

Panel Proposals must be drafted for a session of either 2 hours in length (3 speakers) or 2 ½ hours (4 speakers).  A respondent may be included in the latter category as a fifth speaker.  Especially welcome are proposals that seek to showcase the research of (under)graduate students of a department in the CAAS region and beyond and include at least one paper to be read by a faculty member who serves as advisor.  Proposals must be submitted by the organizer(s) as a single Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file and include:  

  1. The title of the panel and titles of each individual presentation.
  2. An introductory paragraph that establishes the coherence of the panel as a whole and indicates its original contribution, situating the panel in a larger scholarly context.
  3. Abstracts of the individual presentations. The limit for the proposal as a whole is 1,000 words.
  4. A bibliography of five items (not included in the word limit) following each of the abstracts.  The expectation of the Program Committee is that authors weave these references into the narrative (using parenthetical citations) to build the argument, rather than just listing them at the end of their abstract.  A couple of major/recent publications (depending on the topic of the panel) should feature in the bibliography.  Pedagogy proposals may reference innovative teaching approaches in progress explored by the submitter(s) and/or other educators. 
  5. Beanonymous.  The names of those involved in the proposal — organizer(s), presenters, and respondent (if any) — must not appear anywhere in the submission except when citing their own publications or pedagogical methods, which must be done in the third person.  Abstracts including the names and/or institutional affiliations of the organizer(s), presenters, and respondent will be rejected automatically. 

Workshops/roundtables are typically allocated 2 hours and expected to be devoted, for their most part, to a discussion between the organizer(s)/presenter(s) and the audience.  Presentations, if any, must, therefore, be shorter than those included in organized panels.  All the above guidelines for panels apply to workshop/roundtable proposals except that the limit for the submission as a whole is 700 words, excluding bibliographical references.

Submission of an abstract is a commitment to present the paper in person.  If a paper must be read in absentia due to extenuating circumstances, the author must inform both the presiders and the Program Coordinator, Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos, as soon as they can, and arrange for a reader to read the paper on their behalf.  The author must also register for the Annual Meeting in the respective category (faculty or student).  Mentors of undergraduate students are expected to attend in person.  If this is not possible due to extenuating circumstances, they still must register in order for their name to feature in the final draft of the Program.

All authors will be notified about the status of their submission by/in mid-May 2024.  If the submission is accepted for presentation, all speakers and organizers must register online through Johns Hopkins University Press by September 23, 2024.  After that date, registration is available at the hotel only and at a higher cost.  Authors of individual papers are expected to send a draft of their presentation and a copy of their handout or PowerPoint to their presiders by/on Monday, October 7, 2024. 

All submitters are advised to read the CAAS Anti-Racism Committee statement on condemning the use of the texts, ideals, and images of the Greek and Roman world to promote hateful ideology.

Submit here: https://easychair.org/conferences/?conf=caas2024

For academic questions, please contact CAAS Program Coordinator Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos (knikolou@sju.edu).  Please contact Webmaster Jennifer Ranck (webmaster@caas-cw.org) with technical questions regarding submission through EasyChair.

CAAS Conference Travel Subsidies:  CAAS offers need-based travel subsidies (up to $600) to speakers and members planning to attend the Annual Meeting.  The call for applications will be announced by the Chair of the Program Committee Travel Subsidies Subcommittee in late Spring 2024, after the circulation of the first draft of the Program by the Program Coordinator.  

CAAS Presentation Awards:  In accordance with the Board’s decision at the April 2023 meeting, CAAS recognizes the excellence of papers delivered in person at the annual meeting by means of monetary awards in four categories: Post-Ph.D.; Graduate Student; Undergraduate Student; and K-12 Educator.  Presiders who will receive advance copies of papers to be read in their sessions will nominate outstanding individual presentations after the annual meeting, submitting detailed commentary on oral delivery.  Members of the Awards Subcommittee and/or members of the Program Committee with expertise in the subject will nominate outstanding presenters at organized panels refereed by the Program Committee.  The Chair of the Program Committee Awards Subcommittee will announce recipients of awards before December 31.

CFP: 2023 AIMS International Online Conference

The 2023 Antiquity in Media Studies International Online Conference

Submission deadline: Friday, August 11, 2023

From “mirror of antiquity” to antiquities on screens:
shaping self, persona, society through media/ted encounters with imagined pasts

See the full CFP at our websiteantiquityinmediastudies.wordpress.com

Americas, UK, and EU

Friday-Saturday November 10-11 & 17-18: regular conferencing days

Monday-Thursday November 13-16: special events

Australasia

Saturday-Sunday November 11-12 & 18-19: regular conferencing days

Tuesday-Friday November 14-17: special events

For our 2023 annual meeting, the conference committee of Antiquity in Media Studies invites contributions that engage with this year’s theme, whether through individual case studies, trend analysis, experimental processes, theoretical frameworks for broader inquiry, or creative interpretations. AIMS welcomes contributions from scholars, educators, and creatives that treat a wide variety of media, including but not limited to: the products and production of film, television, analog and video games, novels/genre fiction, fan fiction, comics, manga, anime, animation, fashion, music, theater, dance, cooking, and social media.

AIMS welcomes a variety of formats for the presentation of research, pedagogy, and creative responses to the reception of antiquity, including but not limited to: individual 20-minute papers, three-paper panels, roundtables, workshops, poster sessions, lightning sessions, play-throughs, live multi-player games, technical demonstrations, creative showcases, creator interviews, and other activities that can fit within a 60-90 minute time slot and be delivered remotely at this online conference. NOTE: Research papers will be pre-recorded and available with captioning in advance of the conference, while discussions of these papers will be live.

To submit proposals, please visit our website. AIMS is committed to creating an environment that supports participants of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and we encourage submissions from scholars, educators, and creatives from underrepresented backgrounds. Submissions are due by Friday, August 11.

Questions about the conference? Contact AIMS President Meredith Safran at presidentaims@antiquityinmediastudies.org.

CFP: Identity Play – 15th annual Graduate Student Conference (CUNY Graduate Center)

The graduate students of the Department of Classics at the CUNY Graduate Center are happy to share the call for papers for our 15th annual Graduate Student Conference (Spring 2023).

The conference will be held via Zoom on Friday, April 28, 2023.

This year’s Keynote Speaker is Prof. Cinzia Arruzza (The New School, NYC).

Our sense of identity is fundamental to our sense of self.  Our identities are constructed as we negotiate our relationships within familial, ethnic, political and religious groups; friction between the self and any one of these groups may demand a corresponding shift in the identity of the person or group. 

In this conference, we wish to examine the constructs of identity in the ancient Mediterranean: in particular, instances where identity is concealed or manipulated as an expression of agency or, conversely, disempowerment. What are the implications of this play of identity upon the self and its society? How is identity constructed in response to– and how does it seek to modify– prevailing categories of gender, sexuality and race? To what extent are identity, self, and persona coextensive?

Queen Hatshepsut depicted herself as a male pharaoh, emulating the imagery of her male predecessors, to legitimize her reign. Medea expresses both masculine and feminine traits: when she behaves in archetypically masculine ways, she is ostracized. Are her actions an expression of her empowerment or disempowerment?  Moving from human to national identity: Rome forges an identity around Republican ideals and a thirst for conquest. After the civil wars, Octavian/Augustus manipulates the Roman power structure to create the Empire of Rome; he empowers himself while disempowering Rome’s former elite. Yet the Empire continues to maintain a cohesive identity as it exerts its power and extends its reach.

We seek diverse methodologies: a philologist might, for example, notice how language shifts as entities assume different identities. A historian may examine the change in narrative created by an associated change in self, while a philosopher can review identity play at the cost of the self. A scholar of reception studies might consider how the cultural milieu or the mediums of transmission affect interpretations of ancient personae.

Accordingly, the graduate students at the GC CUNY Department of Classics invite papers from a variety of disciplines, including from departments other than Classics, such as Comparative Literature, History, Philosophy, Art History, Political Science, and Gender Studies. We approach the ancient Mediterranean world broadly, from the 2nd millennium BCE to the fall of the Roman Empire at the end of the 3rd c. CE. We welcome and encourage submissions from individuals of all underrepresented backgrounds.

Please send abstracts of up to 300 words for a 20-minute presentation to identityplay2023@gmail.com in .pdf format, no later than 03/01/2023. Decisions will be made anonymously; please send personal details, such as full name and affiliation, in the body text of your email. Notifications to all applicants will be given by mid-March, 2023.  Questions may be sent to the co-organizers, Victoria Hsu, Patricia Hatcher, and Keren Freidenreich at the same email address.

Please click here to view/download PDF version of this CFP

CFP: The Performance of Roman Comedy

Image

Applications are now open for a National Endowment for the Humanities Institute for Higher Education Faculty on “The Performance of Roman Comedy,” co-directed by T. H. M. Gellar-Goad and Christopher B. Polt.  The Institute takes place July 9–August 4, 2023, on the campus of Boston College.  Application deadline is 11:59pm Eastern on March 3, 2023.  For more information, to see eligibility criteria, and to apply, visit: https://romancomedy.wfu.edu/.

Roman comedy is one of the primary and oldest forms of theater that ancient Romans produced and watched. Nevertheless, all that survives of Roman comedy are its scripts, mere dialogue with no blocking or stage directions. This fact has often resulted in the genre’s being treated as purely textual or entirely ignored in classroom settings. The past few decades, however, have seen the publication of an abundance of scholarship that focuses on the performative nature and performance contexts of Roman comedy. We are now in a position to bring these texts to life, to promote the teaching of them at the college level and beyond, and, in doing so, to illuminate why and how they are so significant for understanding the meaning, comic and dramatic traditions, and cultures of both the ancient world and our own.

Over the course of four weeks this summer, and under the instruction of visiting experts representing three generations of scholarly excellence and a wide variety of research specialties, participants in this Institute will study ancient evidence for and modern experiments in the performance of these plays; the social, historical, and literary contexts of the plays; and their continuing significance and influence. Participants will put their instruction to use by staging and filming scenes from Roman comedy in multiple styles, as well as developing pedagogical modules to apply and share what they have learned from the Institute. Participants in the Institute will come away with an expert handle on cutting-edge scholarship on Roman comedy, with extensive hands-on experience in bringing Roman comedy to life, and with profound effects on their own scholarship and teaching.

Call for Proposals: CAAS 2023 Annual Meeting

Call for Proposals: 2023 Annual Meeting

The Classical Association of the Atlantic States
Dates: October 5-7, 2023
Venue: The Inn at Penn, Philadelphia, PA

**The assessment process has been completed and decisions will be communicated the week of May 8th.**

**CAAS 2023 Annual Meeting open period for submissions is now closed.**

Deadline for all proposals (individual papers, panels, workshops): February 13, 2023 (11:59 p.m. EST)

We invite individual paper, panel, and workshop proposals on all aspects of the classical world and its afterlife. Especially welcome are submissions that propose groundbreaking approaches to established scholarly debates on classical antiquity; that aim at maximum audience participation and integrate the interests of K-12 and college faculty; that explore new strategies and resources for improved and inclusive teaching; that share fresh ideas about communicating the importance of ancient Greece and Rome beyond our discipline and profession; and that reflect on the past, present, and future of Classical Studies in the CAAS region. 

The meeting will take place at The Inn at Penn. The Jerry Clack memorial lecture will be delivered by Professor Yannis Hamilakis (Brown University) at the Penn Museum in the evening of Friday, October 6. 

CAAS Presentation Awards:  CAAS is delighted to announce monetary awards in four different categories for papers that will be accepted and read at the annual meeting: best post-Ph.D. paper; best graduate paper; best undergraduate paper; and best K-12 presentation. Selection criteria will be announced after the circulation of the first draft of the program. 

CAAS Conference Travel Subsidies:  CAAS offers generous travel subsidies (up to $600) to successful submitters and members planning to attend the meeting who can demonstrate a need for funds. Call for applications will be announced in late Spring 2023. 

SUBMISSION DETAILS

Eligibility to submit a proposal:  All submitters must be members of CAAS when they submit their proposal.  The CAAS membership year is January 1-December 31.  Organizers of panels and workshops must verify participants’ membership status before submitting the proposal.  If the submission is accepted for presentation, prior to the annual meeting all speakers and organizers must register and pay the registration fee. 

Single appearance policy:  Each submitter must not submit more than one abstract (whether single- or co-authored).  Authors of individual paper proposals cannot simultaneously submit an abstract as part of a panel or workshop proposal.  Panel and workshop organizers should ensure that participants in their proposed sessions do not appear anywhere else on the program.  Serving as the presider of a paper session appointed by the Program Coordinator is not treated as an appearance on the CAAS Program. 

All presenters are expected to attend the meeting and deliver their paper in person.  In case of an emergency, presenters who are unable to attend in person must inform their presiders and Program Coordinator, Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos, as soon as they can and explore alternative ways of delivering their paper (e.g., having their paper read by another CAAS member attending the meeting or presenting their paper virtually).  Authors of accepted individual papers are required to send a draft of their presentation and a copy of their handout or PowerPoint to their presiders by/on Monday, September 25, 2023.  

Individual Paper Proposals must be no more than 15 minutes in length.  Submissions must be uploaded as an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file of no more than 300 words and must:

  • Include a clearly indicated thesis and original contribution(s) made by the presentation, situating it in a larger scholarly context.  The Program Committee expects to see this in the introductory paragraph. 
  • Be accompanied by a bibliography of five items (not included in the word limit).  The expectation of the Program Committee is that submitters incorporate these references into the abstract (using parenthetical citations) in order to build the argument, rather than just listing them at the end of the abstract.  A couple of major/recent publications (depending on the topic of the presentation) should feature in the bibliography. 
  • Be anonymous. The author’s name should not appear anywhere in the submission except when citing a publication by the author, which should be done in the third person.  Abstracts that include the names and/or institutional affiliations of their authors will be rejected automatically.   

If you are an undergraduate student, please first select “Individual” under Type of Submission and then “Undergraduate Paper.”  

Presenters planning to use PowerPoint or other visual aids will need to bring their own laptop to the meeting.  CAAS is able to supply a screen and a digital light projector.  Presenters will also need to bring their special adapter plug to connect their laptop to the projector. 

Panel and Workshop Proposals may be 2 or 2 ½ hours in length, depending on the number of speakers.  Submissions must be uploaded as an Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) file of no more than 700 words and must include:

  • The title of the session and titles of each individual presentation.
  • A description that clearly indicates the thesis and original contribution made by the panel or workshop, situating the proposal in a larger scholarly context.
  • Brief abstracts of the individual presentations. 
  • A bibliography of five items (not included in the word limit) following each of the abstracts included in the proposal.  The expectation of the Program Committee is that participants in the panel or workshop proposal incorporate these references into their abstract (using parenthetical citations) in order to build the argument, rather than just listing them at the end of their abstract.  A couple of major/recent publications (depending on the topic of the panel/workshop) should feature in the bibliography.

Panel and workshop proposals must be anonymous.  The names of those involved in the proposal — organizer, presenters, and respondent (if any) — must not appear anywhere in the submission except when citing a publication by them, which should be done in the third person.  Abstracts including the names and/or institutional affiliations of the organizer, presenters, and respondent will be rejected automatically.  

Panelists planning to use PowerPoint or other visual aids will need to bring their own laptop to the meeting.  CAAS is able to supply a screen and a digital light projector.  Panelists will also need to bring their special adapter plug to connect their laptop to the projector. 

All authors of paper and panel presentations, presiders/co-presiders are advised to read the CAAS Anti-Racism Committee statement on condemning the use of the texts, ideals, and images of the Greek and Roman world to promote hateful ideology.

For academic questions, please contact CAAS Program Coordinator Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos (knikolou@sju.edu).  Please contact Webmaster Jennifer Ranck (webmaster@caas-cw.org) with technical questions regarding submission. 

CFP: Antiquity in Media Studies (AIMS): 2022 International Online Conference – submission deadline 9/15

Antiquity in Media Studies (AIMS)  2022 International Online Conference

The Kaleidoscope of Antiquity: Shifting Perspectives on the Ancient Mediterranean World and Its Modern Receptions 

Regular conference days: December 1-2 & 9-10 (Americas, UK, EU) / December 2-3 & 10-11 (Australasia) with special events: December 3-8 (Americas, UK, EU) / December 4-9 (Australasia)

Each year’s new wave of receptions of Mediterranean antiquity in global media reinforces how influential this deep past remains in popular imaginations around the world. Despite the many “other worlds” in which narratives may be set, and the shrinking footprint of ancient Mediterranean studies in most educational institutions, this past continues to fire the imagination of creators, comfort the balance sheets of companies, and draw audiences in droves. 

And yet, these receptions of Mediterranean antiquity may not carry the same meanings or associations for all participants, including where individuals’ responses may be informed by various aspects of identity. Like an image in a kaleidoscope, both the antiquity that one sees, and the agency of the viewer in creating that image, change depending on how one twists the scope. There is value in multi-faceted antiquities, as well as in the multifaceted perspectives for viewing them. And yet, if perspectives on antiquity as a historical entity, and the meanings of antiquity in modernity, are kaleidoscopic, inquiries into the meanings of these perspectives are complicated by varying degrees of interest in factuality, complicating how scholars might conceive of the future of informed knowledge about antiquity and its reception as a cultural force in contemporary societies around the world. 

For this year’s annual meeting, AIMS welcomes submissions that explore the kaleidoscopic nature of antiquity and its receptions in a wide variety of media and various proposed formats that can fit within a 60-90 minute time slot and be delivered remotely at this online conference. For further details on media and presentation formats, links to guiding questions for formulating proposals, instructions on how to submit proposals, and information on the structure of this year’s conference, please visit https://antiquityinmediastudies.wordpress.com/call-for-papers/ . AIMS is committed to creating an environment that supports participants of diverse backgrounds and perspectives, and we encourage submissions from scholars from underrepresented backgrounds. Submissions are due by Thursday, September 15

Questions? Please contact AIMS President Meredith Safran at <presidentaims@antiquityinmediastudies.org>. 

CFP CAAS 2022 Annual Meeting: Deadline Extended to March 28, 2022

CAAS Program Coordinator, Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos, announces that the deadline for all individual, panel, and workshop proposals for CAAS 2022 has been extended.  The new deadline for all proposals is Monday, March 28, 2022.

The CFP for CAAS 2022 is now closed and no longer accepting submissions.

Click here to view the complete CFP details

CFP: TAPA – Race and Racism: Beyond the Spectacular – Deadline February 18, 2022

Submission deadline: February 18, 2022

As previously announced, Patrice Rankine and Sasha-Mae Eccleston will serve as guest editors of a future issue of TAPA with the theme of race, racism, and Classics (issue 153:1, to appear April 2023). Their detailed call for papers, along with submission instructions, follows.

Covid-19 and the global Movement 4 Black Lives have highlighted the extent to which racism is a public health emergency whose reach extends across the Black Atlantic and far beyond. In light of these deeply imbricated developments, this volume becomes even more timely.

Race and Racism: Beyond the Spectacular

“…the “cultural logic” of lynching enables it to emerge and persist throughout the modern era because its violence “fit” within the broader, national cultural developments. This synchronicity captures why I refer to lynching as “spectacular”: the violence made certain cultural developments and tensions visible for Americans to confront.”

       Jacqueline Goldsby, A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature

The last few annual meetings of the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) have been the staging ground for long overdue discussions about race and other marginalized identities within the discipline of Classics. These discussions have taken place in spectacular fashion, to borrow from Jacqueline Goldsby’s analysis of the cultural logic of lynching, a violent example of the pervasive yet less visible realities structuring American life. This heightened awareness of race and racism might be a new watershed, but it recalls the polarizing controversies that revolved around Bernal’s Black Athena during the culture wars of the 1980s and 90s. That is, having escaped notice for a time, Classical Studies is once again being made to confront its relationship to broader cultural developments. Through keynotes, presidential panels, award ceremonies, and gatherings of caucus groups, classicists have sought of late to counter the public and blatant acts of racism that have drawn the attention of outlets outside of the regular disciplinary orbit. SCS sessions such as Robin DiAngelo’s “white fragility” workshop have revealed the stability of majoritarian, white supremacist practices, exposing what minoritized members of the field have long known: spectacular acts of bigotry and endangerment are not exceptional, not a blip in the otherwise ‘civilized’ rhythms of scholarly life. They are better publicized iterations of everyday experiences.

For Classical Studies, the spectacular is also prismatic. Modern instantiations of whiteness, race, and racism project back onto the past, so that scholarship regularly and unremarkably advances the cultural logic. This logic likewise recurs in conversations about representational diversity and inclusion. The academy at large has only recently begun to systematically interrogate how professional routines normalize racism and racialize other forms of discrimination.  As a field, the Classics must also imagine a full-throated response to the realities of this discrimination in both its spectacular and mundane manifestations. 

This issue of TAPA intends to be a catalyst for transformative ideas regarding the reality of race and racism within all aspects of Greek and Roman Studies. We seek contributions that analyze and critically engage phenomena which have been considered unrelated to race, have been so familiar as to remain un-critiqued as spectacular, have not yet been brought to light, or that have tended to be avoided for being too disruptive of the disciplinary status quo. Rather than cordon off advances from other branches of scholarship, this issue welcomes reflections on Classical Studies from other disciplines. We remain attentive to the discipline’s self-declared roots in philology. But the scope of this endeavor demands that we also open ourselves up to other models of critique and to the insights that those models produce. To that end, scholars from fields with similar disciplinary trajectories, with research interests that dovetail with Classics, or whose work is assumed to have no relationship to race and/in the Classics are especially encouraged to submit papers.

We offer the following clusters of questions as non-exhaustive entry points into a longer conversation:

What, if any, is the semantic force of the term ‘Classical Studies,’ as opposed to other potential rubrics, e.g., Greek and Roman Studies, Mediterranean Studies, etc.? What is the force of ‘Classical Studies’ in relation to Indigenous Studies, Asian American Studies, Arab American Studies, Latinx Studies and so on?

Are there disciplinary transformations we might use as guides for an anti-racist restructuring of the field?

Though it is often posited as objective and therefore outside of or resistant to so-called ‘cultural difference’, how can philology and other formalisms shed the garb of objectivity to operationalize racial competence?

How has the elasticity of whiteness manifested in periods when the discipline of Classical Studies has been most self-conscious? Has the warm reception of postcolonial studies within the field obscured the relationship between Classical Studies and contemporary forms of imperial conquest, e.g., global markets, philanthropy and humanitarian relief in the Global South, and American educational expansionism?

How can critical approaches to work and other institutions—universities, prisons, the healthcare industry and so on—inform our understanding of the entanglements of our field and its practitioners? What coalitions does such an approach make possible, perhaps at both the local/regional and national levels?

Submission deadlines and instructions:

  • Articles for this issue should be submitted no earlier than August 1, 2021, and no later than February 18, 2022.
  • Submissions should be uploaded via the TAPA online submission system. Please add a note in the title field indicating that you submission is intended for this special issue.
  • Contributors should consult the current Style Sheet for Authors (revised July 13, 2021)
  • All submissions will receive double-blind refereeing as is usual for TAPA.