Our 2019-2020 lecture series highlights the ways in which Classics can contribute to the study of global issues, and vice versa.
All events are free and open to the public.
This lecture is the first in a yearlong series that puts Classics and Global Studies into dialogue. It seeks to introduce the main themes and subjects of the series by outlining the contours of a new hybrid subfield, “Global Classics”. The aim of educating global citizens capable of tackling global issues is a common theme among twenty-first century universities. But what role can Classics play in this mission? What does it mean to study the ancient world “globally”, and how can the study of antiquity contribute to understanding — and perhaps even addressing — global issues? In this lecture, I argue that defining what “Classics” means in the age of globalization is not only an academic exercise, but a strategic undertaking. I examine and challenge prevailing methods for the global study of Classics and attempt to define those that are on the horizon. At the same time, I investigate the ethics and politics of applying Greek and Roman texts and ideas to contemporary global issues.
Dr. Ramgopal will explore how Romans and non-Romans living along the western coast of the Black Sea adapted to the changing mechanics of imperial administration and Roman citizenship in the second and third centuries CE using epigraphic evidence for intermarriage and worship of the emperor from this region.
This presentation explores some applications of digital mapping technology for pedagogy and research. It discusses Mapping Ancient Texts: Visualizing Greek and Roman Travel Narratives (MAT) (http://mappingancienttexts.net), a queryable web-based geospatial interface capable of visualizing multiple ancient Mediterranean travel narratives simultaneously. It was created by a team of Kenyon College faculty, staff, and students. MAT is inspired by the many excellent research and pedagogical projects that apply GIS technology to the study of the ancient Mediterranean, especially the Ancient World Mapping Center, Pleiades, and Pelagios. Our project is distinguished by its special focus on not just visualizing geographical coordinates, but also representing movement between places. The first part of the talk presents the methods through which the project team is developing the MAT interface and looks at a case study in which MAT’s visualization of all travel narratives that mention the town of Cassiope on Corcyra is used to inform the interpretation of Propertius 1.17. The second part of the talk discusses a project undertaken in an undergraduate Classics course in which students create visualizations from geo-spatial information in Cicero’s letters.
Recently, a surprising group has taken up the mantle of explaining why the study of the ancient Greeks and Romans remains vitally important: the alt-right. Alt-right thinkers present themselves as protectors of the Classics who are saving the cultural heritage of the West from "social justice warrior" professors who secretly want to destroy it. In this lecture, Donna Zuckerberg explores what antiquity means to far-right online communities and what others interested in Classics can do to respond.
Archaeological looting occurs when unauthorized individuals or groups illicitly dig at cultural heritage sites in order to locate valuable antiquities for sale on the black market – or even the legitimate art market. While many authors from various disciplines have written on the extensive damage this does to our understanding of ancient cultures, the influence of archaeological looting runs much deeper. In addition to affecting the ability to study these objects in the future and destroying evidence present at their origin sites, archaeological looting also has the potential to alter the art historical canon, affects the role of museums, and calls attention to issues of ownership. Just as the creation of art alters the cultural understanding of the concept, so does its destruction. While much of the current conversation has revolved around the impact of the conflict in the Middle East, it is equally vital to keep in mind that this continues to be a problem in all source countries.
This talk presents preliminary data from a new research project that attempts to track women's movements throughout the ancient Mediterranean between 600 BCE and 400 CE. The preliminary data presented is primarily from Greek language grave markers, but also includes some citizenship decrees in Greek cities and includes women identified by approximately 60 ethnics from all over the Mediterranean. Because tombs and grants of citizenship are typically marked by ethnics, it allows us to see women who identify as having come from another location than the one they were buried or became a new citizen in. The primary goals of the project are to 1. understand the extent to which women moved in antiquity, 2. the reasons for movements (migration, enslavement, etc), and 3. to bring women to the surface in economic, social, and political histories where they are typically ignored because the data appears outside of standard literary evidence. This data can provide a foundation for comparative studies on the history of migrations, particularly in the Mediterranean.
In this illustrated talk, Professor Peter Meineck will explore how ancient Greek literature can be newly enacted and placed powerfully into service for society today. This talk will focus on Professor Meineck's work with the American veteran community and the with immigrants and refugees in using ancient works to highlight and contextualize important issues facing marginalized communities as well as learning much more about these works from people who have experienced the same kind of events they describe. Professor Meineck will suggest that activating classical works in this way can help us to envision alternate and even better futures for our societies.
Friday, February 28, 2020, 7:00pm - 8:30pm - Hall of Valor, Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial
The Warrior Chorus: American Odyssey – is a national humanities program that will present a public engagement series led by veterans and scholars based around one of the most important works of world literature, Homer’s Odyssey. The Warrior Chorus: American Odyssey will train veterans and scholars in three regional centers to lead audience forums, participatory workshops, public talks and reading groups in 24 locations throughout America, connected with a staging of Emily Wilson’s new translation of The Odyssey. This will be coupled with a dynamic use of social media and a specially developed app. American Odyssey uses Homer’s classical text to inspire people from all backgrounds to reflect on the connections between the works of the ancient Greeks and the issues they reflect in their own lives. The diverse group of American veterans that make up the Warrior Chorus is an excellent resource for fostering conversations, building bridges and bringing people together to experience live events, workshops, lectures, and discussions. American Odyssey also provides a rich contextual frame for ancient literature to inspire in-depth public discussions about conflict, service, country, home, family, identity, leadership – themes every American should have the opportunity to reflect upon as informed citizens in a vibrant democracy.
Wednesday, March 4, 2020, 4:30pm - 4130 Posvar Hall
Freedom was a core value of Classical Athenian democracy, but analyzing Athenian fear of immigrants reveals the potential duality of this principle. In this lecture, Dr. Campa will first demonstrate that ancient democracy uniquely defined freedom for its citizens as the ability to do “whatever one wished.” Citizens were thus remarkably empowered in Athens. The result of entwining citizenship with freedom and power, however, was the ideological exclusion of non-citizens from both. Turning to a historical court case prosecuting an immigrant for masquerading as a citizen, she will then explore how democratic ideology could be mobilized against foreigners. The prosecution attempts to arouse fear in the jury through portraying the defendant, Neaira, as gaining power at the expense of Athenian citizens. By examining the relationship between freedom, power, and citizenship, Dr. Campa aims to elucidate the imagined threat the immigrant wife posed to Athenian citizenship.
Wednesday, March 18, 2020, 4:00pm - Humanities Center, 602 CL