Michelangelo, “The Creation of Adam” (c. 1508–1512)

Within minutes of the news of Eidolon’s demise, social media flooded with testimony to the life it breathed into classics. Who could have imagined that in five short years, this scrappy, upstart, woman-led magazine could revolutionize a field that for centuries has been a byword for conservatism? Eidolon amplified voices and sparked conversations we’d never before imagined. And now we can’t imagine how we’ll go without.

I’ll leave it to others to give Eidolon the public laudatio it deserves. I just want to offer my personal thanks to a them that’s also an us and you. To me, Eidolon has…


A flash Fall 2020 speaker series “at” UW-Madison

Wall painting from the Villa of the Mysteries, Pompeii. c. 50 B.C.E.

How and to what ends does classical antiquity remain relevant today? How have racism, sexism, and Eurocentrism shaped its study and perceptions? And how can we more accurately understand the multicultural realities of the ancient world and more effectively communicate them to modern publics?

These are questions many classicists ask ourselves on a daily basis — questions I use to frame my “Western Culture: Arts and Literature” undergrad survey (ILS 203). This fall, to my delight, students didn’t shy away from the problems I raised in my introductory lecture. …


About the Future of Classics and Humanistic Higher Ed

Early 3rd-century marble sarcophagus with Selene and Endymion, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

This is the first of a two-part transcript of a conversation with Joy Connolly and Joseph Howley. Check out Part II for professional advice and resources for classics grad students.

On April 23, in response to the COVID-19 crisis, Joseph Howley, Associate Professor of Classics at Columbia University, convened a special Zoom session of the Graduate Research Colloquium featuring Joy Connolly, President of the American Council of Learned Societies. I was honored to join them in discussing the pandemic’s implications for higher ed, the humanities, and classics as a profession — from undergraduate teaching and outreach to graduate training, job…


As We Face Changing Jobs and Markets

Early 3rd-century marble sarcophagus with Selene and Endymion, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

This is the second of a two-part conversation with Joy Connolly and Joseph Howley during a special April 23 session of the Columbia University Graduate Research Colloquium convened in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Read the first part for introductions and big-picture thoughts on the future of higher ed.

Joseph, continuing from Part 1: This does take us into the next set of questions, which are basically about what’s going to happen to the job market and what should graduate students be doing about it.

Joy: The job market is going to be really rough these next couple of years…


John Tully on Alt-Ac Careers and Program Redesign

Katsushika Hokusai, The Hanging-Cloud Bridge at Mount Gyôdô near Ashikaga, from “Remarkable Views of Bridges in Various Provinces,” 1834.

Today marks eminent historian Erich Gruen’s 85th birthday, and the inauguration of the Society for Classical Studies’ first annual Gruen Prize for graduate research on cultural interactions in the ancient Mediterranean. (Submissions are due October 9, and a matching gift will double donations toward the prize endowment.) Like his myriad students, I owe Erich more than I can enumerate: training in how to think, trenchant critique, warm support both professional and personal, years of mentorship that have turned into cherished friendship. But one of his most lasting gifts to me has been my friendship with John Tully.

I first met…


A Classical Lexicon of What’s Getting Us Through this Pandemic

Egyptian writing board with corrections, c. 1981–1802 BC.

April is over, and I see no lilacs in this dead land. My state university is off to a running start with slashing budgets. Mandatory furloughs — grad students are thankfully exempted — will mean more work for less pay in the months to come. Halfway through our department’s online “commencement” this week, Zoom cut out because we haven’t sprung for an institutional account. We couldn’t applaud or raise a glass or be together one last time with PhD students we’ve worked and taught with for six years, and not everyone was lucky enough to have future plans to report.


Classics’ New COVID-19 Relief Fund

Beekeeping scene from an 11th-century manuscript, Abbaye du Mont Cassin vers Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Codex Barberini Latinus 592.

Together, apart.” This phrase is like a seesaw. Which word will tip the balance today? In glass-half-full moods, I tell myself this pandemic could recalibrate our selves and our societies. But as news breaks with fresh evidence of our division, the depression ahead, the ever-receding day when things bend back toward normal, my spirits slam the ground.

Last week was different. Last week something real and good and extraordinary began. On Thursday April 23, the Society for Classical Studies and the Women’s Classical Caucus joined forces to announce $15,000 in emergency COVID-19 relief funds to Classics grad students and contingent…


Animals, the Environment, and the Limits of Empathy

The triumph of Dionysus mosaic at Sétif, with thanks to Dr Sophie Hay for use of the photograph.

On a honeymoon safari in Tanzania two years ago, as my husband slept off a cold he caught on the plane, I spent fireside nights listening to lions roar and reading Out of Africa. This “lyrical meditation” by the Danish author Karen Blixen, writing under the name Isak Dinesen, looks back on her struggle to start a coffee plantation in early twentieth-century Kenya. The farm’s gradual failure, as her marriage and her lover’s Gipsy Moth biplane went up in flames, ultimately forced Blixen back to Europe. …


Prophesying the Future of Our Field

Detail from Hieronymus Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights, oil triptych on oak, c. 1490–1510.

As the earth reawakens outside our closed doors and we livestream springtime rites of renewal, many of us are wondering: what will remain of Classics, what will we resurrect, when this plague recedes?

In the beginning, Ovid says, there was chaos. Then god and a better nature put the elements in their place; made waters, airs, lands, and creatures to inhabit them; then finally man — the only one that looks upward to the stars.


Finishing a Classics PhD During the Pandemic

Pieter Bruegel the Elder, “Hunters in the Snow,” 1565 oil-on-wood painting.

As COVID-19 deaths rise and our lockdowns wear on, many of us are anxiously wondering what our worlds will look like post-coronavirus. But not all of us interact regularly with the graduate students who are the future of classics. Those who’ve finished their coursework and are now dissertating in comparative solitude are the most easily overlooked in this crisis, even though they’re among the most vulnerable to its consequences.

With that in mind, I recently Skyped with three graduate students finishing their PhDs in the department of Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies here at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rebecca…

Nandini Pandey

I’m writing my way through the quarantine and working on a new book on Roman diversity. Now on Twitter @global_classics.

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