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.
2013 Pedagogy Award Winners
Four classics teachers have received the first set of APA Pedagogy Awards. One of the major goals of the APA’s recently and successfully completed capital campaign, Gatekeeper to Gateway: The Campaign for Classics in the Twenty-first Century, was to ensure that an inspiring, well trained teacher would be available for every school and college classics classroom. A subcommittee of the Joint Committee on the Classics in American Education, whose membership is selected from both the APA and the American Classical League, reviewed twenty-one applications requesting funds to support a variety activities that would improve their teaching and their students’ experiences in the classroom. The awards received by the four successful applicants are funded by income derived from the following contributions to the Campaign’s Research and Teaching Endowment: a major gift from an anonymous donor, a contribution from the Classical Association of the Middle West and South (CAMWS), and donations to the Friends of Zeph Stewart Fund.
Rachel Ash (North Gwinnett High School, Norcross, GA) was awarded $1,000 to pursue an M.A. in Latin through the University of Florida’s distance learning program.
Andrew Carroll (Regis Jesuit High School) was awarded $600 to develop a series of videos about Roman and Etruscan sites as part of a curricular revision introducing a ‘flipped’ or ‘inverted’ classroom.
Catherine Nicastro (East Aurora High School, East Aurora, NY) was awarded $1,000 to participate in the Vergilian Society Summer Tour (‘The Italy of Caesar and Vergil’).
Cynthia White (The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ) was awarded $540 to participate in the Pedagogy Rusticatio, an immersion program studying pedagogical strategies for using oral Latin in the classroom.
We are grateful to the selection committee (Eric Dugdale, Gustavus Adolphus College; Keely Lake, Wayland Academy; and Nigel Nicholson, Reed College) for their careful review of the large number of applications. In late 2013 the APA will publish a call for applications for the 2014 Pedagogy Awards and Zeph Stewart Teacher Training Award. Applications will be due around March 1, 2014.
CAMWS Ovationes for 2013
All three recipients of Ovationes at this year’s meeting of CAMWS in Iowa City were APA members. They were Robert W. Cape, Austin College; S. Douglas Olson, University of Minnesota; and Mary Pendergraft, Wake Forest University.
Recent Awards to APA Members
Robert A. Kaster, Princeton University, is one of 198 newly elected members of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. Academy membership encompasses over 4,000 Fellows and 600 Foreign Honorary Members and reflects the full range of disciplines: mathematics, the physical and biological sciences, medicine, the social sciences and humanities, business, government, public affairs, and the arts.
Sarah Insley, Harvard University, is one of 22 ACLS New Faculty Fellows for 2013-2015. Her fellowship appointment will be at Brown University. The New Faculty Fellows program, funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, allows recent Ph.D.s in the humanities to take up two-year positions at universities and colleges across the United States where their particular research and teaching expertise augment departmental offerings.
Susan I. Rotroff, Washington University in St. Louis, is among the 175 recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships for 2013. Prof. Rotroff’s project is “The introduction of the red-figure style and the ceramic chronology of Late Archaic Athens (ca. 530-80 BCE)."
April 2013 President’s Letter: What’s A University For?
In The New York Times on April 5, David Brooks asks a fundamental question: “What is a university for?” (“The Practical University”, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/opinion/Brooks-The-Practical-University.html?ref=davidbrooks&_r=0). In answering, he distinguishes between “two sorts of knowledge, what the philosopher Michael Oakeshott called technical knowledge and practical knowledge”. Basically, “technical knowledge” is “the sort of knowledge you need to understand a task”, “like the recipes in a cookbook”, whereas “practical knowledge” is a kind of “practical moral wisdom”, absorbed rather than memorized, acquired and sustained through practice. According to Brooks, the online revolution in education will have its main effect in the domain of “technical knowledge”, and the real “future of the universities is in practical knowledge”.
This is certainly an interesting way of thinking about what universities do, but it stops short of addressing the initial question, “What is a university for?” In a more Socratic vein, we need to go deeper and to ask what the purpose of a university is, what its goals ought to be, in order to answer that question. One can imagine Socrates interrogating David Brooks along these lines, trying to get him to isolate what the real thing is that universities ought to be aiming at, what their goal, their telos, is. Brooks would begin by offering his two kinds of knowledge as the answer, and Socrates would pick away at them for a while in his usual way, showing that they are surface features of what happens in universities, rather than the actual thing that universities are for. By the end of their conversation, we would reach the familiar impasse—Socrates: “So then, we still do not know what the telos of the university really is”; Brooks: “It appears so, Socrates.” Rather than enact that hypothetical dialog, however, let me refer you to a genuinely Socratic approach to the problem, as given by Richard Gombrich, in a lecture which to my mind offers the best one-word answer to this hard question.
In 2000, towards the end of his tenure as the Boden Professor of Sanskrit at Oxford University (1976—2004), Gombrich gave a lecture at Tokyo University entitled "British Higher Education Policy in the last Twenty Years: The Murder of a Profession" (http://indology.info/papers/gombrich/). In the course of his argument he speaks of how “institutions work best if they have clear goals and are designed to achieve those goals”. Socrates would put it a bit differently, asking, for example, “What is the goal of the art of medicine? It is to cure the sick, is it not? And of navigation? To guide a ship safely?” But this is in effect what Gombrich is saying of the institutions which embody the various “arts”, with his declaration that “hospitals are for care of the sick, orchestras for playing music, and they should be used for those goals”. Analogously, then, says Gombrich, “universities are for truth”. And he expands his definition of this goal: “to promote its pursuit (curiosity) and encourage its use under all circumstances”.
This will sound wildly utopian to many, and you don’t have to be a paid-up poststructuralist to acknowledge that there are different ways of defining truth. But in history and in the contemporary world there are many examples to hand of what happens when a society has no sector dedicated to Gombrich’s kind of truth—to free and disinterested enquiry, and to communicating the fruits of that enquiry. It is not a human activity we should take for granted, and it is always and everywhere under threat. Modern universities are under all kinds of pressures to put other goals first, but it is not only faculty and students who are at risk if members of the universities abandon this species of curiosity and if we stop insisting that in our domain the criteria of truth trump other criteria.
Certainly, the acquisition of technical and practical knowledge is compatible with Gombrich’s definition of what the telos of the university really is: in fact, the better universities are at keeping their eye on their real goal, the better they will succeed at making the acquisition of such knowledge possible. But they need to keep their eye on that goal, on that Socratic telos, if they are to do anything worthwhile.
Update on Annual Meeting Submissions
The deadline for all submissions to the APA Program Committee except individual abstracts is this Friday, April 12, at 5:00 pm Eastern Time. (The individual abstract deadline is Wednesday, May 1.) To make a submission you must be an APA member in good standing for 2013 and create an account at this year's APA program submission system. Please note these important items.
1. You must create an account on the program submission system. It does not automatically contain an account you may have created on the APA's members' only page or on the placement system site.
2. The program submission system will not permit you to create an account if you are not in good standing. If you have not yet paid dues for 2013, and you want to make a submission by the April 12 deadline, you must pay your dues by the close of business tomorrow, Wednesday, April 10 and then wait until Friday, April 12, to make your program submission.
You can pay your dues online at this web site. You will be able to complete this process more quickly if you know your member number. If you do not know that number, you can retrieve it here. Note that you can retrieve your number even if you are not paid up for 2013. If you have any question about your dues status, you may request information from the Johns Hopkins University Press at JRNLCIRC@press.jhu.edu.
Christopher Krebs Wins Book Prize
APA Member, Christopher B. Krebs, Stanford University, has won Phi Beta Kappa's Christian Gauss Award for his work A Most Dangerous Book: Tacitus’s Germania from the Roman Empire to the Third Reich. Phi Beta Kappa has given the Gauss Award since 1950 for books in the field of literary scholarship and criticism.
In Memoriam Charles Murgia
The Department of Classics at the University of California Berkeley reports with sadness the death of Charles Murgia.
President’s Letter for March 2013: STEM Subjects Are Not the Only Essential Ones
There has been a lot of talk in the US recently about the importance of encouraging the study of the so-called STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In the UK, the civil service has long been advocating such an emphasis on STEM, although it is revealing that in the US people still tend to focus on whether this or that education is a good “investment” for the individual, whereas in Britain the government agencies are more concerned with which education is best for society as a whole (on “investment” as the wrong metaphor in the first place, see Bob Connor’s recent post).
In response to this new wave of pressure, there have been a number of excellent defenses of the value of studying non-STEM subjects, and I do not want to rehearse that case here; let me just refer you to the fine column in the Washington Post by Danielle Allen, for example, and to the new AHA website I recently recommended on making the case for the value of the Humanities and Social Sciences. But I just want to comment on the background of the lawmakers who are the most recent ones to advocate strongly for specific practical steps to foster STEM.
The Economist recently had a leader on US immigration reform, in which they applauded in particular an initiative from a bipartisan group of eight Senators which would allow foreign nationals who go to US universities to remain in the country after graduation: “They would…give an automatic green card to anyone gaining a master’s degree or a doctorate in science, technology, engineering or maths from an American university” (February 2nd, 2013, p.10).
This is a very controversial proposal in various ways, as is a similar proposal to give six-year visas to up to 300,000 foreign high-tech workers a year (see the New York TimesOp Ed piece on this subject last month by Ross Eisenbrey). But it’s interesting that no one appears to be advocating giving an automatic green card to anyone gaining an advanced degree in the humanities or social sciences, although even at a crassly utilitarian level it might look like a good idea to increase the number of US residents who, for example, have an intimate knowledge of other languages and cultures. I’m not necessarily arguing for such a green card policy myself, but the assumption that it is self-evidently “useful” to foster certain subjects and not others is worth pushing back against before it becomes completely automatic.
If you look at the educational background of the eight Senators, it’s even more interesting that they appear not to see value in retaining as a member of US society someone with a degree in humanities or social sciences. Only one of the group (Lindsey Graham, R-SC) has an undergraduate major in a science subject (Psychology). The others have undergraduate degrees in History (Michael Bennet, D-CO); International Relations (Dick Durbin, D-IL; Jeff Flake, R-AZ; Marco Rubio, R-FL); Political Science (Bob Menendez, D-NJ); and Government (Chuck Schumer, D-NY). John McCain (R-AZ) attended the Naval Academy at Annapolis, and so wasn’t in the business of choosing majors, but he preferred literary and historical subjects, reporting in his 1999 memoir Faith of My Fathers: “Unfortunately, the curriculum at the Academy was weighted preponderantly toward math and the sciences” (p.134).
In their choices of major, these Senators are fairly representative of their colleagues in Congress. In the 112th Congress, apart from the 26 Members of the House and the single Senator who had no more than a high school diploma, government and the humanities accounted for 55.7% of the undergraduate majors; 13.7% had degrees in Business and Accounting, with 8.4% in Economics. 24 members had a medical degree. Only 11.5% of the members of the 112th Congress had an undergraduate major in Science and Technology (for these figures, see Mark J. Perry’s post).
I can’t help wondering if Messrs. Bennet, Durbin, Flake, Menendez, Rubio and Schumer actually believe that the subjects they majored in are useless and that their undergraduate education did not provide them with skills and perspectives that the country has benefitted from.
Let me be clear: I am enthusiastically in favor of the study of STEM subjects, not least because I believe that science and mathematics are a vital part of a liberal arts education. I’d be very happy to see more highly trained scientists and engineers in government (it may seem redundant to state this, but one can be easily misunderstood in these debates). But the value of a general education in the liberal arts, including science, mathematics, the humanities and social sciences, is something we must keep affirming in the face of the consensus one can sense developing.
I would like to imagine the day when a President gives a State of the Union address to Congress in which he or she quotes the wisdom of George Washington in the first ever State of the Union address, on January 8, 1790: “Nor am I less persuaded, that you will agree with me in opinion, that there is nothing which can better deserve your patronage, than the promotion of Science and Literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of publick happiness.” Even if we update the spelling and take away the Gothic “k” from “publick”, it is hard to imagine a President today writing those words, with their firm understanding of the value of the whole domain of knowledge.
Slate of Candidates for 2013 Election
The 2012-2013 Nominating Committee chaired by Paul Allen Miller and Richard P. Martin has assembled this slate of candidates for the election to be held this summer. Members are reminded that it is possible to nominate additional candidates by petition. Nominations of candidates not proposed by the Nominating Committee shall require the signature of twenty members in good standing (2013 dues must be paid) and must be reported to the Executive Director by April 15, 2013. A current curriculum vitae of the candidate, who must also be a member in good standing, should be submitted by the same deadline.
From President Denis Feeney: New AHA Resource on the Value of the Humanities
An important “Roundtable of links” on “the value of the Humanities” has just been set up by James Grossman, the Executive Director of the American Historical Association; I urge members to have a look at the range of articles and opinion pieces there. This is an important initiative at a time when—as Grossman puts it—“politicians and business leaders across the country have sharply attacked humanistic and social science disciplines as not only frivolous (an old charge as pertaining to the humanities) but also a waste of taxpayers’ money and students’ time”. You can access a variety of papers on this site, including one by APA member Peter Burian. I am sure you will find much ammunition there for your own debates with students and their parents, with administrators and colleagues in other disciplines. It is heartening to see such spirited and well-informed advocacy for the intrinsic value and the social importance of the humanistic and social science disciplines. But we will have to keep making that case.
As you’ll see, James Grossman hopes that colleagues will themselves contribute and send them the link. In that spirit, I recommend, in addition to the contributions on Grossman’s site, the following articles on this important topic: Bob Connor in Inside Higher Ed; Hunter R. Rawlings III and Lillian Aoki in the Huffington Post; and Richard H. Brodhead in the Duke Magazine. Bob Connor’s blog is a great way to stay informed as is his occasional newsletter.
James Werner Halporn (January 14, 1929 – November 13, 2011)
Jim Halporn was born in New York City, grew up on Long Island and carried his accent from there for his whole life — much of it spent far from there. His mother Louisa taught English in the public schools. His father Robert brought much of the influence of his Gymnasium education and Viennese values to educating his son. (Much later, in retirement, Robert moved to Bloomington, where he took a number of Latin and Greek classes with his son’s Indiana University colleagues.)
After a year at St. John’s College, Jim entered Columbia College with the full intention of becoming a chemist, despite his strong interest in literature — from childhood he was a constant reader of anything at hand. That interest, the year at St. John’s, and the first-year humanities courses at Columbia influenced his decision by his senior year to major in classics rather than chemistry. He then concentrated on Latin and started Greek in order to prepare for the Masters degree program at Columbia; following that, he earned his Ph.D. at Cornell. His previous scientific training and inclination gave him a discipline and focus that was an asset to his linguistic and philological future. While at Columbia, he was coxswain for the junior varsity crew. Chosen for his very lightweight physique, his winter training consisted of smoking and playing cards while the oarsmen worked out. He was bemused to have earned a letter in the sport.
Jim's experiences – both as a student and as a teacher of the Columbia humanities core — informed his teaching style and expectations throughout his career. He liked to talk, and he liked to provoke or elicit discussion from his students. Jim had studied under Gilbert Highet, that gifted teacher and scholar of the classics, and thought he had his best lessons in how to teach from him. One of his undergraduate students says, “He was an amusing and very engaging teacher — unsentimental, shrewdly critical, and just. He took pleasure in his students’ peculiarities, and never pressed us into a conventional mold.”
When Jim entered the field of classics his interests were more philological than literary and he edited the text of Cassiodorus' treatise De Anima for his dissertation. This set him on the course of study of early Church Fathers and late antiquity that dominated his research activity. He often strayed into other areas of classics, however, during a distinguished career as a Latin scholar at Indiana University where he taught from 1960 to 1993 and served as chair from 1985 to 1993. As scholar, Jim made significant contributions in three areas: editions and translations of works by Cassiodorus; Latin meter; and Roman comedy.
His edition of De Anima by Cassiodorus is still the standard edition, quoted by everyone who has occasion to mention Cassiodorus and the remarkable age of Theoderic. In retirement he completed his translation of Cassiodorus’ Institutions of Divine and Secular Learning and On the Soul. Two months before his death he submitted a detailed and positive review of a work on Cassiodorus to a grateful university press editor. It must have given him satisfaction to be recognized as the reigning expert in this area, and to feel that with that report he was passing the torch to a worthy scholar of the next generation.
Of his work on metrics, the best known to several generations of grateful students at all levels is the clear and succinct co-authored handbook The Meters of Greek and Latin Poetry. The contributions of Jim and Martin Oswald to that work were translated into German in 1962 as Lateinische Metrik; the rubric beneath the title — Berechtigte Übersetzung aus dem Amerikanischen — must have amused him as a linguist.
Jim’s interest in Roman comedy may have been inspired in part by his maternal grandfather, a Yiddish playwright, who played scenes with him as a young child. Jim passed his expertise in that area down to the graduate students whom he taught, including Sander Goldberg — Jim supervised his special author work on Terence and his dissertation on Menander.
Jim left deep impressions on other graduate students he taught and supervised. John Wright, another of his Ph.D. students, credits Jim with turning him into a scholar — “it's all thanks to him.” From his experiences as an M.A. student, Brent Froberg recalls that Jim “gave our written work the kind of sandpapering that it needed so that we could write clear, persuasive prose.” While that “sandpapering” sometimes drew blood, metaphorically, both in the heavily red-penned results and in battered egos, those who persevered emerged with polished work, which led in turn to jobs, publications, and successful careers.
In the mainframe era of computers (1960s), Jim explored their use in the humanities but was often critical of some of the early applications which he considered too crude for the useful analysis of literary texts. He was, however, quite impressed by the sophisticated digital tools that now support classical scholarship. At the last APA meeting he attended, he discovered electronic devices on display among the publishers' exhibits. He heard Virgil being read on an iPod and bought one immediately after returning home. Following that, he embraced all things “i” and loaded his devices with apps.
After retiring from Indiana University, Jim moved with his wife Barbara to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she was head of the Widener Library’s Collection Development Department. He was actively involved with the Harvard Classics Department as an adjunct professor for almost twenty years, attending talks and conferences, serving on the committee of at least one doctoral student, participating faithfully in a number of graduate seminars, catching up with journals in the Smyth Classical Library, and attending monthly faculty-student lunches, including the one in October, weeks before his death.
A voracious reader since childhood, a haunter of large research libraries since college — how fitting that he was able in retirement to spend so many pleasant and satisfying days in the Widener stacks!
Submitted by Betty Rose Nagle, his student and then colleague at Indiana (heavily indebted to the eulogy delivered at his memorial service by Kathleen Coleman, to the recollections of his wife of 51 years, Barbara, and of several graduate students whom he taught and supervised).
Message from President Denis Feeney on Proposed Name Change
Last October Jeffrey Henderson began a discussion of one of the major recommendations to emerge from the APA Board’s March 2012 retreat, that our organization should change its name so as better to reflect who we are and what we aim to do. In late November he reported to the membership on the over 200 comments received to date, and announced a discussion forum to host further debate. At our Board meeting in Seattle, we took note of the responses and had a wide-ranging discussion of the views of the membership, which at that point were running about 3 to 1 in favor of a change of name, although without consensus on an alternative.
After a lengthy and full discussion, the Board voted in favor of a change of name, to “Society for Classical Studies”, with “Founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association” as a permanent subtitle.
This proposal will be on your ballot in July when you are voting in the usual way in elections for new officers, and it will be a straight up and down, “yes” or “no” vote. We are including the proposal on the election ballot because this is the best way to ensure that as many members as possible will vote on the question of a name change; we want everyone to have the opportunity to express their view on such an important change in the history of our organization.
Let me set out the reasons why the Board believes it is important for our organization to do this (naturally, I am following the lead of Jeffrey Henderson here).
The APA was founded in 1869 as an umbrella group for scholars who were, in the broadest sense, students of language—“philologists”. If you look in the first issues of the Transactions of the American Philological Association (as it then was), you will find articles on Greek and Latin philology, but these are outnumbered by titles such as “On the German vernacular of Pennsylvania”, “On some mistaken notions of Algonkin grammar”, “Contributions to Creole grammar”, “On English vowel quantity in the thirteenth century and in the nineteenth”. As time went by, sub-groups of “philologists” developed new group identities and broke off to form their own associations—the Modern Language Association of America (MLA), for example, in 1883, or the Linguistic Society of America (LSA), in 1924. Classicists were left as the custodians of “Philology”, a term which had originally had a much broader application than what it fairly soon came to represent, “Classics”.
The resulting organization has been highly successful in adapting to all of the changes in life and education over the last century, but we have become more and more a professional organization as well as a learned society, and if we are to flourish then we must, as Jeffrey Henderson put it back in October, adapt to playing “ever broader roles as an academic, professional, and public resource”. While continuing to provide all the professional services which our core constituency needs, we must also advocate for the importance of the Classics in a more engaged way, and we must take seriously our stated Gateway Campaign goal of becoming the go-to place for anyone anywhere interested in anything Classical.
The Board believes that the current name of our organization has become an impediment to these new needs, however proud of and emotionally attached to the name we may be (in my own case, as a member since 1987, I feel very proud and emotionally attached). On the basis of their own personal experience, all members will acknowledge how hard it is to explain to “civilians” what the name of our organization actually means. Certainly, as many contributors to the discussion forum pointed out, “Classics” and “Classical” are not 100% transparent either, but to our colleagues, our students, and to the general public they are far more recognizable and accessible terms than “philology”. Our discipline exists under the terms “Classics” or “Classical” in most institutions of higher education, as a departmental or program name, while many of our journals and affiliated regional and other societies have these words in their names and titles. If we have a brand, “Classics” and “Classical” capture it better than any other language.
This has been a subject of debate within the APA for at least a decade. The Board of Directors believe it is time for the membership to vote on the question. The discussion forum is open. Log in to the forum here, and then click on “Name Change Forum”. Sam Huskey has made these remarks the beginning of a new topic; you can respond to that topic or create a new one of your own. We invite members to engage in debate in our usual positive and constructive manner so that we may have an informed vote in July.
APA Statement on Open Access to Scholarly Publishing in the UK
On February 6, President Denis Feeney and I on behalf of the APA submitted comments to a British Parliamentary Committee investigating the government’s policy on Open Access (OA). Although most scholars support OA in principle, a recent proposal in the UK, resulting from a high-level report in 2012 (the Finch Report), has raised concerns particularly among scholars in the humanities. The proposal would require all UK research that is supported by public funds to be published in OA journals, with the costs to be borne by the researchers themselves rather than the journals. The proposal is complex and the issues are difficult, but Denis and I have tried to present a concise summary (as required by the Committee) of our concerns.
I would be happy to hear any comments you might have on the matter.
Michael Gagarin, VP for Publication and Research (firstname.lastname@example.org)
For those who want more information about this issue, you may go to two responses by the President of the Royal Historical Society, the first with links to the Finch Report and other relevant materials:
Open Access (OA) to Scholarly Publishing in the UK
Comments submitted by
The American Philological Association (APA)
Denis Feeney, President (email@example.com)
Michael Gagarin, Vice President for Publication and Research (firstname.lastname@example.org)
The APA, the principal learned society representing scholars and teachers of Classics located primarily in the US and Canada, is strongly committed to OA as a goal for all publication and research in the area of Classics. We recognize, however, that the move to OA raises complex and difficult issues, and we thus welcome the proposals made in the Finch Report to address these issues, many of which would be positive steps in the direction of OA. At the same time, the Finch report raises some significant concerns, which in our view must be addressed in any plan for implementing their recommendations. Many of these stem from the fact that the report views OA primarily as it affects medical and scientific research. Because conditions affecting the social sciences and humanities differ in several significant respects, we are concerned about the negative effects on research in Classics in the US and abroad.
1. Most research in Classics is single-author, and either is not funded or is funded by grants or fellowships that only provide relief from teaching; this leaves no consistent funding for author publishing charges (APCs). Requiring researchers to pay to have their work published would seriously burden those who are poor or not connected to a well-endowed institution; any system that favors the rich could significantly reduce the quality of journal publications.
2. Publication in the form of monographs or collections of essays is much more important in the social sciences and humanities than in the sciences. In Classics in particular, the proliferation of essay collections in the last few decades has meant that many senior scholars -- those with the best access to APC funds -- rarely if ever publish in refereed journals. Journals would therefore be left to recover the costs of publishing almost entirely from younger scholars, who are least able to pay.
We mention as a footnote that an experiment, funded by the Mellon Foundation, is underway in the US for an OA monograph series; it is too early to predict the results.
3. Classics, like many humanistic fields, is broadly international; indeed a good many APA members are housed in other countries, including the UK. Many journals publish articles in more than one language and scholars everywhere publish their work with presses and journals in many other countries. Any movement to OA in the UK alone, especially if a requirement for OA is included in future Research Assessments, would restrict the ability of UK scholars to have their work published, reduce the submission of papers to UK journals by non-UK scholars, and discourage journals in other countries from publishing the work of UK scholars. The harm done to the international exchange of ideas in Classics would be notable.
4.For all of these reasons, we strongly support the Conclusion of the British Academy's submission to the House of Lords Select Committee, that the special circumstances of the humanities and social sciences be particularly considered in planning the implementation of the proposed OA policies.
DAVID YOUNG, Pindarist and Olympic Historian
David C. Young, Professor Emeritus of Classics at the University of Florida (http://web.classics.ufl.edu/faculty/faculty_o/young.html), died February 5, 2013. An internationally recognized scholar of Pindar and a pioneer in the history of the Olympic games, David was recognized with a Lifetime Distinguished Scholar Award in 2007 by the International Society of Olympic Historians. He taught at the University of California, Santa Barbara (1963-1989) and was a visiting professor at Stanford (1974, 1976) and the University of Michigan (1973, 1983) before joining the faculty at the University of Florida where he was a beloved teacher who inspired students for twenty years.
The Department of Classics at the University of Florida will post information here http://web.classics.ufl.edu/index.html regarding a memorial service to be held in his honor in Gainesville, FL. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we may assist you to attend.
Victoria Pagan, Professor and Chair, Department of Classics, University of Florida, 115C Dauer Hall, PO Box 117435, Gainesville, FL, 32611-7435; (352) 392-2075; email@example.com