Publishing and the Early Career Classicist

I meant to post a link to this very useful pdf a while ago when it was making the rounds … here’s some background from the intro:

This collection is based on presentations given at a half-day workshop held at the Institute of Classical Studies in May 2011. It is aimed at those approaching the end of, or who have recently received, their PhDs, and who would like some advice on thinking strategically about publication of their research, to raise their publishing profile most effectively and to maximize their attractiveness to potential academic employers…

Classicists Rule!!!

A couple of items of interest which coincidentaly passed under my caerulean gaze this week … first, one of the Discover Magazine blogs confirmed (based on GRE matters) what we all know (but which appears to be a surprise to some): Classicists are Smart! … inter alia:

I looked at the average verbal and mathematical score for each discipline. Then I converted them to standard deviation units away from the mean. This is useful because there’s an unfortunate compression and inflation on the mathematical scores. Disciplines which are stronger in math are going to have a greater average because the math averages are higher all around. You can see that I divided the chart into quadrants. There are no great surprises. People who want to pursue a doctorate in physical education are in the bottom left quadrant. Sorry. As in my previous post physicists, economists, and philosophers do rather well. But there were some surprises at the more detailed scale. Historians of science, and those graduate students who wish to pursue classics or classical languages are very bright. Budding historians of science have a relatively balanced intellectual profile, and the strongest writing scores of any group except for philosophers. I think I know why: many of these individuals have a science background, but later became interested in history. They are by nature relatively broad generalists. I have no idea why people drawn to traditionally classical fields are bright, but I wonder if it is because these are not “sexy” domains, to the point where you have to have a proactive interest in the intellectual enterprise.

… one really has to read the whole thing to get the full effect. One of the comments (by ClassicsPhD) pretty much says what most of us are probably thinking:

As a Classics PhD (Berkeley; BAs in Philosophy and Classics) and professor of Classics, the only thing I find surprising—or rather, we’re chuckling at it here at the dept.—in the article above is the author’s apparent surprise at the overarching intelligence of Classicists.

A few observations:

Classical Languages should be in the plural; no one studies but one in grad school. Although we generally specialize, as researchers, in one or the other (i.e., Latin or Greek), both languages are studied and examined equally in grad school (as are, of course, the modern scholarly languages required).

I am unclear on the differentiation between “Classics” and “Classical Language (sic)” here; there are no PhD programs that allow one to earn an advanced degree in “Classics” without the Classical languages (there are “Classical Studies” BAs that may require only two years in one of the languages, but such degrees do not lead to graduate study). I suspect that this may have something to do with the ways in which reporting depts. identify themselves, but I am not at all sure.

Emil: “I am surprised to see classicists up there… [though] I have never spoken with one.” Indeed.

While I was still basking in the overinflated self esteem that would come from reading such findings, I was also heartened to read the incipit of this item in USA Today:

A liberal arts education can provide a leg up in a down economy, a survey suggests.

Recent college graduates who as seniors scored highest on a standardized test to measure how well they think, reason and write — skills most associated with a liberal arts education — were far more likely to be better off financially than those who scored lowest, says the survey, released Wednesday by the Social Science Research Council, an independent organization.

It found that students who had mastered the ability to think critically, reason analytically and write effectively by their senior year were:

•Three times less likely to be unemployed than those who hadn’t (3.1% vs. 9.6%).

•Half as likely to be living with their parents (18% vs. 35%).

•Far less likely to have amassed credit card debt (37% vs. 51%).

Grades and other factors influence a student’s chances of success, too. Graduates of colleges with tougher admissions standards tended to have fewer debts and were less likely to live with their parents, the study found.

A report this month by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, which studies the labor-market value of college degrees, found that recent graduates with a bachelor’s degree in architecture had the highest average jobless rate (13.9%, vs. 8.9% for all recent college graduates). Education and health care majors had some of the lowest jobless rates.

The findings released Wednesday “show something new and different,” says lead author Richard Arum, a New York University professor. “Students would do well to appreciate the extent to which their development of general skills, not just majors and institution attended, is related to successful adult transitions.”

… you can read the full report at the SSRC site. Of course, engineers come out on top, as often, but while Classics is not specified specifically (I do that sort of word pairing a lot lately), the claims of unemployability of humanities types seems to be largely discredited by this study … perhaps this study can be thrown in the face of those ‘restructuralist’ university presidents who think we should only think of the employment potential of subjects when deciding whether to axe a department …

CFP: Logos, Mythos, Sophos (Warminster)

Seen on the Classicists list:


Friday, 29 June to Sunday, 1 July

Ivy House, Warminster, Wiltshire, UK

Logos, Mythos, Sophos : Reason and Myth in the Search for Wisdom

The Platonic tradition has always embraced both reason and myth in its cultivation of wisdom – but what is their relationship? Are they in opposition or complementary? How should we understand Socrates’ views on Homer and his fellow poets as stated in the second and third books of the Republic, and Proclus’ response in his Scholia on that dialogue? As philosophers within our own time and culture, are we still able to balance the two approaches and take from each the insights available to those of ancient times? What kinds of reasoning and what kinds of myths contribute to our own cultivation of wisdom?

Papers are invited from those interested in these areas for presentation at the seventh Prometheus Trust conference. We hope that the subject will attract speakers from both academic and non-academic backgrounds who share a common love of wisdom.

Abstracts should be no more than 300 words and should be with us at the latest by Friday, 30 March 2012. Acceptance of these will be confirmed as quickly as possible.

Papers should be around 2500-3000 words or 20 minutes’ presentation (we usually allow a further 20 minutes for a question and answer session after each presentation).

Bookings should be received by us not later than Monday, 30 April 2011.

We are delighted that Professor John F Finamore has agreed to be our keynote speaker. John is a professor of Classics at The University of Iowa, where he has taught since 1983 and was chair from 2002-2007. He teaches courses in Greek and Roman Philosophy, Word Power, Greek, and Latin. Professor Finamore is the author of Iamblichus and the Theory of the Vehicle of the Soul (1985), Iamblichus’ De Anima: Text, Translation, and Commentary (with J.M. Dillon, 2002) and co-editor (with R. Berchman) of both Plato Redivivus: History of Platonism (New Orleans, 2005) and Metaphysical Patterns in Platonism: Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern Times (New Orleans, 2007), and he has written numerous articles on philosophy and literature. He is editor of The International Journal of the Platonic Tradition and president of the U.S. section of the International Society for Neoplatonic Studies. His research interests include ancient philosophy, the Platonic Tradition, and Latin poetry. Professor Finamore holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Maryland, an M.A. in Philosophy from Tufts, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Classics from Rutgers.


The conference will take place at Ivy House, a retreat centre in Warminster, which is comfortable and well appointed. Residential prices are for full board for the weekend (from Friday supper to Sunday tea) and are £130 (£95 for students). Students are requested to share a bedroom if there are no single rooms available when they book. Please contact the Treasurer in confidence if you cannot afford these fees as it may be possible to offer you a bursary.

For those who wish to attend the conference but who do not wish to stay or eat at Ivy House, there are inexpensive residential pubs in Warminster and several take-aways/cafes/restaurants. It would be your responsibility to arrange accommodation and food; attendance at Ivy House on a non-residential basis costs £20 per day (to include refreshments and lunch) plus the conference fee. We can forward a list of local accommodation.

Conference fee: This charge is £40 and is payable with your booking. It is non-refundable in the event of cancellation. Accommodation fees are payable by end of May. Ivy House has its own cancellation policy – details if required from the Conference Secretary.

Booking forms are available from the Conference Secretary at the address below, phone or email. Completed forms with your deposit of £40 should be returned by MONDAY, 30 APRIL at the very latest.

Travel: Warminster is on the main train line from South Wales and the South Coast and is easily reached from London via Bath or Salisbury. Buses run from Bath, Bristol and Salisbury and coaches from London.

Prometheus Trust
28 Petticoat Lane
Dilton Marsh, Westbury
Wilts, BA13 4DG
01373 825808

Theft From Oplontis

It’s really depressing working through the backlog of Italian press articles tonight … Beyond the attention being paid to the Colosseum and its plight (which I’ll blog about soon … I promise) it’s clear that something is not right with Italian antiquities right now … this Repubblica article details the theft of an amphora and candelabra from storage facilities at Oplontis, and concerns for other items stored there which probably should be on display:

Sottratti un’anforetta e un candelabro dal deposito della Villa di Poppea

“La scomparsa di due preziosi reperti romani dal deposito archeologico della villa di Poppea a Oplontis è un fatto di notevole gravità che apre scenari inquietanti su come sono custodite le preziose testimonianze archeologiche dell’area vesuviana”.

E’ quanto afferma l’architetto Antonio Irlando, responsabile dell’Osservatorio patrimonio culturale, commentando la notizia pubblicata oggi dal quotidiano “Metropolis” relativa alla denunzia che la soprintendenza archeologica di Pompei ha presentato ai carabinieri del comando di Torre Annunziata per la scomparsa di un’anforetta e di un candelabro dal deposito degli scavi archeologici della villa di Poppea a Torre Annunziata, episodio sul quale ora indaga la procura della Repubblica.

“I reperti di Oplontis sono un unicum – spiega Antonio Irlando – la loro straordinaria fattura conferma il carattere imperiale di una villa straordinaria, frequentata dall’influente corte di Nerone”.

Gli scavi di Oplontis sono composti da due ville romane di notevoli dimensioni, la Villa di Poppea, struttura residenziale che sorgeva lungo la costa vesuviana con decine di ambienti decorati da pregiate pitture e pavimenti in marmo e mosaico e la villa di Crasso, una grandiosa residenza su due livelli, dove insieme a numerosi scheletri furono trovati numerosi preziosi gioielli in oro.

“E’ inammissibile che da oltre trent’anni diverse statue e oggetti in marmo, tra cui un’originalissima centauressa, vasellame in terracotta e lucerne – conclude il responsabile di Osservatorio patrimonio culturale – siano ammassati in un piccolo magazzino, non visibili al pubblico ed esposti a rischi gravissimi, come questo episodio conferma”.

Samnite Tombs Vandalized

I doubt this will make it to the English press, but it should … Corriere del Mezzogiorno relates how vandals/tombaroli broke into the archaeological zone at Santa Maria Capua Vetere — the ancient city of Capua — and trashed a number of the Samnite Tombs there. These tombs, among other things, were notable for frescoes which adorned the walls. In any event, here’s the report:

Vandali in azione nell’area archeologica di santa Maria Capua Vetere. A pochi passi dall’anfiteatro campano distrutte alcune tombe sannitiche.

TOMBE DISTRUTTE – E’ accaduto durante la notte di lunedì e martedì. Ignoti si sono introdotti nell’area archeologica di santa Maria Capua Vetere, in provincia di Caserta ed hanno devastato alcune tombe sannitiche risalenti al IV sec. a.C. A lanciare l’allarme il funzionario responsabile dell’Ufficio per i Beni Archeologici dott. Francesco Sirano che accortosi dell’accaduto ha avvertito la locale compagnia dei carabinieri. Dai primi rilievi sembra che i vandali siano penetrati di notte nell’area archeologica – celebre per i resti dell’ anfiteatro campano, secondo per dimensioni solo al più noto Colosseo – e con l’ausilio di un manicotto dell’antincendio hanno distrutto tre «tombe a camera» d’età sannitica.

RISALENTI AL IV SEC. A. C. – «Le tombe devastate – spiega Elisabetta Vitale, archeologa de La Sapienza – sono del tipo a semi camera, una delle testimonianze più importante degli equites campani. Monumenti funerari in lastroni di tufo dipinti con scene che raffigurano cene con il ritorno del guerriero».

LA «VULNERABILITÀ» DELL’AREA – Sotto i riflettori finisce così la vulnerabilità dell’area. «In una zona dove i tombaroli la fanno da padrone – sottolinea l’archeologa – eventi del genere gettano luce sulla scarsa protezione dei siti archeologici, anche se la devastazione delle tombe sannitiche è un gesto senza alcuna motivazione logica e senza alcuna finalità».

The original report includes photos of the destruction … here’s one of them (there are more):

Greek Gods on Fakebook

Not a type … saw this in the Gazette … an idea with potential:

On her profile, Pandora agonizes about having opened the box. “I am so ashamed,” she writes, “I’ve opened the golden box and thousands of little lizard-looking creatures escaped! I am so worried.”

Zeus, who according to his profile was born in 1971 BC, “is loving being king of all the Gods,” but Hades openly disagrees.

“Shut up about that,” said a comment that he left on Zeus’s wall. “Ruling the Underworld is so much better.”

That’s what happened to ancient Greek gods recently when students were asked to make Fakebook profiles for the mythological characters.

“It makes it interesting and exciting for them. It’s doing a research and report, but it’s doing it in a new format,” said English teacher Jack Fraser from Westwood High School’s Junior Campus in St. Lazare, who had students pull gods out of a hat and fill in the date of birth, list of friends, and comments on their walls.

“They are going to have to use their imaginations – it’s an English class after all,” Fraser said, adding that, in a way, he asked students to think about what Zeus’s Facebook page would look like if Zeus were real. “But it has to make sense, it has to fit with the character.”

The “k” is not a typo – he is using Fakebook, not Facebook.

Fakebook is a Facebook look-alike website minus the social networking. Created as an educational tool about a year ago, it allows students to make profiles for literary and historical figures – without interacting with other users on the site.

“Kids love Facebook and you always have to latch on to what they’re enthused about and channel it into the classroom,” said Russel Tarr, who made the site. Tarr teaches history at the International School of Toulouse, in France, and had originally used the webpage for profiles of Mussolini, Franco, and Stalin.

Tarr says he is surprised by how popular the site has become. With a quarter million views per week, it is now also used not only in English and history, but also by mathematics teachers to make profiles for circles and triangles, in biology to teach the different parts of a cell, and in chemistry, he said.

When the elements of the periodic table get Fakebook profiles, their date of birth can be their date of discovery, while their friends are the other elements that they bond with, Tarr said.

Tarr created Fakebook in part because most schools do not allow students to access Facebook.

That is also the case at the Lester B. Pearson School Board, where access to

Facebook remains blocked. A year ago, the school board made news by announcing that it would be the first in the province to launch a digital citizenship program, which would teach students about using the Internet responsibly, and one day allow them access to Facebook in class. Almost a year later, however, only YouTube has been unblocked, according to Fraser.

A hidden agenda of the Fakebook exercise is to prepare students for Facebook, he said.

“How to write and be responsible on the Net – how to say things that are appropriate and be aware of what is said – they have to learn that,” he said, noting that the school has had problems with students leaving offensive comments about their classmates or teachers on Facebook. “That has to be taught. You can’t just assume they’re going to figure it out.”

One English teacher, however, recently used Facebook to teach Shakespeare to her high school class in St. Lambert. This became possible after the Access Adult Education and Career Training Centre decided in October to give students access to Facebook in class.

Students were assigned to characters from Romeo and Juliet and acted out the play in modern English on each other’s walls. The result was a Romeo who has a degree from Harvard but mops the floor at McDonald’s, a friar who works as a part-time drug-dealer, and a nurse, who inquired on the friar’s wall whether it would be okay to confess online.

“Shakespeare is not really meant to be read like a novel. I would want to tear my hair out if (when I was in high school) I was made to sit down and read it,” said teacher Diane Alken, who staged the Facebook play.

Alken is now planning to put Macbeth on Facebook and has been asked to give a talk to other teachers about using the social networking site as an educational tool.

“It shouldn’t be treated as some kind of evil site,” she said. “I think it’s good to interact with this new form of literacy, this technological literacy.”

To see a Greek mythology page on Fakebook, visit

… of course, we’ve mentioned the Facebook Aeneid (which has disappeared from it’s original home at eternally cool, along with eternally cool, it appears). I seem to recall there were others in this genre, but I’m coming up empty …

Robert Garland (and others) at Udemy

From Colgate University:

Forty-eight hours after posting his first installment of Ancient Greek Religion online at, Robert Garland had 99 viewers for his new video course. Garland, professor of classics at Colgate, is one of about a dozen professors from universities including Duke, Northwestern, and Stanford who donated content that is now available at no charge through Udemy’s Faculty Project.

“I went into this believing it’s a public service and would advance anyone who is interested in Greek religion,” Garland said. “And as a humanist, I feel that I should do this in defense of the humanities.”

Garland has experience offering online course content. A couple of years ago, he recorded an 18-hour course, Greece and Rome: An Integrated History of the Ancient Mediterranean, for The Teaching Company. That program, he said, is aimed at professionals and life-long learners who can afford to buy it.

His program for Udemy is much more casual. In the past week, Garland posted 18 monologues, each one 15-20 minutes long. He recorded them in his home office using an external microphone and his computer’s built-in camera.

“I basically just talked about a subject that interests me, and that I haven’t taught at Colgate, or anywhere else, in at least a decade.”

Garland’s academic specialties include Greek religion, urban development, and society and social values. He is the author of several books including Religion and the Greeks (Duckworth Publishers, 2001).

The Colgate piece also has a link to the ‘sign up’ page for Garland’s course, but there are more (and it’s somewhat difficult to find things of interest to us, so here’s what I managed to find) … I think all of these are free (perhaps just the first lecture?), although there are some ‘payfer’ courses on the site too; some might mirror things on iTunes:



  • Latin 101 (Brian Craig … only one lecture there)