Racism in Classics: A Roundup of Reports, Reactions, and Reflections After the SCS Annual Meeting

Roman era mosaic of a woman looking into a mirror, Musée National de Carthage (Image by Fabien Dany via Wikimedia under a CC-BY-SA-2.5 License).

Please note that this is an updated and cross-posted article. The original can be found on the SCS blog here. I will continue to update this list of responses and statements for the foreseeable future.

It has now been nearly two weeks since the SCS-AIA annual meeting in San Diego, and many have written evocative, emotional, and important pieces about the racist events that occurred there. Instead of posting each separately on our social media or blog, I have tried to compile as many as I could in this post.

In their own words:

Dan-el Padilla Peralta, “Some thoughts on AIA-SCS 2019,” Medium (January 7, 2019).

— — — “SCS 2019: The Future of Classics: Racial Equity and the Production of Knowledge,” Future of Classics Panel (January 5, 2019).

Emma Pettit, “‘My Merit and My Blackness Are Fused to Each Other,” The Chronicle of Higher Education (January 11, 2019).

Follow The Sportula on Twitter or Facebook, learn more about their mission to provide microgrants to classics students in need, and then promote or participate in their new conference: “Naked Soul: A Conference for All of Us.”

Other Reports and Reflections:

Seeta Chaganti, “On Context: AIA-SCS 2019,” Medievalists of Color (January 18, 2019).

Yurie Hong, “Some Concrete Suggestions Post-SCS,” Classics and Social Justice (January 19, 2019).

Young Richard Kim, “Luis Alfaro at the Two SCSs,” SCS Blog (January 10, 2019).

Rebecca Futo Kennedy, “What Future, Classics?” Classics at the Intersections (January 11, 2019).

Emma Pettit, “After Racist Incidents Mire a Conference, Classicists Point to Bigger Problems,” The Chronicle of Higher Education

Josephine Quinn, “After San Diego: Reflections on Racism in Classics,” Council of University Classical Departments Bulletin 48 (2019).

Official Statements and Policies:

SCS Annual Meeting Harassment Statement,” Society for Classical Studies.

Board Statement, “Statement on Racist Acts and Speech at the 2019 SCS Annual Meeting,” Society for Classical Studies (January 6, 2019).

Mary T. Boatwright, “Letter from President Mary T. Boatwright,” Society for Classical Studies.

CAMWS Statement (via email): “President Andrew Faulkner would like you to know that CAMWS has begun the process of writing a Code of Professional Conduct at CAMWS Meetings which we hope to have in place before our meeting in Lincoln.”

UNC Department of Classics Statement, “Statement on Racism and Classics,UNC Classics.

Nancy Sorkin Rabinowitz and Lisl Walsh, WCC co-chairs, “Letter to the SCS and Response by Mary T. Boatwright,” The Women’s Classical Caucus (January 13, 2019; January 14, 2019).

Women’s Classical Committee (UK), “WCC UK Steering Committee Statement on Events at the 2019 SCS-AIA Meeting,Women’s Classical Committee (UK) (January 21, 2019).

Many of you have reached out and asked about the “Future of Classics” video and we assure you that it will be posted on our YouTube channel as soon as we are able to process the videos given to us by the videographer that we hired to film all of the sesquicentennial panels. That should be soon, but we will post an update to this blog and notices on social media as soon as it is posted.

On a more personal level, I will say that while my own reactions and reflections are only ancillary to those made by Prof. Padilla Peralta and The Sportula, I too was incredibly upset by the racist events at the annual meeting. I believe we as a society must commit to sustained engagement in these issues in order to effect change. We must face this head-on and not describe these incidents as anomalous, anecdotal, or due to the mental health of one individual. As Prof. Padilla Peralta stated, “To ascribe racism to an individual pathology is to move the conversation away from where it needs to dwell: the collective pathology of a field that lacks the courage to acknowledge its historical and ongoing inability to value scholars from underrepresented groups.”