Silver Spring MD, 10-12 October: It’s the 2019 CAAS Annual Meeting, and RU Classics will most definitely be present

The Sheraton Silver Springs—site of CAAS 2019—from back in the day

In 1842, Washington Globe newspaper editor Francis Preston Blair and his daughter Elizabeth Blair came upon a “mica-flecked” spring just north of the District of Columbia line. They fell in love with the property, so much so that Blair Sr. bought it up, together with a large swath of the land that surrounded it, and there built a large summer home which he called “Silver Spring“. The Blair family’s primary residence would remain the famous Blair House in DC—now part of the complex that forms the US President’s guest house.

Alas, the summer home is gone and the mica stream is nowhere to be seen. However, a bit of the original Blair property can be glimpsed at Acorn Urban Park, a tiny (0.1247-acre) green space in south Silver Spring, that features a 19th-century acorn-shaped gazebo (believed to be from Blair’s property) and an artificial grotto to boot.

Silver Spring’s Acorn Urban Park is close to the site of the original “mica-flecked” spring that got it all started

About three-quarters of a mile due north of Acorn Park is the Sheraton Silver Spring Hotel on Georgia Avenue—site of the Classical Association of the Atlantic States 2019 Annual Meeting that takes place 10-12 October. There’s too much going on to list all the highlights (see the full program at this link), but here’s a handy list of the Rutgers-related presentations… Continue reading

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Looking back at RU grad student-organized international conference ‘Food & Drink in the Ancient World’ (31 May-1 June 2019)

It went by in almost the blink of an eye—or so it seemed. Over the course of two days marked by gloriously warm late spring weather, the Cook / Douglass campus of Rutgers University-New Brunswick hosted “Food and Drink in the Ancient World” (Friday 31 May-Saturday 1 June 2019).

It’s not often that one wants an academic gathering to extend well beyond its schedule, but for many participants, this was such a case. The topics presented here certainly were rich enough to provide discussion for many further days, if not weeks. And then there was the actual food and drink…

This Rutgers international conference (Twitter hashtag = #RUFoodDrink) featured 17 speakers, including presenters from Israel, France, Germany and the UK. Registration pretty much met capacity, and it was hard to spot spare empty chairs during the keynote (by Dr Kristina Killgrove) and five paper sessions. Conference-wide communal meals highlighted the cuisine of Greece, Italy, and—in a bold experimental gesture—ancient Rome. And it was all exquisitely organized by two Rutgers Classics PhD candidates, Emmanuel Aprilakis and Nicole Nowbahar.

An Italian-themed lunch featured on Day 2 of the conference, in the stunning atrium of the Institute of Food, Nutrition and Health. Day 1 focused on the cuisine of Greece, and was spectacularly catered by Pithari Taverna (Highland Park NJ)

Co-sponsors were many: the Rutgers departments of ClassicsArt History, and Italian, its Center for European Studies, and especially the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (= SEBS), which provided major support.  The Classical Association of the Atlantic States helped fund the proceedings with a generous Leadership Initiative Grant. Douglass Residential College generously provided its cheery Trayes Hall for the first day of papers, and SEBS its striking new NJ Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health for the second, which closed with the “ancient” Roman feast.

Crucial support for the conference was offered by Classics chair James McGlew; Dr Robert M. Goodman, executive dean of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences and executive director of the Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station; and also Dr Lia Papathomas, Director of Operations of the NJ-based team for the innovative New Agriculture for a New Generation Program.

A glimpse of some elements of the recreated ancient Roman feast offered to conference participants after the Saturday paper sessions

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RU Classics recap of graduates’ degrees, honors and glory: 2019 edition

Professor Emily Allen-Hornblower, Classics Undergraduate Director, enters HighPoint.com Stadium at the start of the Rutgers School of Arts & Sciences convocation, preceded by Classics Administrator Tandria Cooper (with placard)

This past Sunday (19 May), Rutgers’ HighPoint.com Stadium was the sun-drenched venue for the University’s 253rd commencement exercises. Fully 18,825 candidates received undergraduate or graduate degrees, making the Class of 2019 the University’s largest ever.

Ten of the 12,187 baccalaureate degree recipients majored in Classics: Kathleen M. Carmien (double major with English), Max J. Duboff (with Philosophy), Emily V. Ezzo (with English), Khaleel-Allen Jackson, Olivia Lombardo (with Political Science), Ivan Maiorov (with an additional minor in Greek), Matthew R. Martin (with History), Emmet A. O’Brien (with History), Margarita Osmanoff, and Joseph V. Santoro (with Economics).

Plus Kathleen Carmien, Max Duboff, and Emily Ezzo received Honors for their work in the Classics major.

The oceanic crowd of Rutgers graduates in HighPoint.com Stadium, as seen from the camera of Professor Emily Allen-Hornblower (at right)

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Food & Drink in the Ancient World (31 May-1 June 2019): Register now for this RU graduate student-organized conference

The Cook / Douglass campus of Rutgers University-New Brunswick will be the location for “Food and Drink in the Ancient World” (Friday 31 May-Saturday 1 June), an international conference organized by Rutgers Classics graduate students Emmanuel Aprilakis and Nicole Nowbahar, with the co-sponsorship of the Rutgers departments of Classics, Art History, and Italian, its Center for European Studies, and especially the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (which has provided major support). The Classical Association of the Atlantic States also has helped fund the proceedings with a generous Leadership Initiative Grant.

If you are interested in attending, please register here. (Best by 27 May.) And check out the full exciting program below!

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Whiting Foundation awards prof Emily Allen-Hornblower a 2019/20 Public Engagement Seed Grant

Professor Emily Allen-Hornblower, Rutgers Department of Classics

The Whiting Foundation has awarded Emily Allen-Hornblower, associate professor of Classics at Rutgers-New Brunswick, one of its five Public Engagement Seed Grants for 2019-20 for a series of communal conversations, “The Public Face of Emotions: Public Engagement and the Emotions in Our Lives”.

The project aims to engage the public in discussions of ancient Greek tragedy and epic with formerly incarcerated men and women—mainly Allen-Hornblower’s former students from her teaching in NJ prisons—as an opportunity for the building of civic bridges.

The Whiting Public Engagement Seed Grants are part of the foundation’s larger Public Engagement Programs, initiated in 2016 “to celebrate and empower humanities faculty who embrace public engagement as part of the scholarly vocation”.

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Nicole Nowbahar is RU Classics’ 2018/9 Affiliated Fellow of the American Academy in Rome

RU Classics PhD candidate Nicole Nowbahar in front of the Constitution of the Roman Republic of 1849 [inscribed 2011], overlooking the city from the Passeggiata del Gianicolo.

Nicole (Nykki) Nowbahar is in her fifth year in the Rutgers Classics PhD program, completing her dissertation on transgressive dress practices by Roman women, and currently representing Rutgers as our department’s fourth annual Affiliated Fellow of the American Academy in Rome. Nicole came to Rutgers in 2014 from the Macaulay Honors College of Queens College / CUNY, where she double majored in Classics and English and participated in the Mellon-Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. We asked Nicole while still in Rome to write up some of her impressions of her time at the Academy.

The American Academy in Rome Affiliated Fellowship has been such an amazing experience and crucial to my dissertation work. My dissertation is focused on both the ideal and transgressive clothing of Roman women. I look specifically at literary examples of cross-dressing women, who wear armor or men’s clothing for different purposes. Before discussing these instances of women wearing transgressive clothing, my first three chapters examine the ideal dress of women in literature and material culture.

During this fellowship, my mission has been to look at as many as I can of ancient sculptures, frescoes, and other ancient works depicting the clothed female body. By understanding how Romans visually depicted the ideal clothed woman, I will be able to understand the nuances and significance of dress that does not fit this ideal standard.

Statue of Aphrodite in Rome’s Centrale Montemartini Museum.

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A Rutgers Classics conference ‘Food & Drink in the Ancient World’ (31 May / 1 June 2019): call for papers


CONFERENCE CALL FOR PAPERS: Food and Drink in the Ancient World

Rutgers University (New Brunswick NJ), Friday 31 May—Saturday 1 June 2019

Keynote Speaker: Dr Kristina Killgrove, UNC Chapel Hill

Extended deadline for submissions: 15 February 2019

Human activity is regulated by the constant need to acquire and consume food. Assuredly, food and drink played a significant role in antiquity just as now, and, since we all must eat and drink, we naturally become curious about what and how our distant ancestors ate and drank (Alcock 2006). The study of food and drink in the ancient world expanded tremendously in the 1990s and has continued to do so in the decades following (e.g. Davison 1997, Garnsey 1999, Wilkins and Hill 2006). This resultant trend is partly owed to a focus in research less preoccupied with the great deeds of great men, but one open to seeing antiquity as a period that offers a wealth of information on the varied life of the everyday world (Donahue 2015).

One does not need to look far in the corpus of classical literature to find mention of viands—there is animal sacrifice in the epics of Homer and Vergil, ever-flowing wine in the sympotic and love elegies of Alcaeus and Horace, conceited cooks in the comedies of Aristophanes and Plautus, and indulgence in the elite banquets of the Deipnosophistai and Satyrica. Beyond these portraits, there are ancient treatises specifically devoted to the topic of food and drink—both philosophical, such as Porphyry’s On Abstinence from Animal Food, and medical, e.g. Galen’s On the Power of Foods. In supplementation of investigations based on literary texts, archaeology has produced an immense amount of information for our understanding of consumption in antiquity. From grand tomb finds to the more ordinary discoveries of kitchen utensils, excavations have dramatically clarified our picture of ancient dining. Archaeozoology and archaeobotany have helped answer questions about ancient diets, as have the osteological analyses associated with bioarchaeology.

We invite abstracts for papers that explore the topic of food and drink through various disciplines, such as Classics, Archaeology, Anthropology, Food Science, and related fields. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Ancient Mediterranean Diet: staple foods in the Mediterranean (wine, oil, and bread; cereals and legumes); meat consumption, availability of seafood; specialized diets, medical approaches to nutrition (e.g. for the military, athletes, infirm)

The Social Context of Food and Drink: sacrifices and offerings, public and communal meals; variations in diet based on social class; food supply and shortages, grain doles (e.g. frumentatio, annona)

Food as a Point of Contact, Creator of Identity, Delimitation of Otherness: import and markets, especially for spices and exotic ingredients; horticulture, soil chemistry, and cultivation of local specialties; taboos (e.g. beer and milk as barbarian; cannibalism as historical fact or political slander)

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: wine and viticulture (e.g. merum, mulsum, and conditum); access to potable water, aqueducts; drinking vessels (e.g. kylikes, skyphoi, kantharoi, and their images)

Our confirmed keynote speaker is Dr. Kristina Killgrove, teaching Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, research scholar at the Ronin Institute, and senior contributor to Forbes. Dr. Killgrove, a bioarchaeologist, will deliver a talk on Roman diet and its correlation to disease, climate change, and migration.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words (excluding bibliography) by February 15th, 2019 to rutgers.foodanddrinkconference@gmail.com. Be sure to include any audio-visual needs in this email. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length. Please include in the email your name, affiliation, and contact information. The abstract itself should be anonymous. Questions may be sent to the same email. Successful applicants should expect to hear back from conference organizers by early March 2019. In addition to providing accommodation, we are looking forward to hosting an ‘ancient’ feast for the conference organizers and speakers.

Emmanuel Aprilakis and Nicole Nowbahar (PhD students, Rutgers University) [organizers]