, 43 tweets, 15 min read Read on Twitter
An attempted live tweet of @wmarybeard ‘s “What is Classics.” I apologize in advance for any typos #AIASCS #whatisclassics
MB says she is honored to be asked to come despite the fact she may not always behave well. She starts by going back a century and a half for the first meetings of the APA #AIASCS
The meetings were in July and in college towns of the east coast. They were small with delegates numbering in the 10s, not the hundreds as now. #AIASCS
The society started as white males, but soon expanded to women and African Americans. The main mission was to promote hardcore philology—the titles give away the interests. “A paper on the metaphysics of the Greek subjunctive”#AIASCS
They were also keen on issues of pedagogy and the endlessly fascinating topic of how to pronounce Latin. In one of the first meetings a paper in Latin had to be re-read because it didn’t follow recently established rules #AIASCS
Reviews in newspapers were divided—some called them single minded, others totally removed from the concerns of the average Americans. It adds up to “words words words” #AIASCS
MB will look at how we as a community see ourselves in the history of the classics and how we tell the story of the institutional past. She wants to unlock some of the myths most of us buy into when we imagine what classics was even 100 years ago #AIASCS
MB says she will examine exactly what has changed. She suggests classicists are better at picking apart ancient myths than myths about our own field. #AIASCS
MB says she will consider classics as antiquity of the ancient world in Greece and Rome. If this seems problematic, don’t worry, she’ll come back to it #AIASCS
MB came from the idea of differentiating ourselves from the other disciplines such as theology or history. She pouts out she is focusing on the US and the UK and realizes the perspective is different in other countries #AIASCS
There are a bunch of stories on the controversies on both sides of the ocean. Anxieties about the exclusivities in the field are split: class in the UK, race in the US, and gender for both. #AIASCS
MB says that Students now know a lot less Latin and Greek than their predecessors. Predictably we put different ideological spins on whether this is a good or a bad thing. The more conservative lament lost expertise #AIASCS
The more radical say the advantage is having freed students from the “grammar grind.” If we went back to the 1860s, would we find a golden age of classics? #AIASCS
MB speaks of Richard Jebb who “put time into neglecting his duties” and presented an interesting personality. But he could translate Latin and Greek even better than MB could #AIASCS
MB asks whether Jebb was typical of Classicists of the time and concludes probably not. Spending years on Latin and Greek for years in high school can give an advantage...#AIASCS
...But there’s no reason to suggest that it did. When it was suggested to put Greek on university entrance exams, there was pushback because the Greek people learned useless Greek. It was fruitless #AIASCS
The fact that most of the people taking the exam just memorized the translation was admitted on the exams themselves. “Candidates are advised to base their translations as closely as possible to the authorized version.” #AIASCS
In 1903 British classicists thought classics was dying and forms the British society of classics. This is a thread we still see today. #AIASCS
MB moves on to her next myth. She shows a comic that points to the imperialistic tones in classics and the gatekeeping from the elite. #AIASCS
MB points out that although Kennedy’s name was on the book, it was actually written by his daughters. But that’s another talk. #AIASCS
Classics is politicized but it doesn’t have a politics. It has been put to some terribly awful uses, including the support of slavery and misogyny, as @donnazuck had recently pointed out. #AIASCS
MB points out that yes the classics is used by Nazis, but it also had been used by Marx and other radical thinkers. #AIASCS
MB returns to the idea that classics was seen as imperialist while the scholars at home were working against this. It ignores the debates being held contemporaneously about similarities and differences between Rome and Britain. #AIASCS
MB points out that one of the most famous statues in the UK is of Boudicca, who rebelled against the Romans. The idea that people who know Latin and Greek are fit to rule was also debated. #AIASCS
Classics were on both sides of the imperial debate. This raises the wider question of how classics acted in systems of power, how much it was a gatekeeper to people entering the elite #AIASCS
If you look from the bottom up, you see that classics was not a path to elitism. The communist career of Cambridge graduates was high school teachers. Most students of classics then and now did not go on to positions of power #AIASCS
Before moving on MB says that any gate built on expertise and experience will always fall to those it’s built to keep out. #AIASCS
So far, MB has been focused on the anxieties. This also includes “what should Classics include?” Over her career MB has seen territorial disputes and things pushed to the sidelines. #AIASCS
Where subjects lie in the disciplinary framework determines the make up of the students of the subject. The framework is necessary to keep things interdisciplinary. #AIASCS
The history of the APA shows that this debate has been going on for a while, even recently with the name change from APA to SCS. There was a period of 30 years in which other specialties which lead to the APA being specifically classical. #AIASCS
The UK also sees a shift from philology to Greco-Roman classics. Classics was first defined as a compromise between conservatives who wanted philology and the radical who wanted to get rid of linguistics and translation in favor of culture #AIASCS
This reflects an attempt to move the curriculum beyond technical linguistics. Inserting history would pollute the pure language, according to the conservatives. #AIASCS
MB hopes to have shown that classicists have a strange interest in the history of their friend. She hopes to have brought to life anxieties and insecurities that are still imbedded in the field
To finish, what of the future. MB days this history is a way to examine what classics is, who should be engaged, and what a classicist looks like now. She tries to come up with an answer #AIASCS
She quotes @platanoclassics from last years meeting that diversity shouldn’t be bringing new people to old stuff. She says we should change what people thought about the ancient world #AIASCS
By seizing places in classics, the revolutionary women and people of color of the past changed the perception of interpretation of the classics and frankly made it more interesting ##AIASCS
Diversity will make field a better place for all, including old white men (and women). Diversity makes it open but also fun. It provides a lens for those inside to speculate why those on the outside are on the outside. #AIASCS
MB says we fret too much about the elitism seen in the world “classics.” She points out that if you tell someone you study classics, they usually don’t even know what you mean. They think you’re studying Jane Austen #AIASCS
MB says there are good and bad reasons for expanding the artificial disciplinary boundaries. Historians might realize they can understand the Persian war better if the understand the Persians #AIASCS
We should reflect that diversity could be increased by realizing that nobody owns the classics. Classics is about all of us and none of us. #AIASCS
In closing, MB asks us for a few seconds to reconnect with the first APA meeting and consider what the meeting might look like in 100 years. Of course, the classics might be dead. #AIASCS
But MB thinks that our posterity will look back on us happily for the work we have done in opening up the field. We haven’t done well enough but we haven’t done that bad either. #AIASCS
Thanks @wmarybeard and the @scsclassics for a great panel #AIASCS
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to 🥶 Alicia Matz 🥶
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!