WCC-UK |

Launch of the Network Caring in Classics

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK is very pleased to launch the Caring in Classics Network. The Network aims to support people of all genders and at all career stages who are affected by caring. This includes, but is not limited to, care for older people, care for younger people, children, and infants, care for disabled people, and kinship care. Whilst COVID-19 has impacted on every country in the world, the pandemic is not universally experienced. Stark inequalities experienced by those who provide or receive care have been revealed by the pandemic, which has worsened existing disadvantages. The Network aims to provide support particularly during, but also beyond, the pandemic.

The Network has created a new WCC UK policy document, Guidelines for Supporting Carers and Organising Events. It is available for download here. These guidelines are designed to assist those who are organising conferences and other events to support those participating in events who have or are affected by caring responsibilities. The provision of support for those with caring responsibilities is a central strategy for ensuring gender diversity and inclusion.

The Network is organising regular and online ‘coffee-hour’ style meet-ups for members of the Women’s Classical Committee (UK) who are affected by care to come together in an informal and private community setting.

The next Caring in Classics Network Meet-up will be held on Zoom on Wednesday 24 February, 15.00-16.00 GMT. Please email victoria.leonard at coventry.ac.uk for details of how to join the meeting. The time and date of the meetings will not be within a set pattern in order to maximise attendance. There will be break-out rooms available within the meeting, depending on attendance numbers.

The Network is led by Ellie Mackin Roberts, Adrastos Omissi, Rosalind Janssen, and Victoria Leonard. If you would like to get more involved with the Network, please email womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com.

WCC UK Steering Committee Elections

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Elections are now open for two positions on the Steering Committee of the WCC UK for April 2021 to April 2025. The Steering Committee runs the WCC UK, including organizing events, workshops, and overseeing future development of the WCC UK. Committee members serve for four years, and may stand for a second consecutive term. Five members of the WCC UK have been nominated to stand for election to the Steering Committee. A short CV and statement have been provided by each candidate for review by members of the WCC UK prior to voting.

Voting opens on 10th February and will run until 1st March 2020. The elected members will be announced shortly afterwards, and will assume office at the AGM in April. If you are a member of the WCC UK in good standing, you will receive an email with a link for voting online. If you do not receive an email or have any questions, please contact the Elections Officer, Thea Lawrence (TLawrence[at]Lincoln.ac.uk).

Candidates

Dr Cora Beth Knowles (Read CV and statement)

Dr Elena Giusti (Read CV and statement)

Dr Emma-Jayne Graham (Read CV and statement)

Dr Magdalena Öhrman (Read CV and statement)

Dr Manuela Dal Borgo (Read CV and statement)

Launch: Guidelines for Supporting Carers and Organising Events

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The Women’s Classical Committee (UK) is very pleased to publish our latest policy document, Guidelines for Supporting Carers and Organising Events. It is available to download here. These guidelines complement existing WCC guidance on avoiding male dominance of events that was published in 2017: How To Avoid A Manel And Beyond: Some Guidance For Classicists On Increasing Diversity In The Profession.

These guidelines are designed to assist those who are organising conferences and other events to support those participating in events who have or are affected by caring responsibilities. The provision of support for those with caring responsibilities is a central strategy for ensuring gender diversity and inclusion. People of all genders and at all career stages can be affected by a range of caring issues, touching on care for older people, care for younger people, children, and infants, care for disabled people, and kinship care. The pandemic has exacerbated many of the issues and obstacles faced by those with caring responsibilities, and we hope that the Guidelines will be particularly beneficial in addressing this urgent imbalance.

The guidelines encourage event organisers and institutions to take three steps in providing support for those with caring responsibilities: 1. think and plan; 2. reach out; and 3. support. Whilst these guidelines have been developed primarily for the Classics community, they are more widely relevant across higher education in the UK and beyond.

We encourage you to download the guidance, direct people to it, send it to people you think will benefit from it, and use it yourself.

This document is an evolving work-in-progress that will be updated to reflect best practice. If you have any thoughts or feedback, please do e-mail us at: womensclassicalcommittee at gmail.com.

Positions available on the WCC UK Steering Committee (Second call)

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Dear WCC UK members and supporters,

We would like to circulate a second call for nominees to run for election for the Steering Committee of the Women’s Classical Committee UK. The Steering Committee runs the WCC UK, including organizing events, workshops, and future development of the WCC UK. Two new Committee members will be elected by the membership, and will serve for four years, with the option to run for re-election for a further four year term. The Steering Committee wishes to encourage a diverse organization comprised of representatives from any background, location, or career level.

In addition to nominations of others, we also strongly encourage members to nominate themselves if they are interested in the roles. Nominees must be members of the WCC UK in good standing (please check with Christine Plastow at christine.plastow[at]open.ac.uk) if you are unsure of your membership status). Names of nominees should be submitted to Thea Lawrence, the Elections Officer, at TLawrence[at]Lincoln.ac.uk, by Monday 1st February 2021. 

The Elections Officer will contact nominees for permission to place their candidacy on the ticket. The Elections Officer will require a short CV (1 page) and an election statement from each nominee. These will be made available on the WCC UK website for members to review prior to voting. For previous examples of such materials, see here.

Voting will open on Monday 8th February and run until Monday the 1st of March 2021. The elected members will be announced shortly afterwards, and then assume office at the AGM in April.

If you have any questions about the Steering Committee or the process of elections, please e-mail us atwomensclassicalcommittee[at].gmail.com

Assemblywomen: Video-journal of the Women’s Classical Committee (UK) Call for co-editors

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Assemblywomen is the new video-journal of the Women’s Classical Committee, which is to be hosted on the WCC’s YouTube channel. It will provide an online, open-access platform to disseminate research about women and gender in the ancient world (broadly conceived, including receptions of women in the ancient world). The aim of the journal is to promote new research, presented in an innovative way, that will appeal to both scholars and the general public.

The WCC is currently seeking two co-editors to join the editorial team alongside editor-in-chief Dr Ellie Mackin Roberts. Together, the editorial team will be responsible for soliciting pitches (though regular calls and direct contact), reading and responding to pitches, assisting in development of ideas, organising peer-review for video essay scripts, organising captioning of finished videos, providing advice and assistance to video editing (where appropriate), and promoting the journal. Co-editors coming on board at this stage will be instrumental in determining the direction of the journal.

Candidates should have or be working towards a PhD in classics, ancient history, or a cognate discipline and have a research interest in women and/or gender, and an interest in promoting and upholding the aims of the WCC. All other things being equal, preference will be given to WCC members. Please refer to the role description below.

 

About the Journal

Assemblywomen is an innovative avenue for the dissemination of research on women and gender in the ancient world published by the Women’s Classical Committee UK. The journal publishes both ‘pre-print’ and peer-reviewed work in video format on YouTube. All content is therefore open access, and available to be used in a variety of settings including in the classroom. It will present current scholarly research in an engaging and accessible way, and is therefore suitable not only for professional scholars, but also for undergraduates and a general audience. The journal presents one issue per year, with content published on a rolling basis, as soon as possible following acceptance.

The video-journal will accept three types of submission:

1. Video Essays. These are 10-20 minute video essays, the scripts of which will have been peer reviewed prior to filming and publication on the site

2. ‘Work-in-Progress Shorts’. These will be 5-15 minute videos of work in progress, these are conceived as less formal as video essays and provide an opportunity for ‘pre-print’ sharing of ideas and conversations

3. Responses, these may either be to video essays or work in progress shorts that have been published on the site, or to wider debates within the field and will be 5-10 minutes in length

 

Expressions of Interest

If you are interested in applying for one of the positions please forward a brief expression of interest of no more than one page and CV to Ellie (ellie.roberts[at]sas.ac.uk). Letters should include a short summary of your research interests, a statement of why you are interested in joining the editorial team, and any experience you think may be useful for the position. Some knowledge of video editing and/or YouTube will be an advantage but is not required. Informal inquiries can be directed to Ellie on the above email address.

 

Editor Role Description

  • Work with contributors, peer reviewers, and the editorial board to ensure the content of the journal reflects the breadth and depth of work on women and gender in the ancient world
  • Uphold a commitment to compassionate and constructive support for contributors throughout the pitch and review process
  • Work with contributors to refine pitches to ensure that finished videos have the highest chance of acceptance
  • Where necessary, commission contributions for individual videos and short series of videos with interconnected themes
  • Liaise with editorial team and the steering committee of the WCC to ensure the smooth running and development of the journal
  • Represent the journal at conferences and workshops where appropriate, and to develop the profile of the journal

 

Expressions of interest should be received by Friday February 12th, 2021.

Author Interview: Allison Surtees

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This post is provided by WCC UK member Cheryl Morgan, If you are a member of the WCC UK interested in contributing to the blog on any topic, please contact womensclassicalcommittee@gmail.com.

Exploring Gender Diversity in the Ancient World (Edinburgh University Press, 2020) is a new volume of academic essays exploring the ways in which people in ancient Greece and Rome expressed genders beyond what we in the modern, Western world view as the “traditional” gender binary. Born out of a discussion panel on “Gender B(l)ending in Ancient Greek and Roman Culture and Society” held at the annual conference of the Classical Association of Canada in Toronto in 2015, this volume is the work of Classicist Allison Surtees and Jennifer Dyer, a professor of Gender Studies. In conjunction with a review of the book, the following interview with Allison Surtees took place.

Why did you choose to look at gender diversity in the ancient world?
It came out of a panel on gender bending and blending at the annual conference of the Classical Association of Canada, which I helped organise. We got several great papers, but a lot of the submissions seemed to misunderstand the topic. People were submitting papers on subjects like men playing women on stage, which might play with gender but is very different from someone who identifies as, and lives their life as, a woman. There wasn’t much understanding of gender theory. Classicists are often concerned that Classics is not relevant today, but we become relevant by reflecting the society we live in, and that society is one in which gender has become an issue. I feel that the dearth of understanding of gender issues plays out in interpersonal relations and what happens in the classroom. Even cis women have difficulty with the old boys’ club that is Classics. It must be far worse for trans people.

Your colleague, Jennifer Dyer, is a professor of gender studies. How did you come to partner with her, and how did that work out?
Jennifer and I have been friends for many years and had long wanted to work together. I knew that she was just the person I needed on board to make this book work. We had a division of labour over what types of content we addressed in editing. She looked at the gender content, and I did the Classics. It seemed to work well.

A common complaint levelled at trans history is that trans people did not exist prior to the 20th century and the invention of medical gender reassignment techniques. How did you and Jennifer tackle that issue?
People of a variety genders have always existed. Gender is a construct. All that changes is how we make space for different genders in different societies. Western people want to claim the history of the Greeks and Romans, but often they only want to claim the good parts — the arts, the philosophy and so on. To be descendants of the Classical world we have to take on the whole of that society. That includes the slavery and the rape culture, it includes the very different attitudes to sexuality, and it includes the existence of people of a variety of genders.

Trans people often invoke the maxim, “Nothing about us without us”, when dealing with academics. Were any trans people involved in writing the book?
I haven’t met many of the authors so I don’t know a lot about them. I didn’t ask whether anyone was trans. I did ask for pronouns, and everyone gave either “he” or “she”, but that doesn’t mean that none of the contributors was trans.

Almost all of the written history we have from the Classical period was produced by elite men. How does that affect our ability to understand their world?
We took some techniques from theory. In the introduction Jennifer talks about abductive reasoning, which is used a lot in Queer Theory. This allows us to ask what is the most likely explanation for the facts, which is not always that reported. We also need to be aware that much that is taken as fact in Classics has actually been interpreted from the data by old white men. There is a very famous sculpture of the god Hermaphroditus, which adorns our cover. From most angles it looks like a beautiful woman, but the person depicted also has a penis. The traditional interpretation was that the Romans would have found this shocking or laughable, but that’s just us imposing a modern, transphobic reading on the statue. There is no clear Roman source saying that’s how it was seen.

The most obvious example of trans people in Rome is the cult of the goddess, Cybele, whose followers were castrated and lived as women. The cult seems to have been hugely important, with a temple on the Palatine Hill next to the Imperial Palace. Yet their activities were distinctly un-Roman and many ancient writers seem to have despised them. Do we know how ordinary Romans viewed these people?
This question hasn’t fully been addressed, but we need to remember that the Greek and Roman cultures were not the monoliths we have generally portrayed them as. Just like today, there were many different segments of their society, and each segment will have had different attitudes. We only have the view of the elite, but that can’t have been the only view as it doesn’t explain the obvious facts.

The book also covers intersex people, who would have been much more visible in the ancient world because everyone gave birth at home. Roman society seems to have changed a lot over the years in its attitude to such people, from originally wanting them killed at birth to the point where the philosopher, Favorinus, could be a close friend of the Emperor Hadrian.
It does yes. We didn’t have space to address that much. But we don’t see this book as the final word. We hope it will push conversations forward. There are more trans people in Classics now than ever before. I look forward to seeing what work they do.

Are there any other ambitions you have for the book?
We want the book to be read by undergraduates and non-Classicists as well as academic professionals. We have tried to make it as accessible as possible. In particular, we want to push back against the way that Classics is used by white supremacists and the alt-right to justify their politics. Classics should be for everyone.

 

Positions available on the WCC UK Steering Committee

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Nominations are being solicited for joining the Steering Committee of the Women’s Classical Committee UK. The Steering Committee runs the WCC UK, including organizing events, workshops, and future development of the WCC UK. Two new Committee members will be elected by the membership, and will serve for four years, with the option to run for re-election for a further four year term. The Steering Committee wishes to encourage a diverse organization comprised of representatives from any background, location, or career level.

In addition to nominations of others, we also strongly encourage members to nominate themselves if they are interested in the roles. Nominees must be members of the WCC UK in good standing (please check with Christine Plastow at christine.plastow[at]open.ac.uk) if you are unsure of your membership status). Names of nominees should be submitted to Thea Lawrence, the Elections Officer, at TLawrence[at]lincoln.ac.uk, by Wednesday 23th of December 2020. 

The Elections Officer will contact nominees for permission to place their candidacy on the ticket. The Elections Officer will require a short CV (1 page) and an election statement from each nominee. These will be made available on the WCC UK website for members to review prior to voting. For previous examples of such materials, see here.

Voting will open on Monday 4th January and run until Friday the 5th of February 2021. The elected members will be announced in mid-February, and will assume office at the AGM in April

If you have any questions about the Steering Committee or the process of elections, please e-mail us at womensclassicalcommittee[at]gmail.com

Mid-career event – Thursday 7th January

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The Women’s Classical Committee UK is organising an event aimed at mid-career scholars, to be held on Thursday 7th January 2021 on Zoom. We anticipate that the event will run from 10am to 1pm; should national lockdowns or other circumstances intervene, we will liaise with registered attendees to establish the most convenient alternative timing on that day.

The Women’s Classical Committee UK run a mid-career event annually to help colleagues in open-ended employment discuss the issues and challenges that face academics, particularly women, at mid-career. Topics to be discussed may include decisions about whether and when to move institutions, questions around disciplinarity/interdisciplinarity and collaboration in research, expectations about international mobility and balancing this with family/caring duties, managing institutional expectations (which may be gendered) around types and levels of administrative service, taking on leadership positions, ways of supporting precarious colleagues, and strategies to tackle unconscious bias in the workplace. We anticipate that any discussion will inevitably include consideration of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all these issues. Those who register their intent to attend will be invited to fill in an online questionnaire, the results of which will inform the precise choice of topics for discussion sessions. We envisage that the day’s discussions will help to set priorities for resource development and future campaigns by the Women’s Classical Committee UK.

The WCC UK recognises that the term ‘mid-career’ is open to a range of interpretations, but also that different challenges face women in classics in different situations and career stages. This event is aimed primarily at women who self-define as having reached mid-career; markers of this may include being eight or more years after the award of their PhD, holding an open-ended contract, and having an established publication profile. If the event is oversubscribed then we will give priority to women in this situation, but we welcome applications to register from anyone of any gender who feels they would benefit from attending.

Registration Options

Free registration is available to all via Eventbrite; if the event reaches capacity, WCC UK members will be given priority. Donations in support of the WCC UK and its activities are welcome.

Child-friendly Policy

The Women’s Classical Committee is committed to making our events as inclusive as possible, and recognises that the financial and practical challenges of childcare often impede people from participating in workshops and conferences. We welcome the virtual attendance of children at this event.

“How goes your lockdown publishing?” webinar series

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The WCC UK is pleased to announce a series of webinars featuring classics editors from book presses and journals, who will demystify the publication process and answer questions live. This is a free pre-lunch hour webinar from 11am to noon (GMT) on Tuesdays and Thursdays. (We will confer with speakers about recording their talks). This series has been organised by Manu Dal Borgo and Cressida Ryan, the WCC UK’s mentoring officers, in response to our members’ requests for more support around publishing, and to provide some support which might address concerns around women submitting less work for publication in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Register on Eventbrite here.

December Line-up:

1st (Tues)
Tim Whitmarsh
Editor: Oxford Classical Dictionary and several series for OUP and CUP

3rd (Thurs)
Alice Wright
Editor Classical Studies and Archaeology Bloomsbury Academic Publishing

8th (Tues)
Charlotte Loveridge
Commissioning Editor: Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology Oxford University Press

10th (Thurs) Panel Discussion on Journal Publication

Rosa Andújar
Associate Editor in Greek Literature
American Journal of Philology

Katherine Harloe
Joint Editor–in–Chief
International Journal of the Classical Tradition

Third speaker TBA.

15th (Tues)
Clare Litt
Senior Commissioning Editor: Classics and Medieval Studies Liverpool University Press

17th – AVAILABLE (Thurs)

ZOOM ACCESS

Once you have registered, you will find the Zoom link by clicking on the ‘Access the event’ button on the right hand side of the Eventbrite page.

We look forward to see you there!

CUCD Equality and Diversity in Classics Report 2020

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We are pleased to share the announcement that the CUCD has released their Equality and Diversity in Classics Report. The report is the final output of the CUCD Equality and Diversity Project, 2019-20. The report can be found here. The report presents and analyses the results of two surveys that were disseminated in 2019. The Experience Survey aimed to take a snapshot of the field of classics and explored experiences of discrimination and barriers to progression among postgraduate and staff experiences. The Departmental Contexts Survey examined departmental policies and contexts, with input from Heads of Department and Equality Officers. A summary of the data used to compile the report can be found here. The report complements the WCC’s own survey and report, Women in Classics in the UK: Numbers and Issues (2016).

The report will be formally launched on the 25th of November 2020 in an event hosted by the ICS from 1-3:15 pm.

The launch event includes brief presentations by the co-authors of the report, Helen Lovatt and Victoria Leonard.

A panel of experts will present their own responses to the report, followed by discussion, and finally a Q and A session.

Presentations include:

Mathura Umachandran: Who’s Task is Equality?
Lucy Grig: Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution? A Perspective from a Head of Department
Victoria Leonard: Changing Equality In Classics? A Five-Year Perspective From The Data
Helen Lovatt: What We Did and What We Need to Do: the CUCD Perspective
Katherine Harloe: Spotting Patterns; Recognising Problems
Sukanya Raisharma: TBC

If you are interested in attending the launch event, please register here.

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