Saturday, January 18, 2014

The John J. Winkler Memorial Prize

The John J. Winkler Memorial Trust invites all undergraduate and graduate students in North America (plus those currently unenrolled who have not as yet received a doctorate and who have never held a regular academic appointment) to enter the twentieth competition for the John J. Winkler memorial prize. This year the Prize will be a cash award of $1500, which may be split if more than one winner is chosen.

The Prize is intended to honor the memory of John J. ("Jack") Winkler, a classical scholar, teacher, and political activist for radical causes both within and outside the academy, who died of AIDS in 1990 at the age of 46. Jack believed that the profession as a whole discourages young scholars from exploring neglected or disreputable topics, and from applying unconventional or innovative methods to their scholarship. He wished to be remembered by means of an annual Prize that would encourage such efforts. In accordance with his wishes, the John J. Winkler Memorial trust awards a cash prize each year to the author of the best undergraduate or graduate essay in any risky or marginal field of classical studies. Topics include (but are not limited to) those that Jack himself explored: the ancient novel, the sex/gender systems of antiquity, the social meanings of Greek drama, and ancient Mediterranean culture and society. Approaches include (but are not limited to) those that Jack's own work exemplified: feminism, anthropology, narratology, semiotics, cultural studies, ethnic studies, and lesbian/gay studies.

The 2014 Winkler Prize Competition

The winner of the 2014 Prize will be selected from among the contestants by a jury of four, as yet to be determined.

The deadline for submissions is March 1, 2014. Essays should not exceed the length of 30 pages, including notes but excluding bibliography and illustrations or figures. Text should be double-spaced; notes may be single-spaced. Electronic submission is required. Essays should be submitted in MS Word or .pdf format. Please include an email with your essay in which you provide the following information: your college/university, your department or program of study, whether you are a graduate or undergraduate, your email and regular mail addresses, a phone number where you can be reached in May of 2014, and the title of your work. Please note: Essays containing quotations in original Greek must be sent in PDF format, due to difficulties reading different Greek fonts and keyboarding programs.

The Prize is intended to encourage new work rather than to recognize scholarship that has already proven itself in more traditional venues. Essays submitted for the prize should not, therefore, be previously published or accepted for publication. Exceptions to this rule may be made in the case of the publication of conference proceedings, at the discretion of the prize administrator.  The Trust reserves the right not to confer the Prize in any year in which the essays submitted to the competition are judged insufficiently prizeworthy.

Contestants may send their essays and address any inquiries to: Kirk Ormand, Dept. of Classics, Oberlin College;

The John J. Winkler memorial Trust was established as an independent, charitable foundation on June 1, 1990. Its purpose is to honor Jack Winkler's memory and to promote both his scholarly and his political ideals. Inquiries about the Prize, tax-deductible gifts to the Trust, and general correspondence may be addressed to: Kirk Ormand, John. J. Winkler Memorial Trust, Dept. of Classics, Oberlin College, Oberlin, OH 44074.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Congratulations to our 2014 LCC Award winners!

Paul Rehak Award for published scholarship: Holt Parker, "Sex, Popular Beliefs, and Culture," in A Cultural History of Sexuality in the Classical World, ed. Peter Toohey and Mark Golden. Oxford: 2011. 125-44.

Graduate Student Award for an oral paper: Mira Green, "Witnesses and Participants in the Shadows: The Sexual Lives of Enslaved Women and Boys in Ancient Rome" (APA 2013) (Abstract: )

Activism Award: Ruby Blondell. Ruby was awarded the first-ever LCC Activism Award for being a tireless member of the organization since its foundation and for supporting and promoting LGBT rights outside the context of the organization.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Report on the Lambda Classical Caucus Panel, “Stifling Sexuality,” at the 2014 APA

The Lambda Classical Caucus Panel at the American Philological Association Meeting in Chicago was on Sunday, January 5, at the decidedly early hour of 8:00 AM. Bruce Frier (University of Michigan) and Mark Masterson (Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand), the organizers of the panel of five, were in attendance. Frier ran the session and Masterson made 15 minutes of introductory remarks to prime the audience. The panellists then addressed the topic of informal modes of stifling sexual activity in the ancient world (as opposed to formal means like laws, e.g., the Leges Iuliae). One of the most interesting things about the work of the panellists, though surely not the only thing, was the way in which each of them approached the topic and their evidence, with the fifth panellist even “going meta” on the call for papers.
  Lily Panoussi (College of William & Mary) was up first with “Stupra et Caedes: Homosexuality, Women’s Rituals, and the State in Livy’s Bacchanalian Narrative.” She identified a rift in Roman society in the matter of sex between males: evidently not all felt it was the worst thing ever. The lack of stifling then called forth an overwhelming response from the Roman state. Livy’s narrative surely casts an interesting light on Augustan Rome. 
“Mature Praeceptor Amoris Seeks Tops (Discreet): Desire and Deniability in Tibullus 1.4” by Robert Matera (University of Southern California) was next. This paper teased out the way the poetic voice in the elegy engages in double-speak. In language that is ambiguous at one particular moment in the poem, the poet apparently offers his services as praeceptor and/or his anus for penetration. Matera suggested that the fact that the meaning is double means that there is plausible deniability, and this deniability is evidence both of the regime dedicated to stifling passive male sexuality and of a position contesting this regime at the same time.
In the third paper, “The Art of Not Loving,” E. Del Chrol (Marshall University) looked at the activities of a praeceptor who could hardly be more different from Tibullus. Perceiving in Ovid’s advice to would-be amatores both anxiety about the power of love to attenuate masculine mastery and a belief that true love is a veritable disease, Chrol suggested that there is a strong undercurrent of discouragement of love and desire in Ovid. Chrol substantiated his observations by a resort to the association of erotic passion with illness in poetry, the novels, and curse tablets. Ovid on Chrol’s reading wants to stifle all sexuality.
In “Sex and Homosexuality in Suetonius’ Caesares,” Molly M. Pryzwansky (North Carolina State University) proposed that the hostility to sex between males that scholars have been liable to see in Suetonius’ lives of the rulers of Rome has been overplayed. Suetonius was more concerned about the abuse of subordinates, or about a lack of concern for hierarchy in and through sex, than he was about the kind of sex emperors were having. Taking on Pryzwansky’s arguments, we see evidence of a lack of investment in the stifling that we are often told was of such great importance to the ancients; another rift was revealed in her paper. (This paper was read by Brett M. Rogers [University of Puget Sound], as Pryzwansky was not able to attend due to the weather.)
H. Christian Blood (Yonsei University, South Korea) “went meta” on the call for papers in his offering for the panel: “Stifling ‘Scare Figures.’” Looking at the sweep of antiquity in his broad position paper, Blood suggested that in looking at the kinaidos/cinaedus we should not focus exclusively on the notion of a man cross-dressing and allowing penetration. Blood counselled starting (at least some of the time) from an idea of the kinaidos/cinaedus as a person who in the first place considers herself a woman, even though she possesses male genitalia. This paper was a strong recommendation that Classicists engage more with current theoretical investigations of transgenderism to envision a “trans-antiquity.” The paper’s title was playful, and this is where the “meta” part was abundantly showcased. Referring to John Winkler’s influential idea of the kinaidos as a “scare figure,” Blood proposed that Winkler’s idea has been stifling and delaying an engagement with transgender theory, that sexuality as a concept has been doing the same thing, and, finally, that it might be time to stifle this scare figure itself.
The audience was engaged and there were good questions from them and from the panellists. There were more questions and comments out there than could be accommodated. Discussion surely could have gone on for an hour. 

Mark Masterson
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand

Monday, January 6, 2014

Call for nominations, LCC student paper award

While the APA is fresh in your minds, send in your nominations for the next LCC student paper award. The nomination process is super-easy: just email your nomination to Deb Kamen ( Self-nominations are STRONGLY encouraged! Full details at