Faculty News 2008

December 31, 2008

 (story in progress)

John Ferrari won a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, which, together with a Humanities Research Fellowship, enables his sabbatical leave in 2008-09. Having begun his fellowship year by completing two articles on Plato — one on Platonic myth, the other on Platonic narrative technique — he is now taking a little break from Plato and indeed from the ancient world, and is exploring the topic of cultural "quasi-communication" in a project entitled "fiction and the limits of social meaning." Later this year he will be the keynote speaker at the annual Graduate Conference in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Warwick — a prime mover in the joint study of philosophy and literature in the U.K.

Erich Gruen spent the academic year 2007/8 as “Villa Professor” at the Getty Villa in Malibu. Lest there be any misconceptions about lolling on the beach or surfing in the waves, he carried the burden of organizing the colloquia, seminars, and an international conference sponsored by the Getty on the topic of “Cultural Identity and the Peoples of the Ancient Mediterranean.” This involved inviting friends and colleagues from around the globe to participate in nine different scholarly meetings over which he presided and commented on all papers (delivering a couple of his own). He had a wonderful time spending the Getty’s money. He now has the job of assembling the papers, hounding the procrastinators, and putting together a volume for publication. He also had the privilege of delivering lectures at various places, the Getty, UCLA, UCSB, Emory, Georgia, London, Durham, and Oxford (the David Lewis Lecture). A couple of articles appeared, one on “Persia through the Jewish Looking Glass,” and one on “The Letter of Aristeas and the Cultural Context of the Septuagint.” He hopes to complete his book, tentatively titled, “Confronting the ‘Other’: Greek, Roman, and Jewish Impressions of the Alien” some time this year. Despite “retiring” in 2007, he still supervises or sits on the committee of eleven dissertations. That successfully keeps him off the streets.

During Spring Break 2008 Chris Hallett spent six days in Russia, visiting the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, and more particularly the museum’s enormous department of Greek and Roman Antiquities, which houses spectacular finds from Russia’s Black Sea regions.  He also spent a further four days in Copenhagen visiting the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, where a whole set of new galleries of Near Eastern, Greek, Etruscan and Roman art had just been opened to the public.  In April Chris presented a paper on Antonine Portraiture at a conference held in San Antonio, entitled:  Roman Sculpture in the 21st Century: New Perspectives on Ancient Images.  To support his sabbatical in 2008-2009 he won an ACLS Fellowship, and a Fellowship from the Loeb Foundation.  Finally, his second book, Art, Poetry, and Civil War: Vergil’s Aeneid as Cultural History, has been accepted by Oxford University Press, and should appear in 2010, after he has obtained photographs and permissions for the more than 200 planned illustrations.

During the past year Todd Hickey gave invited papers in Florence and Udine (the latter with AHMA graduate student Brendan Haug) and was delighted to be asked to represent current papyrological research at the upcoming FIEC conference in Berlin. In addition, the Center for the Tebtunis Papyri hosted the inaugural Oxford-Berkeley papyrology seminar, with papers concerning the Dictys Cretensis by Dirk Obbink, Stephen Oakley, Donald Mastronarde, and Todd himself. He submitted three articles/chapters on various papyrological/historical topics and had five appear, including a contribution to Erich Gruen's virtual Festschrift and a new fragment from Herodotus I. Todd also served as guest editor of volume 45 of the Bulletin of the American Society of Papyrologists. Finally, he oversaw CTP's move back to its refurbished (and significantly enhanced) quarters in the Doe Annex--the endgame of a task that had occupied him since the day he arrived on campus in 2001.

For the first seven months of 2008, Leslie Kurke worked frantically to finish (more or less) a book on the figure of Aesop, ancient Greek popular culture, and the invention of mimetic, narrative prose.  The manuscript (which still requires some revisions) should be published in 2010.  As of August, she had to put aside all further work on the project to take up again the task of chairing the Classics Department (but hopefully, 2008-09 will be her last year as chair, so that normal life can resume).

As 2008 draws to a close, Tony Long looks forward to starting his 49th year of university teaching in Spring 2009 with a (first time for him) course on Virgil’s Aeneid. With recent graduate seminars on Cicero, De finibus and Seneca, Epistulae morales (which he is intermittently translating for University of Chicago Press) he enjoys such opportunities to work as an occasional Latinist. Most of his classes and research, however, continue to focus on Greek philosophy, and increasingly of late on the Presocratics (one of his earliest loves) and Plato. He  just completed a graduate seminar on ancient political thought, co-taught with Hans Sluga (Philosophy), for a group that included students from six departments including the Law School. Last January Tony gave four graduate seminars on divinity and rationality to the ancient philosophy fraternity at Yale. During the spring semester he contributed to colloquia at Arizona (on Plato’s Atlantis myth), UC Irvine (on slavery as a metaphor in Plato), and Stanford University (on Montaigne’s essay On Experience and its indebtedness to ancient philosophy). He gave a seminar on Greek rationality to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, and delivered the Henry J. Carroll lecture at Pomona College on Socratic idiosyncracy and Cynic exhibitionism. During the summer Tony took part in an international colloquium on the Derveni Papyrus, wonderfully housed at a coastal resort on Mykonos. His visits to lecture away from Berkeley in the Fall semester have included St John’s College Santa Fe (on cosmic craftsmanship), Stanford University (on Plato’s Symposium), and Whitman College in Walla Walla as Kimball Endowed Lecturer (on Cicero’s, De officiis). Tony’s recent publications include an essay on cosmopolitanism in Greek and Roman thought for Daedalus (summer 2008), an article on Philo and Stoic Physics (in F. Alesse, ed., Philo of Alexandria and Post-Aristotelian Philosophy), and two pieces on the work of Bernard Williams, one a study of Williams’ work on Greek literature and philosophy in A. Thomas, ed. Bernard Williams, and the other a foreword to the most welcome reprint of Williams’ Shame and Necessity, the splendid volume of his 1989 Sather lectures, first published by UC Press in 1993. The Cambridge Companion to Early Greek Philosophy, which Tony edited in 1999, has now appeared in its third translation after German and Greek – into Portuguese, and it has also appeared in a special Chinese edition.

After completing in May two semesters as Acting Department Chair and as chair of a busy Academic Senate committee, Donald Mastronarde devoted the summer and early fall to final revisions of The Art of Euripides: Dramatic Technique and Social Context, which should appear from Cambridge University Press by the end of 2009. He is now turning his attention to the project of creating a new, digital edition of the scholia to Euripides. Last February he released GreekKeys 2008 for the American Philological Association, the latest revision of the keyboards and fonts he has been maintaining and expanding since 2001.

Steve Miller, who now lives most of the year in Nemea, has recently published in Greece Plato at Olympia in English and Greek versions. This illustrated children's book presents  the story of the young Plato, from ages 11 to 19, and his quest for an Olympic victory. It takes place during the Olympics of 416, 412, and 408 B.C. with the background of Athens and the Peloponnesian War. The main part of the story consists of Plato’s visit to Olympia in 412 and his account to his mother of what he saw, and of his hopes for a victory for himself four years later. The story is based on ancient written sources, and the accompanying illustrations by Athena Stamatis are likewise based on ancient artifacts. The goal of Plato at Olympia is to provide young readers in Greece and around the world with an enjoyable, memorable, and historically accurate introduction to Ancient Olympia, the Olympic Games, and the Olympic Idea. His scholarly monograph, The Berkeley Plato, offering the authentication of an ancient portrait of Plato hidden for years in the basement of the Hearst Women's Gym, will appear early in 2009 from UC Press. Steve has also been editing Nemea IV: The Hero Shrine of Opheltes, by Jorge Bravo with contributions by Michael MacKinnon and Barbara Rieger. This volume provides the final publication of the excavation results in this area of Nemea and should be ready to hand in to the press in January 2009. He is also involved in two television specials to appear soon on ET-1 (national TV Athens) and ET-3 (national TV Thessaloniki). Finally, on December 8, he received an honorific plaque from the "Union of Korinthians" in Athens.

Nelly Oliensis is enjoying her final year as Graduate Advisor, a position that gives her many excuses to hobnob with our brilliant and delightful community of graduate students. She is relieved finally to have finished Freud's Rome: Psychoanalysis and Latin Poetry (forthcoming 2009 from Cambridge University Press) and eager to dive into her next project, on Ovid's Amores. 

After his year at the American Academy in Rome as a Rome Prize recipient, Dylan Sailor returned in August as a newly-promoted Associate Professor, and at about the same time his book Writing and Empire in Tacitus was published by Cambridge University Press.

Kim Shelton became a ladder-rank faculty member and permanent Director of the Nemea Center for Classical Archaeology following a recruitment process last winter. She once again taught two successful summer field schools and also worked hard (with her students) in the preparations for and the running of the latest installment of the revived Nemean Games. This fall she has been busy applying for an excavation permit for a new series of full-scale excavations at Nemea, and she and her family also managed to buy a house in Alameda, not far from the one they had been renting.

During the second half of this 2007-08 leave, Andrew Stewart made several trips to deliver lectures and conduct research. First, he spent three weeks in New Zealand, where he was the invited keynote speaker to the Australasian Society of Classical Studies meetings in Christchurch and lectured to the Blenheim and Nelson Archaeological Societies, and incidentally enjoyed some vacation time in the Marlborough wine country and Abel Tasman National Park. Then he was in Athens for five weeks and gave a talk at the British School and made presentations for the College Year in Athens program. Finally, he spent a month in the summer as a guest of the Deutsches Archäologisches Institut in Berlin and gave lectures in Heidelberg. The major projects from that leave resulted in the appearance of Andy’s book Classical Greece and the Birth of Western Art (Cambridge University Press) in the fall and of a multipart article on “The Persian and Carthaginian Invasions of 480 B.C.E. and the Beginning of the Classical Style” in the July and October 2008 issues of American Journal of Archaeology.