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ASCS 42 Conference

8–11 February 2021

Due to the havoc caused by COVID-19, the Australasian Society for Classical Studies will hold its 42nd meeting online.

The call for papers has closed.

We invite you to register for an exciting program of papers that will be delivered by scholars from Australia, New Zealand, and around the world.

The ASCS 42 Organising Committee:
Bob Cowan (University of Sydney)
Elizabeth Minchin (Australian National University)
David Rafferty (University of Adelaide)
Kathryn Welch (University of Sydney)

Registration and online payment
Draft programme
Plenary sessions
Postgraduate workshop

ASCS 42 Zoom Etiquette
ASCS Code of Conduct



ASCS 42 gratefully acknowledges the financial and administrative assistance of the Australian Academy for the Humanities, the Australasian Women in Ancient World Studies and the School of Philosophical and Historical Inquiry at the University of Sydney.

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Plenary Sessions

ASCS 42 Keynote Speaker: Dr Rosa Andújar (King’s College London)

New Horizons in Reception: Classics Beyond Universalism

Rosa AndujarIn the last two decades, Classical Reception Studies has grown into a broad and vibrant field, reflected in increasing numbers of conferences, publications, and forms of graduate training. This growth is the result of scholars in this field undertaking crucial investigations in two areas: the complex role of Graeco-Roman antiquity in the various colonialist and imperialist projects undertaken by Western European powers; and the rich and varied manner in which contemporary writers and artists have invoked ancient Greek and Roman texts as powerful tools for reflecting upon these projects, and expressing the complexity of their political present. While both approaches are valuable, this lecture will argue that the relationship between them remains problematic. The fact that ancient texts provide resources for critique and reflection, in ways that vary between complex and specific contexts, can all too easily slide into problematic claims for the universality of classical literature – as if the potency of ancient culture as a resource compensates for the atrocities of imperialisms. Focusing on the reworking of ancient drama in the Americas, this lecture will argue that only by acknowledging the difficulty of avoiding false claims to universality can reception studies learn to eschew them. 

Australian Academy of the Humanities 23rd Trendall Lecturer: Dr Estelle Lazer

In the Garden of the Fugitives

Estelle LazerIn 2019, the Pompeii Cast Project team X-rayed and CT scanned the thirteen casts that were made by Amedeo Maiuri's team in 1961 and are displayed near their find spot in Pompeii. This tragic group, which includes adults and very small children, has captivated generations of visitors to the site and their lives and deaths have been eloquently imagined by scholars and in popular culture. The results of our examination of the skeletal and other elements preserved in the plaster enable us to test some of these reconstructions of the unknown lives of unnamed people. As well as providing some insights into the identity of the victims and how they met their fate, our research has revealed that the casts were not achieved by simply pouring plaster into voids and waiting for it to dry. They were heavily manipulated to increase their storytelling potential and their impact on visitors to Pompeii. There is another twist to the story. In 2018, the presenter was herself the basis for the leading character of a novel that focused on these very casts. So in presenting the team’s most recent research for the first time to the general public, Dr Lazer will speak not only about what we now know of these victims, but also (and from a more personal point of view) the important ethical questions that arise from their treatment by professional archaeologists and popular writers alike.

The Trendall Lecture was made possible through a bequest made by Professor A.D. (Dale) Trendall AC CMG FAHA (1909–95), a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.


Teach broader, teach better: increasing student access to ancient languages

The debate of Socrates and AspasiaThis panel addresses urgent questions facing our field: how can we increase student enrolments, pass rates, and retention in ancient languages? how can we teach accessibly, so that students from all backgrounds and of varying abilities can succeed in our courses? what can we do, inside the classroom and out of it, to ensure that we are making the languages relevant to as wide a cohort of learners as possible? These questions have both an ethical and a practical dimension, and they are relevant not just for people teaching and learning the languages, but for all involved in the broader study of ancient history and classical studies.

To start to address these questions, we showcase the work of six teachers via a series of short presentations, to be followed by a group discussion. Each teacher will share a strategy that they have used to increase students’ access to and success in learning an ancient language. Our speakers teach the languages across diverse contexts: universities, high schools, and independent tutoring. The strategies that they offer span: the use of technology, gamifying learning, incorporating Comprehensible Input (CI), deploying active Latin, using indigenous pedagogies, adapting grammar-translation models, and more. Our aim is that anyone who teaches or wants to teach ancient languages will walk out of this panel with concrete options that they can adapt for their own educational environment. 

We will have ample time for questions, and we hope that audience members will share their own perspectives. We very much welcome perspectives from audience members teaching ancient history and classical studies in translation, as well as those already teaching languages.


Workshop for Postgraduate Students

Looking after your research and yourself in uncertain times

Dr Michelle Jamieson
Thursday 11 February 2021

Dr Michelle Jamieson is a mindfulness practitioner, health sociologist and research training specialist. Her work explores how mindfulness can help students and academics to develop sustainable work practices, healthy ways of relating to themselves, and greater joy and wellbeing at work. She is the creator of The Mindful Researcher program at Macquarie University and author of the blog

Jointly sponsored by ASCS and AWAWS.

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