posted by Linda Downs
The following message was sent as an attachment to an email from Adam D. Blistein, executive director of the Society for Classical Studies, on Friday, September 5, 2014.
Letter about Our New Name
I am writing to let you know that the American Philological Association, founded in 1869 and the principal learned society for Classics scholars in North America, has changed its name to the Society for Classical Studies (SCS). We have also unveiled the new logo that appears on this letterhead and will soon launch a new web site. These changes culminate a decade-long process of re-examining the role of the Society in the 21st century, with the goal of better promoting and serving a growing interest in Classical antiquity on the part of students and teachers at all levels as well as the general public.
For centuries the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome have inspired creativity, contemplation, scholarship, and teaching both inside and outside of the academy. While we continue to serve our original academic mission, we also want to take advantage of new technologies which make it easier to share the insights and pleasures of studying Classical antiquity with the widest possible audience. A new name is critical to this expanded mission. A philological focus is at the core of much scholarship on Greek and Latin texts, and we will continue to take an active role in projects like the Digital Latin Library that represent excellent philology in the 21st Century. However, we recognize that the term is no longer widely understood and therefore can be a barrier to communication with a broader public. Especially now, when it is so important for us to advocate for the study of Classics and, indeed, of all the humanities, we must strive for clarity in the transmission of our message.
We recently completed a successful capital campaign which raised an unprecedented $3.2 million to provide essential resources for Classics teachers and scholars and to share our appreciation for Classical antiquity as broadly as possible. The name of the Campaign (From Gatekeeper to Gateway: The Campaign for Classics in the 21st Century) reflected this ambition. Donors from both inside and outside of our membership supported this effort because they shared our belief that knowledge of Classics is a valuable component of education, attracts broad interest, and has much to contribute to contemporary society. Our new web site is the next step in responding to this interest. It will add features targeted to a variety of audiences, improve its accessibility to different types of users, and facilitate communications that support the Society’s goal to be the public face of Classics in North America.
It is a special privilege to be guiding the Society as we take this significant step and establish a new level of leadership in Classical Studies. The SCS looks forward to continuing to work with you to encourage the study of Classics and of all humanistic disciplines.
Very truly yours,