With the Spring semester forced into online distance learning most campus events activities have had to adjust to a new format or suspend programming altogether. Professor Radcliffe Edmonds III (Paul Shorey Professor of Greek and Chair of the Department of Greek, Latin, and Classical Studies), organizer of Bryn Mawr’s weekly Classics Colloquium, adapted the lecture series to a live digital format via Zoom. The decision to continue the Classics Colloquium has brought some levity to the gloom and uncertainty that defines the reality of the current pause to normal life due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Because we were not able to bring Colloquium speakers to campus after break this spring, I looked for a way to continue our weekly tradition of having a distinguished scholar share innovative ideas with our community of students and faculty in Classics and Archaeology. We managed to get two of our scheduled speakers to agree to give their talks via a Zoom session – Robert Cioffi from Bard College and Riccardo Ginevra from the University of Copenhagen. These sessions, held at the same time we had always had our Classics Colloquia (4:30 on Friday afternoon), drew audiences nearly as large as those we had in person, around 30 each time.
I was particularly happy that the question period after each talk was so lively and intense, something that our speakers both noted with pleased amazement. Several participants told me afterwards how glad they were that we were able to continue with the Colloquia and to provide a bit of normality and ordinary rhythms in this disturbed time. While I hope that we will be able to bring speakers to campus next year, these Zoom session Colloquia provided a fairly good substitute, and, if necessary, might provide us with opportunities for Colloquia even if we have to continue without in-person gatherings.”
On April 24, Robert Cioffi, Assistant Professor of Classics at Bard College, gave his talk titled "Ethnography’s End: Meroë and Heliodorus’s 'An Ethiopian Story'.” As the title suggests, the talk was a window into the world of Heliodorus - possibly a Byzantine writer from Emesa (ca. 250 AD) - who is credited with writing an ethnography known as the Aethiopica of Meroë in Ethiopia. The talk guided the colloquium crowd on a tour of the southern boundaries of the Classical geographic imagination, with views on Meroë’s customs and connections with the Near East and South Asia.
May 1 brought a lecture by Riccardo Ginevra from the University of Copenhagen. Dr. Ginevra spoke on “Kore, Demeter, and other Sleeping Beauties: Myth and Folktale between Antiquity and Modernity,” a cross-cultural literary analysis of themes of “sleeping beauties” in Scandinavian and Greek folk legends, and their potential Indo-European origins. This talk was recorded and is available here: Ginevra talk (password: 8d#!^*Bw)
The Classics Colloquium is a weekly lecture series that takes place each Friday in Carpenter Library. Each week a distinguished scholar of Classical or Near Eastern Philology, Literature, History, and Archaeology is invited to speak at the college on their ongoing research. The event is a mainstay of the Bryn Mawr community although it is open to members of the wider Philadelphia public. The series is a favorite of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty providing not only engaging lectures but an anchor of student social life. Each lecture is preceded by a “Tea” where students have the opportunity to meet distinguished speakers, catch up with faculty, and socialize over soft drinks and snacks.