A recently formed Bi-Co group, Students Promoting Equity in Archaeology and Classics (SPEAC), will hold its first research conference, Now and Then: (In)equity and Marginalization in Ancient Mediterranean Studies, to be held virtually on Friday and Saturday, March 12-13. The event is free and open to the public, however registration is required. The group hopes for the conference to become a biennial event.
"When we started SPEAC, I knew I wanted us to do a conference so that we could meet and uplift the work of other very-early-career scholars who are interested in challenging the problematic nature of our fields and figuring out a way forward," says Ph.D. candidate Olivia Hopewell, one of the event organizers. "After the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, I think a lot of us just had a moment of 'why am I even doing this?' so we imagined this conference as a way to highlight answers to that question—because there are lots of people doing really meaningful work in our fields and it's important to pay attention to them."
Conference speakers are undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world, in classics, archaeology, and related fields. The keynote speaker will be Emily Greenwood, John M. Musser Professor of Classics at Yale University.
Emily Aguilar '22, one of the undergraduate students involved in organizing the conference, is a classical languages major with interests in ancient philosophy and religion.
"The purpose of this conference is to bring the future of the field together and talk about what we’re currently seeing in the field and what we want the future study of the ancient Mediterranean to look like," says Emily. "I’m really looking forward to our final panel 'Looking Forward,' where we’ll have four great presentations. After reading nearly 50 abstracts for this conference I do think I’m optimistic about the future. Changes need to be made to 'Classics,' but the next generation of scholars is ready to make them."
The conference organizers say they've received helpful advice and support from faculty members at both Bryn Mawr and Haverford, as well as peers who have organized previous conferences. They also point to the collective nature of SPEAC as a great positive.
"Often times, if I don't know how to do something, I ask the group and someone usually has an answer," says Olivia. "We’re all creating this together."
SPEAC is dedicated to amplifying the voices of academically marginalized and underrepresented communities (including but not limited to BIPOC, FGLI, disabled, and LGBTQ+ scholars) in the fields of Greek, Latin, classical studies, classical and Near Eastern archaeology, and ancient mediterranean studies.