LCOC x Sportula Europe: Sportula’s 1 Year Anniversary Panel Event

LCOC x Sportula Europe: Sportula’s 1 Year Anniversary Panel Event

okay awesome so hi everyone uh my name’s asia and i’m president of lcsc and i’m really delighted to welcome you all today to this panel which will celebrate a remarkable year since the foundation of sports europe the panel will center around their work over the past year um and also also be uh centering around anti-racism and allyship and academia amongst other things and the first half of the event will be a discussion between our media and communications officer may and the sports of the europe team and for the second half we will open up questions to the audience so please bear with us if the event overruns slightly as we always try to get through as many questions as we can but if you need to leave promptly at eight please feel free to do so as we will be recording the panel and we’ll let you all know how we plan on sharing it afterwards um furthermore just before we um move on to the panel i’d just like to remind everyone that our welfare officer rayna who you can see on the screen will be hosting our weekly chat and chill session on thursday and this week for the first time we’ve opened a session to all students of academics from all universities so come and be stressed and bent after what has been a tough week for some of us and the zoom link has already been sent out by the mailing list uh in addition i’ll be posting into the chat uh lcac’s link tree where you can find the mailing list sign up form our website and a list of welfare resources amongst other things as always please be active in the chat and please submit any questions you may want to ask through either the q a function or the chat itself and before we begin i would just like to reiterate our zero tolerance policy here in the society we’re totally committed to creating a safe and welcoming space for every single member and therefore we will never tolerate any comments or participation that does not contribute to the well-being of our cleaner space so before i hand it over to may i would first like to thank her enormously for all the hard work she’s put in in order to make this event happen we literally could not oppose this panel without you so thank you so much and over to you thank you for that introduction um hi everyone i’m may and i will be moderating today’s panel i’m sure many members of the audience are familiar with sportula europe and their work but just so we’re on the same page i will be introducing the organization so sportula europe founded as a sibling project to the sports la is a solidarity network and micro grant fund which aims to support students and early career or independent scholars in ancient world studies who are facing financial difficulty they offer no question desk micro grants of up to a hundred pounds sportula europe is run by a small group of five postgraduates in ecr’s all of whom are committed to making classics in the ancient world studies into more inclusive and equitable disciplines a mission shaped particularly by their experiences as people of color their advocacy to change and shape the field is closely connected to their mutual aid and micro grant work we will be tweeting links to their website their twitter and donations page so be sure to check those out after the panel this year sportula has given out 82 micrograms for a total of almost 8 000 pounds the spirit of this panel as asia said is to celebrate sportula europe’s first anniversary so happy birthday thank you for all the amazing work you’re doing for some context they’ve sent out a survey recently and a third of their survey respondents answered yes to the question do you feel your racial slash ethnic group is underrepresented in classics and ancient mediterranean studies additionally 16.2 of survey respondents said that their study or work relies on a visa which is dependent on obtaining academic funding which is something to be considering as we now move into our panel first of all our lovely panelists will introduce themselves so i’m just going to hand over to them ashley why don’t you start us off oh yeah my name is ashley chiber i use he him pronouns um and we we said we’d sort of introduce a bit of our positionality um as we’re setting off so i identify as a cisgender gay man i am mixed race my mother’s family is white british and my father’s family is punjabi um i started my classics career at the university of cambridge on the four-year course for people who had no prior latin or greek i then completed a master’s at oxford and i’m now a phd student at the university of nottingham funded by the midlands three cities dtp researching communication failure in latin epic especially virgil luken and stasius for handover then tibet hello i’m bet i use she her pronouns uh i’m a fourth year phd student at heidelberg university uh in germany i work on um egyptia ramana and the influence of ancient egypt and imperial rome i’m originally from the u.s i am a light-skinned black woman with curly hair wearing glasses i have also like ash i have uh my mother’s family as white my father’s family is black american and we are firmly working in low class and i am first generation college i work a lot on disability equity um and and archaeology in particular for disability uh access now i pass it to hardeep hi i’m hardy podenza i use he him pronouns and i’m a first generation british indian first generation immigration wise first generation university-wise as well i’m a first-year phd student at king’s college london and my project looks at the history of white supremacy and whiteness in british neoclassical paintings particularly with regards to the weaponization of the classical world and on the side i’m an illustrator and i recolor whitewashed statues to play with the idea of how we see them in museums today ash wants me to stand up and show the shirt so uh there we go sports like europe with three beautiful columns and now i’ll pass on to mathura hi everyone my name is mother of mandarin um i use she her pronouns um i identify as a cis queer woman um i was born in london um my parents are both um tamil um and i just want to take a moment uh to observe that it is uh tamil genocide memorial day um that commemorates the end of the civil war in sri lanka in 2009 um and uh i got my phd from princeton the department of classics and i am currently a postdoctoral research associate in the department of classics at l university in upstate new york um as well as a fellow of the society of humanities i work broadly in classical reception um mostly on the german jewish uh reception of classical um but i also think about queen theory critical race theory and quick hearing more broadly okay [Music] i was born in essex and i currently live on the road on which i grew up in natonstone i am currently training to be a classics and latin teacher at uh state secondary schools currently teaching in the school in hackney um and i did my undergrad and master’s at cambridge in classics and finished my phd um a year and a half ago at king’s college london where i’m also doing my pgce and i’m generally interested in classical reception especially sort of colonial and post-colonial receptions thank you for all of that guys so i thought we’d start by talking about sportula europe and the journey you guys have been on in the past year what prompted you guys to start sportula europe as a branch um just to remind you yeah that the raise hand function is how we’re gonna answer the question actually oh gosh that yeah yes um so we initially responded to a call by the sportula which is based in the us for a similar initiative to happen in europe um so they were our initial push um but they were not involved in how we are set up we did use we were inspired by their language in our mission statement etc which can be found on the website but by virtue of being in europe obviously things are quite different um in terms of the demographics of the communities that we’re serving in the classics field here there are far fewer people of color um so that is something we we had to think through in terms of our foundation etc and we also don’t have the same resources based in terms of like donations because our the pool we draw from is so much smaller so those were all considerations but that initial push did come from the sportula’s call on twitter can i pass to ashley uh yeah i’m not sure if p people realize this but that that twitter call that bet mentioned went out in uh i think late january or february so before covid was even in the news cycle and by the time we had actually come together as a group of five people the um the the framework for how we were going to operate how academia would be operating uh this year had changed completely and i think lots more people have had to use our microgrants scheme for covert related reasons um than we had anticipated um as a sort of corollary to that um there have also been other um covered relief funds set up over the last year um which have taken up some of the work that we would otherwise have had to do and we’re really grateful for that um i think a big difference for us is that we’re planning on being here long term because the problems we’re trying to tackle are long term and require long-term solutions that is a very important thing i think this year has been very difficult on a lot of people especially marginalized communities because of the way our life has changed so much and the job market and a lot of other things that being said i’m sure a lot has happened this year what would you guys say is the most memorable moment this year for you i think harvey has his hand up high um i think for me the most memorable moment was when we had first hit five thousand pounds in fundraising because that had always been from the beginning that had always been one of our milestones and we reached it at almost half a year i think it was about half a year so that was a great moment because from that point on um i think things got a little easier in terms of admin administration we stopped a lot of the times towards the beginning it was a scramble to get these micro grants to people but slowly we yet we started fundraising more and we were able to give more as well so i think in the wider picture that was a great milestone for us to reach okay i think i’ll pass to ashley the bet um a really big moment for me was when we had our first public facing uh event um so something a bit like this uh and it was fairly recently it was at the res diff conference um and we it was the first time we we spoke as a group and the first time we really set out a uh a manifesto for for change and what we think sports the mission sports admission is in that kind of public forum um i think before that we were quite cautious about um even revealing sort of who we were personally at the team behind sports europe we’d always been anonymous um but really seeing the really positive response to that has encouraged us to do more events like this i’m gonna post in the chat um a link to the website where you can see um our videos from that that event i think bet next so for me one of our biggest moments was getting our first recurring donation and it happened the day we announced so just about a year ago this week um it made me feel like people had faith that we could actually make a difference for the future not just a one-off to sort of like see how it went um because when we started we were unsure whether we would get the kind of donations in europe that meant that people would continue giving and we could continue the process for more than a couple of months um of course like ash said it was uh before covid happened but yeah it’s been it’s been really lovely to see this year how many people are invested in the continued success of the people we’re trying to help sam i think for me it was probably our first few meetings prior to us actually launching when i was meeting others for the first time i think most most of the board i haven’t actually met in person so uh we were kind of trying to get going when first lockdown was at its most locked downy and it was a pretty rubbish time but it was it was nice too it was nice to have something to look forward to every week uh having a chat over zoom talking about uh and our experiences in classics and and adjacent fields and although we come from different institutional backgrounds different sort of social backgrounds our sort of shared experiences um being something kind of really nice to to hold the week together when when time kind of lost its meaning and finally matara yeah i guess this is a variation on [Music] one of the key differences between us and most of the things that are out there is that we’re really about solidarity and i really feel that in action when our um group chat is like pinging throughout the day like in this throughout the last 15 months of isolation and alienation um it makes so much sense to be in it with a bunch of people who yeah assam says i haven’t met before but we have a lot in common and we kind of we we help each other out so the kind of highlight for me isn’t the milestone it’s the solidarity that we’ve built text by text and like spreadsheet by spreadsheet and like me meeting by meeting when we’re all really tired um and have various you know life stuff happening it’s for me it’s not the kind of isolated milestone it’s the kind of oh yeah we’re like i’ve gotten four really close friends who with whom i share a lot politically and professionally in common uh thank you for that so i think now we’re going to talk more about your individual journeys through classics this is a very general question so feel free to interpret it however you like but what has your journey been like through the classical field as by park i don’t know that one’s going to take a second to think about hi vet hello so my journey into the field is quite a long and complex one anyway i worked in financial marketing in new york and for years before i got back into my master’s and then my phd now which is technically in egyptology and archaeology i found it very isolating at times especially because uh at big conferences i’m often the only person of color um i went to a conference of 3000 people a classical archaeologist and there was only one other brown person and one other like and one asian person and we were all women um it was there were a lot of people who asked me oh are you egyptian and i say no and then they say why are you studying this then um and that happens at classical archaeology conferences and egyptology conferences usually questioned by white people and they don’t turn it back on themselves and never ask that question of themselves it’s like very much a gatekeeping experience um the last year has been really difficult for me and i know for other people uh for example palestinian students egyptian students the last decades etc people studying have had to deal with the fact that the home situation and state violence has been horrific but we don’t get days off for racism we don’t get mental health days my advisors are not very sympathetic to that sort of trauma because they’ve never experienced it and they don’t know what it’s like and how it can weigh on the kind of work that you’re doing especially if you study something like racism in your actual scholarship as well you just don’t get a break um so it’s been really like the one decent thing that’s happened over the last year uh in terms of covet has been that other scholars of color were all online and we can all connect in that way but i do think there’s a danger of there’s a lot of us who might not be online who miss out on these opportunities so um yeah that’s one thing that that classics as a person of color has done has uh changed for me but also i think that the fact that i am a mixed person of color heavily influences the kind of work that i do looking at egyptian influence on rome um instead of the other way around constantly uh so yeah that’s i mean i think i bring my whole self to my research and i love that about classics thank you now um so similarly to that my journey into classics isn’t particularly far-reaching so i started out as an art historian during my undergraduate and i needed classics for my masters but by that point i had already developed my interests in decolonization looking at um postcolonialism orientalism all of these things that my experiences have kind of led me towards so by the time i had joined classics it was a case of me entering a new field with a specific set of eyes and a specific set of lenses which um has its disadvantages as well as its advantages so disadvantages wise i found that i couldn’t appreciate the historical side of classics that a lot of people come into classics um that’s part of the reason why they come into it the mythology the ancient greek history ancient roman history so that yeah that was a disadvantage because i’ve never i’ve never actually approached classics from that historical side but the advantage is that i’ve introduced the pedagogical side the reception side to a lot of people who otherwise wouldn’t be thinking about this sort of stuff and especially in discussions of race so in my master’s course i was the only person of color on the course there was no there were no faculty members of color either so i think people appreciated even though the emotional toll it took on me i think people definitely appreciated what a fresh set of eyes can reveal sam sam i think you’re still a mute i would say well i think what much of what i’m about to say is very similar to what hardy just said um but i think that well i i got interested in classics initially because i enjoyed history and i enjoyed languages and like the idea of doing something which brought them all together but as i was nearing the end of my uh ba i was quite ready to move on from classics there was only sort of um finding out about and reading african adina for the first time and then all the controversy around that and being of african heritage i realized that classics is actually something which is is that that’s alerted me to how exciting classical reception can be and since then i’ve been mostly interested in classical reception um as i said the clone young post-colonial sides because those are the sides that i think of classics of classical reception which i think um i can bring my own personal perspective based on who i am and where i come from um so i think uh in that sense my current interests are largely shaped by being um the descendant of africans and asians um then obviously that comes with the flip side in classics and quite a funny example of this is um during my master’s my dissertation supervisor wanting to quiz me on white teeth which they just finished reading and i kept saying i haven’t read it but he really wanted to know my thoughts on the conclusion of the book which i’m gathering uh he thought i’d know something about despite not having read the book thank you ashley now i think yes um like sam uh i i started off in classics because i uh enjoyed history and literature and languages and was looking up for a course that would bring them together um i was very lucky so i hadn’t studied any classical subjects before i started my undergrad i was very fortunate that the cambridge degree allows you to do classics completely from scratch so my first year at cambridge on the the four-year foundation course there was a small cohort of 11 of us um of whom three of us were british-born people of color um so i started off in classics uh very much not the only brown face in the room um and even through the rest of my undergrad and through my master’s there were other students of color around me in my cohort in my friendship group and it was only really when i got to a phd level in a much smaller department um that i started to feel some of the isolation associated with being a classist of color and it’s only through the last year where things are going online and people are making more networks via twitter via zoom via online conferences um by groups like sports league report or classes of color um that i’ve i’ve been able to to get that network back and get that kind of support again finally matara um yeah i think uh my uh kind of academic trajectory is fairly similar to um sam and ash’s um you know i went to uh oxbridge as well for my undergrad um and went there knowing very little about classics um but liking history and being quite good at languages and wanting some way to combine the two and there are three kind of standout moments to me that like inflect how i think about my journey in classics um so one is at the oxford interview and um the tutor or the person who’d end up being my tutor um sat down on the floor next to me and he said well why are you here and i was like um you know i just don’t want to be a doctor and at the time i thought i was being really edgy and fun um but actually what that is was like an enormous amount of internalised racism yeah it did not work out um because i i have one doctor not a useful one um but yeah i at the time i thought i was kind of uh stepping away from a narrative that was set out for me which was the good immigrant narrative um let me go away and do something that is completely non-instrumental and something that i purely enjoy so that’s one um the second moment is at the end of that degree um was doing was encountering classical reception and um it was uh kind of queer studies and encounter with feminist theory that i thought oh okay maybe long-form writing um is the one for me maybe i’d be much better at research than churning out undergrad essays um and maybe i could do it in this thing that’s classical reception because i hate splitting off ancient poetry and contemporary poetry what if i could write about all of that in one go um and i guess so the third moment um so i did my phd in the us and i was living in philadelphia um when donald trump was elected 2016 and i kind of walked into campus into the person who was my supervisor at the time into their office the day after the election and i just thought to myself what am i doing what what am i doing in in the us studying at this incredibly privileged place if i’m not writing about classics and race like that is what this moment is calling us to and um that’s or that’s what this moment is calling me too and um so that kind of started me writing not only for my supervisors or for academic work but also for kind of a much wider public facing audience about how classics was involved in white supremacy because i was trying to work out what i was doing in a white supremacist nightmare that was america in 2016. kind of building on that i feel like a lot of poc have a moment when their idealized illusion of plastics comes crashing down and you’re faced with the reality of what it is and the need for decolonization and it just hits you all at once did you guys have similar moments or was it something you gradually became aware of heidi um i think for me the moment that really that i already hit home was when i was looking for a supervisor for my master’s dissertation and at the university that i was at the time there weren’t that many classical reception modules which was fine and i had spoke to my personal tutor so i wanted to look at um whitewashing classics in the renaissance because that was my specialty time period and i had to go through more than five tutors some of them whom just said no some of whom told me that it’s a really bad topic and some of whom just told me that it’s a terrible idea and it has no relevance to anything and that was that was kind of the moment where i realized this is something that people actually aren’t willing to talk about and i had to outsource my tutor so i didn’t even have a tutor a classical tutor for that dissertation but by the end of it the department were happy with it so it was one of those things where they won’t support the work that you do but once that work turns out to be successful they want to benefit from it and kind of monetize it for all it’s worth so as an undergraduate i studied first i studied biochemistry for two years and then i knew i didn’t want to be a doctor but i didn’t know what i wanted to do next so i spent a year studying african-american history and anthropology with skip gates um i was a harvard undergraduate i didn’t know even what job options were available other than like teacher politician doctor lawyer because nobody in my family had ever been to college so it’s really just like starting my education completely from scratch and i took this course on the reception of egypt after i’d done all of the work with um the african-american uh studies department and the reception of cleopatra in particular and realizing how many of my classmates were so averse to the idea of even considering that cleopatra might not be might not look like elizabeth taylor and just the horror and the vitriol they brought to some of those discussions in what was already in what was normally a really welcoming and fun classroom um they were really upset and of course i wasn’t allowed to show that i was upset because if you’re black and discussing blackness you’re not allowed to be neutral but if you’re white and disgusting whiteness you are the authority and if you’re white and discussing blackness you are the authority so it was a really frustrating experience for me um and was part of what put me off going directly into the grad program because i wasn’t sure how much of that i could or would tolerate um i got really radicalized in general in my time living in new york and unfortunately being stuck working in finance because it sucks your soul out and then i decided if i can do that you know i can put up with the sort of racism of classics so i can help change it for other people but yeah it can be quite disheartening at times and what makes it worthwhile is communities like lcoc like sportula europe uh likes p sportula for us sam i think a big money was going on classics twitter for the first time because prior to that i sort of had my political priorities outside classics and knew what i thought was important but i hadn’t actually realized that there are lots of people who also feel similarly and have similar priorities um and sort of seeing what sportula in the us were doing and um yeah i think twitter was a like going on classic switch for the first time i try to avoid it now um but yeah one last question and then we will finally move over to audience questions but i think it’s important to also be constructive in our discussions on racism and classics so what would you say an anti-racist classical field would look like i know it’s a big one as well maybe pointers also anything that would help ashley uh yeah i can i can start us off um i think it’s uh impossible to have an anti-racist classics field if you don’t have an anti-racist university and unfortunately the inverse isn’t true um we could very easily have anti-racist universities with no classics in them whatsoever i think those universities would be would offer a poorer experience to the students but it would be possible um so just to get anywhere near an anti-racist classics we need to be rethinking um models of tuition fees we need to rethink assessment and attainment awarding gaps and really dig down into the issues behind them we need to have robust policies for tackling harassment both between students and when uh academic staff are harassing or or racist towards their students and their colleagues we need to really rethink hiring practices promotion practices and the kinds of work which is which are rewarded um making sure that edi work is probably properly recognized and especially the kind of mentoring work that goes on behind the scenes um often uh people of color and i think more generally women in academia take on a lot of mentoring roles from um undergrads who sort of see themselves in those academics and that isn’t recognized um and then on top of that we also need to be rethinking um our syllabuses our reading lists um the kinds of knowledge that are valued um in particular things like um the kind of theory you use whether or not you’re valuing indigenous ways of of learning and knowing things and it seems to me that lots of universities focus very narrowly on the issue of um is our classic department also teaching some things about ancient asia without um or receptions in uh african diaspora populations um without rethinking the the whole system now we’ll move on to bet so in addition to what ash was saying we need to rethink things like uh language competence and where we find where we recruit from obviously the kinds of field work that is ethical and how to make your field work ethical how to work with source populations and i’m gonna drop a reading list in the chat um but incorporating regardless of the kind of material you study incorporating indigenous methodologies into your research and the way that you talk about groups of people is essential i think even though it does seem like a very long difficult road um and of course the name itself classics i find problematic um i think there are ways to incorporate the things that we do in classics and do that in in anti-racist ways but the foundation of the field is always going to be what it is um so that’s something that we have to deal with every day actively if we want to be a part of making it a welcoming space for other people like ourselves yeah um to just pick up straight up with um that left off i completely agree that the history of the discipline is is what it is and that’s what we have to have it or we can build a different kind of disciplinary model so in addition to what ash was saying about essentially all of the the many other things that ash was describing was an anti-racist classics has to also be an intersection one that acts in material ways and acts on the material conditions in which we as students academics work and live and make our lives i just can’t see that happening in plastics as it currently stands like there’s no kind of like making it better around the edges so i aside from sports europe my other projects um that i’ve been working on in in lockdown um is called critical ancient world studies in which i and a colleague of mine chella ward at worcester college oxford a proposed different um disciplinary model right like there’s no more neutrality to studying the west just to making colonial knowledge um about the past like i kind of really feel uh more convinced as we build uh laws world studies that yeah there’s there’s no kind of way of improving just around the edges um making slight or better slight improvements that there has to be a kind of uh transformation of the kind of knowledge that we can make together thank you samuel reporting on what’s already been said so i’ll start with ash’s point of class and anti-racist classics only being possible in an anti-racist university and i think that um again touching on what both ashley and uh mathura have said um an anti-racist university has to address the material conditions of everyone at the university uh be that students or staff both academic and non-academic as well as support staff and i think it’s quite easy for universities to pretend that many of the members of the support staff aren’t actually members of the university and doing this through outsourcing um recent campaigns at various university of london campuses uh starting with celeste have pushed for all workers to be brought in house meaning that they’d have the same protection and the same rights as people who are employed by the university um many of the people who are uh contract or um outsource also have insecure migration statuses which are exploited and used to blackmail them and get them to remain silent about the unfair conditions of the labour so i think that all uh everyone who’s committed to an anti-racist classics and committee anterosa university has to also be committed to making the university a safe and fair place for work and study for everyone who’s involved with it and the other thing i wanted to say was um weirdly wanting to have an anti-racist classics has made me quite conservative in terms of pushing myself into a position where i become uh sort of where i end up defending humanity’s sort of writ large and i think uh one of the one of the things which i found especially infuriating was gavin williamson saying that um he wanted to steer people away from dead-end degrees towards the humanities in describing the humanities and social sciences as degrees which will only leave the student in debt and again um that student debt is something like the idea that you’re using student debt to justify capital humanities when student debt was created or it is created it’s not to be taken for granted so i think also nigeria’s plastics also needs to think about fees as ashley said also classics in schools how is classics in schools being taught um i gather that cambridge asking courses thinking about um revamping and bringing itself up to date but at the same time you have really great latin textbooks such as zubarani which tries to show the roman world in its um in its richness and rather than sort of calculus just sitting in the garden and romeo getting angry at the dog let’s do the dinner okay we are actually running out of time so we will be moving on to audience questions for each of these questions we will be taking um a couple of responses so the first one is uh from ethan g warren one question he had for you is how do you deal with performance performative allyship from people both in classics twitter and in your own departments um i feel like a lot of primarily primarily white people in academia aren’t actively trying to be allies and only doing surface level work when it’s popular to do so is this something that you all see as well ash uh i uh okay first of all i’m very aware that my supervisor is in the audience so hello helen um i have found that there are some people in my department who um aren’t very interested in um doing anti-racism work and there are also lots of people including my supervisor who uh over the last few years perhaps have become increasingly interested and committed to this kind of stuff um in uh at nottingham and across the uh midland universities um i’m involved in an anti-racism reading group that is specifically in classics that is um i think helping lots of people to know what they didn’t know um and learn more um and become better allies and make sure that their allyship isn’t just um performative that so this is an interesting one for me as the only american and as a black american in europe where in mainland europe specifically where um anti-racism work is either extremely locally based or not accessible to broader um like not connected to broader movements um for me it’s been really difficult because the number of people who say that because i went to harvard i cannot have any sort of disadvantages um is really frustrating and i’m in departments where i’m the only person of color so it really is just me on my own i think there’s less performative ally ship and more just like straight and antagonism in my case um or people who are unwilling to see the problem because you know oh the law states that that shouldn’t be the case so for me it’s been like really frustrating to have to defend the work that i do uh all the time um and at least performative allyship means that sometimes people spread the work that you’re doing to a certain extent but i think in both cases it would be really nice to have people who are willing to make more sacrifices the way that we don’t get the choice to so that’s been just something i think about a lot um but i’m not really sure what we can do about it uh aside from just keep pushing until people link it all together in their head yeah it’s a tough one now another question from lorna hardwick um she’d like to ask you what is your top priority in the next five years or so for the development of study of the subject area and its relationship with other subject areas and with the public imagination so that’s a bit of a loaded one but your thoughts um i can answer specifically to the public imagination part because that’s specifically what my research tries to do so um i used to work at a national gallery um not the one in london and i used to give talks public lectures about some of the paintings there and i would try to kind of introduce race and white supremacy to places that people don’t often expect to find them and especially through my experiences working in museums we make we as western society make a lot of assumptions that many parts of our society aren’t kind of influenced or originate from empire so i think especially for feel like classics whose origins is directly um imperial i think making small steps towards public engagement is going to be quite important because classics does have a public does have a hold over public imagination unfortunately so if we try to work towards anti-racist classics and academia it’s not going to change a lot if the overall picture in western society is that classics is something that’s white thank you sam also given my focus on schools at the moment i think classics in schools would be one of the big priority areas and kind of spinning off of what hardeep’s saying allow students from backgrounds who which ordinarily fall outside what we have considered the classical tradition to see themselves in the ancient world again i’m just going to say uh does that really well by emphasizing um kind of immigration into rome and showing how sort of the roman empire was spread by violence and met resistance but at the same time was a cosmopolitan political entity thank you one more question from an anonymous attendee what are the ways in which white faculty can be more supportive of their bike park students without reactivating histories of harm if this person is asking the question where to reach out to a student and say i want to especially support you because of your identity is that helpful or it doesn’t make things worse so my presentation at the recent residentialist 2.0 was basically focused on this and i’ll be turning it into a blog post for our our sports earlier blog with actionable talking points but i would say the higher up your student is whether that’s like graduate level or ec or whatever uh the the more appropriate it is for you to assume that people are bringing it up in their life every day um for for younger students they might prefer some sort of reference to the fact that you would support them but i would recommend doing that maybe not directly through an email but offering that in a lecture saying you know we support marginalized students if you would like support please come to my office hours or whatever rather than singling them out um ecrs and and grad students are usually by this point either fairly radicalized or completely sick of hearing about it um but we still need to know that people are open to being approached for these things so if you’re doing that work you know you can advertise um things like this to your students so that they know that you’re the sort of person that they can approach about it like if you’re doing other things in your department to show that you’re an ally your students will already know and trust you uh and come to you when they need more support uh as opposed to other allies i i do think that it can come across as performative if you just email them saying i want to support you but without lists of how you like without action steps of how you can actually support them so keep an eye out for the blog post um because it’s it’s quite a long it’s too long a response basically to get into um i’d also like to emphasize that you should remember if you’re a white scholar trying to support your your students of color you don’t have to do this alone there are not enough but there are some um classes of color um phd students like myself but also people in permanent jobs in the uk and in the us um who um you can invite to give a seminar or a guest lecture at your institution and help your students to have some opportunity to see people like themselves succeeding in the field and maybe uh you know feel empowered to reach out to them directly um you can also as that said point out events like this and networks like this or or like the london clusters of color network um so your students know that there are spaces where they can meet other people who are dealing with the same kind of experiences thank you um so susanna’s made a really interesting comment in the chat that people are referring to humanities degrees as dead end degrees and do you see a strain in europe of trying to return classics back to elites or do you think there is more of a desire for elimination of classics as a field so i find it really interesting that sam positioned his take on this as a kind of strangely conservative one that it’s kind of like the liberal centrist position to defend humanities um so suzanne just for context that was gavin williamson the education secretary in the uk who’s um really shown him to be damaging incompetent and not at all worthy of his job um who said recently about um manatees being dead end degrees um i just i do think there’s there are slightly different context between the us and the uk in terms of what’s at stake when people roll out their arguments for for and against humanity’s education like in this country um higher education hasn’t always been the preserve of the elites um until the blair government you could get a grant and go to university so it’s actually like in in this one instance it is a case that is the general generational divide between if uh you know people 20 or 30 years older than us who went to went to university and uh didn’t have to pay uh much or anything um so i think that’s one slight difference there in how these discussions play out on both sides of the atlantic um yeah i i think my discomfort arises when i say hey we need to transform the discipline and somehow i wind up concurring with someone who says yes that means shut the universities no that’s not what i mean at all but i do mean they need to be radically um changed in a way that sam and ash were indicating that they can’t be places where borders are violently policed or they can’t be places where um labour practices are horrifically um unfair and exploitative so um yeah those are some of the uk specific contexts that i would just say in in response to the comment question sam also just um to make explicit the how ridiculous the idea that humanities are that then degrees are coming from the member of a government whose prime minister is a classicist and who whose cabinet is probably stuffed full of people who studied ppe um so i think that a point about maybe the fact that humanities are being seen as too sort of i don’t know like democratic compared to the elite idea of the humanities as a white upper middle class and upper plus um oxbridge thing that being threatening yeah so i’m just looking at um the the phrasing of that question again so it says do you see a strain in europe of trying to return classics back to elites or do you think there’s more of a desire for elimination of classics as a field i don’t think that’s an opposition i think we have both of those um at least in the uk where um people are trying to uh people in government are trying to um make classics only available in some very specific um schools that are charging exorbitant fees while also attacking classics as an academic field at universities um because universities are a way to um to open up classics beyond the early um so they’re this uh attempt to narrow our understanding of classics and who can access classics um by attacking universities and and the side effect of that is just thank you now for our final question from marco hendricks what would we like to see happen between us-centered pre-modern critical race studies which is working to build strong relations between disciplinary fields of classics medieval early modern uh fields and groups such as yours mathura yeah um thank you so much marco um for that question um it’s a really good one and um pcrs is such an inspiring model because it is set up to be um interdisciplinary um and uh it in all of the ways that classics asserts its domination over the past so in a way that it frames particular times and places as the classical um the way that it like uh defines civilization as something belonging to greece enrollment particular moments i think pcrs um offers so much of um from the baseline up uh rethinking and not even taking those as its starting point so i i really appreciate what pcrs is doing um in the us um i would say that um sports if you look at our research expertise that we have across the board um i would say maybe only bet and ash um like sam hardeep and i deal in reception studies and bet and ash uh deal more directly i would say with um ancient materials but our geographical spread is really wide and that’s necessarily the case because as i think all of us have said in various ways um we bring so much of ourselves um to our work and ourselves are not only um western white formed um subjects so i think there is a lot that is sympathetic between the aims of sports europe and pcrs as it’s set up um but yeah i would i would love to do some more thinking with you about how the two can be in closer dialogue um my kind of res research and teaching project uh critical ancient world studies that i think i’ve roped everyone else on the board into in some fashion um so is much closer to pcrs in i think uh in the way that it is set up but i think there’s a lot of sympathy between sports for europe and pcrs basically uh yeah just a a brief point um sportually europe is trying to reshape the way that people talk about classics in the uk and spread awareness of um issues of race both in in research and in terms of lived experiences of students but fundamentally our main work is the micro grant scheme um and uh i think it’s uh unfortunate that there don’t seem to be in a uk context other groups that can take up um the more research oriented work um so on an individual level or various members of the committee um have research that looks at pcrs adjacent topics um but as a sort of a an organization um that kind of uh research isn’t really what we um are focused on um we it’s hugely important but there are only so many things we can put our energy into um and uh our main energy has to be on the the practical matter of helping marginalized students pay rent finally bet i think that a lot of the people who do work on ancient race studies especially people who are not people of color benefit quite a lot monetarily and positionally from the work that they are doing to discuss people who are not in their own source communities um so i think that it would it’s important for those people to put in the work to make this space more welcoming to bipoc and to source communities in the places in which they are studying uh why are egyptology departments so devoid of egyptian and sudanese archaeologists for example so i think that part of the work that we as people who study ancient race studies need to do is to better incorporate that kind of community building into our day-to-day practices into our the way that we approach our university what we do with our grant money um whom we invite to publish with us especially the early career stages etc kick open the door for the next people to join with um but like ash said and sam said there isn’t really a concerted group of people organized to do that who are people of color in large part because we’re so busy trying to pay rent and get our visas um depending on where we are so yeah i mean i think the material circumstances of especially younger uh students of color needs to change before we can get holistically into inviting people to take on even more free labor thank you for that and with that our panel today with sportula europe is concluding if you guys have any more comments or questions that you would like to share with us you can contact both our coc and sportula europe on twitter our panel has been recorded and we will be distributing this recording but this hasn’t been specified how yet and we will be in touch with you guys by twitter as well additionally sportula links will be shared on twitter and links to their donation page who they are what they do all of those are great resources and we recommend that you check them out aside from that thank you guys for coming so we really appreciate it and bye
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LCOC x Sportula Europe: Sportula\'s 1 Year Anniversary Panel Event

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