UNC Alumna Becomes Right-Wing Target

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Sarah Bond, a 2011 UNC PhD in Ancient History and a familiar figure in Murphey Hall, has achieved a growing reputation in the field of digital humanities, with a popular blog and over 10,000 followers on Twitter (@SaraEBond).  Sarah, currently an Assistant Professor of Classics at the University of Iowa, recently published a series of online pieces in which she connects the largely modern convention of presenting ancient Greek and Roman statuary as pure white with the appropriation of such imagery by white supremacist groups and with the lack of diversity in the field of Classics.  First came a blog post for Forbes, then a post on her personal blog, and lastly on the popular website Hyperallergic, with reflections on why this question is important for the modern study of Classics.  Sarah meant her pieces to be thought-provoking, but unfortunately they have provoked more than thought: she has become the object of personal abuse and even death threats, as described by these stories in ArtForum and the Chronicle of Higher Education. As another article in the Chronicle documents, Sarah’s experience is unfortunately part of a larger national trend that threatens the open exchange of ideas on which all good teaching and research depends.  Our colleague Jodi Magness, the current president of the Archaeological Institute of America, has issued a public statement reiterating that “the AIA is equally committed to fostering an atmosphere of peaceful and respectful dialogue among archaeologists and the public, in all forums and media” (see her full statement here).  Likewise, S. Georgia Nugent, the President of the Society for Classical Studies, has stated that “heated discussion and debate are desirable in scholarly discourse; personal abuse and violent threats have no place” (see her full statement here).  The Department of Classics is proud to register its support for Sarah and for the principles of free scholarly inquiry and debate.