Graduate Symposium, February 2019
This past February, UNC hosted a new Duke-UNC collaborative venture called the Duke-UNC Classics Graduate Symposium. This symposium was created with the intent of presenting research and ideas that could benefit from discussion by Classics scholars in a congenial environment. The co-organizers were Adrian Linden-High and Alex Karsten of Duke University, and Amanda Ball and Sarah Eisenlohr of UNC Chapel Hill. Graduate students from both universities were encouraged to submit work on any Classical Studies topic, with the stipulation that these be unfinished papers or papers that required re-examination. The purpose of the symposium was to create a safe environment for scholars to share their works-in-progress without the pressure of trying to impress their peers, but rather with the goal of receiving constructive feedback.
The result was a collection of nine presentations ranging from imperialism as reflected in the archaeological record, to homoerotic desire expressed in the Ephesian tale, to the visual language of inscribed magical gems. Attendees gathered in Murphey Hall to hear these five-minute presentations and afterwards engaged in approximately ten minutes of discussion. All papers, whether archaeological or philological in nature, inspired helpful input and ideas from scholars of all different backgrounds. About twenty-five graduate students attended in total, both as speakers and audience members.
The symposium culminated in a buffet dinner at Linda’s Bar and Grill, a favorite venue among the UNC Classics graduate students. Discussion and review of the topics presented continued into the night, and scholars from both schools were able to forge stronger connections while getting to know each other personally and professionally.
We, the co-organizers, believe the relaxed setting and collaborative nature of the symposium encouraged cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional discussion and collaboration. Many of the speakers confirmed that through the symposium they gained new inspiration and insight that will help them as they move forward with their papers. We hope to revive this Symposium in 2020 to continue the relationship across the institutions’ departments of Classics.
Amanda Ball and Sarah Eisenlohr