The Classical Studies Graduate Program expresses its horror for the events of racial violence that have taken place in Minneapolis, Atlanta, and elsewhere, and expresses full solidarity to all its victims. We mourn the loss of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, and now Rayshard Brooks, as well as countless others.
CLST is acutely aware of the odious uses and abuses of classical antiquity historically perpetrated in the service of inequality, discrimination, and injustice both in the United States and worldwide. The consequences of these uses and abuses still shape our world, and the field has all too often benefited from them. Now more than ever, we need to engage in a critical reflection not only of the so-called legacies of the Greeks and the Romans, but also of the protocols and practices of Classical Studies as an academic discipline.
To this effect, it is not enough to simply rely on past instances in which the engagement with the classical world has been used to promote freedom — for example, from religious authoritarianism and bigotry. We need to actively work to produce innovative, incisive solutions capable to change for the better the societies we live in — and to do so now.
CLST is committed to promoting and supporting initiatives that address the burning issues deriving from its intellectual history and that identify effective ways of achieving true inclusiveness, with respect to all underrepresented groups, and especially Blacks, Indigenous People, and People of Color. A CLST Task Force on Inequality and Racism will be established soon, and its initiatives will be announced as they are finalized in the coming weeks and months.