JHI Working Groups: Call for Applications

PhD STUDENTS & FACULTY: The Jackman Humanities Institute will be accepting applications for Working Groups in the 2017-2018 year beginning on April 21, 2017. Working group participants may apply to participate in no more than two working groups per year.


The outline for applications is attached below, and the competition is also viewable at

Information about this year’s Working Groups is available at


Congratulations to our 2017 ASSU Award Winners!

Congratulations to Professor Alison Keith for winning the Ranjini (Rini) Ghosh Excellence in Teaching Award at the Arts and Science Students’ Union (ASSU) Awards Ceremony on March 22, 2017. Co-nominators Willem Crispin-Frei, Samantha Mazzilli, and Laura Harris from the undergraduate CLASSU Senate were on hand to present Professor Keith with this award alongside ASSU President Ondiek Odour.

CLASSU President Willem Crispin-Frei also received the Katharine Ball Graduating Award for Course Unions for his four years of service on the CLASSU Senate.

More information about the awards available for undergraduate students and about nominations for the teaching and service awards is available on the ASSU website, and more photos from the event are on Facebook.

Left: ASSU President Ondiek Odour, Professor Alison Keith, Classics Students Willem Crispin-Frei, Samantha Mazzilli, and Laura Harris (Photo Credit: ASSU)

Right: ASSU Executive Assistant Jane Seto, Co-Recipients Indigenous Studies Students’ Union President Jennifer Sylvester and CLASSU President Willem Crispin-Frei, ASSU Student Advisor Gavin Nowlan (Photo Credit: ASSU)

Graduate Students: Call For Papers

11th Biennial Bryn Mawr College Graduate Group Symposium
Nothing in Moderation: Ancient to Contemporary Perspectives on Excess
November 3-4, 2017

Featuring keynote speaker and respondent Kenneth Lapatin, Curator of Antiquities at the J. Paul Getty Museum

Modern conversations about consumerism and materialism, production and pollution, the growth of the archive and the surge in technology, often centre on or radiate from the idea of excess. What is it to be excessive? When, how, why is something thought to be “too much?” Who defines decadence and extravagance? How do ideas of excess change over time and across political, social, and cultural climates?

This interdisciplinary symposium invites graduate students in Archaeology, Classics, History of Art, and related fields to present papers that address aspects of excess ranging from ancient to modern. Potential topics may involve, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Material excess, luxury, and extravagance
  • Literary effluences of style and content
  • Aesthetic excess and the sublime
  • Divine and religious indulgence
  • Communal entities of excess: social, cultural, and political
  • Individual transcendence and transgression: excellence, malfeasance, diffidence
  • Physical and corporeal overabundance
  • Psychological states of excess: madness, trauma, libido

DEADLINE FOR SUBMISSION: Friday, April 21, 2017. Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words by emailing a PDF attachment to bmcsymposium@gmail.com.

Any questions can be directed to the BMC Graduate Group Symposium Committee at bmcsymposium@gmail.com.


2017-2018 Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellows in the Humanities

2017-2018 Chancellor Jackman Graduate Fellows in the Humanities

Graduate Fellowships are open to PhD candidates in the humanities at the University of Toronto who will be in the final year of writing their dissertation and beyond the final year of the University of Toronto graduate funding package during the year when they hold the fellowship. The recipients of this fellowship hold an office at the JHI and participate in weekly luncheon seminars, presenting their own work to the other Fellows at some point during the year. Graduate Fellows do not work as Teaching Assistants or course instructors during the year of their appointment in order to concentrate on completing their dissertations. Applicants for Graduate Fellowships are nominated by their departments, and must have completed at least two full chapters of their thesis at the time of application. They are selected by the incoming Faculty Research Fellows on the basis of scholarship and scholarly promise, as well as the relationship of their topic to the Annual Theme.

Applications (nominations) are currently being solicited. Classics PhD students who are eligible and interested, please get in touch with Classics Graduate Coordinator by Monday March 20, 2017. More details can be found here.

The selection process is completed by May. Approximately three Graduate Fellows are appointed each year.


BHPC “Form, Function, Intent: Materiality and the Codification of Knowledge” Colloquium

Massey College, 4 Devonshire Place
Saturday, March 11, 2017
9:00AM – 5:30PM

Our colleagues at the Book History & Print Culture Collaborative Program invite you attend the upcoming graduate organized colloquium, “Form, Function, Intent: Materiality and the Codification of Knowledge”.

2017 BHPC Colloquium Program

If you are interested in attending, you are asked to please RSVP at: https://bhpccolloquium2017.wordpress.com/registration/

Website: https://hpccolloquium2017.wordpress.com

E-mail: bhpccolloquium2017@gmail.com


Upcoming Deadline: The Desmond Conacher Scholarship

The application deadline for this year’s Desmond Conacher Scholarship is Saturday, April 1, 2017.

Applicants must be Canadian students (citizens or permanent residents) intending to enter the first year of graduate studies in a classics or similar programme at a Canadian university. Applicants must be less than 28 years of age on January 1st of the year of application. For more details, please link to the CAC webpage (see below).

The Desmond Conacher Scholarship


In Memoriam: Joan M. Bigwood (1937-2017)

Dear Colleagues,Image result for red rose

I am deeply saddened to inform the Department that Joan M. Bigwood, emerita Associate Professor of Classics at Victoria College in the University of Toronto, died on Thursday, February 16, 2017, at the age of 80.

Born in Scotland in 1937 into a musical family, Joan was the third of four children of a Presbytarian minister, and grew up in Stonehaven (Aberdeenshire). An accomplished cellist, she played in the Scottish National Youth Orchestra in her youth. She received her MA (1st Class Honours) in Latin & Greek in 1958 from the University of St. Andrews. After a year at the Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh (1958-1959), she went to Cambridge, MA on a full scholarship from Radcliffe College to pursue doctoral studies in Classics (Latin & Greek) at Harvard University. She completed her PhD there in 1964 with a dissertation entitled “Ctesias of Cnidus (a study in Ionian historiography),” under the supervision of Herbert Bloch. She was hired forthwith by Victoria College, at the University of Toronto, where she spent her long career as successively Lecturer (1964-1966) and Don, Victoria University Women’s Residence (1964-1967); Assistant Professor (1966-1975); Associate Professor (1975-2001); Associate (1982-1990) and Continuing Member of SGS (1990-2001). She retired from the Department of Classics in the University of Toronto one year early, on June 30, 2001.

Professor Bigwood’s area of research specialization was Greek history of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, to which she joined an interest in the history and antiquities of Achaemenid Persia. She published a series of lengthy articles in this area dealing with a wide range of subjects, from Ctesias as a historian of the Persian Wars (Phoenix 32 [1978] 19-41) and of India (Phoenix 43 [1989] 302-16), to his description of the city of Babylon and its monuments (AJAH 3 [1978] 32-52, and his understanding of North West India in Achaemenid times (JHS 115 [1995] 135-40). The larger questions driving her research were how ancient authors worked, how Greeks perceived non-Greek peoples and cultures, and questions of trade and cultural exchange. After her retirement in 2001, she turned her attention, with particular tenacity, to the investigation of the representation of Persian women in Greek historiography, with articles on incestuous marriage in Achaemenid Iran, the Parthian queen Mousa, the queen-mother Sisygambis, and women in the ancient accounts of Alexander.

Professor Bigwood was a much-admired teacher of ancient Greek and the history of ancient Greece, especially of the historians Herodotus and Thucydides, whom she taught at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Her exacting standards made her a demanding instructor, but in turn she gave unstintingly to her students and her wealth of knowledge enriched not only their classes but also a series of doctoral theses on which she served as a committee member throughout the 1990s.

Over her long career at Victoria College, she served in a variety of capacities, from her initial service as a Don in the women’s residence to her long-running service as Discipline Group Representative in Classics. To the Department of Classics, she contributed to a term as Undergraduate Coordinator (1992-1995) and participated regularly in the annual “High School Classics Day” which brought so many local high school students to the University of Toronto campus. In addition, she served a term on the Editorial Board of Phoenix, Journal of the Classical Association of Canada (1981-1984). She was a kind and patient teacher, and a staunch friend to generations of students and colleagues at Victoria College.

Outside of the classroom and library, Joan was always good company and a generous friend and mentor to her junior female colleagues. She imparted wise advice about teaching and publishing over lunches that lacked nothing in the way of wit and kindly gossip too. She was an avid runner and a keen tennis player, who never ceased to regret the loss of the Victoria College tennis courts. She continued to play chamber music for quite a while during her time in Toronto, but gave it up eventually because of difficulties over practising in her apartment building. She retained her love for classical music, however, and enjoyed attending concerts with friends.

Joan Bigwood is survived by her siblings Frank, Kitty, and Louise, and is sadly missed by them and her nieces and nephews.
The Department of Classics at the University of Toronto deeply regrets the loss of our valued colleague.


Alison Keith FRSC, Professor and Acting Chair
Department of Classics
University of Toronto