Classically Inclined

April 8, 2015

Posted Elsewhere – A very modern family archive

Filed under: Research — lizgloyn @ 11:15 am
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I should have flagged this up when the post went up, but better late than never… I have another post up on the Family Archive project blog, this time exploring the link between my own experience of family archives and the sentimental things that turn up in ancient deposits.

I don’t think this answers the question I posed in my previous post for the project about why sentimental (and thus ‘inexplicable’) material gets kept, but it’s certainly a place to start.

March 7, 2015

Posted Elsewhere – Family archives and the Romans

Filed under: Research — lizgloyn @ 6:52 pm
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In case any of you are interested, I have a post up on the Family Archive project blog thinking about the idea of family archives and how it relates to the Romans. Do pop over and take a look!

I’m still puzzled about what family archive practices look like in Rome itself, rather than Greco-Roman Egypt – I’m particularly interested in the so-called ‘sentimental’ material, kept for no readily apparent reason, and how that gets transmitted down through the generations. But that’s another story for another blog post…

August 4, 2014

On social media and impact – a reflection

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 2:30 pm
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I mentioned a while ago that I’d been asked to co-facilitate an event run by the Classical Reception Studies Network about impact and social media. Now that event has taken place, I thought I’d put a couple of thoughts down about it. The event was sort-of-livetweeted by others using the hashtag #csrn, but I don’t think any of us got around to archiving those tweets (ironic, given that one of the things we discussed was the use of Storify).

The afternoon was essentially an opportunity for people who were using social media in various ways to talk about how we used it and what platforms worked, and for people who were interested in using social media in the future or who wanted to know how they might improve their usage to learn, ask for ideas and so forth. Nobody acted as an expert, although the experiences of Emma Bridges (who moderates Classics International over on Facebook) and myself provided a starting-off point for discussions.  I have to admit that my decision to come onto various social media platforms was horribly calculated – my very first post provided a rationale for why I was doing this, although as my post a year later showed, my manifesto shifted and indeed continues to shift depending on how much energy I’ve got spare. Before I got onto Twitter I even (horror of horrors) got out a book from the university library about how to manage one’s brand on-line to work out what I was doing. But oddly enough, that deliberate approach has saved me from a lot of the pitfalls and confusions that I’ve encountered on other platforms, like Facebook (which I got onto because some old students told me I really should be, and now is an odd space full of friends, family, old students and senior colleagues). This sense of needing to work out boundaries and what you are actually doing was something everyone shared – having a clear aim definitely seemed to work better than just sort of hoping.

Another point that came up was the importance of accepting that you can’t control the internet – there’s no point in defining success in metrics about how many people  read or engage with things, because online space can’t be controlled in that way. (See, for instance, the fact that the post with the most hits on here is about writing a thesis introduction, not anything to do with my research or teaching.) Another point that emerged in the conversation was about community – many people commented on how good it was to speak to others in the field, build networks with people in other countries, and cross the interdisciplinary boundaries through the more informal engagement possible on something like Twitter.

I learned things myself – for instance, Silvie Kilgallon gave us a great explanation of how Tumblr works through her various sites, including the Stitched Iliad project and Aristotelian Complacency. I now understand how Tumblr functions, although I have to admit that it’s not for me – it doesn’t really fit with what I’m doing or how I tend to communicate my work. But this was another important thing that I wanted to say, and I think did get said, which was that there wasn’t any point in Doing Stuff on social media unless it worked for you. In the days of graduate training enthusiastically telling every graduate to set up a blog, I think it’s worth pausing to ask why you are doing these things and what it achieves. Without a clear sense of what you are about, it becomes very easy to lose focus and thus lose motivation. And, as we all agreed, there’s nothing sadder than discovering a dead blog that hasn’t been updated in months with no farewell post.

The final important point that came out of the workshop was that social media has a particularly helpful role to play when it comes to classical reception studies. Those of us (like me) who talk a lot about books, films and other forms of cultural production can reach out to the people consuming this material, and indeed in some cases to the people producing it. That means our scholarship has the chance of reaching beyond the walls of the academy and to a general interest audience – some of whom will be reading this post now. And if you are, thank you. Having the chance to talk about my research and my general thoughts about the subject I love to people who aren’t colleagues or students is precious, and I’m glad that you all stick around to listen.

There is an official report on the workshop written by Carol Atack available in PDF form.

Edit: We also seem to have spawned a blog.

April 12, 2014

Top ten blog posts – year three

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 12:29 pm

Well, I did it for the first two anniversaries, so I think that means it’s a tradition… yes, this is the blog’s third birthday! I know that the last year has been a little bit less active because of the new job and a lot of general upheaval, but thank you for those who are still here and still reading; I hope that as things settle down over the coming year, I’ll be able to post a bit more frequently and include a few more thoughts about my research. So here are the top ten posts for the past year – enjoy!

  1. How to write a thesis introduction – an ever popular post still here at the top; overall, this one post counts for about half of the blog’s annual traffic. All I can say is that I hope that it helps a good number of the people who find it.
  2. How to write a conference abstract – this one has started to get institutionalised and various official conferences point people to it, so it’s no surprise that it’s still getting a good number of hits.
  3. The Shield of Achilles – classical reception thoughts on W.H. Auden’s poem that seems to get a lot of interest – I have no idea whether English teachers are setting it as an assignment, but at least it’s proving popular.
  4. Freud, the uncanny and monsters – my thoughts on Freud, the uncanny and where classical monsters which aren’t Medusa fit into a psychoanalytic model. Written after reading his essay on the unheimlich.
  5. Tips For Conferences, or “Don’t Wear Pearls  – my tips on going to conferences, or what happens after you’ve had your abstract accepted.
  6. Film Review: Quo Vadis (1951) – classical reception observations on one of the influential films in the field.
  7. Film Review: The 300 Spartans (1962) – more of the same, thinking about the film in a classical reception framework.
  8. Book review: Becoming a critically reflective teacher – Stephen D. Brookfield – when I wrote this review, I had no idea how influential Brookfield would become in my general model for generating student feedback. I hope other people find themselves drawn to the book by my review.
  9. Classicist Women on Twitter – very pleased that this has made it into the top ten! My post paralleling the Twitter list that curates a list of women doing classics on Twitter. Always open for nominations.
  10. The classical pedagogy of trigger warnings – thoughts on how to flag up sensitive material (in this case poems dealing with abusive relationships and sexual assault) in a class syllabus without removing students’ agency or failing in my duty of care towards vulnerable students.

February 13, 2014

CRSN workshop: Impact and social media, London, 17 July 2014

Filed under: Out and about — lizgloyn @ 1:32 pm
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Exciting stuff for Classically Inclined – I’ve been asked to take part in a Classical Reception Studies Network workshop on impact and social media! The details are as follows:

CRSN workshop: Impact and social media, 17 July 2014,

Location: The Open University London Regional Centre, 1-11 Hawley Crescent, Camden Town, London NW1 8NP Venue directions and map
Time: 2-5 pm

Classical receptions would seem ideally placed to engage with the current ‘impact agenda’ in UK research funding. Grant application forms include questions about ‘pathways to impact’ and applicants often include some form of social media in their responses. We invite doctoral students and early career researchers to come and share their experiences of using blogging, Facebook and twitter to disseminate their research, create networks and promote their work. Whether you already use social media or are simply wondering if there is any point, this workshop is for you. While we’ll have some experienced users with us (including Emma Bridges, founder of the Facebook page Classics International, and Liz Gloyn, who blogs as ‘Classically Inclined’), the main focus will be on sharing our enthusiasms, our suggestions and our reservations. Spaces are limited; please reply to

Obviously I’m delighted to be asked to participate in the workshop, not least as I think things like blogging and Twitter are valuable ways for classicists to get outside their departments and share some of the awesome stuff we do with other people. It should be an interesting afternoon. Of course, I should probably make sure I mention that the frequency of my blogging is not entirely unrelated to how much teaching prep  I have on at any given week – speaking of which, back to the grindstone…


April 12, 2013

Top ten blog posts – year two

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 7:39 pm

Gosh, another blog-versary! Today marks two years of blogging since my first cautious forays into the medium. It’s been another good and productive year – I’ve noticed my blogging starting to swing a bit more towards my research and away from the ‘hints and tips’ sort of post, but those are still proving popular in the archives. So, here are the top ten posts from the last year – some similarities to last year’s list, but some new entries as well. Enjoy!

  1. How to write a thesis introduction – I have to say I’m astonished at how popular this ‘how to’ post has been over the past year. Does just what it says on the tin, and apparently there’s a market for it!
  2. How to write a conference abstract – again, another popular ‘how to’ post that seems to fill a need in the market.
  3. Film Review: Immortals – my comments on the 2011 film. Not, I have to admit, usually reached by classical reception search terms, but never mind.
  4. Tips For Conferences, or “Don’t Wear Pearls” – the ‘how to’ guide to conference, which includes how to actually write the conference paper once you’ve got the abstract accepted.
  5. Pompeii in Times Square – some comments on the 2011 exhibition in Times Square. I’m quietly wondering whether a parallel write-up of the British Museum’s new exhibition will do so well in the traffic ratings when it goes up.
  6. Book review: Becoming a critically reflective teacher – Stephen D. Brookfield – deals with the critical incident questionnaire, mainly found by people googling for book reviews.
  7. The Shield of Achilles – a new entry! Classical reception thoughts on W.H. Auden’s poem.
  8. Writing a cover letter to a journal – another how-to, that does exactly what it says on the tin.
  9. Some Selected Penis Poetry – some of my translations of the Priapea poems. I suspect whoever finds this via googling is not finding what they are looking for.
  10. The sex lives of Homeric heroines – more on the Priapea (can’t think why that does well with traffic), this time wondering about how much elegaic and satirical poems reconstruct the sex lives of the women in Homer, and why.

January 2, 2013

Is this thing on? And what is it for, exactly?

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 9:08 am

Neville Morley has recently written about the demise of the classical blog Antike und Abendland; his thoughts have been taken up by David Meadows of Rogue Classicism. Central to both of these posts is the question of what blogging is actually for – why do we academics, classicists in particular, do it? Neville suggests that A&A demonstrated a seriousness of engagement that its British equivalents don’t pull off, while David again raises the flag for blogs as a serious work-in-progress platform, for sharing the sort of thing that you might find in a Classical Quarterly Note. This all raised some fairly heated debate on Twitter; it seemed that reflecting on what I think this blog is for would be as good a way as any to mark the transition into the New Year.


December 24, 2012

Cross-posting catch up

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 9:10 am

I’ve written a couple of things in other places that I wanted to flag up to you in case you haven’t read them (and better late than never):

Recap: #ECRchat on When to Start a Family – this is the recap of the #ECRchat I hosted on 22nd November, and summarises some of the main points and issues raised in that discussion.

Postcard from Birmingham, by Liz Gloyn (PhD’11): Moving between the US and the UK – this is a post I wrote for the Rutgers Classics blog about the move from the US to the UK, with some of my observations about the differences between the two. There’s also a plug there for the Birmingham Study Abroad program, which allows undergraduates spend a semester or a year of their degree studying at another institution – I’ve been talking quite a bit to our team over there for various reasons, and it’s really quite an impressive set-up!

May 22, 2012

Gone conferencin’

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 9:20 am
Tags: ,

Just a quick note to say that I’m off to Feminism and Classics VI today. When I get back next week, I’ll be taking some much needed R&R time; I’ve spent the last five days or so completely immersed in exams so that my colleagues responsible for second marking have enough time to do their job rather than being rushed, so I’ve earnt a break. Not to mention that I’ll need a couple of days to sleep off the jet lag.

I’ll be back after the Jubilee weekend with a conference report, some thoughts on the sex lives of Homeric heroines, and the final judgement on those new assignments. See you then!

April 12, 2012

Top Ten Blog Posts – Year One

Filed under: Meta — lizgloyn @ 1:00 pm

It seems only fair to give a round-up of my top ten posts since the blog was created – happy catch-up reading!

  1. How to write a conference abstract – does exactly what it says on the tin, and I’m delighted this is at the top of the list.
  2. Film Review: Immortals – for some reason this gets a lot of hits. I just hope that everyone who visits the page reads the film critique.
  3. Pompeii in Times Square – this gets plenty of hits from the search term “Pompeii”. Goodness knows if it’s what the searcher is after.
  4. The proper care and feeding of academic otters – created after a #phdchat session to explain how I manage those stray academic ideas I don’t have time for right at the moment. I am still hoping that the term “academic otters” enters common academic usage.
  5. Tips For Conferences, or “Don’t Wear Pearls” – again, does exactly what it says on the tin, and hopefully is proving helpful.
  6. Book review: Becoming a critically reflective teacher – Stephen D. Brookfield – this gets a lot of views from people searching for Brookfield’s work, and I can only hope my thoughts are instructive.
  7. Classicist Women on Twitter – my latest mini-project which I hope to continue to update. Let me know if you have any suggestions for additions!
  8. How to write a thesis introduction – more life experience from reflecting on my own thesis introduction.
  9. The trouble with required texts – this became very popular for a couple of days, enough to keep it in the top ten although it’s not been read much since it was posted. Some thoughts on required texts for undergraduates in the US and UK systems which proved unexpectedly controversial.
  10. Madonna at the Superbowl – running commentary of this episode, although now sadly without the link to the Youtube video footage.
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