Author Archive for cudozier

Greek Myth and Apocalyptic European Nationalism 

This month is the fifth anniversary of the launch of Fabien Bièvre-Perrin’s Antiquipop, a website that, like Pharos, documents appropriations of Greco-Roman antiquity in the contemporary world. But whereas the pages of Pharos are filled with regressive interpretations and distortions of the ancient past, Antiquipop celebrates the deployment and reanalysis of that past in contemporary art, film, fashion, and music. On Pharos you will find examples of Greco-Roman antiquity being used to exclude, to erase, to threaten, and to oppress. On Antiquipop you find engagements with antiquity that are intended to appeal to broad audiences, engagements that, by simultaneously invoking and questioning the prestige of the Classical past, promote a sometimes radically inclusive vision of what the Greco-Roman world might mean in the contemporary world. And so, in celebration of the fifth birthday of Antiquipop your friends at Pharos offer this documentation of some Classical references in the work of a prominent member of the French far right, as an illustration of how vital your work is to the project of rejecting the claims that hate groups make on the ancient past.

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Bait and Switch: Plato’s Republic and Hitler’s Mein Kampf

During the U.S. Senate hearings concerning the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court amid accusations of sexual assault, the neo-Nazi site The Daily Stormer published numerous articles (and distributed flyers) claiming that “a group of subversive Jews…utilized the most disgusting tactics imaginable to prevent Kavanaugh from filling the position.” In one of these, the editor of the site Andrew Anglin cited Plato’s Republic as proof that “using a coalition of the media and the opposition to destroy the character of an individual are nothing new.” After a lengthy quotation, Anglin ended his article by revealing that the quote was not, in fact, from Plato but from Hitler’s memoir/manifesto Mein Kampf. Read More→

Not Just Hitler and Mussolini: Neo-Nazis Love Neoclassical Architecture too

On February 4th, 2020 Architectural Record reported on a leaked draft executive order from the Trump administration entitled “Making Federal Buildings Beautiful Again” that would require that “the classical architectural style shall be the preferred and default style” for future federal buildings. The American Institute of Architects immediately stated their opposition to the order, arguing that “architecture should be designed for the specific communities that it serves, reflecting our rich nation’s diverse places, thought, culture and climates.” They were followed by several other professional associations, including the Society for Classical Studies (attaching themselves to an existing statement from the Society for Architectural Historians) and The Archaeological Institute of America, which in addition to opposing the order noted that the very idea of a uniform “Classical” style of architecture misrepresents the variety of styles used in the Classical period. This condemnation of the totalitarian nature of the order was matched in the press with many articles describing a similar compulsory preference for Classical architecture under the Nazis in Germany or Fascists in Italy. The resonance of this proposed executive order with past white supremacist regimes is indeed disturbing, but it risks locating hateful admiration for Classical architecture in the past when in fact the nexus between it and racist politics is alive and well, as Pharos‘ survey of mentions of it on some of the major sites we document shows.

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Call for Abstracts: Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy

Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting, Jan 7–10, 2021

Curtis Dozier, director of Pharos: Doing Justice to the Classics, invites the submission of abstracts on any aspect of the relationship of Greco-Roman Antiquity and White Supremacy. Selected abstracts will form a proposal for a panel on the topic to be held at the 2021 Society for Classical Studies annual meeting in Chicago, IL (Jan 7–10, 2021). If the SCS Program committee accepts our proposed panel, the Vassar College Department of Greek and Roman Studies will offer panelists who do not have tenured or tenure-track positions a $500 stipend toward the cost of attending the conference. Pharos is also offering a research service for those interested in preparing abstracts but who prefer not to visit White Supremacist websites (on which see below). Read More→

Report: White Supremacy and the Past and Future of Classics Roundtable

“The heartbeat of racism is denial. The heartbeat of anti-racism is confession.” -Ibram X. Kendi

Twenty classical scholars gathered at the 2020 Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting to brainstorm a list of ways that the discipline of Classics has been and continues to be complicit in white supremacy. Participants included graduate students, high school teachers, and college professors of all ranks. Nearly all were white.

As such, the function of the round table was something like a discipline-specific version (minus the expert facilitator) of the “White Fragility” workshop on the first day of the conference, where Robin DiAngelo invited participants to reflect on how our socialization into white supremacy “renders us racially illiterate” and to take “the first step” of “let[ting] go of our racial certitude and reach[ing] for humility.” One quote from that workshop that encapsulated the motivation and aims for this roundtable came from an essay by Ijeoma Oluo: “Your survival has never depended on your knowledge of white culture. In fact, it’s required your ignorance. The dominant culture does not have to see itself to survive because culture will shift to fit its needs.” Read More→

Racist Intimidation invokes Socrates and “Classical Education”

In September 2019, several faculty and administrators at Wake Forest University received racist and homophobic emails that, according to recipients, called for “our land to be ‘purged’ of people of color and members of the LGBTQ+ community.” More recently it has emerged that the hateful and intimidating rhetoric of these emails used references to Greco-Roman Antiquity to define the curriculum that the racists believe should be “restored.”

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SCS Roundtable: White Supremacy and the Past and Future of Classics

At this year’s Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., Pharos Director Curtis Dozier will moderate a roundtable discussion entitled “White Supremacy and the History and Future of Classics” from 12:15 to 1:45PM on Saturday, January 3rd in the Marquis Ballroom Salon 1–6. All who are interested in learning more or in sharing their expertise are welcome.

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Update to the Onomasticon of Classical Pseudonyms and Avatars – December 2019

In the year since we announced our “Onomasticon of Classical Pseudonyms and Avatars,” it has become one of the most visited pages on Pharos. In this update to the database, we’ve added four new pseudonyms from some of the largest hate sites that Pharos has documented:

Our full discussion of each, along with all the other classicizing names and images we’ve documented so far, can be found in the Onomasticon itself.

A Champion for Classics…and Racism

Joseph Sobran was a prominent American journalist and anti-Semite who, according to one obituary, “shared many of the ideas of the European far right from the early 20th century, in particular the belief that Jews are an alien, nearly monolithic and subversive force whose main goal is to destroy Western Civilization.” He came to the attention of Pharos because a meme featuring one of his quotes has been posted several times in a Facebook group for Latin teachers, where it received many “likes” and some approving comments. The quote says: “In 100 years we have gone from teaching Latin and Greek in high school to teaching Remedial English in college.” This nostalgia for an (imagined) time when the study of Classics enjoyed a central and respected position in American education may be superficially attractive to those of us devoted to that study. But Sobran’s hateful political views should make us think twice about our assumptions about the value and purpose of Classical education. We may discover that our self-image, and even self-respect, as educators rests on implicit arguments dear to those with abhorrent political views.

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The Second Year of Pharos

by Curtis Dozier, Director of Pharos

Two years ago I launched Pharos: Doing Justice to the Classics in order to raise awareness about how hate groups are using Greco-Roman antiquity to legitimize their politics. Within a year it became clear that specialists in the field of Classical Studies and the public at large were interested in learning about these appropriations, and I was honored to be recognized at the beginning of 2019 by the Women’s Classical Caucus, which awarded Pharos the “Public Scholarship” award for work “geared toward non-specialist audiences” that “address[es] feminist concerns or any other concerns related to marginalized groups.” The site continued to receive coverage in the press, including Undark Magazine and The Chronicle of Higher Education. For the first time it was noticed by a major right-wing site, when Campus Reform published the response from a homophobic hate group to our documentation of their invocation of the persecution of Christians in ancient Rome in their fundraising materials. 
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