We acknowledge that the field of Classics has historically excluded people of color from its physical and intellectual spaces and erased their valuable and foundational contributions from its records.
Members of the Department of Classics are involved with on-campus antiracist organizing; with formal and informal training programs that promote discussions and activities about equity and inclusion, including training in explicit (conscious) and implicit (unconscious) bias, training in how to create a structurally inclusive learning environment, and LGBTQI+-welcoming training; and with equity and social justice work in the wider profession of Classics — including public-facing scholarship that studies non-white contributions to the classical tradition and rejects white-supremacist appropriations of Classics. In a little under two years, the department is co-hosting Feminism & Classics 2022, the profession’s largest gathering ever of intersectional critical scholars and students.
In 2019, the department commissioned artist Leo Rucker to complete three painted portraits of Black Classicists from North Carolina (Helen Maria Chesnutt, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Wiley Lane). Now completed, these portraits will be displayed permanently and prominently in our halls, serving as reminders of the rich histories that have been suppressed by malice and racism, and emphasizing our commitment to do better for our students and our community. In 2020, the department issued a forceful public statement of support for Black lives and antiracist activists protesting police violence.
The department has developed a Diversity Action Plan in consultation with the university’s Associate Dean for Faculty Recruitment, Diversity, and Inclusion, and regularly revisits the plan for updates, revision, and further action. We continually seek to recruit students and faculty members from backgrounds that have traditionally been excluded from the field of Classics.