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Pharos

Doing Justice to the Classics

Announcing Pharos’ New Front Page and Land Acknowledgement

by Curtis Dozier, Director of Pharos

This week I published a major revision of the front page of Pharos, which had remained largely unchanged since the launch of the site in 2017.

Over the past four years the focus and mission of Pharos has evolved, from an original emphasis on attempting to debunk hateful appropriations of Greco-Roman antiquity to a more documentary approach, with an emphasis on the ways that white supremacist interpretations of Greco-Roman antiquity often draw on, and even overlap with, traditional and mainstream ways of understanding and valuing the ancient world.

One driving force behind this evolution has been my growing understanding of the pervasiveness of white supremacy in American life and history. The hate groups that I document at Pharos are only the most explicitly racist manifestations of a dominant culture that systematically favors people racialized as white. These groups’ invocations of Greco-Roman antiquity epitomize this dynamic on a disciplinary level: they are only the most overt manifestations of a broader intellectual tradition of employing the prestige of the “Classical” in order to justify violence and oppression.

Along with this growing understanding of the pervasiveness of white supremacy comes a recognition of the ways I have benefited from, and continue to benefit from, that culture. As is the case for any white, cisgender, man, the list of those benefits is long. A few that are salient in relation to Pharos are that I receive less harassment for publishing this site than women and scholars of color who do similar work, media outlets are probably more likely to cover my work than that of scholars who do not conform to the dominant image of what a scholar should look like, and the committees on whose approval the continuation of my academic career depends are more likely to regard my work at Pharos as a “legitimate” “scholarly” project rather than as (supposedly) unscholarly activism.

In further recognition of the ways that Pharos has benefited from American White Supremacy, I have incorporated a land acknowledgement into the new front page of Pharos that recognizes the displacement of Native peoples from the land on which Pharos is researched, written, and hosted online; promotes research on the role of Classics and Greco-Roman antiquity in the genocide of Native peoples; celebrates the resilience of those whose land my institution occupies; and invites visitors to Pharos both to educate themselves about Native history and efforts to restore Native stewardship of the land.

As always, I welcome your feedback and comments on the site at pharosclassics@vassar.edu.

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