BIPOC Features: Annissa Malvoisin

One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds. BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.

Check out this month’s post by Annissa Malvoisin and learn more about her journey to studying the ancient world and her thoughts about the future of Egyptology! You can find previous posts in the series here.

Photo included with permission from author
Continue reading “BIPOC Features: Annissa Malvoisin”

Abstract Writing (Hidden Curriculum #6)

For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. This month I’m talking about how to write an abstract.

One thing that I actually was taught to do that would benefit me academically is writing abstracts. Moreover, I was taught, as part of a graduate seminar on Ancient Medicine in Winter 2018, how to write an abstract before writing the paper.

Up until that point, I had only ever been confident in my ability to write abstracts based on papers I’d already written, and I’m sure most people can relate. Submitting an abstract based on a paper you haven’t written yet is scary

On the one hand, this nebulous idea that’s floating around in your head has to be coherent enough to be accepted. 

On the other hand, if it does get accepted, you’ve actually got to do the work, write the paper, and present it. Woof.

As it turns out, that lesson was extremely useful as I did go on to submit the abstract to CAMWS in 2019 and it was accepted. In the end, however, I decided to withdraw from the conference when the pandemic hit and everything went online.

Since then, I have become more and more comfortable with writing abstracts based on ideas rather than full-blown research papers and happen to be in the midst of writing one now. So, I thought it would be a good time to share what I’ve learned from the process as part of the hidden curriculum series. 

Writing an abstract doesn't have to be scary
Continue reading “Abstract Writing (Hidden Curriculum #6)”

The Power of ‘I Don’t Know’

A few months ago, I described what scholars of the ancient world needed to sacrifice to make the field more inclusive and equitable. One of those things was feeling the need to be an expert in everything.

It’s not easy for any of us to admit when we don’t know the answer to something. Part of this hesitation, I think, stems from the high-pressure, high-stakes structure of our graduate education. 

Continue reading “The Power of ‘I Don’t Know’”

Notes from the Apotheke is now on Patreon!

As the one year anniversary of this blog’s inception rapidly approaches, I’ve been thinking more and more about how I can take things to the next level. So I decided to create a Patreon account.

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a membership platform that makes it easy for creators (artists, writers, instructors, musicians, etc) to get paid. 

Everyone who signs up pays a few dollars a month to receive content. A creator can set up their Patreon page to either allow individuals to pay as much as they want or to choose a membership level that gives them access to exclusive content or services.

Why did I create a Patreon account?

Naturally, my motivations for creating this page were primarily financial. 

On the one hand, I am a graduate student doing this out of the goodness of her heart. I have not, in the eleven months that this blog has been up and running, been paid anything to do it. 

I love doing this and I love amplifying the work that other BIPOC in the field are doing and I’d do it all for free. 

But being a graduate student isn’t cheap, and these last few months have been particularly challenging for me financially. So, I sought out ways that I could remedy that, and Patreon seemed like a good way to do so without having to totally reinvent the wheel.

On the other hand, the guests who write the BIPOC features each month are also doing so out of the goodness of their heart, but as someone who frequently reminds everyone to compensate their guest speakers, I have been unable to do so myself (see above). 

Thus, by becoming a Patron, you can support not only me, but also the wonderful BIPOC scholars who have contributed and will in the future contribute to the blog. Ideally I’d like to dedicate at least half of the proceeds to paying my guest writers.

Plus, you’ll get some cool perks for signing up 🙂

How do I become a Patron and what are the benefits of signing up?

There are four tiers of membership that you can choose from: $3, $5, $10, and $20.

$3 membership gives you access to all of the normal content (blog posts, Twitter threads, Instagram posts) + weekly photos of my cat

$5 membership gets you all of the things the $3 membership does, plus early access to new blog posts, voting power on future posts, and bonus monthly content (e.g. tutorials and templates, pedagogy book reviews, etc)

$10 membership gets you all of the above, plus I’ll send you a monthly motivational postcard in the mail and each month you’ll be entered into a drawing to receive an additional surprise token of my gratitude!

$20 membership gets you all of the above, plus the opportunity to schedule one-on-one consulting and/or feedback sessions with yours truly. I’m happy to sit in (virtually for out-of-state folks, in-person for Michigan folks) on one or more of your class sessions or give feedback on something (abstracts, statements, presentations, lesson plans) you’re working on

If you’re interested in supporting me and my guest writers, and getting some cool perks in the process (like a handwritten postcard from me every month!!), then you can sign up for my Patreon here!

BIPOC Features: Daniel Libatique

One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds. BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.

Check out this month’s post, featuring Daniel Libatique! I love reading about each contributor’s journey to studying the ancient world and their hopes for the future of the discipline, and I hope you do too! You can find previous posts in the series here.

Continue reading “BIPOC Features: Daniel Libatique”

The Dissertation Prospectus (Hidden Curriculum #6)

For those of you who are new here, the hidden curriculum includes a set of things we’re expected to know how to do, from attending a conference for the first time to applying for funding to going on the job market, without actually being taught them. This month I’m talking the dissertation prospectus: what it is and how to write it.

~

Congratulations, you’re a PhD candidate! You might be either celebrating the fact that you are done with exams and coursework or tentatively wondering, “Now what?” (Or both.) 

While you are definitely free from the constraints of courses and teaching, there still remains one final hurdle before you’re really free (aka ABD): the dissertation prospectus. In this post, I offer some general guidance for navigating this onerous and often inadequately explained requirement.

Writing the dissertation prospectus doesn't have to make you feel like this guy
Writing the dissertation prospectus doesn’t have to feel like this

Prospectus Timeline

As with everything, the timeline for writing and submitting the dissertation prospectus may vary somewhat from department to department. However, in general, there are certain steps that you usually must follow before officially changing your email signature to include “ABD” (all but dissertation).

These steps are, roughly:

  1. Assemble dissertation committee, including deciding on a chair or co-chairs, and submit through appropriate channels
  2. Consult with committee members about dissertation topic and possible approaches
  3. Draft dissertation prospectus
  4. Defend prospectus (aka meet with your committee members to discuss your draft)
  5. Complete revisions and submit prospectus to department for final approval
  6. Start dissertating!

This post focuses primarily on writing the prospectus. If you want to know more about how to approach other steps in this process – such as how to choose who’s on your committee or how to prepare for and what to expect at a defense – let me know!

Continue reading “The Dissertation Prospectus (Hidden Curriculum #6)”

3 Steps to Implementing Antiracist Pedagogy (ARP)

I have talked about antiracist teaching on here in the past. This week I want to delve deeper into why I think antiracist pedagogy (ARP) is important and some ways that we can implement it in our classrooms.

I’ve always been skeptical of diversity and inclusion initiatives that include offering more courses that might ‘appeal’ to people of color and draw them in. This manifests as offering or amplifying existing courses on ‘race and ethnicity,’ on ‘slavery in the ancient world,’ and on the relationship between ‘barbarians’ and Greeks and/or Romans.

In the absence of more structural reforms, I have always viewed such an approach as a trap. 

Courses on these topics are absolutely necessary (although certain choices in vocabulary are not) for exposing students to alternate perspectives, ones which both challenge and complement dominant narratives about the ancient world. Without such perspectives, our understanding of the ancient world would be incomplete.

However, when implemented poorly, these courses reflect a persistent two-part illusion. 

Plastic vases from the National Archaeological Museum in Athens
Continue reading “3 Steps to Implementing Antiracist Pedagogy (ARP)”

BIPOC, POC, or Black?: A Note on Terminology

Last week I came across this tweet about the term ‘BIPOC’:

It reminded me of when I raised the question of what term people preferred to use when referring to people of color: BIPOC, POC, non-white, or some other term. I raised this question because even then there were mixed feelings about the use of ‘BIPOC’ when discussing the experiences of people of color.

I was genuinely surprised at the results (most people preferred ‘POC’) and the discussion it prompted. 

I’ll admit that when I first created this blog, I wasn’t 100% clear on how the term should or had been used. It was a new and thought-provoking term that I thought was more politically correct and inclusive than POC (which I now realize is part of the problem). 

Like most people, I didn’t do my research and just made the switch without really understanding the significance of (and problems with) the term.

When I asked POC studying the ancient world on Twitter last December to share who they were and what they studied as a way of signal-boosting historically excluded groups in the field, one individual claimed that using the term ‘BIPOC’ in my call for contributors was ‘insulting’:

Even now, it seems like the animosity toward the term remains. 

So, I figured that, since I continue to use the term in conjunction with this blog, it was time to set the record straight:

What does ‘BIPOC’ mean?

Where does it come from?

How should (and shouldn’t) it be used?

A Black Lives Matter protest in June 2020
Continue reading “BIPOC, POC, or Black?: A Note on Terminology”

BIPOC Features: Ashley Lance

One of the things that I wanted to do with Notes From the Apotheke was to amplify the voices and contributions of BIPOC scholars in ancient studies, at all levels and from all backgrounds. BIPOC in the field are invited to reflect on what brought them to studying the ancient world, as well as offer their opinions on the future of the discipline and share any work they are especially proud of or excited about.

Check out this month’s feature, written by Ashley Lance, to learn more about Ashley’s experiences with talking about identity and racial categories, how her identity relates to her work, and her thoughts on the future of Classics. Check out previous posts in the series here.

Ashley Lance
Photo included with permission of author
Continue reading “BIPOC Features: Ashley Lance”

Ways to Support Afghanistan and Afghan Refugees

Social media has grown much quieter on the topic over the last few days, but Afghanistan and Afghan refugees still need our help. In solidarity, I have decided to highlight some ways that US citizens can offer support by donating, volunteering, amplifying Afghan voices, and through advocacy.

There are many other organizations out there; as such, this list is not exhaustive. 

If there are issues that you are especially interested in that are not listed here, I encourage you to seek out organizations that you can help on your own. Twitter and Instagram are good places to start.

Although I have chosen to focus specifically on ways you can help from the US, there are of course numerous ways that people all over the world – including the UK and Canada – can continue to support Afghanistan and Afghan refugees. This Twitter thread suggests several options for UK citizens. Additional options for both the UK and Canada can be found in this Instagram post.

Donate

Kabul Small Animal Rescue (follow on Twitter @KSAnimalRescue for updates)

“Kabul Small Animal Rescue is dedicated to providing safe, healthy boarding options for their rescue partners, who help international adoptions of Afghan cats and dogs. Through their veterinary clinic, they provide high-quality medical care to owned dogs as well as veterinary care, boarding and adoption options to injured or orphaned street animals. Their main focus is to provide a home-like environment for the animals in their care, so they employ overnight staff to keep their cats company and make sure their dogs get several hours of play and socialization every day through monitored playgroups.”

Recently on Twitter: 

Kindle Project Afghanistan Fund (kindleproject.org / Afghanistan Fund)

“The Kindle Project Afghanistan Fund will provide support to organizations working with artists, artisans, women, and girls who are at risk inside Afghanistan or have managed to relocate outside of the country. Our goal is to raise a minimum of $250,000 as soon as possible. We are looking for donations of $5,000 and above.”

Miles4Migrants (miles4migrants.org)

“Miles4Migrants was formed in 2016 with the goal of helping families rejoin their loved ones as quickly as possible, and without undue financial hardship. As of June 2020, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates that over 79.5 million people are forcibly displaced worldwide with over 26 million classified as refugees forced to leave their home countries. While many refugees are eventually able to return home, UNHCR estimates that over 1.445 million refugees are in need of resettlement, while at the same time, government resettlement quotas have dropped, leaving a significant gap in meeting resettlement needs globally.”

Nowzad (https://www.nowzad.com/donate

“Nowzad manages a dog shelter currently looking after over 140 dogs (most available for adoption!!) along with a cat shelter (over 40 cats and most available for adoption!) supported by a modern veterinary clinic staffed by a team of 24 Afghan nationals (including Afghanistan’s first female veterinarians) delivering care and attention to animals in distress.”

Rukhshana Media

From an article in The Guardian: “Now more than ever, Afghan women need a platform to speak for themselves. As the Taliban’s return haunts Afghanistan, the survival of Rukhshana Media depends on readers’ help. To continue reporting over the next crucial year, it is trying to raise $20,000. If you can help, go to this crowdfunding page.”

Sahar Speaks (http://www.saharspeaks.org/donate)

“The vision behind our programme can be seen in its name. “Sahar” is a common female name in Afghanistan, translating as “dawn.” Its meaning here is two-fold: it represents all Afghan women, and also heralds the beginning of a new era, where Afghan female reporters can tell their stories to the world. We hope to change the paradigm that has contributed to the marginalisation of women’s voices.” 

Volunteer

Afghan-American Women’s Association (a-awa.org)

“A-AWA’s vision is to build a Community Center, which will serve as a permanent structural foundation where the Afghan community can benefit from coordinated services aimed at preserving their culture and heritage and to unite the whole community together allowing them to reach their full potential.” Offering Virginia-based volunteer opportunities and taking donations.

Keeping Our Promise (keepingourpromise.org)

“Keeping Our Promise is the most comprehensive resettlement program for Afghan, Iraqi and Kurdish interpreters and support personnel in the United States today. ​Based in Rochester, NY, we assist with initial visa applications under the Special Immigrant Visa Program. Once visas are granted, we will find and furnish our allies’ first apartments, and help with finding employment. We help with a modest vehicle to get to work. Caring Circles help fully integrating families into their new lives so they can quickly become contributing members of the Rochester, NY community.” Opportunities for volunteering and community service, as well as fundraising.

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (lirsconnect.org)

“Every day, our community of volunteers, ambassadors, congregations, and communities from across the country dedicate their time to welcoming new neighbors and educating their communities on issues related to migration and refugees.” This organization provides a lot of ways you can get involved, including donating money, taking action, and advocacy.

New American Pathways (newamericanpathways.org)

“New American Pathways is an Atlanta based nonprofit with the mission of Helping Refugees and Georgia Thrive. Our vision is for new Americans in metro Atlanta to become successful, contributing, and welcomed members of Georgia’s communities. We fulfill our goals by offering the most comprehensive, fully integrated continuum of services targeted to meet the specific needs of refugees and other immigrants in Georgia.” You can volunteer your time, donate items, or donate money.

Advocate

Video on the importance of contacting your local representatives by @zhashx:

Email the White House with a pre-filled form: act.rescue.org/yRqHe9p

Call script and email template: bit.ly/afghanistanemergency

Amplify

This whole Twitter thread by Bushra Ebadi:

Amplify the voices and work of Afghan scholars:

And, finally, resist the temptation to wax poetic or intellectualize about the loss of artifacts. Saving lives is more important.

Check out more ways to get involved in this Twitter thread by The Sportula.