Notes from the Apotheke Turns Three! Another Year in Review

It feels like it was just yesterday that I was writing my first year in review for this blog in 2021. Somehow, I blinked and now we’re in year THREE. Can you believe it??

As it turns out, a lot can happen in three years. So much, in fact, that I haven’t been able to post as regularly as I did in that first year. However, the fact that I’ve seen SO much growth in the two years since my first year in review post shows that even though I’ve been busy in other areas of my life, the support for this blog has not wavered.

So, I have to first thank every single one of YOU for sticking with this thing.

What began as something I didn’t think would have much impact has become one of the most impactful things I’ve ever done in my life.

If you’re wondering where this blog began, you can check out the last post for a summary of where I was coming from in Winter 2021.

Black woman in blue and black graduation robes standing in front of a fountain

I think I’ve come a long way since then. I defended my dissertation and graduated with a whole PhD. While finishing my degree, I got a job and am now an Assistant Professor (at my alma mater, no less!).

Somehow in there I also published a chapter in Diversity and the Study of Antiquity in Higher Education (2023) and continue to write more. One of those articles (not yet published) is based on a talk I gave at the Presenting the Past colloquium held in Vancouver, British Columbia in March 2023. As a result, my work with this blog has gotten a lot of attention – perhaps the most it has since 2021.

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BIPOC Features: Dora Gao

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 Mediterranean 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.

If you thought I’d forgotten about this series, think again!! Check out this month’s post by my friend and colleague Dora Gao for more on their journey to studying the ancient Mediterranean world and their thought-provoking and inspiring perspective on the field!

University of Michigan on Twitter: "@doraygao Congratulations! We can't  wait to welcome you ho〽️e!" / Twitter
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5 More Grad School Interview Questions You Should Be Asking

Another year, another grad school interview season underway.

This is (I think) the first year that my program (archaeology) and our department (Classical Studies) have decided to go their separate ways for recruitment. Last week was the department’s; in a few weeks will be my program’s.

I figured that now was as good a time as any to breach the subject (again). In case you missed last year’s installment, you can check out the first five questions I suggested here.

Last year’s post was centered primarily around considerations for BIPOC prospective students, including questions about interdisciplinarity, DEI approaches, and institutional support.

This year I thought more about questions that dig deeper into structural issues, such as pedagogical training, time to degree, and financial support.

A quick reminder: although some questions may seem best suited for faculty interviews, don’t forget to talk to current students! Current students are just as (if not more) valuable as sources of information about grad programs. And don’t just ask younger students – talk to the older ones, too!

I promise, we don’t bite.

Now, on to the questions.

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The Ultimate Checklist for Funding Applications

I think we can all agree that January is the Monday of the year. It didn’t really hit me until I started grad school and realized that there are a lot of things that happen in January. The biggest thing: funding application deadlines.

Image of one research trip that I was able to go on because of a successful funding application

January Application Deadlines

In case you don’t believe me, I have pulled from my masterpost of funding opportunities for BIPOC in Classics all of the ones that have deadlines in January. They are:

Helen Maria Chesnutt Scholarship for Equity in Classical Study. This scholarship is intended to support undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups to further their study of the Classics and Ancient Mediterranean world and not excluding reception studies. (15 January 2022)

William Sanders Scarborough Fellowship (ASCSA). This fellowship provides support for graduate students, faculty, and independent scholars in North America whose diverse experiences and backgrounds are underrepresented at the American School, and whose studies, research, or teaching would benefit from residency at the School. (15 January 2022)

Point Scholarship. The Point Foundation (Point) is the nation’s largest scholarship-granting organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students of merit. Point Foundation considers many factors when assessing scholarship applicants, including academic performance, leadership skills, financial need, personal goals and the applicant’s involvement in the LGBTQ community. (26 January 2022)

Rudolph Masciantonio CAMWS Diversity Award (CAMWS). Awardees will be those whom the profession or life circumstances or  societal structures have limited in their access to the study of our field. Awarded each year to one undergraduate and one graduate student. (31 January 2022)

Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship. The Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS) intends to increase recruitment and retention of underrepresented minorities obtaining degrees in archaeology. Graduate and undergraduate students.  (31 January 2022)

Native American Scholarships Fund (NASF). An endowment established to foster a sense of shared purpose and positive interaction between archaeologists and Native Americans. It supports the Arthur C. Parker Scholarship for Archaeological Training for Native Americans and the SAA Native American Undergraduate and Graduate Archaeology Scholarships. Undergraduate and graduate student funding. (31 January 2022)

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Notes from the Apotheke Turns One: Here’s What I Learned

I think we can all agree that this year was not all that much better than 2020. I don’t know if anyone expected it to be better. But I feel like the vibes were pretty much the same, even though starting this blog gave me some hope that things would change.

As always, however, many people have tried to look on the bright side of things.

They’ve sought the light in the almost overwhelming darkness.

I think in particular of one thread going around last week that asked people to share their 3 biggest accomplishments of the year:

https://twitter.com/adamjk/status/1473491843895545859

A lot of people made light of this – and that’s understandable. Sometimes the only way to get through the hard things is to find a way to laugh about it.

But I think it’s good to stop sometimes and really appreciate the wins, no matter how big or small.

I struggle with doing this myself, and thought that a little celebratory post was in order here. And what, exactly, am I celebrating?

The one year anniversary of this little blog.

If you listened to the podcast episode I was featured on last week, then you’ll know that I started Notes from the Apotheke exactly one year ago.

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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
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BIPOC Features: Susan Rahyab

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 the fabulous Susan Rahyab! Many thanks to her for taking the time to write this. Check out previous posts in the series here.

Image included with permission from author.
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BIPOC Features: Vanessa Stovall

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.

For this month’s installment of the BIPOC Feature series, I am thoroughly excited to present Notes in a Classical Canon or, a (Re)petition to the Field, by Vanessa Stovall.

Vanessa Stovall at Euterpe Ancient Music School in Summer 2019 in Tarquinia
Photo included with permission of the author.
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Burnout is Different for BIPOC

I bet we’ve all heard at least once in the past year that “your worth isn’t tied to your productivity.” The idea is that you shouldn’t let your work consume you to the point of burnout, which negatively affects all aspects of your health. 

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.

It’s easy to say that “your worth isn’t tied to your productivity,” but much, much harder to put that idea into practice

This is especially true when we’re inundated daily with posts on social media that make us feel like we aren’t doing enough, even when we feel good about the (quality and quantity of) work we’re doing.

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BIPOC Features: Maia Lee-Chin

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.

For the very first installment of this monthly BIPOC Feature series, I am deeply grateful to Maia Lee-Chin for being willing to share her journey and insights into the field.

Maia is currently a senior undergraduate at the College of the Holy Cross
Photo included with permission from the author.
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