Top Posts of 2017--An Assessment

Everybody's doing it, so why don't we! Here is a run down of the top 10 posts (based on stats) to my blog for 2017 and what we can tell about the state of the world from it.

The List

10. How is the Ancient Mediterranean Diverse If Everyone There Is "White"?

An attempt to disconnect the ubiquitous concept of "whiteness" from the issue of "diversity" as it pertains to both ancient Mediterranean contexts and to our modern construct of race.  Lots of links to good work being done in biological/forensic anthropology.

Roy Moore isn't the only one to think that dating children is OK! It was a widespread ancient practice and if you (selectively) base your morality on ancient texts (I'm looking at you, evangelical Christians), you might think it is OK, too. It's not. 

The idea that North Africans are all historically "white" and sub-Saharan Africans all historically "Black" is not supported by our ancient sources. We should think about how we selectively use evidence to demonstrate modern racist points. Or how we unwittingly continue parroting 19th century racist ideas without going back to the sources. 

Lots of Neo-Nazis like to point to genetics as the proof that white people rule the world and are the source for all cultures worth studying. Sad for them, it's not true. This post examined the way modern genetics categories are created and their inherent subjectivity. Genetics runs the risk of becoming the new eugenics as it becomes popular with people who don't actually know much about genetics or know enough to manipulate it to look like it proves their points (looking at you, Taleb).

This one is a work in progress, but it shares my own and others' syllabi for teaching race and ethnicity in classical antiquity. Keep watching it as it will just keep expanding.

Conservative defenders of the current President often point to his defense of "western civilization". But the Western Civilization of DT and his friends is a toxic stew of white supremacy and misogyny that many of us who study and teach it don't recognize. Mark Bauerlein tried to support this stew on Thanksgiving and I. Just. Could. Not. 

There is a long-standing trope in scholarship and among modern people who want to deride affirmative consent movements that antiquity did not have a concept of consent. On the contrary, laws from Greece and Rome as far back as the 7th century BCE (and further back in Hammurabi's Law Code outside of GReece/Rome) show a clear concept of consent. Consent matters and it always has.

My favorite since it is part of an ongoing research project that is close to my heart, here I did a cursory look at the ways classical iconography and architecture were used at the Chicago World's Fair to intentionally connect the Classical with the idea of "whiteness" and white supremacy. The words of the creators were explicit, so this isn't something I just made up. Sorry. And, not a bit of polychromy in sight, of course...

Another ongoing labor of love that I want to share with others in my ever growing bibliography for studying and teaching race and ethnicity in the classical world. Since going live, I've added a reception section and am happy to add any new book I come across or that you recommend. The biblio is vast and I'm absolutely sure I don't have it all.


This one took off and has a life of its own with almost 30,000 hits since August 8. It takes its inspiration from the backlash to the BBC cartoon using a dark skinned family as well as the attacks on Sarah Bond and the response to one of my Eidolon articles. The answer to the question, of course, is that people are racist and want antiquity to match their white wonderland view of it. It doesn't. Get over it.

Honorable Mentions

1. Ethnicity in Herodotus--the Honest Entry (every scholar gets frustrated with their subject from time to time)


Well, it seems that this is the year when it is finally not only OK to talk about race and ethnicity in Classical antiquity, but it is actually of interest to the general public (my articles on the topic over at Eidolon were apparently very popular, both making the Eidolon top 12 for 2017). Why might that be?

White Supremacy in the White House, Charlottesville, Nazis. Also, everyone is confused about what "whiteness" is. Western Civilization is FAILING (according to David Brooks). We all know race is a constructed category (even those in denial), but one with a lot of power. And, we seem to finally be ready to come to grips a bit more with Classics' complicity in US racism. 

I'll be writing more on this in the new year as I work on a book and some articles on the topic, especially on its ties to scientific racism, but I'll also do a bit more on women/gender/sexuality since I'm teaching it next term and I get a lot of inspiration from my students. Will I ever write about anything else? Probably. I just haven't gotten there yet.

All in all, this has been a good year for the blog. It's the year I actually started using it and, it turns out, I actually have some things to say...