Weekend Reading: Festive Chaos

It’s been a busy couple of weeks – isn’t it always?! – including the production last week of my Classical Christmas Gift Guide. I’ve been doing this every year for a few years now, and it always takes much longer to pull together than I expect – mainly because I can’t resist browsing all the amazing shops and outlets that have sprung up online with classical themes. Window shopping is a gruelling business: I hope you all appreciate the things I go through for you…

On the plus side, it’s now beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! If you’re looking for presents for other people – or want to talk someone into getting you something classical! – do check out the gift guide: you’ll be supporting independent artists, young scholars and innovative projects!

I’ve also been hard at work picking up the Asterion neurodiversity threads I had to drop when I was dealing with covid and its aftermath. If you haven’t already done so, do check out our blog, which tackles all kinds of topics around neurodiversity and Classics, from contributors who are dyslexic, dyspraxic, autistic, bipolar and more. We’re always looking for new contributors too, so if you have anything you’d like to write about, do get in touch with me. You don’t need an official diagnosis: we welcome everyone at Asterion!

I’ve been working on editing and posting blogposts and profiles ever since I got back to work, and I’m still going. So much material was sent in while I was ill that it will keep me busy for a while – and I couldn’t be more delighted about that! It’s amazing to see so many people coming forward with stories about how thinking differently has benefitted them as well as (at times) hindered their progress in Classics. I’m really keen to write something for the blog myself, but I’ve been so overwhelmed with great contributions from other people that there hasn’t been time!

The stories don’t change anything by themselves, of course: we’ll need practical interventions to come out of them (we have a lot of those in the planning stages, which is exciting). But they’re a wonderful place to start.

I still have a long way to go before I’m back on track with all of the emails, the projects and the work – both for the Open University and for Asterion. This website too needs some TLC! There’s also my shop, which I’m determined to update in good time for Christmas, if only I can find an hour or two… But I’ll get there. Thank you so much to everyone who’s reached out to check on me: I’m doing much better now, and focusing on building up my strength gradually.

I’m also in the middle of a major decorating project, which means that I’m surrounded by even more domestic chaos than usual. I’ve been trying to keep my webcam’s field of vision mostly clear, to preserve the illusion that I’m not living in the midst of a rubbish dump, but even that’s been a struggle! Updates will be provided in a couple of weeks, when the dust and rubble have cleared a bit.

Labyrinth (1986) (part 4 of 4) – the agony booth

Things to note this week

I’m continuing to be very selective in the things I highlight – partly because I don’t have time to cover all the interesting things that have come up during the week, and partly because the Rogue Classicist does it better!

This week marks the start of the UK’s Disability History Month, so it’s a good time to highlight some of the wonderful work being done on the history of disability in the ancient world. I have a personal and professional interest in this, of course, because of my involvement with neurodiversity support, but I’ve also seen over the years how interesting this area is to many of the students I work with, and have supervised some fascinating MA dissertations on aspects of disability in the ancient world.

Check out the Disability History Month website throughout the month: new videos and interviews are being posted there, including this from historian Simon Jarrett, on the theme of Hidden Impairments:

On the Peopling the Past blog, postgraduate student Justin Lorenzo Biggi has been talking about disability and identity, looking at inscriptions and healing sanctuaries.

OU lecturer Dr E-J Graham has been talking about disability in ancient Rome, as seen through votive body parts. You can catch up with her talk online here.

Routledge has a new book series in progress on Ancient Disabilities: worth keeping an eye on this if you’re interested in this area.

Cambridge Students’ Union is hosting a panel talk online on Mon 22nd November with Kyle Lewis Jordan, who does fascinating work in the field of ancient disability studies with a focus on Egypt.

There have been lots of other things going on recently, showcasing what a tremendous area of growth in scholarship this is, so do keep an eye out for things that might be happening this month. But perhaps the most valuable source of guidance I’ve seen lately is the Brief Guide to Disability Terminology and Theory in Ancient World Studies, written by Alexandra Morris and Debby Sneed and published a few weeks ago on the SCS Blog; it’s a brilliantly practical resource for anyone studying or writing in this area, and much needed. Definitely one to bookmark!

That’s all for me from this week. Next week I hope to have a shop update for you, with all the new designs I’ve been playing around with over the last few months – if the chaos allows!

Cora Beth


2 thoughts on “Weekend Reading: Festive Chaos

  1. Oh dear the words ‘update on my shop’ and the promise of new goodies to behold has sent my bank card running for the hills! Oh well I did save mightily on a second hand copy of the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology so maybe I can afford a little something! Best chase after that pesky bank card!

    Liked by 1 person

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