Acknowledgments of Land and Legacy.
This project was completed by Students and Faculty of The University of British Columbia. This area of land on which the school was built is historically a part of the ancestral territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) First Nation. This territory was never ceded through treaty, war or surrender.
UBC has long been entwined with colonialism in Canada and a large aspect of that colonialism is still celebrated today.
This was known as UBC’s ‘trek’ for more information on the trek, see the following links:
The terrible history and present reality of Colonialism is a legacy that Canada must contend with. There is much still to be done. This is not ancient history either, one must understand that the last residential school closed in 1997: making it only a few years older than the undergraduates studying at UBC today. The UnRoman Romans team wishes to acknowledge the history of Colonialism and the unceded land that UBC has benefited from for a century.
To see more on Canada’s residential schools, see the following link: https://irshdc.ubc.ca
To see more on the Musqueam people, see their website here https://www.musqueam.bc.ca
The following is an excerpt from it: xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people have lived in our traditional territory, what is currently called Vancouver and the surrounding areas, for thousands of years. Some of our sχʷəy̓em̓ (ancient histories) describe the landscape as it was over eight thousand years ago.
Acknowledgment of Colonialism in Classical Studies
Not only does the Academic Institution of UBC have a long history of Colonialism and discrimination, but so too does the field of Classical Studies itself. For so long, the empires of past and present have long used the histories and characters of Classical Studies to justify their own imperialism. Elitism, classism, racism, eurocentrism and imperialism were all very much present and defended by scholars of Classical Studies. Indeed, the ties between classical studies and general hatefulness are millennia old. See the UBC CNERs statement of support against racism and white supremacy: https://cnrs.ubc.ca/statement-of-support/
For further reading, See the University of Pennsylvania’s statement on the necessity of anti-racism in Classics: https://web.sas.upenn.edu/discentes/2021/04/14/classics-must-be-anti-racist/
Furthermore, see this study, titled: RaceB4Race, which focuses on the perceptions of race in late antiquity and the medieval period: https://acmrs.asu.edu/RaceB4Race
Finally, This article written by Rachel Poser concerning the a rather problematic event aimed at scholar Dr. Dan-el Padilla Peralta at a classics conference: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/02/magazine/classics-greece-rome-whiteness
Further on the history and legacy of Classical Studies at UBC:
We are currently digging through the University’s archives in order to discover the past actions of the founders of classical studies at UBC.
Acknowledgment of the Legacy of Canadian Universities
In order to understand the legacy of Universities in Canada, consider some founders such as the namesake of Ryerson university: Egerton Ryerson, who himself studies classics and was the orchestrator of the residential schools system in Canada:
And the namesake of McGill University: James McGill, slaveowner:
Ryerson displayed such a passion for classical studies that he one time “studies Latin and Greek with such fervour that he became ill with a fever that almost claimed his life.”
Opportunities for Underrepresented Groups in Classical Studies:
To end on a positive note, there are now initiatives which aim to support and encourage scholars who identify as members of ethnic groups. Such intives include:
The Mountaintop Coalition:
Composed of students and scholars of the ancient Mediterranean world and its reception, and founded in 2018. The Mountaintop Coalition aims to advance the professional goals of Classicists who identify as members of ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in the field.
The Classics Everywhere Initiative:
This initiative aims to impact communities that are historically under-represented in the field of Classics and have not had access to programs in classical studies. Launched by the SCS, Classics Everywhere works with a diverse range of groups including children, incarcerated students, and has funded projects working with an ethnically and economically diverse group of people within Canada and America.
Funding Opportunities for Underrepresented Students in Classics:
Nadhira Hill writes an excellent blog on Notes From the Apotheke about different opportunities for grants and scholarships given to students of colour in Canada
This project was generously supported by funding from the Public Humanities Hub, who provided funding for the editor to take a course release, CTLT who provided funding as well as generous assistance (and especially Lucas Wright and Will Engle), the UBC Library, and the Dean of Arts Office through the AURA grant for Undergraduate Researchers.
This book is the product of a class in the Department of Classics, Near Eastern and Religious Studies at the University of British Columbia in 2018-19, CLST 360E, called UnRoman Romans.