Bryn Mawr Classical Review 04.06.04


Announcement: The John J. Winkler Memorial Prize


The John J. Winkler Memorial Trust invites all undergraduate and graduate students in North America (plus those currently unenrolled who have not as yet received a doctorate and who have never held a regular academic appointment) to enter the fourth annual competition for the John J. Winkler Memorial Prize. This year the Prize will be a cash award of $750.

The Prize is intended to honor the memory of John J. ("Jack") Winkler, a classical scholar, a teacher, and a political activist for radical causes both inside and outside the academy, who died of AIDS in 1990 at the age of 46. Jack wished to be remembered by means of an annual Prize that would encourage undergraduate and graduate students of the classics to explore the sorts of neglected or disreputable topics and to apply the sorts of unconventional or innovative methods that the profession as a whole, he believed, largely discourages students from doing. In accordance with his wishes, the John J. Winkler Memorial Trust awards a cash prize each year to the author of the best undergraduate or graduate essay in any risky or marginal field of classical studies. Topics include (but are not limited to) those which Jack himself explored: the ancient novel, the sex/gender systems of antiquity, the social meanings of Greek drama, and ancient Mediterranean culture and society. Approaches include (but are not limited to) those which Jack's own work exemplified: feminism, anthropology, narratology, semiotics, cultural studies, minority and ethnic studies, and lesbian/gay studies.

The winner of the Prize is selected from among the contestants by a jury of five. This year, the jury will be composed of Mary Whitlock Blundell (University of Washington), David A. Braaten (San Francisco), Nancy Felson-Rubin (University of Georgia), Mary-Kay Gamel (University of California, Santa Cruz), and David Sullivan (Stanford University). The Trust reserves the right not to confer the Prize in any year in which the essays submitted to the competition are judged insufficiently prizeworthy.

The deadline for submissions is March 1, 1994. Submissions should not exceed the length of a dissertation chapter. Contestants may send their essays, and address any inquiries, to David M. Halperin, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University, A. D. White House, 27 East Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14853-1101, or call 607-257-6938; E-mail: halperin@athena.mit.edu.

The winner of last year's competition for the John J. Winkler Memorial Prize is John Ma, currently a Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, who wrote his submission while a graduate student at Princeton. He has received from the Trust an award of $750 for a paper entitled "Black Hunter Variations." The members of the jury along with the members of the Trust's Advisory Board join me in offering John Ma warm congratulations.

"Black Hunter Variations" is a tour de force of both scholarship and meta-scholarship. It consists of three, roughly equal parts. The first two parts are independent and original scholarly analyses of Plutarch, Life of Cimon, 1-2: Part One reproduces the manner and method of the structuralist school of Vidal-Naquet (even to the point of being written in French); Part Two is a line-by-line historical commentary in the British empirical and philological tradition. Each of these first two parts constitutes a significant scholarly contribution in its own right as well as a brilliant exercise de style, an impersonation of both the literary and intellectual idiom of each mode of scholarship. Each of these two studies also produces a radically dissimilar vision of the ancient world and of the particular historical material under consideration. The final section of the paper, written in the voice of a methodological critic from the United States, attempts to play the first two parts off against each other and to mediate between them, suggesting the possibility of fusing their respective approaches. A concluding note, in what is presented as "the author"'s own voice, urges "a rediscovery of the powerful otherness and suggestiveness of what we study." The paper as a whole may be taken to mirror the methodological and rhetorical choices confronting graduate students in classics today who, in developing their own intellectual styles and affinities for one or another school of classical scholarship, find themselves presented with highly evolved and differentiated languages that determine in large measure the things which can be said in them and that might seem to exhaust the possibilities for saying anything at all. "Black Hunter Variations" represents one student's deft attempt to write his way out of that situation.

The papers submitted to this year's competition were judged anonymously by a jury comprised of David A. Braaten (San Francisco), Stephen Orgel (Stanford University), James Rives (Columbia University), Marilyn B. Skinner (University of Arizona), and Eva M. Stehle (University of Maryland).

The John J. Winkler Memorial Trust was established as an independent, charitable foundation on June 1, 1990. Its purpose is to honor Jack Winkler's memory and to promote both his scholarly and his political ideals. Inquiries about the Prize, gifts to the Trust, and general correspondence may be addressed to The Trustee, John J. Winkler Memorial Trust, Department of Classics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305-2080.