The MASt@CHS project

Written by Rachele Pierini

Hosted by the Harvard’s Center for Hellenic Studies, MASt is a new project aiming to boost discussion and debate among specialists on topics and problems in Bronze Age Aegean studies and then to disseminate the latest results to the wider audience of classicists. To achieve this, the MASt project has designed a twofold strategy: specialist seminars up to 20 participants and substantial reports on the online journal Classical Inquiries.

MASt, which stands for Meetings on Aegean Studies, has been co-founded at the CHS by Gregory Nagy, Tom Palaima, and Rachele Pierini. Pierini acts as Coordinator as well. The project took its earliest steps in Fall 2019, when Pierini, as Research Fellow at the CHS, and Nagy, as Director of the Center, organized a seminar that Palaima offered in November 2019. The fortunate presence in the same period of scholars such as Roger Woodard, Leonard Muellner, and Eric Cline has quickly resulted in on-line Zoom reunions to discuss ongoing research. In just a couple of months, our friendly reunions have grown so much that a more structured framework was required, while maintaining the friendly and collaborative atmosphere of the earliest encounters. A signature element of the CHS, cooperation has played a key role in the construction of this framework, as well. Pierini’s discussion with philosophy research fellow, Simona Aimar, for example, resulted in ideas for the project, including the use of an acronym as a name. At the start of 2020, MASt@CHS became a reality.

The MASt seminars now take place online every quarter (January, April, July, and November). Our community networks with a wide array of international speakers from all over the world. In addition to the already mentioned Nagy, Palaima, Pierini, Woodard, Muellner, and Cline, our steady participants include Brent Vine and Sarah Morris (UCLA), Marie-Louise Nosch (Denmark), Elizabeth Barber (OC), Hedvig Landenius-Enegren (Sweden), Richard Firth (UK), Georgia Flouda (Greece), Doug Frame (CHS), and Natasha Bershadsky (Harvard). In a two-hour time frame, we usually have up to three speakers presenting their ongoing research. Subsequently, we publish on Classical Inquiries substantial reports of our discussions. Pierini and Palaima act as editors. Here, for example, is our latest report. Also, here is a piece that our MASt seminar inspired Nagy to write.

In November 2020, MASt@CHS will celebrate one year of seminars on Mycenaean Studies.