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2017 Organizer Refereed Panels

Organizer-refereed Panels are approved by the Program Committee for presentation at a future Annual Meeting at least 18 months before that meeting takes place.  For example, the Organizer-Refereed Panels to be held at the January 2017 meeting were approved by the Committee in June 2015.  After approval, the Program Committee delegates all discretionary responsibility for selection of abstracts and discussants to the panel organizer(s).  However, in order to ensure anonymity, all abstracts are submitted to the Executive Director's office and are then forwarded anonymously to the panel organizer(s).  Please see individual Calls for Papers below for submission instructions and deadlines. Members wishing to present a paper in an Organizer-Refereed Panel must have paid SCS membership dues for 2016.  A presenter who is responding to one of these calls for abstracts is not eligible for a waiver of the membership requirement.  If a member’s paper is accepted for an Organizer-Refereed Panel, that member may not submit another abstract for consideration by the Program Committee for a regular paper session.

After the submission deadline, the SCS office will forward anonymous abstracts to panel organizers.  Panels receiving fewer than four abstracts will be canceled.  In the event that a panel has to be canceled because of inadequate response, the panel organizer(s) will be invited to resubmit their proposals as regular panels with invited speakers for consideration with other program unit submissions at the June 2016 Program Committee meeting.

The titles of the Organizer-Refereed Panels approved for sessions at the 148th annual meeting in January 2017 are listed below.  Click on the name of the group to read its call for abstracts.  All abstracts for Organizer-Refereed Panels should be submitted to the SCS Office ( no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on Tuesday, March 1, 2016.

The Genesis of the Ancient Text: New Approaches

Violence and the Political in Greek Epic and Tragedy

The Genesis of the Ancient Text: New Approaches
Organizers: Sean Gurd ( and Scott McGill ( .

We invite proposals for papers to be delivered at the 2017 SCS annual meeting in Toronto on the subject “The Genesis of the Ancient Text: New Approaches.” We are open to any submission that shares our general aim: to take stock of recent work on how ancient texts were planned, composed, and revised and to explore new approaches to the subject. We are especially interested in perspectives that seek to tie together the material, social, and theoretical aspects of ancient literary genesis.

Recent research has approached the question of how ancient texts were generated from the perspective of the sociology of literature, the materiality of the book, and contemporary genetic criticism (Stroup, Catullus, Cicero, and a Society of Patron; Gurd, Work in Progress; Martelli, Ovid’s Revisions). This work shows sensitivity to the socio-historical significance of genesis, and has developed tools for analyzing how and why it is represented. But it also suggests further questions, of which the following three seem especially critical:

(1) Can emphases on the representation of genesis be re-integrated with concrete treatments of actual cases of revision, as these are represented by the material remains on papyri, for example, where we have not only stories about genesis but also concrete instances of it taking place?

(2) Thus far this new work on textual genesis has been almost exclusively Romano-centric, and within the Roman sphere there has been a remarkable emphasis on the late republic and early principate. It is a reasonable hypothesis that the claims made so far about the social meaning of genesis may be applied, mutatis mutandis, to Greek literary production and to other periods in antiquity. How did genesis play out in other historical contexts or institutional settings (for example, in education or in the very different legal world of Greco-Roman Egypt)?

(3) Some progress has been made in affiliating textual production with literary theory, particularly of a non-Aristotelian stripe, but much more seems possible here. We might ask how genesis interfaced with differing ideas of craft and with competing forms of literary theory and criticism (for example, that of the “critics” summarized and attacked by Philodemus in On Poems as opposed to the Aristotelian “vernacular”). How far can we go in linking specific theoretical models with concrete examples of genesis in their socio-historical contexts, or does theory necessarily remain at arm’s length from the messy realia of production?

Submissions, which should follow the SCS guidelines for individual abstracts, must be received in the SCS office by March 1, 2016. Abstracts will be reviewed by the organizers and a final selection will be made before April 8, 2016.

Violence and the Political in Greek Epic and Tragedy
Amit Shilo, University of California, Santa Barbara (, and Alexander C. Loney, Wheaton College (, Organizers

Recent years have seen a renewed critical interest concerning the place of violence in theories of political order. Žižek (2008) has drawn attention to the invisible, “objective violence” undergirding seemingly functional, tolerant political systems; Sloterdijk (2010), taking the Iliad as his starting point, has argued that rage and retribution have long been formative forces in politics, but also constitute “the blind spot of cultural history.” This current interest in violence is not new, rather renewed: an earlier generation (Benjamin and Schmitt, in particular) had argued that violence, not contracts and consent, founds and sustains political and legal order. And yet, much recent scholarship on Greek epic and tragedy has emphasized instead (proto-)democratic values of dissent, debate, difference, and agreement (Ober 1998; Barker 2009; Apfel 2011). We propose a constructive dialogue between theories of political violence and interpretations of Greek epic and tragedy.

The violence of politics and the politics of violence have been central to early Greek literature and thought from its beginning. At the same time, these texts also expose the limits of violence and subject it to more or less explicit critique.

Panelists are especially encouraged to address the relationship of violence, politics, and justice in Greek epic and tragedy in three respects (though not exclusively these three):

  1. Most broadly, how do epic and tragedy represent and critique the various sorts of violence in Greek society? Are some kinds of violence too painful, too difficult to address directly? Can such violence only be viewed obliquely, through myth? What are the connections between tragic performance and the violence a work represents?
  2. How does theology affect the conceptualization and use of violence? Schmitt saw early 20th century European political systems operating with “secularized theological concepts” derived from Christian tradition (a theory recently applied to the United States by Paul Kahn [2011]). Given the rather different theological map of early Greece, with its plural competing, emotional, and perhaps unjust divinities, how was violence justified differently?
  3. How should we respond to the way theorists of political violence, like Sloterdijk, Weil (2005), and Girard (1977), use Greek epic and tragedy? Are there ways their interpretations (and, therefore, the theories that they support) should be revised? Or how do we need to revise our own understanding of these texts in light of their readings?

Please send abstracts that follow the guidelines for individual abstracts by March 1, 2015. Please do not identify yourself anywhere in the abstract, as submissions will be blind refereed.

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