Call for Papers: "Learning in the Late Republic and the Augustan Age"

Call for Papers for the 2018 Symposium Cumanum:
rerum cognoscere causas: Learning in the Late Republic and the Augustan Age

June 26–30, 2018

Co-Directors: T. H. M. Gellar-Goad (Wake Forest University) and Christopher B. Polt (Boston College)
Confirmed speakers: Barbara Weiden Boyd, Monica R. Gale, Steven J. Green, Alison Keith, James J. O'Hara, and Alessandro Schiesaro

The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2018 Symposium Cumanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy.

Learning and teaching were fundamental to Roman literature from the start: Livius Andronicus, the primus auctor of Latin letters, was first a teacher whose pedagogic experiences profoundly shaped his own writing (Feeney, Beyond Greek). Instruction becomes a special interest in the culture and literature of the late Republic and Augustan periods, when attitudes towards education find complex, fluid, and multivalent expressions (Bloomer, The School of Rome). This symposium aims to interrogate the varied, shifting roles that teaching and learning play in this pivotal period, especially with reference to the literary milieu in which Vergil was educated and to which he contributed.

While teaching and learning were esteemed in the time of Vergil, and while didactic verse represents the most familiar incarnation of poetic teaching and learning, this distinct form of literature long lacked recognition as a formal genre (Sider, "Didactic poetry: The Hellenistic invention of a pre-existing genre"). Indeed, its ambiguous status has increasingly exercised the attentions of scholars, who struggle to define what sets didactic literature apart (Effe, Dichtung und Lehre; Dalzell, The Criticism of Didactic Poetry). What motivated ancient poets to become professed teachers and compose defined lessons in such an ill-defined "genre"?

Poetry occupies an ambiguous role in teaching and learning. Vergil ranks among history's most influential teachers, even with his non-didactic work: grammatici used his Aeneid as a core school-text for elite Roman boys and many viewed it as a source of prophetic learning (the sortes Vergilianae). Vergil's authority as epic teacher led Dante to select him as tour guide in Hell and resulted in an early modern "cult of Vergil" as supreme didact, especially among the Jesuits (Haskell, Loyola's Bees). But Vergil also learned at the knees of others: Ennius, Lucretius, and Philodemus, whose Epicureanism profoundly influences Augustan-age poets. Scholars have noted Vergil's debt to prose authors such as Varro (Thomas, Vergil; Horsfall, The Epic Distilled), who offered both material and methodological approaches adapted to new purposes.

Recent years have also seen the development of frameworks for the philosophical, ethical, and cultural implications of didactic (Nelson, God and the Land; Kronenberg, Allegories of Farming from Greece to Rome), but its boundaries and generic status remain contested (Itsumi, "Didactic Poetry: A Generic Tradition?"), as have the relationship between prose and poetry that claims to teach (Atherton, Form and Content in Didactic Poetry; Hutchinson, "Read the Instructions") and the dynamics between teacher and student in ancient literature and culture (Schiesaro et al., Mega nepios).

This symposium aims to continue these investigations and to open up new fields of inquiry related to ancient teaching and learning. Papers might focus on topics including (but not limited to):

  • interactions between Vergil and his didactic predecessors/successors
  • the teacher-student relationship in Vergil's Georgics and elsewhere
  • Roman cultures of learning and ancient learning communities
  • translating Greek teachings for Italian audiences
  • how ancient education practice informs poetic production
  • ethical and philosophical implications of teaching through poetry
  • contact between "scientific" work and didactic literature
  • didacticism outside traditionally didactic poetry
  • the later reception of Vergil and other ancient authors as educators

Papers will be 20 minutes long with ample time for discussion. The symposium will include three days of papers, discussion, and visits to Vergilian sites.

Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 300 words to polt@bc.edu by January 15, 2018.

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(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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Ancient Greek and Roman Painting and the Digital Humanities

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 12/14/2017 - 2:14pm by .

This article was originally published on the Amphora blog on January 6, 2016.

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Keynote Speaker
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View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 1:21pm by .

The University of Texas at Austin

Joint Classics Philosophy Graduate Program in Ancient Philosophy

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View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Thu, 12/07/2017 - 1:09pm by .
The Philosophy Department at Stanford University invites you to attend a two-day conference on Aristotle's Politics in Stanford, California on March 9-10 in Building 60, Room 109. Please register for the conference at http://tinyurl.com/yc48ecd8. Papers will be pre-circulated once available. 
 
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Pierre Destrée
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Dear Attendees:

The 2018 SCS-AIA Meeting in Boston is just a month away! The Program Committee has worked hard to put together a rewarding and stimulating meeting and, as Vice President for Programs, I am particularly pleased by the growing number of panels – some 18 were accepted for the Boston meeting, an increase by three over last year. I want now to call your attention to a few of the exciting events that are planned.

President S. Georgia Nugent will focus attention on the “The PhD Today: This Is Your Brain on Classics.” Her presidential panel on Friday, January 5, from 5-6 pm brings together three graduates of Classics PhD programs who have elected career paths in law, technology, and secondary school teaching. They will discuss why and how they transitioned from the traditional expectation of a career in college teaching, as well as how their graduate study in classics affects their lives today. In her presidential address on Friday, January 5, from 6-7 pm, entitled “Chiron Meets Charon: On Crossing Over to the Dark Side,” president Nugent will reflect on the transition from professoriate to presidency and the invaluable lessons that study of the classics provides. This address will take place during the Plenary Session, at which SCS awards will be presented.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:31am by Erik Shell.
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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/28/2017 - 8:52am by Erik Shell.
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View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/27/2017 - 12:43pm by Serena S Witzke.

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