Call for Papers: Transdisciplinary Conference on Distributed Authorship


a transdisciplinary conference on distributed authorship

UCLA, October 5-7 2018.
Co-Organizers, Francesca Martelli and Sean Gurd


Long associated with pre-modern cultures, the notion of “distributed authorship” still serves as a mainstay for the study of Classical antiquity, which takes 'Homer' as its foundational point of orientation, and which, like many other disciplines in the humanities, has extended its insights into the open-endedness of oral and performance traditions into its study of textual dynamics as well. The rise of genetic criticism within textual studies bears witness to this urge to fray perceptions of the hermetic closure of the written, and to expose the multiple strands of collaboration and revision that a text may contain. And the increasingly widespread use of the multitext in literary editions of authors from Homer to Joyce offers a material manifestation of this impulse to display the multiple different levels and modes of distribution at work in the authorial process. In many areas of the humanities that rely on traditional textual media, then, the distributed author is alive and well, and remains a current object of study.

In recent years, however, the dynamic possibilities of distributed authorship have accelerated most rapidly in media associated with the virtual domain, where modes of communication have rendered artistic creation increasingly collaborative, multi-local and open-ended. These developments have prompted important questions on the part of scholars who study these new media about the ontological status of the artistic, musical and literary objects that such modes of distribution (re)create. In musicology, for example, musical modes such as jazz improvisation and digital experimentation are shown to exploit the complex relay of creativity within and between the ever-expanding networks of artists and audiences involved in their production and reception, and construct themselves in ways that invite others to continue the process of their ongoing distribution. The impact of such artistic developments on the identity of 'the author' may be measured by developments in copyright law, such as the emergence of the Creative Commons, an organization that enables artists and authors to waive copyright restrictions on co-creators in order to facilitate their collaborative participation. And this mode of distribution has in turn prompted important questions about the orientation of knowledge and power in the collectives and publics that it creates.

This conference seeks to deepen and expand the theorising of authorial distribution in all areas of human culture. Ultimately, our aim is to develop and refine a set of conceptual tools that will bring distributed authorship into a wider remit of familiarity, and to explore whether these tools are, in fact, unique to the new media that have inspired their most recent discursive formulation, or whether they have a range of application that extends beyond the virtual domain.

We invite contributions from those who are engaged directly with the processes and media that are pushing and complicating ideas of distributed authorship in the world today, and also from those who are actively drawing on insights derived from these contemporary developments in their interpretation of the textual and artistic processes of the past, on the following topics (among others):

·       The distinctive features of the new artistic genres and objects generated by modes of authorial distribution, from musical mashups to literary centones.
·       The impact that authorial distribution has on the temporality of its objects, as the multiple agents that form part of the distribution of those objects spread the processes of their decomposition/re-composition over time.
·       The re-orienting of power relations that arises from the distribution of authorship among networks of senders and receivers, as also from the collapsing of 'sender' and 'receiver' functions into one another.
·       The modes of 'self'-regulation that authorial collectives develop in order to sustain their identity.
·       Fandom and participatory culture, in both virtual and traditional textual media.
·       The operational dynamics of 'multitexts' and 'text networks', and their influence by/on virtual networks.

Paper proposals will be selected for their potential to open up questions that transcend the idiom of any single medium and/or discipline.

Please send a proposal of approximately 500 words to by January 15, 2018.


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


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SCS is calling for members to volunteer for SCS committees and leadership positions.

These positions include many current SCS committees as well as the newly-formed Graduate Student Committee which will make recommendations about issues that concern graduate students, including the curriculum and preparation for a variety of teaching, research, and other careers.  Descriptions of various positions and offices can be found here.

To volunteer, you can fill out the form linked on the Members Only page of our website. You must log in to the site to access this page. The deadline to apply for the Graduate Student Committee is April 12.  All other volunteer deadlines are May 2.  The graduate student committee will start work as soon as all members appointed.  Other appointed committee members will begin their terms in 2019.  Most elected offices will begin in 2020. 

If you have any questions about what might be expected of you feel free to email and we can put you in touch with the relevant committee chair or Vice President.


View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/07/2018 - 2:54pm by Erik Shell.

Call for Contributors: Tacitus Encyclopedia

Prof. Victoria Pagán, in contract with Wiley-Blackwell Press, is seeking contributors for an encyclopedic volume on Tacitus.

"Entries offer in-depth treatment of the content and contexts of Tacitus’ history and reception from antiquity to the 21st century. The Tacitus Encyclopedia will be published in two volumes in print and also online. It will comprise approximately 1,000 entries."

You can find a full description of the program here.


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

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 03/06/2018 - 12:26pm by Erik Shell.

Congratulations to Melissa Y. Mueller (Associate Professor of Classics, University of Massachusetts Amherst) for winning the ACLS's Burkhardt Residential Fellowship for Recently Tenured Scholars.

Her project is "Sappho and Homer: A Reparative Reading" and will take place at the National Humanities Center in 2019-2020.

The full list of Fellowship recipients and their projects can be seen here.


(Photo: "library" by Viva Vivanista, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 03/05/2018 - 10:28am by Erik Shell.

By Andaleeb Badiee Banta (Curator of European and American Art, Allen Memorial Art Museum, and Christopher Trinacty (Associate Professor of Classics at Oberlin College,

Campus museums can help professors not only to teach about the ancient world, but also to explore connections between different civilizations, time periods, and media. At Oberlin College, professors engage with the collection at the Allen Memorial Art Museum to teach a variety of topics – from philosophy to cinema studies, from anthropology to book studies. This collaboration between professors and the museum’s curators creates evocative and unexpected links for both students and professors, aiding in the interdisciplinary exploration of material.

View full article. | Posted in on Sun, 03/04/2018 - 1:31pm by Andaleeb Badiee Banta.
Manuscript of Megillat Esther, dating to the 18th century and currently housed in the Joods Historisch Museum in Amsterdam. Photo by Vassil, licensed under CC0 1.0. Edited (cropped) by C. Bonesho.
In her monthly column, Catherine Bonesho will feature discussions of Greco-Roman age Judaism, the Roman Near East, as well as the American Academy in Rome. For her first monthly column, she explores the Roman context for the Jewish holiday of Purim.

According to historian Amnon Linder, there are approximately 107 imperial Roman laws that concern Jews and Judaism and, for the most part, one can find them in the Theodosian and Justinianic Codes.[1] Roman imperial legislation on Jews and Judaism ranges from discussing circumcision to synagogues and the Sabbath, among other topics. However, one can also find a peculiar law, dating to the early fifth century CE, that establishes Roman policy on the Jewish holiday known as Purim.

This year Purim will be celebrated at sundown on February 28. In this blog, I focus on a Roman law found in the Theodosian Code (16:8:18) that deals with the celebration of Purim and briefly discuss how this law not only aids in understanding Jews and Judaism in Roman antiquity, but also how it helps decipher religious competition during the period known as Late Antiquity (200-800 CE).

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 5:03pm by Catherine Bonesho.


Classical Antiquity: Screening the “political animals” of the Ancient Mediterranean world

An area of multiple panels for the 2018 Film & History Conference:

Citizenship and Sociopathy in Film, Television, and New Media

November 7-12, 2018

Madison Concourse Hotel and Governor’s Club, Madison, WI (USA)

Full details at:

DEADLINE for abstracts: 1 June 2018 

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 10:20am by Erik Shell.

by Patrice Rankine

One of the precepts of Joseph Campbell’s Hero of a Thousand Faces, in fact of his life work of studying myth, generally, is that myth is truer than the truth itself. The metaphoric power of storytelling is such that the story precedes reality. When one deploys the metaphor “my love is a red rose,” the statement suggests the profound truth of the beauty of love, its exquisiteness, its sensual power.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 02/26/2018 - 6:31am by .

By Adrienne K.H. Rose

In her monthly column, Prof. Adrienne K.H. Rose explores issues surrounding translation within Classics. In her first edition, she addresses the challenges of picking the “right” Catullus translation. What does “right” even mean when choosing a translation for class?

Choosing the “right” translation of any Classical author for the classroom is a challenge for most teachers. What is “right” can often be dependent upon factors such as availability and pricing, particularly for students with a textbook budget. For a popular, much-translated poet like Catullus there is a wealth of English-language translations to choose from. Catullus is antiquity’s most modern poet.

His work is raunchy, moody, turbulently charged political and social commentary – my advanced Latin students called him “emo”—his carmina akin to unfiltered Facebook status updates perhaps better left unposted. At the same time they’re fastidious metrically, driven by Hellenic fascination (Grecomania?), and fixated by core human emotions and needs: internal conflict, affection, lust, mourning, and spite. Because Catullus is so contemporary, translations reinvent his persona anew with updated, contemporary language and cultural references.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 02/23/2018 - 5:21am by Adrienne K.H. Rose.
St Andrews Graduate Conference in Ancient Philosophy 2018, on:
Teleology, Intelligence and Life in the Platonic and Aristotelian Tradition
Teleology plays a central role in both Plato’s and Aristotle’s philosophy. It is essential in particular for their cosmological views and their conceptions of intelligence (nous) and life. We are interested in a deeper understanding of both Plato’s and Aristotle’s approach to teleology in all their aspects and the principal differences between them. We invite graduate students to submit high-quality papers on any topic related to teleology within the Platonic or Aristotelian tradition, broadly construed, in antiquity.
 Keynote Speakers:
View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 2:30pm by Erik Shell.

The Organizer Refereed Panel "Thirty Years of the Jeweled Style" has extended its deadline for abstract submission to March 5th.

See the original CFP here:


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

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Thu, 02/22/2018 - 11:29am by Erik Shell.


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