CFP: Contact, Colonialism, and Comparison

Call for Papers, “Contact, Colonialism, and Comparison” Conference

Different methods of ‘comparing antiquities’ do or do not presuppose the existence of contact between the civilizations they compare, or else weigh differently the importance of contact to the work of comparison. Underlying these differences are methodological questions like: to what extent, and in what ways, the history of contact between different civilizations plays a role in the work of comparison? To what extent the fact of contact between two civilizations legitimates their comparison? How the aims and methods of comparison differ in cases where contact has or has not taken place? More subtly, how should the intellectual history of contact in later periods of a region’s history affect how we do comparative work on earlier periods of that history?

These questions are particularly urgent in the case of comparison between the early Americas and Greco-Roman antiquity, where the practice of “comparing antiquities” has a long history as an intellectual tool of colonialism. Early missionaries, both Spanish and Mexican, used the texts of Classical Antiquity to dismiss as primitive the beliefs and practices of Indigenous peoples. Under the influence of racial theories inherited from the authors of classical antiquity, colonial intellectuals used comparison between the Mediterranean and tropical climates as grounds for racist generalization aimed at dehumanizing Indigenous peoples. Both assertions of similarity between the Americas and the Greco-Roman world and assertions of difference have been put in the service of colonizers’ arguments.

This conference, then, aims to think through the methodological implications of the intellectual history of contact for the modern-day academic study of Comparative Antiquity between the early Americas and the Greco-Roman world. What can the intellectual history of contact between Spanish invaders and Indigenous populations teach us about the possible methodological pitfalls of comparativism? In what ways should the history of contact affect the comparative methodologies we bring to bear on the study of American and Greco-Roman antiquities? What forms of comparison that avoid complicity with colonialist analogy are possible? How can scholars strive to make comparisons on equal terms, while acknowledging the treatment different cultures have received at the hands of intellectuals over the centuries?

To this end we invite papers from any discipline that tackle the intellectual history of contact between Spanish invaders and Indigenous populations (especially claims of analogy between pre-Christian Greco-Roman antiquity, and the pre-Christian Americas), papers that tackle methodological questions in the study of Comparative American and Greco-Roman antiquity, and papers engaged in this work of comparison with an eye to its broader political and historical context. We hope that this marriage of intellectual history, theoretical speculation, and comparative work can help scholars of many disciplines think critically and specifically about the ethical and methodological questions implicated in the work of comparison.

The conference will be held virtually from April 16-17, 2021. Papers will be pre-circulated, and each paper session will be led by a respondent before moving into a group discussion. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Please submit an anonymized, 200-300 word abstract to antiquityintheamericas@gmail.com. For more information about Antiquity in the Americas, including past events and current projects, visit https://www.antiquityintheamericas.com/.

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The Anthony Fauci Award in STEM and Classics
 
The Classical Association of the Middle West and South is pleased to announce the Anthony Fauci Award in STEM and Classics. This $500 annual award recognizes an undergraduate student who demonstrates outstanding work in both Classics and a STEM discipline (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). Dr. Fauci graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 1962 with a rigorous degree that required both pre-medical and advanced Latin and Greek courses.
View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Sat, 11/20/2021 - 10:36am by Helen Cullyer.

Pushing the Boundaries:

African and Asian Interactions with the Ancient Mediterranean

26th Annual Classics Graduate Student Colloquium

Conducted virtually via Zoom

University of Virginia

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Sat, 11/20/2021 - 10:33am by Helen Cullyer.

NATURAL RESOURCES AND FLOURISHING IN ANCIENT GREECE (CFP)

April 22-24, 2022

This conference is dedicated to exploring issues pertaining to natural resources and their relation to individual happiness and successful political organization, as treated in ancient Greek literature, art, history, law, religion and philosophy. We welcome presentations on topics such as the following:  

1. Ancient Greek views on the amount and kinds of natural goods suitable for individual and political flourishing, and on the influence of such goods on human character and behavior.

2. Ownership of, and rights to, natural resources in Greek law and political theory.

3. Greek religious views on the divine dispensation (or withdrawal) of natural resources.

4. The depiction and personification of natural resources in Greek mythology and art.

5. The influence of the availability or lack of natural resources on lifestyle and migration in the ancient Greek world.

6. The just distribution of natural goods in ancient Greek thought.

7. Discussions and evidence concerning the contribution of natural resources to social cohesion and identity in Greek antiquity.

Keynote speaker: Lin Foxhall (University of Liverpool)

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Sat, 11/20/2021 - 10:29am by Helen Cullyer.
A black-figure vase depicting three chorus-men costumed as warriors, wearing individually crested helmets, “riding" three partners in horse costume.

A conspicuous theme in Aristophanic comedy is the civic motivation of Athenian citizens, which is presented as highly problematic. Judges and Assembly-goers are portrayed consistently as motivated not by any sense of civic duty but by monetary incentives — the misthos dikastikos and the misthos ekklēsiastikos, respectively. Some scholars have considered this portrayal of everyday citizens as narrowly profit-driven and utterly selfish to be proof of Aristophanes’ elitist and anti-democratic views. Indeed, such a commentary on civic motivation vis-à-vis incentives seems to align with that of Plato, whose Sokrates famously asserts that Perikles’ introduction of public payments made Athenians “idle, cowardly, talkative, and avaricious” (Gorg. 515e).

Yet an examination of Aristophanes’ plays through the lens of behavioral science allows for a radically different reading. This is the reading I offer in my dissertation, Enter homo oeconomicus: Civic Motivation and Civic Education in Aristophanic Comedy.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/19/2021 - 11:21am by Konstantinos Karathanasis.

Registration for the 2022 hybrid annual meeting is now open! If you would like to attend the meeting in person, you need to register on or before Friday, November 19 in order to obtain the early registration rate. Please note that there is no early rate for virtual attendance. You can register online here.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/15/2021 - 12:14pm by Helen Cullyer.
A window display featuring books about Greek myth, a model of the Ishtar Gate, and a large papier-mache figure of Poseidon.

Growing up, one of my favorite shows was Star Trek: The Next Generation. At the risk of angering my fellow Trekkers, I am a Captain Picard guy all the way. In TNG and the subsequent movie, the concept of “First Contact” is a vitally important hinge point in human history. The term refers to the first time that one planetary civilization — in this case, humans — comes into contact with another, most famously the Vulcans. First Contact is something that is always meant to be planned, considered, and carefully done at precisely the right time. First Contact is also one of the guiding principles I follow as a middle school ancient history teacher. Instead of alien civilizations from space, I bring groups together across time, right here in my classroom — Ancient civilizations and modern 11-year-olds.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/15/2021 - 9:50am by .
A section of a painted fresco showing a woman with auburn hair tied into a low bun. She wears a laurel crown and a turquoise toga over one shoulder, and she looks down to her right.

The history of emotion studies

Emotion, generally referred to in the ancient world as pathos (from which we get words like sympathy and empathy), or adfectus (which refers to a state of body and/or mind and from which the word affect derives), is a term of fairly recent vintage. Coined in the mid-16th century, it became the expression of choice in the 19th. These days, it is most generally thought to refer to a strong feeling deriving from one's circumstances, mood, or relationships with others, but there is a long and ongoing debate about the precise nature and function of emotion that stretches back not only to Darwin and James, but also to the ancient world. Aristotle and the Stoics, for example, debated some of the same points that modern proponents of Affect and Appraisal theories of emotion do.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/12/2021 - 1:40pm by Jennifer Devereaux.
A book cover with a pink and white geometrically-patterned background. In the middle stands a cartoon man with a beard, a bald head, a toga, and a walking stick. He is surrounded by stars and symbols. A small, gray dog at his feet sniffs an ant.

Do you know any kids? Do they like books? Do you want to lure them down the path of Classical Studies before paleontology fever sets in? The good news is that there’s a new resource in development to help you do just that. I’m please to introduce Calliope’s Library: Books for Young Readers.

Figure 1: Bone Gap, by Laura Ruby. Krishni Burns writes, “I appreciate a modern-day Persephone who sets the curtains on fire to get the fire department’s attention, because trapped isn’t the same as helpless.”

Last year, the SCS blog provided several useful resources to help you find books for young Classics fans, among them Sarah Bond’s excellent post about titles that Classical scholars who are also parents have shared with their own children. In the post, Dr. Bond linked to a Twitter thread full of wonderful book recommendations. Twitter being what it is, that thread is now gone.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 11/08/2021 - 12:27pm by Krishni Burns.

SCS is pleased to announce that the 2021 Outreach Prize Winner is Mallory Monaco Caterine (Tulane University). You can read the award citation below:

At its best, outreach work not only reaches out, but it also invites in. Exceptional outreach work welcomes members of the broader public into conversations about the ancient world and fosters meaningful relationships that inform and enrich all participants, whether they are scholars, students, or community members. In recognition of her exemplary work in this area, the Society for Classical Studies is pleased to award the 2021 Outreach Award to Mallory Monaco Caterine for her work with Nyansa Classical Community in New Orleans. 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Mon, 11/08/2021 - 8:39am by Helen Cullyer.
A beige sarcophagus covered in relief carvings of men and animals.

The Ancient Worlds, Modern Communities initiative (AnWoMoCo), launched by the SCS in 2019 as the Classics Everywhere initiative, supports projects that seek to engage broader publics — individuals, groups, and communities — in critical discussion of and creative expression related to the ancient Mediterranean, the global reception of Greek and Roman culture, and the history of teaching and scholarship in the field of classical studies. As part of this initiative, the SCS has funded 111 projects, ranging from school programming to reading groups, prison programs, public talks, digital projects, and collaborations with artists in theater, opera, music, dance, and the visual arts. To date, it has funded projects in 25 states and 11 countries, including Canada, the UK, Italy, Greece, Spain, Belgium, Ghana, Puerto Rico, Argentina, and India.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/05/2021 - 10:16am by .

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