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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A 2,000-year-old Roman ship in the middle of a plain near the ancient port of Rome has been unearthed by Italian archaeologists. Read more in Discovery News

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/02/2011 - 3:25am by Information Architect.

The American Philological Association seeks to appoint an Editor for Monographs for a term of four years, to begin with the January 2012 meetings in Philadelphia.  We seek a senior scholar with editorial experience and an interest in shaping outstanding work for publication in a distinguished series.  The editor reviews proposals and manuscripts, works with authors to bring manuscripts to final form, and is the Association's contact with the publisher through the process.  While we continue our relationship with Oxford University Press, we particularly seek an editor willing to explore alternate and innovative forms of publication for appropriate scholarly works. Candidates should submit, and nominees will be invited to submit, a current c.v. and a brief statement outlining their interest. Applications and nominations may be submitted in confidence to the Vice President for Publications at provost@georgetown.edu. Consideration of candidates, who must be members of the APA in good standing, will begin on or after June 1, 2011. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 7:14pm by .

The Winter 2011 APA Newsletter is now online. A printable pdf version is coming soon.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 1:54am by .

The Penn Libraries have received a major collection of 280 Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts, valued at over $20 million, from long-time benefactors and Library Board members Lawrence J. Schoenberg (C’53, WG’57, PAR’93) and Barbara Brizdle Schoenberg. To promote the use of this and other manuscript collections at Penn, the Libraries will create the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies.

Full press release:
http://www.library.upenn.edu/docs/publications/SchoenbergMssCollection.pdf

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 04/28/2011 - 1:47am by Information Architect.

"As a rule, digging beneath the surface of modern Rome turns up ancient buildings. Excavations conducted in 2007, just steps from the traffic hub of Piazza Venezia, revealed two Imperial era villas embellished with mosaics, polychrome wall veneers, fountains and frescoes. Dating back to the second and third centuries, these opulent dwellings were abandoned in late antiquity, filled with landfill, and unknowingly used as foundations for the 16th-century Palazzo Valentini, now seat of the Province of Rome’s offices." Read more in the New York Times…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 04/24/2011 - 1:41am by Information Architect.

"William F. Wyatt Jr., 78, professor emeritus and former chairman of the department of classics at Brown University, and a prolific contributor to the op-ed page of The Providence Journal, died March 25 in The Miriam Hospital, Providence." Read the full obituary at the Providence Journal Online…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 04/10/2011 - 9:58pm by Information Architect.

"THE 9/11 memorial in New York, still being planned, is to be dedicated on the 10th anniversary of the attack. Intended as a place for commemoration, reflection, education and solace, the memorial and museum will serve as a repository for the remains of the victims.

"Some families of the victims have criticized the planned memorial because they are offended by the prospect of sharing the resting place of their loved ones with museum-going strangers. Because the structure will be built seven stories below the spot where the twin towers once stood, visitors will have to venture underground to pay their respects, a prospect that also is not comforting.

"But one feature of the National September 11 Memorial and Museum seems above reproach: a quotation from Virgil’s “Aeneid” that will be inscribed on a wall in front of the victims’ remains."

Read more of Caroline Alexander's essay in The New York Times

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 04/08/2011 - 7:14pm by Information Architect.

Put together by Pleiades, a collaborative project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities that is mapping ancient sites around the Mediterranean and beyond, the link shows sites throughout Libya.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Tue, 04/05/2011 - 1:24am by .

The American Philological Association (APA) will present the following awards at the Plenary Session of its upcoming 142nd Annual Meeting.   The Plenary Session will take place at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in the San Antonio Rivercenter Hotel.  Full citations for these award winners will no longer be read at the Session proper but will be published in mid-December and will also be available as handouts at the Session.

President’s Award (honoring an individual, group, or organization outside of the Classics profession that has made significant contributions to advancing public appreciation and awareness of Classical antiquity)

Garry Wills, Northwestern University (emeritus), for a distinguished career as one of the United States’ most prominent and respected intellectuals and as a voice for the importance of the classical tradition in Western culture.

Charles J. Goodwin Award of Merit (for an outstanding contribution to classical scholarship published by a member of the Association within the preceding three years)

John F. Miller, University of Virginia, Apollo, Augustus, and the Poets (Cambridge University Press)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 12/06/2010 - 3:54pm by .

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