CFP: Fear of Space in the Ancient World

Call for Papers:

Horror vacui: Fear of Space in the Ancient World

Biennial Classics Graduate Student Conference

Conducted virtually via Zoom

New York University

November 5th, 2021

Keynote: Amy Russell (Brown University)

The study of the ancient world is, at its core, an exploration of void. Void implies possibility, but also provokes fear and anxiety. We too experience this void in our scholarship - not one of complete emptiness, but one which requires careful and creative inference to reconcile the state of ancient evidence. While Aristotle, famously, was the first to remark that “nature abhors empty space,” the specific phrase horror vacui was coined only in the 20th century by Italian art critic Mario Praz, in response to works characterized by an abundance of decoration and apparent rejection of empty space. But if horror vacui implies density, it also by contrast highlights the void with which artists, scientists, and scholars of ancient history must grapple. While visual density is often the focus of modern studies relating to horror vacui, we seek to recontextualize the term across physical, cultural, temporal, and political spheres.
 
The goal of this conference is to explore anxieties about voids and the efforts people make to fill them, both in antiquity and today. Historical and modern experiences of studying antiquity rely upon this practice. Horror vacui can be seen in the attempts made to fill the gaps in historical or biographical accounts; thus Statius, in composing his Achilleid, remarked: sed plura vacant, 1.4. It is there in the tendency to attribute apocryphal works to well-known authors to eschew the threat of anonymity. The encyclopedic vogue of late antiquity sought to cover every domain of knowledge so as to leave no gaps. Works of art such as the Ludovisi battle sarcophagus accomplish dynamism in part by leaving no empty space where the eye might rest. The settlement of Roman veterans and the establishment of provinces on land imagined as void illustrate the uses of ostensibly empty space in the service of political interests. A new examination of horror vacui in its multiple dimensions can serve as a framework for conceptualizing our own relationship to the discipline we inhabit, and the efforts we undertake to bridge gaps and fill voids.

Possible topics may include but are not limited to:
•  Literary, visual, and historical responses to real or perceived emptiness
•  Theoretical, scientific, and philosophical discussions of the problem of emptiness
•  Literature with the goal of producing a “comprehensive” or “universal” work, e.g. ancient dictionaries, encyclopedias, or catalogues
•  Art historical or architectural trends in favor of or in opposition to complexity, ornament, and elaboration
•  Urban topography and the problem of urban voids, the transformation of meaningful public space
•  Manuscript studies, including lesser-studied authors and/or spurious works successfully transmitted due to a perceived void in tradition
•  Responses to ecological, temporal, historical, and political forces which create an artificial void in social memory
•  Urbanization and imposed settlement of “empty” lands, or emptiness as an expression of power

We welcome papers from critical perspectives old and new, including those informed by anthropological, ecocritical, and postcolonial theories and invite submissions from graduate students specializing in Greco-Roman classics and related disciplines (history, religious studies, philosophy, art history, archaeology, Near Eastern studies, Jewish studies, et al.), especially those employing interdisciplinary approaches.

Anonymous abstracts of up to 300 words, with an optional bibliography, should be submitted to nyugradconference@gmail.com in .pdf format no later than October 1st, 2021. Please include your name, affiliation, and the title of your paper in the body text of your email. Notification of acceptance will be sent in early October. Papers should not exceed 20 minutes and will be delivered via Zoom. Any questions regarding the conference may be addressed to the co-organizers, Greta Gualdi and Meredith Millar, at the same email address.

Categories

Follow SCS News for information about the SCS and all things classical.

Use this field to search SCS News
Select a category from this list to limit the content on this page.

"One of the best preserved sculptures from Roman antiquity is about to make its Washington, D.C., debut. Host Scott Simon reports the Capitoline Venus will go on display next Wednesday at the National Gallery of Art." Read or listen to the story at NPR.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 06/05/2011 - 12:27pm by Information Architect.

"Listening to Cynthia Shelmerdine describe the writing on a Greek tablet from more than 3,000 years ago, it’s like she was looking over the scribe’s shoulder as he worked. She points out details and nuance of technique, the condition of the tablet and what it means, literally, and for the world of Greek archaeology." Read more …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Fri, 06/03/2011 - 3:58pm by Information Architect.

"An ancient Roman shipwreck nearly 2,000 years old may once have held an aquarium onboard capable of carrying live fish, archaeologists suggest." Read more at CBSNews.com.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/02/2011 - 5:37pm by Information Architect.

"The State College Area School District faces controversial choices about program reductions in next year’s budget. To meet this challenge the district administration recommended phasing out the four-year Latin program at State College Area High School beginning next year. But the vox populi — students, parents, and the community — vigorously defended the importance of Latin to high school education." Read more of Stephen Wheeler's letter here: http://www.centredaily.com/2011/05/05/2691912/proposed-changes-to-latin-miss.html#ixzz1O3aMAaLD.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/01/2011 - 7:05pm by Information Architect.

Princeton Classics major Veronica Shi delivered the traditional Latin oration at commencement ceremonies on May 31. Here is the text and translation of her Carmen Salutationis:

Salutatio

Habita in Comitiis Academicis Princetoniae
In Nova Caesarea prid. Kal. Iun.
Anno Salutis MMXI
Anno Academiae CCLXIV

Carmen Salutationis

quibus modis, quîs principiis, amans
Mater, salutem progeniem tuam?
    favete opus, Musae, novis ne
       nunc titubem pedibus rubescens!
nobis aratrix splendida messium
felixque dux, te, praesidium bonum,
    primam saluto, namque florent
       omnia lumine sub tuo; nec
vos nunc silebo, qui sapientia
tuentur Almam semper et omnibus
    Matrem; professoresque laudo
        filia grata scientiamque
eorum cano, quae discipulos alit
virtute, curis et patientia
    benignius: vobis pietas
        magna, amor altus et eruditus.
et vos, parentes: mane scholasticos
nos creditis, quos canticulo meo
   gaudere nunc vidistis: ecce
        spes modo perficimus decoras.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/01/2011 - 1:15pm by Information Architect.

The Winter 2011 Newsletter is now available for downloading as a pdf. It is also available online.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/25/2011 - 5:46pm by .

"Second-grader Joshua Jayne was decked out as a Roman centurion Tuesday, surrounded by classmates in bedsheets, as they visited ancient Rome in their own school cafeteria. Each year, Abington Christian Academy holds a living history day to give students a chance for hands-on learning, said school administrator Jan Wells." Read more: http://thetimes-tribune.com/news/students-visit-ancient-rome-without-leaving-clarks-green-classrooms-1.1152101#ixzz1NNOaWZx4

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 05/25/2011 - 1:56pm by Information Architect.

Princeton's web site has a nice story about Veronica Shi, a classics major, who will deliver the traditional Latin oration at commencement ceremonies on May 31. Read it online here.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 05/24/2011 - 6:02pm by Information Architect.

The Boston Globe published a nice remembrance of Ernst Badian today. Read it online here …

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 05/23/2011 - 11:38am by .

"In the Bulgarian seaside resort town of Sozopol, archaeologists have unearthed an ancient temple of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, the private television channel bTV Reported on May 18 2011. The finds were made at Cape Skamnii in the ancient town of Sozopol. Numerous statues and other artifacts have been found, indicating that the site was, indeed, a temple dedicated to Demeter and Persephone." Read more in The Sofia Echo

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/19/2011 - 12:09pm by Information Architect.

Pages

Latest Stories

SCS Announcements
SCS Announcements
Symposium Cumanum – Call for Proposal
Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings
JOIN TAPA FOR A VIRTUAL OPEN

© 2020, Society for Classical Studies Privacy Policy