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.

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Several affiliated groups have extended their deadlines in their calls for abstracts for the 2023 Annual Meeting:

American Classical League, Teaching Students to Read Latin: What does that mean?, February 10, 2022

Vergilian Society, Green Vergil: Nature and the Environment in Vergil and the Vergilian Tradition, February 11, 2022

Society for Late Antiquity, Slow and Fast Violence in Late Antiquity, February 15, 2022

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Mon, 02/07/2022 - 8:43am by .
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The American Council of Learned Societies Opens 2022 Leading Edge Fellowship Competition for Recent PhDs in the Humanities and Interpretive Social Sciences

Program Partners Early-Career Humanities Scholars with Nonprofit Organizations Advancing Social Justice

Fellowship applications due by 9pm EDT on Monday, March 28, 2022.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 02/02/2022 - 12:06pm by .

Announcing SOURCES IN EARLY POETICS, a new book series published by Brill

Online launch and roundtable: 16 March 2022 (1:30 PM – 3:00PM EDT)

View full article. | Posted in General Announcements on Wed, 02/02/2022 - 11:12am by .

The Department of the Classics at Harvard announces the following opportunities and initiatives designed to advance our community’s goals of diversity and inclusion:

Harvard Classics Scholars-in-Training Summer Program (for high school students (Remote) or undergraduates (In Person) Application deadline is Friday, February 25, 2022 by 11:59 p.m. EST.

View full article. | Posted in Summer Programs on Wed, 02/02/2022 - 10:55am by .

Final Reminder: Revised 9/23/21 with updated submission deadline of Friday, February 18, 2022.

As previously announced, Patrice Rankine and Sasha-Mae Eccleston will serve as guest editors of a future issue of TAPA with the theme of race, racism, and Classics (issue 153:1, to appear April 2023). Their detailed call for papers, along with submission instructions, follows.

Covid-19 and the global Movement 4 Black Lives have highlighted the extent to which racism is a public health emergency whose reach extends across the Black Atlantic and far beyond. In light of these deeply imbricated developments, this volume becomes even more timely.

Race and Racism: Beyond the Spectacular

"…the “cultural logic” of lynching enables it to emerge and persist throughout the modern era because its violence “fit” within the broader, national cultural developments. This synchronicity captures why I refer to lynching as “spectacular”: the violence made certain cultural developments and tensions visible for Americans to confront."

       Jacqueline Goldsby, A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 01/31/2022 - 1:37pm by .
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Please join us on Monday, February 14, 2022, at 4:00-5:30pm EST, for a career webinar for PhDs and graduate students on K-12 teaching (registration required).

ACLS will offer a virtual presentation for PhDs and graduate students to learn about teaching roles in K-12 schools during a Q&A with people representing K-12 independent and public schools.

We hope this will prepare anyone interested in applying to K-12 independent and public schools for Fall 2022 teaching roles, which are advertised primarily in winter. Teaching at public schools is a less immediate option because of certification and degree requirements which vary by state, so most of our panelists teach in independent schools, which don’t require certification.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 01/28/2022 - 9:33am by .

In 2022 the Society for Classical Studies (SCS) will again award the David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship for study and travel in classical lands.

The Fellowship is intended to recognize secondary-school teachers of Greek or Latin who are as dedicated to their students as the Coffins themselves by giving them the opportunity to enrich their teaching and their lives through direct acquaintance with the classical world.  It will support study in classical lands (not limited to Greece and Italy); the recipient may use it to attend an educational program in (e.g. American Academy, American School) or to undertake an individual plan of study or research. It may be used either for summer study or during a sabbatical leave, and it may be used to supplement other awards or prizes.

You can read more about this fellowship here: Coffin Fellowship Flyer or for full details and instructions please visit the David D. and Rosemary H. Coffin Fellowship page. Materials must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Thursday, February 17, 2022.

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View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 01/27/2022 - 8:16am by Helen Cullyer.

Digital Ancient Rome

An NEH Summer Seminar for K-12 educators

Digital Ancient Rome is an NEH Summer Seminar for K-12 educators that will give teachers an opportunity to learn about important examples of Roman art, architecture, and archaeology through a broad range of digital resources. One of the most exciting things for students who study ancient Rome is that so many physical aspects of its civilization survive to this day. It is not just an ancient history that we know through texts. The surviving material remains—small artifacts, sculpture, paintings, mosaics, public monuments, neighborhoods, and whole cities—tell a variety of stories about the ancient world, and they bring history to life in a way that students find compelling.  

Dates: July 18-29, 2022

Place: Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Wed, 01/26/2022 - 8:40pm by Helen Cullyer.

Congratulations to our 2021 award winners again! You can view the full award citations by clicking on the links below:

Deborah Beck

Richard Ellis

Wilfred Major

Brett Rogers 

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 01/25/2022 - 2:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

Congratulations again to our 2021 winners! You can read the full award citations for each prize winner by clicking on the names below:

Jessie Craft

Mathew Olkovikas

Margaret Somerville


View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 01/25/2022 - 1:48pm by Helen Cullyer.

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