CFP: Identity in Vergil

Identity in Vergil: Ancient Representations, Global Receptions

Symposium Cumanum 2021

June 23-26, Villa Vergiliana, Cuma

Co-Directors: Tedd A. Wimperis (Elon University) and David J. Wright (Fordham University)

Vergil’s poetry has long offered fertile ground for scholars engaging questions of race, ethnicity, and national identity, owing especially to the momentous social changes to which his works respond (Syed 2005; Reed 2007; Fletcher 2014; Giusti 2018; Barchiesi forthcoming). The complexities of identity reflected in his corpus have afforded rich insights into the poems themselves and the era’s political milieu; beyond their Roman context, across the centuries his poetry has been co-opted in both racist and nationalist rhetoric, and, at the same time, inspired dynamic multicultural receptions among its many audiences, from Enoch Powell’s “Rivers of Blood” speech to Gwendolyn Brooks’ The Anniad (e.g. Thomas 2001; Laird 2010; Ronnick 2010; Torlone 2014; Pogorzelski 2016).

This year’s theme invites diverse approaches to the ways in which Vergil’s poetry represents, constructs, critiques, or sustains collective identities, in the ancient Mediterranean and well beyond. It also aims to stimulate new connections between Vergilian study and wider interest in identity and multicultural exchange among classicists, as well as contemporary discourse on racism, colonialism, immigration, and nationalism. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • representations and expressions of identity among the poems’ characters or audiences

  • global receptions of Vergil from the perspective of ethnic, regional, or national identity

  • multiculturalism, cultural negotiation, and inclusivity inside and outside the poems

  • identity in Roman ideology and imperialism

  • paradigms of gender, sexuality, and geography in constructing identity

  • forms of prejudice, stereotyping, or hate speech within the poems or inspired by them

  • the loss or reinvention of identity through migration or exile

  • areas of reception, contextualization, and contrast between Vergil and other authors or media, including material culture

  • political appropriations of Vergil, including by identitarian and fascist ideologies

  • inclusive approaches to Vergilian scholarship and pedagogy

  • comparative studies of Vergil’s poetry to explore modern identities and racial justice movements

Confirmed Speakers:

Samuel Agbamu (Royal Holloway), Maurizio Bettini (University of Siena), Filippo Carlà-Uhink (Potsdam University), Anna Maria Cimino (Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa), Hardeep Dhindsa (King’s College London), K.F.B. Fletcher (Louisiana State University), Valentina Follo (American Academy in Rome), Elena Giusti (University of Warwick), Andrew Laird (Brown University), Jackie Murray (University of Kentucky), Nandini Pandey (University of Wisconsin), Michele Ronnick (Wayne State University), Caroline Stark (Howard University), Richard Thomas (Harvard University), Zara Torlone (Miami University), Adriana Vazquez (UCLA)

Please send abstracts of roughly 300 words to identityinvergil@gmail.com by December 1, 2020. Papers will be 20 minutes long, with time for discussion after each. We hope to gather an inclusive group of speakers from multiple backgrounds and academic ranks, and especially encourage submissions from scholars belonging to communities underrepresented in the field.

Participants arrive on June 22; we are planning to hold the conference at the Villa Vergiliana, and enjoy visits to Vergilian sites alongside presentations and discussion. That said, in light of the uncertainties COVID-19 continues to present, including financial pressures in the academy that might make travel abroad (for a typically self-funded conference with a registration fee) less accessible for some participants, we are leaving open the option for a hybrid or virtual symposium, to be determined as events proceed; we are also pursuing sources of financial assistance for qualifying speakers. Whatever form it will ultimately take, we look forward to a vibrant and engaging symposium in June 2021.

You are welcome to contact the organizers with any questions about the symposium, including the status of remote participation options or possible funding aid:

Tedd Wimperis (twimperis@elon.edu); David Wright (dwright31@fordham.edu)

Works Cited

Barchiesi, A. Forthcoming. The War for Italia: Conflict and Collective Memory in Vergil’s Aeneid. Berkeley.

Fletcher 2014. Finding Italy: Travel, Nation and Colonization in Vergil’s Aeneid. Ann Arbor.

Giusti, E. 2018. Carthage in Virgil’s Aeneid: Staging the Enemy under Augustus. Cambridge.

Laird, A. 2010. “The Aeneid from the Aztecs to the Dark Virgin: Vergil, Native Tradition, and Latin Poetry in Colonial Mexico from Sahagún's Memoriales (1563) to Villerías' Guadalupe (1724).” In A Companion to Vergil’s Aeneid and Its Tradition, ed. Farrell and Putnam. Malden: 217-33.

Pogorzelski, R. J. 2016. Virgil and Joyce: Nationalism and Imperialism in the Aeneid and Ulysses. Madison.

Reed, J. D. 2007. Virgil’s Gaze: Nation and Poetry in the Aeneid. Princeton.

Ronnick, M. V. 2010. “Vergil in the Black American Experience.” In A Companion to Vergil’s Aeneid and Its Tradition, ed. Farrell and Putnam. Malden: 376-90.

Syed, Y. 2005. Vergil’s Aeneid and the Roman Self. Ann Arbor.

Thomas, R. F. 2001. Virgil and the Augustan Reception. Cambridge.

Torlone, Z. M. 2014. Vergil in Russia: National Identity and Classical Reception. Oxford.

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Dear members (and past Annual Meeting participants),

After extensive research and discussion, AIA and SCS staff and officers have decided that the January 2021 Joint Annual Meeting scheduled to take place from January 7-10 in Chicago will now be a virtual event. We know that many of you were looking forward to attending paper sessions and other events, to seeing old friends and colleagues, and to making new connections and we recognize that a virtual event cannot substitute in many ways for a face-to-face experience. However, after full consideration of the public health risks and significant impact of COVID-19 on the ability of most of you to travel to and participate in a large conference in the upcoming months, AIA and SCS have decided that a virtual event is the most prudent course.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 06/25/2020 - 7:13am by Helen Cullyer.

In 2018, a group of scholars founded Mountaintop Coalition, an SCS-affiliated group with a shared interest in advancing the professional goals of Classicists who identify as members of ethnic groups traditionally underrepresented in the field. Mountaintop’s activities focus on practical issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in professional settings.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/19/2020 - 8:30am by Samuel Ortencio Flores.

Froma I. Zeitlin retired from Princeton University in 2010, where she was the Charles Ewing Professor of Greek Language and Literature in the Department of Classics and Professor in the Department of Comparative Literature. Dr. Zeitlin received her B.A. from Radcliffe-Harvard in 1954 and her Ph.D. from Columbia University in 1970. She is a specialist in Greek literature from Homer to late antiquity, with particular interests in epic, drama and prose fiction. Her publications include Under the Sign of the Shield: Semiotics and Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes (1982; 2d ed.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/12/2020 - 8:50am by Claire Catenaccio.

Alexander G. McKay Prize competition for the best new book in Vergilian studies is now open

The Vergilian Society is pleased to announce the opening of the next competition for the Alexander G. McKay Prize for the best book in Vergilian studies. The prize, which is accompanied by a cash award of $500 or a life membership in the Vergilian Society (valued at $800), is awarded every other year to the book that, in the opinion of the prize evaluation committee, makes the greatest contribution toward our understanding and appreciation of Vergil or topics related to Vergil. Works of literary criticism, biography, bibliography, textual criticism, reference, history, archaeology, and the classical tradition are all eligible, provided that Vergilian studies represent a significant portion of the discussion. The current competition will cover books published during the years 2018 and 2019. The winner will be announced at the Vergilian Society session at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies in Chicago in January 2021. The authors of books being considered for the McKay Prize must be members of the Vergilian Society at the time their books are submitted; for new members or to renew memberships see https://www.vergiliansociety.org/memberships-and-donations.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 06/09/2020 - 6:54am by Erik Shell.

A longstanding tendency to ethnocentrism and Hellenophilia implicit in the narrative of the rebirth of Greek science in the Renaissance has shaped the historiography of science and early modern historiography more generally. However, a digital project called Ptolemaeus Arabus et Latinus (PAL) presents an interdisciplinary, broadly conceived, and ongoing (2013–2038) challenge to this , which lies at the crossroads of Classics, Arabic Studies, History of Science and Digital Humanities. It presents a wide range of primary sources as well as translations and critical editions. Given these unusual features some words of introduction are needed to better understand the relevance of this project for the humanities at large. 

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 06/05/2020 - 12:21pm by .

From the SCS Board of Directors, approved 6/3/20

The Society for Classical Studies condemns the relentless horror of police brutality and murder of black men, women, and children, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice, and Rodney King, to name just a few of the victims. Brutality perpetrated by the police and others stands with mass incarceration and unequal access to healthcare, education, and housing as symptoms of longstanding systemic, structural, and institutional racism in American and European cultures. These are deep problems in society that will not be fixed without radical policy changes at every level of government and across all institutions.   

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Wed, 06/03/2020 - 6:20am by Helen Cullyer.

The new Classics Everywhere initiative, launched by the SCS in 2019, supports projects that seek to engage communities worldwide with the study of Greek and Roman antiquity in new and meaningful ways. As part of this initiative the SCS has been funding a variety of projects ranging from reading groups comparing ancient to modern leadership practices to collaborations with artists in theater, music, and dance. In this post we focus on digital projects that engage with ancient texts and discuss the study of Classics during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/29/2020 - 7:55am by .

Fellowships, Scholarships, and Grants, January – April 2020

Some of our short-term fellowship and Classics Everywhere award winners are deferring use of their awards until Fall 2020 or 2021 owing to COVID-19. However, we congratulate everyone who was awarded a scholarship, fellowship or grant this spring, and we thank our selection committees for their hard work.

TLL Fellowship:

Amy Koenig

Pearson Fellowship:

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Wed, 05/27/2020 - 5:32pm by Helen Cullyer.

Please see below a message from the SCS President, followed by a listing of 2020 graduates:

With in-person celebrations ruled out by the coronavirus pandemic, the Society for Classical Studies is proud to recognize the many graduates at all levels across North America who have chosen to make serious and sustained study of the ancient Mediterranean world a significant part of their education.  For those who are earning PhD’s, we welcome the new contributions to knowledge that each of you has made, and we pledge our support and guidance as you negotiate an even more challenging professional landscape than you signed up for.  We warmly salute all degree-recipients who are pursuing careers in the vital enterprise of K-12 education.  For those who are going in other directions, we take great satisfaction in the variety of paths you will be following.  We hope the classical world will remain an important part of your lives, and we invite you to visit our website, read our blog, and join the SCS as “Friends of Classics.”  And we count on you as lifelong advocates for the value of studying Greco-Roman and ancient Mediterranean history and culture: please take every opportunity to spread the word that the ancient world still presents us with new questions to investigate and with multiple points of reference for thinking through our present-day concerns.  Heartfelt congratulations to all!

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Mon, 05/25/2020 - 12:11pm by Helen Cullyer.

The Arabic and Latin Glossary (hereafter al-gloss) is a free, online dictionary of the vocabulary used by medieval translators, primarily working in eleventh- to thirteenth-century Italy and Spain, to render the Arabic versions of Greek scientific and philosophical texts and original Arabic compositions into Latin. It is parallel, in terms of its scholarly goals and methodology, to the database Glossarium Graeco-Arabicum (hereafter gloss-ga), which is also run out of Germany but by a different team. In this review, I will refer to gloss-ga because it offers a point of comparison for assessing al-gloss’ editorial decisions and accessibility.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/22/2020 - 3:23pm by .

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