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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14th century illustrated manuscript of Omne Bonum (by James le Palmer – British Library MS Royal 6 E. VI, fol. 301ra); it shows a bishop instructing clerics with leprosy.

What use is Covid-19? Despite its epidemiological and socioeconomic consequences, can this pandemic do anything good for scholars? For Classicists? For one thing, we have seen the capacity of the virus to generate numerous themed conferences, journal volumes, and lecture series. Whether that’s a “good thing” is another matter. But, at the very least, we may say that this global pandemic renders a cluster of ideas more broadly interesting and salient than usual.

For some scholars, such events have proved fortuitous: say, for example, Kyle Harper, whose The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of and Empire appeared in late 2017 and dealt with disease and pandemic in late antiquity. Frank M. Snowden’s Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present has witnessed renewed interest. For some scholars, Classicists or not, Covid-19 has highlighted their work. No one likes to benefit from a public emergency — as a former wildland firefighter, a profession which lives for forest fires, I know the feeling — but it happens. It is outside our control.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/21/2021 - 10:08am by Carson M Bay.
Mary Beard in conversation with Vanessa Stovall and Ky Merkley

In Dialogue: Trans Studies and Classics works to bring some of the insights and lived experiences found in transgender studies into conversation with the Classics, in the hope that bringing these into dialogue with each other will enrich our pedagogy, deepen our understanding of what gender as an identity category even means, and help critique the various ways gender has been used as an instrument of power throughout history, while also creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for our students. If you’d like to contribute to this column or have ideas that could add to this conversation, email Ky Merkley.

When the latest ‘Twitter storm’ (to quote Mary Beard) broke out, my Twitter feed rapidly filled with heated denunciations of ‘cancel culture,’ cruel words directed at trans folx, and pontifications about the state of Classics. For many members of the trans community, this Twitter ‘dialogue’ was exhausting. Every day, a new blog post or article added more fuel to an ever-growing fire.

View full article. | Posted in on Mon, 05/17/2021 - 10:19am by .
LGBT Meets SPQR Logo

I wish that LGBT Meets SQPR had existed as I began my journey into Greco-Roman antiquity in high school. As a closeted gay youth, I was eager to find stories, experiences, and anecdotes that could help me understand my identity better and not feel quite so alone. Modern LGBTQIA+ youth seem to gravitate towards Classics for such resources and community-building. In a survey conducted by Hannah Clarke, young queer people indicated that their interest in Classics stemmed from the fact that “Classics remedies, to a certain extent, anxieties of feeling culturally temporary. [The survey respondents] describe the visibility of queer figures in Classics classes as providing a sort of temporal anchor, which proves that they are not the result of a trend, something that came about in the 70s, something that is having a moment and could potentially vanish once more.”

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/14/2021 - 10:06am by Daniel Libatique.

The 2021 season of the Digital Classicist London seminar is on the theme of world classics: we have put together a programme of speakers who are working with digital humanities and digital classics methods to the study of antiquity—whether language, corpora, archaeology—from across the world. All sessions are streamed live on Youtube, and will also be available to watch there afterwards.

All seminars at 17:00 (UK time).

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 05/11/2021 - 5:27pm by Erik Shell.

(Sent on behalf of Lawrence Kowerski)

Dear friends of the Classics Program at Hunter College,

Please join us Friday, May 14, at 5pm for the 83rd Josephine Earle Memorial Lecture (see the attached poster). The lecture is taking place virtually over Zoom, and pre-registration is required at the link below. In addition to the lecture, the event will begin with a student award ceremony and a celebration of recent graduates from the Classics Program at Hunter.

83rd Josephine Earle Memorial Lecture, Friday, May 14, 5-7pm

"What did the Romans want from their law?"

Michael Peachin, Professor of Classics (New York University)

Register at this link:

https://huntercollege.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwodu2prDwjHd0KuXntHJFFpwQ8YOY6WivN

(If the link doesn't take you to a registration screen when you click on it, please try cutting and pasting it manually into your browser. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)

We hope to see many of you there!

Lawrence Kowerski
Associate Professor in Classics (Hunter College and CUNY Graduate Center)

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Tue, 05/11/2021 - 4:41pm by Erik Shell.
"Empty Theatre (almost)"by Kevin Jaako, licensed under CC BY 2.0

THE WINNER OF THE 2020 LONDON HELLENIC PRIZE  -- PRESS RELEASE

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The five books shortlisted by the committee were:

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Tue, 05/11/2021 - 12:52pm by Erik Shell.

Statius – author of a coherent œuvre?

Newcastle University, 26-28 May 2022

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 1:55pm by Erik Shell.

(A message from Dennis Looney, MLA)

I hope the semester/quarter is ending up well. Come celebrate at the 2021 MLA Leadership Institute: Why Humanities Now: https://www.adfl.mla.org/Seminars/MLA-Academic-Program-Services-Leadership-Institute-Why-Humanities-Now

In addition to a robust set of plenaries and discussion groups (full program is online), there are three workshops that will be of interest: one for chairs, one for directors of graduate studies, and one for department leaders interested in using data for advocacy. 

See below for brief descriptions.  Use the link above for access to the full program and registration.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 10:14am by Erik Shell.

Wood and Ceramic: Introducing digital methods with Classics Library special collections

A public event of the ICS/Hellenic and Roman Library

Thursday July 1, 2021. 17:00 UK time/UTC+1

Free but booking required: https://ics.sas.ac.uk/events/event/24399

The Combined Classics Library holds over 150,000 volumes on Greco-Roman antiquity, including a number of special collections. One is the Wood Archive, a collection of diaries, notebooks, sketchbooks and published works relating to a tour of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Levant, made by between May 1750 and June 1751 by the classical scholar Robert Wood, the archaeologists John Bouverie (who died during the tour) and James Dawkins, and the draughtsman Giovanni Battista Borra. Another is the Ehrenberg Bequest, a collection of antiquities, mostly ceramics, bequeathed to the Institute of Classical Studies in 1976 by Victor Ehrenberg, on the understanding that the collection was to be used for teaching and handling.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 6:29am by Erik Shell.

Guidelines for the 2021 Erich S. Gruen Prize have been updated.

The Erich S. Gruen Prize Committee invites all graduate students in North America to enter the second annual competition for the best graduate research paper on multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean. This year the prize will be a cash award of $500. 

The prize is intended to honor Erich S. Gruen, renowned ancient historian and long-time Gladys Rehard Wood Professor of History and Classics at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor Gruen was born in Vienna in 1935 and came to the United States in 1939. One of the most respected and beloved scholars in the field, he has made lasting contributions to our understanding of ethnicity, identity, and exchange in the multicultural ancient Mediterranean world.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 05/07/2021 - 6:57am by Erik Shell.

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