CFP: Peripheral Adaptation in Flavian Literature

Hybrid Epicenters: Peripheral Adaptation in Flavian Literature

With a response by Antony Augoustakis

Adaptation and change in Imperial Rome tend to aggregate on the margins and at the edges of things, in extremis as it were. In Flavian literature, various dynamic changes have been observed, in the textual space as well as in the socio-political background under which this literature is being produced. One example is the sudden transition between books 11 and 12 in Statius’ Thebaid wherein the fraternas acies of the first 11 books gives way to (attempted) reconciliation. Or from a geographical stance, one example is Scipio Africanus’ rapid rise to power as he pushes Rome’s military might to her future imperial edges in Spain and North Africa in books 16 and 17 of the Punica; from a sociocultural angle, the complex dynamics in the Silvae between Campania and Rome causes difficulties in recognizing which location is central and which peripheral in Statius’ conceptualization of the geography of Roman power in Italy.

The dynamic relationship between centers and peripheries, intertwined with that old dichotomy of self and other, has been a dominant area of study in the field of Flavian literature for quite some time (e.g. Augoustakis 2010, Rimell 2015, Pogorzelski 2016, Fitzgerald and Spentzou 2018, all with qualifications). While yielding critical insight into Roman identity and conceptualizations of power in the Flavian era, this dichotomous view nonetheless maintains the hegemonic, top-down outlook it aims to question. In recent years, a growing number of scholars have focused their attention on the role of peripheral spaces on their own terms (see Bexley 2009 and more recently Bhatt 2018 and Giusti 2018), that is to say as spaces generating their own dynamic forces both in opposition to and in concordance with central spaces. On such an outlook, we begin to see not a dichotomy of two separate spaces, but rather of two intertwined ones: a hybrid. Modern theories concerning hybridity, such as Homi K. Bhabha’s theorizations of “third spaces” or creolization theory, hint at the interpretative possibilities open to those who approach the periphery anew and on its own terms. What happens, in sum, at the edges of things to bring about and mark change?

We propose to gather papers, therefore, which analyze peripheral spaces as areas indicative of change (be it narratival, textual, cultural, or otherwise) in the Flavian epicists and occasional poets. Possible topics to be considered include but are by no means limited to:

  • new theoretical approaches to marginal groups such as Orientalism, Postcolonialism, creolization theory, and so forth;
  • the power that geographical edges exert on centers of power;
  • strategies of narrative condensation and issues of closure at the ends of texts;
  • the textual space as marker of the importance of marginalized or otherwise peripheral groups such as captives, women, monsters, and the like.
  • the interaction of textual centers and margins with the geographical center and periphery in Flavian visual culture.

We welcome, in a word, any paper that aims to question or otherwise qualify the hierarchical model of center and periphery, emperor and imperial edges, in these texts.

Abstracts and inquiries should be sent to the panel organizers, Angeliki Roumpou (Angeliki.Roumpou1@nottingham.ac.uk) or Clayton Schroer (c_schroer@coloradocollege.edu). Submissions will be accepted until March 24th; notification of acceptance will be sent by March 31st, leaving ample time until the individual submission deadline. Please note that all abstracts must be no more than 500 words in length and must also comply with the SCS Guidelines for Authors of Abstracts.

Works Cited:

Augoustakis, A. 2010. Motherhood and the Other: Fashioning Female Power in Flavian Epic. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bexley, E. 2009. “Replacing Rome: Geographic and Political Centrality in Lucan’s Pharsalia.” CP 104: 459–75.

Bhatt, S. 2018. “Exiled in Rome: The Writing of Other Spaces in Tacitus’ Annales.” In The Production of Space in Latin Literature, edited by William Fitzgerald and Efrossini Spentzou. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fitzgerald, W. and E. Spentzou (eds). 2018. The Production of Space in Latin Literature.  Oxfrod: Oxford University Press.

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

Pogorzelski, R. 2016. “Centers and Peripheries.” In A Companion to the Flavian Age of Imperial Rome, edited by Andrew Zissos, 223–38. Malden, MA: Wiley.

Rimell, V. 2015. The Closure of Space in Roman Poetics: Empire’s Inward Turn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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(Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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The deadline has been extended to nominate primary and secondary school Classics teachers for the Awards for Excellence in Teaching at the Precollegiate Level that we present jointly with the American Classical League.  October 11, 2011 is the new deadline for receipt of nomination materials in the APA Office.  Thanks to a gift to the APA's Campaign for Classics by Daniel and Joanna Rose, these awards carry a larger honorarium and include a stipend for the awardee's school to use for the purchase of educational materials.  Full details are available on the APA web site.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 09/26/2011 - 5:34pm by Adam Blistein.

A new programme to revive Latin and Greek in our schools

Peter Jones writes in Spectator.co.uk:

Some 15 years ago, at the behest of the then editor Charles Moore, I wrote a jovial 20-week QED: Learn Latin column for the Daily Telegraph. It attracted a huge following, and I still have four large box-files full of letters from users. The majority of them expressed one of three sentiments: ‘I learned Latin at school x years ago, loved it and am delighted to renew my acquaintance’; ‘I learned Latin at school, hated it, but now realise what I have missed’; and ‘I never learned Latin at school and have always regretted it’.

These responses have stayed with me ever since, but they prompt a question: anecdotal evidence about the value people place on Latin is all very well, but would it be possible to produce something a little more objective? Can we demonstrate unconditionally that, as Gilbert Murray argued to the Classical Association in 1954, our pearls are real?

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 09/25/2011 - 7:45pm by Information Architect.

From The Daily Texan's letters to the editor:

“Greek studies” is not about to be eliminated either as a field of study or as a major here, as the story titled “Greek studies to be eliminated from UT majors,” which ran in The Daily Texan on Thursday, suggests. The classics department continues to offer a wide range of courses on the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome (classical studies), and UT students will continue to have multiple options for pursuing degrees that include advanced work in the language and culture of ancient Greece.

Yes, the Higher Education Coordinating Board has directed UT to eliminate one of our majors: the bachelor’s in Greek. But students still have four other degree options that require advanced work in ancient Greek language and culture: classics, classical archaeology, ancient history and classical civilization and Latin. The classics major requires advanced work in both Greek and Latin language. The classical archaeology and ancient history majors require advanced work in classical culture and also in either Greek or Latin. Even the bachelor’s in Latin requires advanced work in either Greek or classical culture.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sat, 09/24/2011 - 7:56pm by Information Architect.

"UT is the only public university in Texas to offer an undergraduate degree in Greek studies, but students entering the University after the current academic year will no longer be able to declare a major in the program. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board directed UT to eliminate its degree in Greek studies following this academic year. The board has suggested colleges cut certain degree programs with low enrollment in order to ease state-wide budget cuts to education." Read more at The Daily Texan …

For clarification, see Professor Stephen White's letter to the editor of The Daily Texan.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sat, 09/24/2011 - 12:43pm by Information Architect.

In support of the Gateway Campaign for Classics in the 21st Century the APA and Boston University will host a benefit on October 6th featuring classically themed readings by four poets.

Boston, Home of the Muses: Classical Translations and Inspirations by Four Eminent Poetswill be held on Thursday, October 6, 2011 at 8 p.m. at the Metcalf Trustee Center at Boston University. The evening will feature readings and a reception with

David Ferry, poet, translator, and recent winner of the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement.

George Kalogeris, poet and teacher of English Literature and Classics in Translation at Suffolk University.

Robert Pinsky, former United States Poet Laureate and Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress. 

Rosanna Warren, poet and Emma MacLachlan Metcalf Professor of the Humanities at Boston University.

A pre-performance dinner with the poets for top-tier ticket purchasers will be held at the former President’s residence, known as The Castle, one of Boston University’s most elegant buildings.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 09/23/2011 - 2:50pm by Adam Blistein.

The Packard Humanities Institute has made its database of Classical Latin texts available online at http://latin.packhum.org/index. Click on "Word Search," then click on the symbol next to the "search" button for directions.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Wed, 09/21/2011 - 12:50am by .

"Before he became a Professor of literature at Harvard, and way before he wrote his classic Shakespeare biography, Will in The World, Stephen Greenblatt was an I'll-read-anything kind of kid. One day, he was standing in the campus book store, and there, in a bin, selling for ten cents (good price, even in 1961) he noticed a thin, little volume called On the Nature of Things, by a Roman writer named Lucretius. When he opened it, he found a description of how the universe came to be. Because Lucretius lived a couple of generations before the birth of Jesus, Stephen was expecting a tale of how gods, goddesses, earth, air, fire and water and an assortment of miracles created everything we see, but as he turned the pages, he says 'his jaw dropped' and 'his head began to burst open,' because Lucretius' creation story doesn't feel remotely ancient. First of all, it's a radically secular account, ignoring gods, goddesses, heaven, hell, life after death, and intelligent design, but more surprising, its logic is eerily, almost spookily modern." Read more, or listen to the interview at NPR.org.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 09/19/2011 - 5:20pm by Information Architect.

"Fragments of ancient, rare manuscripts of Greek classical poetry, Greek philosophy and Judeo-Christian Scriptures are being retrieved from papier-mâché-like mummy wrappings on loan to Baylor University -- all part of an international project that will give undergraduate humanities students rare hands-on research. The project, called the Green Scholars Initiative, eventually will include more than 100 universities, with Baylor University as the primary academic research partner. Professor-mentors will guide students through research and publication of articles about rare and unpublished documents, among them an ancient Egyptian dowry contract on loan to Kent State University and an ancient papyrus of Greek statesman Demosthenes' famed "On the Crown" Speech, said Dr. Jerry Pattengale, initiative director and a Distinguished Senior Fellow with Baylor's Institute for Studies of Religion." Read more at baylor.edu …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 09/14/2011 - 1:59am by Information Architect.

"New technology developed by Oxford University’s classics department could help reveal the secrets of historical documents. A spin-out firm is commercialising the scanning device, which uses different wavelengths of light to detect faded or erased ink, for analysing manuscripts and archived documents, as well as modern forgeries. ‘The technical leaps we made mean many ancient documents that were previously unreadable can now be scanned and read,’ said Dr Dirk Obbink, head of the research group that developed the scanner."

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 09/14/2011 - 1:57am by Information Architect.

The Philadelphia Marriott Downtown Hotel will serve as the headquarters hotel for the 143rd Annual Meeting. The Convention Registration area, the Exhibit Hall, all AIA and APA paper sessions, the Placement Service offices, all placement interviews, and most committee meetings, receptions, and special events will be located in Marriott.  The primary guest room block will also be at the Marriott. Some meetings, receptions, and special events will be held at the Loews Philadelphia Hotel, located directly across the street from the Philadelphia Marriott Downtown. Additional guest rooms have been blocked at the Loews as well.  Links to the online registration system and to information about hotel reservations are now posted on the APA web site.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 09/07/2011 - 3:22pm by Adam Blistein.

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