CFP: Poetics and politics: New approaches to Euripides

Poetics and politics. New approaches to Euripides

Lyon International Conference
June 27th-29th, 2019

In the last hundred years, scholars have approached the relation between poetics and politics in Euripides's dramas from different perspectives. Characteristic of the French-Belgian school of the middle of the 20th century was the attention paid to formal, dramatic or structural inconsistencies, which were thought to be justified by and to point to allusions to contemporary events or people. Severely criticized for the circularity of its argumentation and its disregard of poetic interpretations, this ‘old historicist’ approach was followed by the anthropological turn of J.-P. Vernant and P. Vidal-Naquet's work, which led to a new trend of studies often labelled ‘New Historicism’. This approach became particularly influential in 1990 with the publication of the collective volume Nothing To Do With Dionysus. This mode of historicism was concerned primarily with the tragedies' ideological functions in the context of Athenian democracy; it endeavored to show that tragedy reflected democratic ideology while also displaying resistance to it – a « broken mirror » as P. Vidal-Naquet put it. The attention paid by New Historicism to the social context of performance and to the political institutions that were in charge of the plays' productions, as well as to the audience of the plays, was an important and fruitful innovation, but it has been duly criticized for its short-comings, especially for its disregard of poetic form and of individual authorship. Some scholars, feeling that the plays were reduced to being a somewhat vague and passive reflection of general socio-political tensions, reacted by a renewed kind of formalism and a surge of interest in the meaning of individual plays.

In recent years, the tragic art of Euripides has been examined in more eclectic ways involving not only social, political, anthropological and religious but also (meta-)poetic, structural, dramaturgical and musical considerations. These perspectives are either juxtaposed to encompass the complexity of Euripides's drama or articulated to each other, aesthetic form being seen as a mode of political thought. The context within which drama needs to be interpreted has been expanded to include not only the institutions and dynamics of the Athenian city, but also other forms of poetry, art and thought to which the poet alludes in a constantly creative way or with which he competes. The conference aims at bringing together such diverse approaches to reexamine the relation between Euripides's poetics and the politics of his time.

Some of the questions that the conference hopes to raise are the following:

  • How would we define today the political meaning of Euripides's plays?
  • How is this meaning articulated to their form, structure, rhythm and other poetic aspects? How do studies on the materiality of Greek drama contribute to the question of politics?
  • How does performance actualize or enhance the political impact of the tragic text and how do performance studies contribute to the political interpretation of Euripides's plays?
  • Should we renounce the idea that Euripides is conveying a precise political message in a given play or does the combination of new methods allow us to identify his voice in a more subtle way than before? What is the specificity of his tragedies and of his approach to politics?
  • Does a political interpretation preclude a search for a universal human meaning? When both meanings coexist, what are the poetical or dramaturgical means that unite or distinguish them?
  • How can we integrate the fragmentary plays in the interpretation of Euripides's politics?
  • Can the political reception of Euripides's plays throughout the centuries help us frame in a fresh way the relation between Euripides's poetics and the politics of his time?

Questions and abstracts (no more than half a page) should be sent before October 12th, 2018 to: pascale.brillet@mom.fr

Submissions will be examined by the members of the scientific committee: Pascale Brillet-Dubois (Université Lumière Lyon 2), Anna Beltrametti (Università di Pavia), Donald Mastronarde (UC Berkeley), Boris Nikolsky (RANEPA, Moscow), Anne-Sophie Noel (ENS Lyon), Victoria Wohl (University of Toronto).

PhD students' and young scholars' submissions are particularly welcome.

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

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CAMP Press Release

The SCS’ Committee on Ancient and Modern Performance (CAMP) would like to announce a change in its staged reading for the 2020 meeting in Washington D.C.  Instead of Robert Montgomery Bird’s “the Gladiator,” the committee will instead present Joseph Addison’s “Cato.”  Both plays provoke interesting discussion on the connections between American history and Classical Rome.  “Cato,” which dramatizes the stoic and patriotic Cato’s last stand against a tyrannical Julius Caesar, was quoted and alluded to by the leaders of the American Revolution, and staged by George Washington for his troops at Valley Forge in defiance of a congressional ban on plays.

Both plays and their authors are also rooted in the ideologies of their own times, ideologies which include some racist and colonialist viewpoints.  That these viewpoints have been connected with Classics as an academic field is an important element of both the history of and the contemporary challenges of our discipline.  CAMP believes that by working with and presenting such material, even when (and in fact especially when) it is problematic, we can simultaneously acknowledge the field’s entanglement with historical wrongs, and have fruitful discussions about how we can productively move forward.

View full article. | Posted in Performances on Wed, 11/20/2019 - 8:17am by Erik Shell.

Vergilian Society Call for Proposals to direct June 2021 Symposium in Italy

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 11/19/2019 - 8:54am by Erik Shell.

Today we wish to introduce a new project: Women in Classics: Conversations. This venture consists of a series of interviews with female professors of Classics, many of whom were the first hired or the first to receive tenure at their institutions in the 1970’s and 1980’s. These academic women blazed a new trail as teachers and scholars at a time when university positions in many fields were overwhelmingly held by men. They did so in a discipline that has been described as “one of the most conservative, hierarchical, and patriarchal of academic fields.” Their experiences, as presented in these interviews, provide colorful, candid snapshots of a critical moment in the history of the discipline.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/15/2019 - 6:19am by Claire Catenaccio.

Information and an RSVP form for our Career Networking Event at this year's annual meeting are now available.

You can read about this event and sign up here:

https://classicalstudies.org/annual-meeting/2020/151/2020-annual-meeting-career-networking-event

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 11/12/2019 - 11:29am by Erik Shell.

What is the interplay between Classics and literary translation? What are the preparatory actions for launching a new journal that will address problems and lacunae within the field? Adrienne K.H. Rose explores the challenges of beginning a translation journal which will address the philosophies, difficulties, and necessity for diversity within the area of classical translation.

Early Latin translators, including Cicero (De optimo genere oratorum iv. 13-v.14), Horace (Ars poetica II.128-44), Quintilian (Institutio Oratoria X.xi 1-11; X.v.1-5), and Jerome (Chronicle 1-2) distinguish between the act of word for word––or literal translation––and literary translation. The latter type of translation prioritizes senses, aesthetics, and rhetorical verve. However, language pedagogy in Classics departments emphasize the first type of translation, word for word, and often stop short of encouraging more literary pursuits. In fact, creative translations that deviate from translationese (a kind of literal, affected translation style from which the reader may deduce the exact parsing of the original word) is actively discouraged.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/08/2019 - 6:29am by Adrienne K.H. Rose.

This is a reminder from the SCS Office that members hoping to register at the reduced Early Registration rate for the Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. must do so on or before this Friday, November 8th.

If you find you are unable to register or in need of any help please contact our registration vendor at aia-scs@showcare.com

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 11/06/2019 - 10:58am by Erik Shell.

2020 Annual Meeting: Seminars

*Sign up period ending soon!*

For the first time since 2016, the SCS will be holding four seminars at this year’s annual meeting.

Seminars as a rule concentrate on more narrowly focused topics and aim at extensive discussion. In order to allow the time to be spent mainly on discussion, the SCS publishes a notice about the session in advance, and organizers distribute copies of the papers (normally three or four in number) to be discussed to those who request them.  Attendance at a seminar will, if necessary, be limited to the first 25 people who sign up. Seminars are normally three hours in length. Registered meeting attendees may sign up at no additional cost for one or more of these seminars during the month of October.

Third Paper Session, Friday, January 3, 1:45-4:45 PM

State Elite? Senators, Emperors and Roman Political Culture 25BCE-400CE (Seminar)
John Weisweiler, St John's College, University of Cambridge, Organizer

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 11/04/2019 - 10:21am by Erik Shell.

"WARNING: Storm Approaching": Weather, the Environment, and Natural Disasters in the Ancient Mediterranean

24th Annual Classics Graduate Student Colloquium, University of Virginia
March 21, 2020

Keynote Speaker: Clara Bosak-Schroeder (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)

Scientific, aesthetic, and religious conceptions of weather events appear throughout Classical antiquity, as the Greeks and Romans attempted to make sense of environmental phenomena. Often, these events were explained as expressions of divine wrath or favor. Storms and natural disasters figured as literary devices, for example to delay narrative action or as metaphors for the cyclic nature of human life. Climate, broadly defined, was thought to determine national character, and weather played a critical role in military expeditions. Recently, scholars have made considerable advances in applying principles of bioarchaeology to the study of the ancient world. Hand in hand with these, theorists working with the tools of ecocriticism envision a humanities broader than humans, accounting for the whole natural world.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 2:55pm by Erik Shell.

Modern cinema and Greek tragedy illustrate that few things elicit a fear more profound than parents killing children. Horror movies have often grappled with figures of “monstrous” mothers in particular, from the obsessive, hypochondriac Sonia Kaspbrack in Stephen King's IT (1986), to the lonely, murderous Olivia Crain in Netflix's The Haunting of Hill House (2018). In Greek tragedy, too, mothers are often monsters: women like Medea, Agave or Althaea are all tragic examples of women who have killed their children. In both genres, these gestures of extreme violence are meant to shock and unsettle the audience by pushing back against “normal” familial bonds, bringing into question relationships of gender, the body and motherhood.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 11/01/2019 - 5:16am by Justin Lorenzo Biggi.

The Outreach Prize Committee is delighted to award the 2019 Outreach Prize of the Society for Classical Studies to Dr. Salvador Bartera, Assistant Professor of Classics and Dr. Donna Clevinger, Professor of Communication and Theatre at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi.  For the past five years, Professors Bartera and Clevinger have organized “Classical Week” at MSU, which includes a two-night run of an ancient comedy or tragedy and a colloquium about an aspect of the performance. This joint venture of the Department of Classical and Modern Languages and the Shakouls Honors College showcases the interdisciplinarity of the event, in which Dr. Clevinger choreographs and directs the production, Dr. Bartera serves as dramaturge, and both collaborate on the colloquium.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 10/31/2019 - 9:09am by Erik Shell.

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