CFP: Poetry, Philosophy, and Mathematics

Poetry, Philosophy, and Mathematics: Performance, Text, and External Representations in Ancient Greek Cultural Practices

The once controversial thesis of Eric Havelock that early Greek philosophy emerges out of, and in opposition to, the tradition of oral poetic performance as paideia is now widely accepted (although Havelock may not be mentioned as often as he deserves to be in discussions of the relations between these two cultural practices.)  His insistence that the external representations of thought made possible by Greek alphabetic writing were crucial to the development of philosophy is also not acknowledged as often as it should be.  This may be due to the policing of current disciplinary boundaries; the neglect, especially among philosophers, of the historical, cultural, and material contexts in which philosophy emerges; and/or the tendency among scholars who focus on texts to ignore the extent to which their existence and transmission depend on material culture.  Philosophers who are not entirely persuaded that the study of ancient Greek philosophical texts should include study of the historical and cultural contexts, including material culture, in which they are produced, may be prompted to reconsider the role that external representations and diagrams play in the development of philosophy.  The work of David Kirsh (and other cognitive scientists and philosophers of mind) demonstrates quite clearly the relations between cognitive achievements and external representations of thought.

The relations between Ancient Greek philosophy and mathematics have long been the subject of scholarly attention, of course.  That Greek mathematics, like Greek philosophy, emerged in the shadow of the public performance of cultural practices has not received much if any recognition until very recently, and the same could be said of the extent to which advances in both cultural practices were made possible by techniques of material culture, including diagrams and texts.  The interdisciplinary conference, Poetry, Philosophy, and Mathematics: Performance, Text, and External Representations in Ancient Greek Cultural Practices, aims to increase recognition of the extent to which Ancient Greek philosophy and Ancient Greek mathematics as cultural practices, emerged from the traditional Greek practice of poetic performance, on the one hand, and advances in external representations of thought, such as those permitted by literacy and diagramming on the other.  The plenary speaker will be Reviel Netz who holds the Suppes Professorship in Greek Mathematics and Astronomy and is Professor of Classics at Stanford University.  Prof. Netz is the author of The Shaping of Deduction in Greek Mathematics: A Study in Cognitive History (Cambridge, 2003); The Transformation of Early Mediterranean Mathematics: From Problems to Equations (Cambridge 2007); and Ludic Proof: Greek Mathematics and the Alexandrian Aesthetic  (Cambridge, 2009)He is also the author of the translation and commentary of a three volume study: The Works of Archimedes; volume one of which, The Two Books on Sphere and Cylinder: Translation and Commentary, appeared in 2004 (Cambridge) and volume two of which, On Spirals: Translation and Commentary, appeared in 2017 (Cambridge). With William Noel, Nigel Wilson, and Natalie Tchernetska, he is the editor of The Archimedes Palimpsest, vols 1 and 2 (Cambridge, 2011).  Prof. Netz is also the author of Barbed Wire: An Ecology of Modernity (Wesleyan, 2004), and co-author with Maya Arad, of Stress Positions: Essays on Israeli Literature Between Sound and History (Ahuzat Bayit, 2008). He is a published poet in Hebrew, as well.

The conference will take place March 6-7 at the USF Tampa Campus.  This conference is sponsored by the Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies at the University of South Florida, its Department of Philosophy, and the American Foundation for Greek Language and Culture. Those who would like a paper considered for presentation should send an abstract of approximately 250 words to jwaugh@usf.edu or eturner1@usf.edu by January 6th, 2020.  Notification regarding acceptance of proposed papers will be made by January 10th.

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

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In his history of the long and costly war between Athens and Sparta, the historian Thucydides explained that he had written his narrative to be “a possession for all time” and to be of assistance to those of future generations “who want to see things clearly as they were and, given human nature, as they will one day be again, more or less."1 Thucydides was a shrewd observer and analyst of human behavior, and his work has frequently been cited in times of crisis by those who see patterns in history.  At the famous ceremony dedicating the battlefield cemetery at Gettysburg in 1863 at which Lincoln also spoke, former Secretary of State Edward Everett delivered a eulogy

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 04/03/2020 - 8:10am by .

As we all contend with the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 Coronavirus, I want to start by highlighting a gratifying fact: the indispensable expert and voice of reason, Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, majored in Classics as an undergraduate at Holy Cross!  This is a timely and inspiring reminder that Classics majors go on to distinguish themselves in many different careers and to perform many kinds of vital service.

I also want to emphasize that, despite the ongoing crisis, the SCS is fully up-and-running. Our three fulltime staff members, Helen Cullyer, Cherane Ali, and Erik Shell, have made a seamless transition to working remotely, thanks to careful advance planning on their part. They are maintaining regular business hours even as they work remotely, and are available to help our members however they can.

View full article. | Posted in Presidential Letters on Sun, 03/29/2020 - 2:22pm by Helen Cullyer.

­­The 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 projects that bring creativity and science into the Classics classrooms of secondary schools from California to Louisiana, New Jersey, and New York.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 03/27/2020 - 6:25am by .

The SCS Board of Directors has endorsed a statement by the American Sociological Association on faculty review and reappointment during COVID-19.

Read the statement and full list of signatories at this link

https://www.asanet.org/news-events/asa-news/asa-statement-regarding-faculty-review-and-reappointment-processes-during-covid-19-crisis

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Mon, 03/23/2020 - 4:26pm by Helen Cullyer.

As the pandemic known as COVID-19 grips the globe, thousands of instructors in the United States and elsewhere have been asked to transition their courses online for the remainder of the semester. To some instructors, such as the superb Classics professors at the Open University, distance learning has become a normalized pedagogy. To many others facing teaching online: this is uncharted territory.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 03/20/2020 - 8:43am by Sarah E. Bond.

Please see the following on access to digital resources during COVID-19:

1. The digital Classical Loeb Library recently announced that it is making its subscription free to all schools and universities affected by COVID-19 until June 30, 2020. Librarians should email loebclassics_sales@harvard.edu for more details. In addition, SCS members can access the library for free until June 30, 2020 via the For Members Only page of our website. Log on to https://classicalstudies.org and access the For Members only page via our Membership menu. 

2. Johns Hopkins University Press and a number of publishers that contribute content to Project Muse are making books and journals freely accessible for several months. JHUP journals include AJP, TAPA, and CW. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Thu, 03/19/2020 - 9:03am by Helen Cullyer.

Results and materials from the Classics tuning project we've mentioned in prior newsletters are now available publicly. See the below press release from the project's authors for full details:

THE ACM CLASSICS TUNING PROJECT: REPOSITORY OF MATERIALS

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 03/18/2020 - 11:02am by Erik Shell.

We're proud to announce the digital publication of "Careers for Classicists: Undergraduate Edition." This work is a completely new version of our previous "Careers for Classicists" pamphlet, providing the latest insights on how undergraduate classics majors can best prepare for jobs in a variety of fields.

You can read this newest publication in our online book format here: https://classicalstudies.org/careers-classicists-undergraduate-edition

We'd like to thank Adriana Brook, Eric Dugdale, and John Gruber-Miller for doing so much work in putting this volume together. The print version of "Careers" will be available in a few months, and will be one of several benefit choices for departmental membership.

And, in case you missed it, you can read the Graduate Student version of this publication here: https://classicalstudies.org/careers-classicists-graduate-student-edition

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 03/16/2020 - 12:51pm by Erik Shell.
We realize that this is a time of unprecedented turmoil, disruption, and challenge in all our personal and professional lives. SCS is delaying deadlines for 2021 annual meeting program submission in the hope that some extra time will be helpful to anyone planning to submit. The new deadlines are:
 
- April 21 (by 11.59pm EDT) for all submissions other than individual abstracts and lightning talks
- April 28 (by 11.59pm EDT) for all individual abstracts and lightning talks
 
As circumstances change, we will continue to adapt. While it is too early to say what effect COVID-19 will have on our annual meeting in January 2021, we will adjust as necessary and provide an annual meeting in some form. 
 
View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sun, 03/15/2020 - 4:26pm by Helen Cullyer.

Here is a modest aggregation of some helpful links and resources that link out to other resources. Thanks to all who have shared their wisdom online:

https://classicalstudies.org/about/so-you-have-teach-online-now

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Sun, 03/15/2020 - 9:51am by Helen Cullyer.

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