CFP: Pushing the Boundaries: African and Asian Interactions with the Ancient Mediterranean

Pushing the Boundaries:

African and Asian Interactions with the Ancient Mediterranean

26th Annual Classics Graduate Student Colloquium

Conducted virtually via Zoom

University of Virginia

March 19, 2022

Keynote Speaker: Phiroze Vasunia (University College London)

Interactions among ancient civilizations were widespread; wars and trade led to the sharing of art, literature, and other cultural products. Alexander the Great sparked many such exchanges in his invasion of the Indian subcontinent in the late 4th century B.C.E., as did the Roman Empire’s expeditions across the Middle East, North Africa, and into Sub-Saharan and Sudanic Africa. Such encounters did not end with antiquity. Scholars have studied the reception of classics by authors like Wole Soyinka, Phillis Wheatly, and Derek Walcott and are collecting these studies in volumes such as Classicisms in the Black Atlantic, edited by Ian Moyer, Adam Lecznar, and Heidi Morse. Recently, the National Social Science Fund of China financed the “Ovid in Chinese Project” to translate all of the Latin poet's works into Chinese from modern critical editions. In 2017, the Shanghai Normal University held the Globalizing Ovid conference, attracting scholars from around the world and facilitating global awareness and cross-cultural conversations on issues of translation, interpretation, and criticism. These and other developments have opened up the field of Classical reception to the perspectives of marginalized voices, “moving the centre”[1] to recognize the plural and complicated histories of the reception of Greek and Roman Classics in African and Asian traditions.

For this conference, we seek papers on the interaction of the Ancient Mediterranean with Africa and/or Asia, as well as on Classical reception in modern African and Asian cultures and literatures. We welcome submissions from not only Classical Studies but also related fields such as Archeology, Art History, History, Africana Studies, East Asian Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, and Religious Studies. Possible topics include but are not limited to:

  • African, African-American, and Afro-Caribbean reception
  • East Asian, South Asian, and Asian-American reception
  • The teaching of Classics in non-Western or largely minority communities
  • Hellenistic Egypt and interactions between Egypt and Greece and Rome
  • Textiles and Silk Road studies
  • Cross-cultural influences on art, architecture, or other material culture
  • Worship across cultural lines
  • Race and ethnicity in the ancient world

Papers should be 20 minutes in length. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words (excluding bibliography) to Carl Hamilton ( by February 1st, 2022. This colloquium will be held online and will be accessible to all, including those with physical disabilities, mental illness, and/or chronic illness. Any questions may be addressed to colloquium organizers Nina Raby ( and Alison Newman (


[1] Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, Moving the Centre: The Struggle for Cultural Freedoms. Studies in African Literature. (James Currey, 1993)


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