CFP: World Upside-Down - Columbia University Graduate Conference

The World Upside-Down: Absurdities, Inversions, and Alternate Realities

Columbia University Ancient Mediterranean Graduate Student Conference
November 1-2, 2019. Columbia University in the City of New York, USA.                           

Keynote Speaker:  Patrick R. Crowley (University of Chicago)

In an era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ it can seem like no form of media should be entirely trusted. While these issues are a modern problem, exacerbated by the unprecedented rise of social media, evidence from the ancient world produces a similar ‘truthiness’: an upside-down world or alternate reality that is latent, barely below the surface of the present and just beyond the borders of civilization and norms. Unlike utopias, which are placeless or displaced, many of these imagined dystopic or feigned worlds are presented as dangerously close to their contemporaries.

We invite papers from graduate students working across disciplines related to the ancient world––and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged––for a conference that will explore the relationships between fact and fiction, order and chaos. From representations of alternate realities in ancient drama, painting, and sculpture, to disparate histories and archaeological evidence, we hope to discuss the motivations behind, and effects of, the absurd, inverted, and alternative.

We will consider papers in any field pertaining to the ancient Mediterranean and its surrounding regions, including Egypt, the Near East, Anatolia, and the expanses of the Roman Empire, falling within the period spanning from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity.

Potential topics could include:

  • Parodies of social norms or myths; visions of dystopia in any media
  • Humorous, didactic, or bleak exaggerations or distortions of reality
  • Intrusion or inclusion of ‘outsiders’/‘others’ or inversions of gender roles
  • Intentional falsehoods, perversions, or omissions of facts, events, truths, etc. (e.g. imperial art and architecture as propaganda; Plutarch’s On the Malice of Herodotus)
  • Reuse, erasures, and/or destructions of media to support ‘alternative facts’
  • Political or philosophical theory concerning the preconditions of civic disorder/chaos
  • Religious or ritual interventions (e.g. curse tablets, incubation/healing cults, oracular questions, the Lydian confession stelai)
  • Ancient reception that serves to either reveal inherent disparities in or alter its source material (e.g. Plutarch’s Lives, Pausanias’ consideration of alternative versions of the same narrative)
  • The power of nonsensical/untrue performative utterances

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be emailed to cuconference2019@gmail.com no later than May 4th, 2019. In the body of your email, please include your name, institution, contact information, and the title of your abstract. The abstract should be anonymous and sent as an attachment. Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes in length in order to accommodate questions.

For more information visit AncientWorldUpsideDown.com
Connect with us at facebook.com/The-World-Upside-Down
For questions contact CUConference2019@gmail.com

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

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Do you know an outstanding classics teacher at the pre-collegiate level? Consider nominating him or her for the APA Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Pre-Collegiate Level.

Ronnie Ancona
APA Vice President for Education

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 06/08/2012 - 5:01pm by .

I met Gary in 1987 when we were both starting our careers as Visiting Assistant Professors at Union College in Schenectady, New York.  He died on December 31, 2011, after a brief battle with cancer.  The facts of Gary’s life as a classicist are clear: After earning a double Ph.D. in Classics and Comparative Literature at Yale, he went on to teach at some excellent places: Union College, George Washington, Eckerd College—where he held an endowed chair—and finally, Villanova.  His numerous publications include his excellent Euripides and the Poetics of Nostalgia, published by Cambridge University Press in 2006. Gary was a conscientious, witty, and imaginative teacher, who earned the loyalty and devotion of many of his students.     

Gary led a rich and noteworthy life. He enjoyed and took pride in his family: his two daughters, Emily and Rebecca Meltzer, their mother and his wife, Jill Ross Meltzer, his sister and her husband, Dale and David Stempler, and his array of cousins. He could not have been more devoted to Emily and Rebecca.

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 1:36pm by Adam Blistein.

From the Harvard Gazette:

Before their degrees are formally conferred at Morning Exercises, three Harvard men still have one test left to pass. Each will speak for their class before a crowd of thousands in Tercentenary Theatre, an honor given to three graduating students each year.

Once a series of thesis defenses, often presented in Latin, Greek, or Hebrew, Harvard’s Commencement orations have evolved into succinct five-minute speeches. Each spring, the Harvard Commencement Office hosts a competition to select an undergraduate student, a graduate student, and an undergraduate speaking in Latin for the occasion.

Here, the Class of 2012 orators share their stories — and a glimpse at the words of wisdom they plan to offer.

Read more at http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2012/05/in-full-regalia-and-ready-to-regale/.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 1:38pm by Information Architect.

From News at Princeton

When Princeton University senior Elizabeth Butterworth was in middle school she immersed herself in the richly imagined world of J.R.R. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings." The experience sparked her fascination for stories from other eras, along with an abiding passion for delving into texts.

"I fell in love with that book. It made me interested in mythology and epic stories," she said.

Read more at http://www.princeton.edu/main/news/archive/S33/76/30M58/index.xml?section=topstories.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Sun, 05/27/2012 - 1:35pm by Information Architect.

… at the bottom of the third column on page 79 of the May 21, 2012, edition:

DEPT. OF HIGHER EDUCATION

From the Transactions of the American Philological Association

     Valerius's allusive gestures thus problematize Venus's argument by drawing attention to the intertextual connection between Georgics 2.140 and Aeneid 7.281, texts that have very different things to say about the existence of fire-breathing animals in Italy.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 05/24/2012 - 2:10am by Information Architect.

Dirk tom Dieck Held, the Elizabeth S. Kruidenier ’48 Professor of Classics at Connecticut College in New London CT, died of a cerebral hemorrhage on March 21, 2012. He took his A.B. and Ph.D in Classics at Brown University.

Joining the faculty of Connecticut College in 1971, he held the Chair of the Classics Department for thirty-two years.  Professor Held presented and/or published over one hundred learned papers on a wide variety of topics.  He was widely known and respected for the quality of his scholarship and his dedication to the field.

Colleague Robert Proctor, Professor of Italian, remarked, “Dirk Held lived the liberal arts ideal. His scholarship was both profound and wide-ranging, from Plato’s understanding of love to Nietzsche and the reception of classical antiquity in the modern world. He was a modern exemplar of ancient Roman humanitas: culture, kindness, generosity, and wit.”

Some of his recent published works include:

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 12:28pm by Adam Blistein.
I write with disappointing news regarding the effort to prevent a large garbage dump from being sited at Corcolle, near Hadrian's Villa: Giuseppe Pecoraro, the Extraordinary Commissioner of Rubbish for the Regione Lazio, has announced his final decision to recommend going forward with the Corcolle site. The Board of Directors authorized me to write on behalf of the APA to Prime Minister Mario Monti to protest this decision and to find an alternative site.  In this protest we join many other individuals, organizations, and communities in Italy and around the world.
 
View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/22/2012 - 12:19pm by Adam Blistein.

From the Associated Press, via Yahoo.com:

For years, Gac Filipaj mopped floors, cleaned toilets and took out trash at Columbia University.

A refugee from war-torn Yugoslavia, he eked out a living working for the Ivy League school. But Sunday was payback time: The 52-year-old janitor donned a cap and gown to graduate with a bachelor's degree in classics.

As a Columbia employee, he didn't have to pay for the classes he took. His favorite subject was the Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca, the janitor said during a break from his work at Lerner Hall, the student union building he cleans.

"I love Seneca's letters because they're written in the spirit in which I was educated in my family — not to look for fame and fortune, but to have a simple, honest, honorable life," he said.

His graduation with honors capped a dozen years of studies, including readings in ancient Latin and Greek.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/14/2012 - 1:55am by Information Architect.

From the site:

ORBIS: The Stanford Geospatial Network Model of the Roman World reconstructs the time cost and financial expense associated with a wide range of different types of travel in antiquity. The model is based on a simplified version of the giant network of cities, roads, rivers and sea lanes that framed movement across the Roman Empire. It broadly reflects conditions around 200 CE but also covers a few sites and roads created in late antiquity.

The model consists of 751 sites, most of them urban settlements but also including important promontories and mountain passes, and covers close to 10 million square kilometers (~4 million square miles) of terrestrial and maritime space. 268 sites serve as sea ports. The road network encompasses 84,631 kilometers (52,587 miles) of road or desert tracks, complemented by 28,272 kilometers (17,567 miles) of navigable rivers and canals.

Read more here: http://orbis.stanford.edu/.

View full article. | Posted in Websites and Resources on Sat, 05/12/2012 - 6:01pm by .

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