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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We are posting a call for signatures to a petition launched by our colleagues in Bern, Switzerland, and circulated by Prof. Thomas Späth, the President of the Swiss Association of Classical Philologists.  As you will see from the message, the canton of Bern is proposing to abolish the study of Greek (and Russian) in high schools.  This is a bad enough step in itself, but if successful it may start a domino effect and make the other cantons consider the abolition of Greek as well.  We thought this was an important petition to draw to your attention, and we urge members to read the message and to consider signing the petition.

Denis Feeney

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 07/22/2013 - 3:10pm by Adam Blistein.

Jennifer Ebbler, Associate Professor at UT Austin, in The Chronicle (http://chronicle.com/article/Introduction-to-Ancient/140475/)

"I spent last year "flipping" my 400-student "Introduction to Ancient Rome" course. For those unfamiliar with the term, "flipping a class" means that students watch lectures online outside of class and then spend class time participating in discussions and working on problems.

"It's a concept that has gotten an undeservedly bad name because supporters of so-called disruptive education have tied it to the controversial massive-open-online-course movement, which says students are served just as well, if not better, by an absent "star" professor than by faculty members employed by their university."

Read more …

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 07/22/2013 - 2:38pm by Information Architect.

A CAMNE Conference at Durham University
20-22 September 2013
Department of Classics and Ancient History, Durham University, 38 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3EU, England

'The cosmos of a polis is manpower, of a body beauty, of a soul wisdom, of an action virtue, of a speech truth, and the opposites of these make for acosmia.'

- Gorgias, Encomium of Helen 1

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 07/08/2013 - 1:24pm by .

The Chronicle of Higher Education has recently published three articles arguing against the "conventional wisdom" about enrollments in the humanities and financial outcomes of humanities students.  They are by

Alexander Beecroft, Executive Director of the American Comparative Literature Association

Michael Berube, Past President of the Modern Language Association

Anthony Grafton and James Grossman, Past President and Executive Director, respectively, of the American Historical Association. 

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 07/04/2013 - 8:00pm by Adam Blistein.

The APA Office will be closed on Thursday and Friday, July 4 and 5, 2013.  We will reopen on Monday, July 8.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 1:40pm by Adam Blistein.

Tutto Theatre Company of Austin, Texas, proudly announces the world premiere of Zeus in Therapy, an original theatrical experience adapted from the unpublished poetry of Douglass Stott Parker by the company, and directed by Gary Jaffe.  In 1979, Prof. Parker began writing Zeus in Therapy, a cycle of 52 poems which imagines Zeus on the therapist’s couch. Parker did not ‘finish’ it, though he stopped writing in about 1993, and left it unpublished during his lifetime. Every new poem in the cycle was shared both on his office door and with his classes on a weekly basis for some 25 years. Parker’s poetry is whimsical and profound, cosmic and quotidian, thoughtful and irreverent, but always heartfelt and true. The Company’s translation of Zeus in Therapy into a theatrical experience will bring the power of his words to an even larger audience.

In this adaptation, a diverse ensemble of eleven performers will play Zeus, giving Parker’s words a dynamic range of expression.  Zeus in Therapy runs August 16th through 25th at the Rollins Studio Theater in The Long Center for the Performing Arts in Austin.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 07/01/2013 - 1:01pm by Adam Blistein.

From The New York Times:

For the last time: Archimedes did not invent a death ray.

An oil painting of Archimedes by Giuseppe Patania, an early 19th century Italian artist, hangs in Palermo. Two inventions credited to Archimedes, death rays and steam cannons, have proved to be stubborn myths.

But more than 2,200 years after his death, his inventions are still driving technological innovations — so much so that experts from around the world gathered recently for a conference at New York University on his continuing influence.

The death ray legend has Archimedes using mirrors to concentrate sunlight to incinerate Roman ships attacking his home of Syracuse, the ancient city-state in the southeast Sicily. It has been debunked no fewer than three times on the television show “Mythbusters” (the third time at the behest of President Obama).

Read more…

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Wed, 06/26/2013 - 1:07pm by Information Architect.

On June 19 the Amiercan Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) released the report of its Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, a group formed over two years ago in response to a request from members of Congress for a report that would respond to the following question:  What are the top ten actions that Congress, state governments, universities, foundations, educators, individual benefactors, and others should take now to maintain national excellence in humanities and social scientific scholarship and education, and to achieve long-term national goals for our intellectual and economic well-being; for a stronger, more vibrant civil society; and for the success of cultural diplomacy in the 21st century? 

Louis Cabot, Chair of the Academy Board, described the report in the following message to Academy Fellows:

I am pleased to announce that the Academy's Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences released its report The Heart of the Matter on Capitol Hill this morning.

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Thu, 06/20/2013 - 1:11pm by Adam Blistein.

The 2012-2013 Placement Service Year will end on June 30, 2013.  During the next few weeks, we will perform maintenance on the Placement Service Portal Page to prepare it for 2013-2014.  If you plan to enroll with the Service for 2013-14, PLEASE WAIT for our announcement that will state when enrollment is open for the upcoming Placement Year.  If you enroll prior to our announcement, you will not be issued a refund.

After more than 30 years, the AIA has chosen to terminate its participation with the APA in the Placement Service.  For more information, please visit http://apaclassics.org/index.php/apa_blog/apa_blog_entry/4171/.  If you are currently an AIA member, and you plan to enroll with the APA Placement Service in 2013-2014, you will have to pay the higher, non-member fee (USD $55.00) to enroll.  The APA Member’s fee to utilize the Placement Service is USD $20.00, and you must pay dues for 2013 before the end of June if you wish to register for the Service in July.  Payment may be made online.  The APA welcomes all students of the ancient world, and its members advance the study of the classical antiquity in all its aspects.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 6:25pm by Adam Blistein.

Adam Blistein recently sent a message to all members inviting you to volunteer to stand for election to Association offices and to serve on APA committees.  The required form may be accessed here, and you may find full information about what is involved in serving in the various positions here

Why do we send this message every year, and why is it important that we have members respond? 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 06/18/2013 - 1:09pm by Adam Blistein.

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