CONF: Ancient Cosmos: Concord Among Worlds

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

Cosmos is a term that encompasses a wide variety of meanings and applications in the ancient world, each of which, broadly speaking, implies the 'order' that things can have. As the sophist Gorgias of Leontini attests,cosmos can refer to the most proper (or best) arrangement of many sorts of things, including those made up of many constituent parts (city-states, bodies, and speeches) as well as those that seem to be unified (souls, actions). But its application in antiquity goes far beyond the list given by Gorgias: in Homeric poetry (Od. 8.489), as elsewhere in later poetry and literary criticism, being kosmios entails the proper arrangement and truth of a speech act. Ornamental dress is designated kosmêma by Xenophon (Cyr. 7.3.7), which reflects a broader concern with proper cosmetic arrangement that also applies to sculpture and architecture. Cosmos also featured in novel ways of thinking about citizenship in Imperial Rome: for Martial (VII. 41), the cosmicus is a new arrival in the Roman mundus, a kindred concept to the cosmos which reaches back to the early Roman stage. In philosophy, natural science, and theology, from Heraclitus and Plato to Proclus and Origen, cosmos refers to the world-order that is held together through forces of opposition, equilibrium, and measure.

The Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University, in collaboration with the Centre for the Study of the Ancient Mediterranean and Near East (CAMNE), seeks to pursue a better understanding of the various modalities that cosmos took on throughout the ancient world, from its pre-Greek analogues in the Near East to its role in the articulation of Christian and Islamic theology. We wish to invite you to an international conference, to be held 20-22 September 2013 in Durham, on the topic of Ancient Cosmos: Concord among Worlds, which will feature dedicated panels of distinguished speakers on various sub-topics as well as presentations by our two keynote speakers, Luc Brisson (CNRS) and Malcolm Schofield (Cambridge University).

Conference Speakers and Titles

  • Ahmed Alwishah (Pitzer College): 'Avicenna on God's Knowledge of the Universe and Human Cognition'
  • Luc Brisson (CNRS): 'Kosmos in Plato's Laws'
  • Jackie Feke (University of Chicago): 'Ptolemy on Good Order in the Heavens and in the Soul'
  • Phillip Sidney Horky (Durham University):'When Kosmos became the Cosmos'
  • Donald Lavigne (Durham University/Texas Tech University): 'The Kosmos of Thersites'
  • Grant Nelsestuen (University of Wisconsin – Madison): 'Agronomy and Cosmonomy in the Roman Republic'
  • Pauliina Remes (Uppsala University): 'Cosmic and Human Agents in Plotinus'
  • Gilles Sauron (Université de Paris-Sorbonne (Paris IV)): 'La représentation du cosmos dans les décors romains, de Varron à Hadrien'
  • Malcolm Schofield (Cambridge University): 'Diakosmêsis'
  • Edmund Thomas (Durham University): 'Ancient Architecture in Southern Italy and the Music of the Cosmos'

Those who are interested to attend the conference should contact the organizer, Phillip Horky (Phillip.Horky@Durham.ac.uk), for further information and a provisional schedule, preferably by 10 September. A registration form will be sent to you after you contact the organizer. There is no cost for participation in the conference, which is open to the public. Accommodations and meals will take place at St. John's College, Durham, and more information on these is available from the conference organizer. All presentations will take place in the Ritson Room/CL007 at the Department of Classics and Ancient History, 38 North Bailey, Durham, DH1 3EU. There may be support for postgraduate students interested to attend the conference; please feel free to contact Dr Horky with expressions of interest or any questions. Updates on the conference can be found at workofmemory.wordpress.com.

This conference has been generously supported by the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University.

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(From Anthony Preus and Caleb Cohoe)

Ancient Greek and Roman Philosophy Network Facebook group has been set up as a forum for scholars working in any area of ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, from Thales of Miletus through to Boethius and Byzantium. All members are encouraged to share ancient philosophy related events, questions, books and articles (including their own), and teaching materials. Any scholar with an interest in ancient philosophy, whatever their academic discipline, is welcome to join. Caleb will generally be able to respond to membership requests within 24 hours. 

He'll still be posting events and other key information on my ancient philosophy events calendar. 

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 05/06/2020 - 12:52pm by Erik Shell.

(Sent by the National Humanities Alliance on May 5, 2020)

As Congress considers additional COVID-19 stimulus funding packages, we are once again calling on you to advocate for additional relief funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

While we are very grateful for the $75 million awarded to the NEH in the CARES Act, currently available funding will cover only a fraction of the needed assistance.

Humanities educators and organizations across the country continue to face intense strains as they try to meet the growing needs of their communities. Whether it's humanities programming that connects people, scholars contributing to public discourse about the pandemic, or archives that have made a quick pivot to preserve artifacts of this moment, the humanities are proving crucial to community life.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 05/05/2020 - 3:11pm by Erik Shell.
NEH Logo

May, 2020

Below is a list of the most recent NEH grantees and their Classically-themed projects. The NEH helps fund a number of SCS initiatives, and their support affects the field of Classics at a national and local level.

Grantees

  • Michael Leese (University of New Hampshire) - "Institutions and Economic Development in Ancient Greece"
  • Angelos Chaniotis (Institute for Advanced Study) - "Reconstructing Ancient History through Squeeze Digitization at the Institute for Advanced Study"
  • Roslyn Weiss (Lehigh University) - "Justice in Plato's Republic: The Lessons of Book 1"
  • Elizabeth Baltes (Coastal Carolina University) - "Portrait Statuary from the Athenian Agora Excavations"
  • Richard Armstrong (University of Houston) - "Theory and Theatricality in the Early Work of Sigmund Freud"
  • Michael Brumbaugh (Tulane University) - "Plato and the Guaraní Republics of Colonial Paraguay"
  • Evan Rodriguez (Idaho State University) - "Rivals or Relatives? Tracking Truth and Ways of Knowing among Plato and the Sophists in Classical Greece"

Congratulations to all grantees!

---

(Photo: "Logo of the United States National Endowment for the Humanities" by National Endowment for the Humanities, public domain, edited to fit thumbnail template)

View full article. | Posted in Classics in the News on Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:54am by Erik Shell.

Update on COVID-19 Joint Relief Fund

The SCS and WCC are delighted to announce that CAMWS, CANE, and CAAS have joined forces with us in sponsoring the SCS/WCC COVID-19 Relief Fund. This fund will support microgrants of up to $500 to graduate students and contingent faculty based in North America. Each organization will additionally offer free membership for the remainder of 2020 to successful applicants.

Already, only a week after the April 23 launch of this initiative, we have much to report. As we noted in our initial announcement, the WCC and SCS started this fund together with $15,000. Within eight hours of launching the fund, we had more than thirty applicants, enough to consume our entire seed money. At the same time, individual donations started pouring in, as did substantial pledges from the regional organizations CAMWS, CANE, and CAAS. Thanks to all their generosity, the fund has now doubled in value, allowing us to help more people. Yet we are still not able to meet the need: as of today, there are seventy-eight applicants to the fund, with more arriving daily. 

Due to the high demand, the COVID-19 Fund Selection Committee met this week on an accelerated schedule and selected twenty-five individuals with urgent needs, mostly graduate students but also contingent faculty, to receive this award in an initial round. The committee will meet again to consider applications on May 10th for disbursement by May 20th.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 12:13pm by Erik Shell.

How has the field of Classics changed with the growth of digital writing and social media? How can this writing reframe how ancient languages function online?

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 05/01/2020 - 6:45am by Patrick J. Burns.

Call for Proposals

Lessons from COVID-19: Reflections on Teaching and Learning Remotely

Special Issue of Teaching Classical Languages

As the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has forced classes to move to “remote delivery,” students and teachers alike are fearful that both “Everything Will Change” and “Nothing Will Change.” For teachers concerned about the rise of online and distance education, this emergency foray into online teaching prefigures a turn to more permanent and widespread online delivery of coursework: everything will change. For underserved students for whom school serves as a safe place and provides the possibility for socio-economic mobility, the emphasis on technology in remote delivery reiterates geographic and class disparities: nothing will change.

The world over, we are hoping that we will emerge from this period somehow changed for the better: that we will learn lessons about what really matters and how better to do what matters most. We are concerned to make the best use of this bizarre opportunity to reconsider our lives, our priorities, our work, our teaching.

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Tue, 04/28/2020 - 9:25am by Erik Shell.

The SCS Board has endorsed a statement from the American Sociological Association calling on higher education administrations to revise a number of their academic policies.

Two main policy recommendations include recommending "that institutions make temporary adjustments to timelines for student progression and completion, including revising funding timelines as appropriate" and to adjust "expectations for learning and scholarship during this period...[including] alternate grading options or amended graduation requirements."

You can read the full statement here.

View full article. | Posted in Public Statements on Fri, 04/24/2020 - 10:53am by Erik Shell.

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. In this post we focus on three projects that continue their activity through the COVID-19 pandemic.

View full article. | Posted in on Fri, 04/24/2020 - 4:39am by .

The Society for Classical Studies (SCS) and the Women’s Classical Caucus (WCC) would like to announce the creation of the SCS-WCC COVID-19 Relief Fund, a new award fund to support classicists, particularly graduate students and contingent faculty, experiencing precarity as a result of the pandemic. Applicants do not have to be current members of the SCS or WCC but do need to be currently active scholars or graduate students who study the ancient Mediterranean world. We know that what we can offer is unlikely to match the needs arising from the crisis, but we hope that these microgrants can give immediate, unrestricted financial support.

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Wed, 04/22/2020 - 8:19pm by Helen Cullyer.

Each year the SCS holds a roundtable at regional classics meetings across the country to speak directly with members and non-members about a particular issue that looms large in the field. Due to the cancelation, postponement, or virtual movement of regional classics association meetings, the SCS would like to hold an additional, virtual roundtable with this year's topic: "The 'Limits' of Classical Studies," where we consider what geographies, cultures, and time periods fall into the loose category that we call the classics.

This roundtable will take place on May 12 at 1:00 p.m. EST. Please RSVP for the Zoom meeting using this form. You will be contacted 24 hours before the roundtable with a Zoom access link and other supplementary information as needed.

We look forward to a lively and substantive discussion!

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 04/20/2020 - 10:35am by Erik Shell.

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