Conference: "Medical Understandings of Emotions in Antiquity"

Crete/Patras Ancient Emotions Conference II
Medical understandings of emotions in antiquity

University of Patras, December 8-10 2017

This conference seeks to explore emotions’ significant role in Greek and Roman medical writings. In the medical discourse of antiquity, doctors are usually portrayed as disembodied, rational agents of professional knowledge and, hence, emotionally detached; silencing or suppressing emotions, such as fear, hope or disgust, appears to be integral to an ancient doctor’s self-fashioning and defines the ‘clinical’ conditions under which medical treatment should be conducted, even in the face of a painful illness. Patients, on the other hand, experience a wide range of emotions: depending on the nature of the disease, these emotions appear either as secondary side-effects or, in cases where a psychosomatic condition is at play, as fundamental diagnostic criteria. Yet, scholarship has not paid much attention to emotions in medical literature. Α possible explanation is that modern discussions take the body to account for the totality of physical, cognitive, and affective experience. On this view, even the use of the term ‘emotion’, in the sense of an affective entity that can be construed as independent of the body, may be misleading or anachronistic when applied to ancient medical texts. Yet, a number of medical descriptions invite us to ask if ‘pathological’ affective conditions are the cause or the symptom of illness: is it possible to identify exegetical models in which diseases have psychogenic causes? And if so, on what criteria do medical writers pathologize emotions? A close look at specific illnesses (for instance, melancholia ([Hipp.] Aph. 6.23) suggests that, for all their emphasis on the body, even early medical writers allow that in some conditions emotions serve as agents themselves rather than as manifestations of an underlying pathological agent. Correlatively, one of the most interesting developments in later medicine (e.g. in the works of Rufus of Ephesus and Galen) is that emotions are increasingly identified as ‘causes’ of diseases, while at the same time affects seem to assume a predominant role in the course of therapy. A careful assessment of this increased role of emotions can contribute, among other things, to a better understanding of mental illness in antiquity, as the latter gradually develops from a purely bodily condition with psychological side-effects to a pathological entity that is predominantly defined by its affective, as well as mental, symptoms. 

On a different level, ancient literature and philosophy frequently identify emotional behaviour with madness. This is clearly manifested in the conceptual metaphors employed by ancient (and modern) speakers to disclose or describe emotional experience: anger and erotic love, for example, are typically qualified as diseases that plague the agent. Disease metaphors emphasize the uncontrollability of emotional experience and its destructive impact on the agent, thereby reflecting cultural modes of understanding emotions. We, therefore, wish to pin down the differences, if any, between instances where emotions are conceived of as diseases and instances in which emotions are literally ‘pathologized’ (e.g. in ancient ethics). Finally, certain emotions seem to be more open to pathological interpretation than others. This should explain, for instance, why ‘madness’ (consisting of emotional outbursts) is outlined more clearly in medical texts (and crops up more often as a medical metaphor in literary texts) than e.g. melancholia, whose symptomatic manifestation involves more ‘inward’ affects, such as fear and sadness.

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(Photo: "Empty Boardroom" by Reynermedia, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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“Constructing Identity in the Ancient World”

Madison, WI: October 26-27, 2018

8th Annual Graduate Colloquium

Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies

Keynote presentation by

Shadi Bartsch-Zimmer

Helen A. Regenstein Distinguished Service Professor of Classics and the Program in Gender Studies

View full article. | Posted in Calls for Papers on Wed, 04/25/2018 - 11:55am by Helen Cullyer.

Nominations for the SCS Awards for Excellence in the Teaching of Classics at the College Level are due on June 1, 2018.  Nominate an excellent teacher today!  You can find more information about the award and nomination process here.

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 04/24/2018 - 9:49am by Helen Cullyer.

SCS is pleased to announce two winners of this year's Koenen Fellowships for Training in Papyrology:

Chaya Cassano, CUNY Graduate Center and Queens College

Phillip Caprara, Washington University in St. Louis



Image POxy 1084, Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain

View full article. | Posted in Awards and Fellowships on Tue, 04/24/2018 - 9:09am by Helen Cullyer.

The deadline for submitting individual abstracts and lightning talks is Wednesday April 25 at 11.59pm (EDT).  You can access the program submission system at:

https://program.classicalstudies.org/

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Mon, 04/23/2018 - 10:09am by Helen Cullyer.

Below is the complete programme of the KCL International Postgraduate Workshop "Lyric Beyond Lyric - 'Submerged' Traditions, Generic Interactions, and Later Receptions".

The programme can be found below as well as on our Facebook page (@Lyric-Beyond-Lyric) and on https://independent.academia.edu/LyricBeyondLyric2018 . 

The workshop will take place on 24 May 2018 at the Strand campus, King's College London (room S0.13). Our confirmed keynote speaker will be Prof Pauline LeVen (Yale University).

To attend the workshop, registration via Eventbrite is mandatory for all attendees (excluding confirmed speakers and respondents). The conference is free to attend and lunch and refreshments will be provided. The Eventbrite registration for the event will close at 8 pm on 11 May 2018.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Fri, 04/20/2018 - 8:30am by Erik Shell.

We are saddened to report the passing of Dr. Vincent J. Rosivach, SCS Life Member and very active member of CANE.

"His legacy in the humanities and the College of Arts and Sciences will continue, and students are encouraged to honor his legacy by continuing to foster their education and immerse themselves into the wonders of classical history and literature."

You can read his full obituary on the Fairfield Mirror here: http://fairfieldmirror.com/news/longtime-fairfield-professor-passes-away/

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(Photo: "Candle" by Shawn Carpenter, licensed under CC BY 2.0)   

View full article. | Posted in In Memoriam on Thu, 04/19/2018 - 8:32am by Erik Shell.

A Day in the Life of A Classicist is a monthly column on the SCS blog, celebrating the working lives of classicists.

Nadya Williams is Associate Professor of History at the University of West Georgia.

As an academic who is also a homeschooling mom, crazy is the normal for me.  I am married to another academic, and thus we set our schedule together. To make sure that we have at least some time together as a family, we start the day with a family breakfast around 8 am. By 9 am, the 12-year-old starts his homeschooling day (he has a list of assignments to work through, and I check as needed), and I start the work day. Sometimes the toddler gets out his toy computer, and starts pounding on it in imitation of mama typing. Solidarity!

View full article. | Posted in on Wed, 04/18/2018 - 4:24pm by Ayelet Haimson Lushkov.

The deadline to submit an individual abstract for the 2019 SCS Annual Meeting in San Diego is 11:59p.m. on Wednesday, April 25th

SCS members can submit their abstracts via the Program Submission Site here: https://program.classicalstudies.org/

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(Photo: "_DSC7061" by rhodesj, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

View full article. | Posted in SCS Announcements on Tue, 04/17/2018 - 2:52pm by Erik Shell.

Latin Lexicography Summer Workshop: 30 July – 4 August, 2018

Thesaurus linguae Latinae Institute

Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Munich

                The Thesaurus linguae Latinae Institute announces its first annual Latin Lexicography Workshop, a one-week event in Munich, July 30 to August 4, 2018. We invite participation by researchers at any stage in their career whose work involves the rigorous evaluation of Latin words in any aspect, ranging from their use in specific texts or their changing significance across the entire corpus of ancient Latin. In addition to philology, relevant disciplines include conceptual and intellectual history, epigraphy, linguistics, literary and textual criticism, medieval and Renaissance studies, philosophy, and theology.

View full article. | Posted in Conferences, Lectures, and Meetings on Mon, 04/16/2018 - 8:48am by Erik Shell.

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