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10th CCC Panel Call for Papers: "Return to Philology?"

Panel Title: Return to Philology?

Organizers: Don Lavigne and Charles Stocking

The turn of the twentieth century witnessed the formation of several new academic disciplines including linguistics, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. On the surface, each of these disciplines seems thoroughly modern, marked by an ever-present concern with the present-day world. And yet, the major “founding figures” in these disciplines were very much engaged with Classical philology. Indeed, one could argue that it was the methods of comparativism, inherent in the practice of philology, which inspired scholars to move beyond the realm of the ancient world. At the same time, beginning with Nietzsche, philology has remained a constant source of influence in continental philosophy. From Derrida and Foucault to Agamben and Esposito, precise philological observations from figures such as Émile Benveniste and George Dumézil have served as the linchpin in much broader arguments on power, subjectivity, community, and meaning itself. Now in the twenty-first century, there is a burgeoning call to “return to philology,” evidenced by works such as Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht’s The Powers of Philology and Hamaecher’s “95 Theses on Philology.”

This panel invites scholars to engage with the history and influence of philology (especially Classical) from the turn of the twentieth century to the present in order to better articulate the power of philology as a method of inquiry. Central to this panel is the succinct definition of philology offered by Roman Jacobson and by Friedrich Nietzsche before him that philology is “the art of reading slowly.” At the same time, we encourage contributors to consider the “art of reading” as a practice that goes well beyond textuality. Thus, the late Calvert Watkins has also defined philology as an effort to understand “the linkage of signs to the contexts in which they occur”- a notion that parallels August Boeckh’s even more expansive claim that philology is “die Erkenntniss der Erkannten.” By engaging with the past uses and definitions of philology, the panel will examine the usefulness of the philological method today, considering how and why philology may remain relevant in the Humanities and beyond.

The 10th Celtic Conference in Classics will take place in Montreal (Canada), from 19-22 July, 2017. The Conference provides panels with up to 15 hours of papers and discussion across three days. For this panel we are asking for papers of 35-40 minutes in length, with 10-15 minutes for questions and discussion.

Please submit titles and abstracts  (as .pdf attachments) of approximately 300 words to by 31st December 2016. Applicants will be notified of the panel’s decision shortly thereafter. It is expected that a number of the papers delivered at this panel will form part of a peer-reviewed edited volume. Applicants should state whether they would intend their papers to be considered for publication.

The languages of the Celtic Conference in Classics are English and French.

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