CONF: Apuleius and Africa

From the Ancient Narrative folks:

APULEIUS AND AFRICA

An International Classics Conference

April 29-May 2, 2010

Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, U.S.A.

From April 29 to May 2, 2010, Oberlin College will host a major international Classics symposium entitled “Apuleius and Africa.” The conference is being organized by Ellen Finkelpearl (Scripps College), Luca Graverini (Università di Siena, Arezzo), Benjamin Lee (Oberlin College), and Sonia Sabnis (Reed College), and has been made possible by a generous grant from the Mellon 23 consortium, the Oberlin Classics Department, and several anonymous private donors.

Apuleius (120-180 A.D.), author of the ancient novel The Golden Ass, was born and lived in Madauros (currently in Algeria) in the Roman province of Africa. He repeatedly discusses his identification with his native region rather than with Rome and Athens, where he was student. And yet, despite new work in Classics on provincial cultures that are distinct from the center of metropolitan Rome, surprisingly little scholarship has grappled with the implications of Apuleius’ origins. The conference will draw together leading historians of Roman North Africa, literary scholars of Apuleius’ novel and his other works, and critical theorists of Latin culture, in order to open the Apuleian corpus (especially The Golden Ass) to new theoretical and cultural lines of inquiry.

Multiculturalism, ethnicity, and post-colonialism are discourses particularly germane to our teaching because the classical canon is undergoing a process of reformation, especially as we choose texts to teach that are relevant to contemporary culture. A thorough vetting of these issues will aid our teaching as we devise courses that revive the Classics curriculum by integrating contemporary interest in identity formation and imperialism, and further, it will help Classics remain relevant to its increasingly diverse constituency of both teachers and students. As part of the conference, we have organized a special workshop session entitled “Pedagogical approaches to Apuleius,” chaired by Sonia Sabnis, which will address new approaches to teaching this important literary figure.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Ben Lee via email: ben.lee AT oberlin.edu.

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