CFP: History, Tragedy, Philosophy (Tampa)

Seen on the Classicists list:

HISTORY, PHILOSOPHY, TRAGEDY, a conference sponsored by University of South Florida Interdisciplinary Center for Hellenic Studies, February 24, 2012, Tampa, Florida

Before history, tragedy, and philosophy were treated as cultural universals, and before they were defined as—or in opposition to—literary genres, historie, tragoidia, and philosophia were chapters in the history of Greek paideia. The history of Greek paideia is a history of public speech, and of changes in its character and performance and authority in Greek society. For Herodotus, authority comes from historie, investigating the past through questioning. Historie has an inherently dialogic nature as it engages in a comparison between Greek nomos and ethos and the laws and customs of non-Greeks. With the rise of the democratic polis, public speech becomes political—of or related to the polis—as social life becomes the object of inquiry, debate, and reflection. Tragedy and comedy assume a central political role in fifth century Athens, a setting in which Athenian problems could be examined through the dialogue of their dramatis personae, and an occasion for commenting on public issues under debate in the assembly and the courts. Philosophy, too, became a way of inquiring into Athenian normative practices, as well as the very notion of inquiry itself. The Platonic dialogue dramatize the actual terms, as well as the consequences of engaging in public debate, as they articulate the normative structure of classical Athenian forms of life. Plato’s Sokratikoi Logoi preserve the performative and contextual elements of speech at the same time as it demands explanations of, and arguments for—or against—the principles that are invoked in urging and justifying actions, as well as the notion of justification itself.

This conference will explore how historie, tragoidia, and philosophia were in fact, ways of extending—or contesting—the public debate that constituted Greek paideia in the fifth and fourth centuries. Justina Gregory, Sophia Smith Professor of Classical Languages and Literature at Smith College, will deliver the keynote address, “Tragedy as a Mode of Inquiry. Prof. Gregory, internationally recognized for her contributions to the study of Classical Antiquity, is the author of Euripides and the Instruction of the Athenians, and Euripides, Hecuba: Introduction, Text, and Commentary, and the editor of the Blackwell Companion to Greek Tragedy.

If you are interested in presenting a paper at this conference, please submit an abstract by October 15, 2011. Each paper will be allocated 20 minutes for presentation. Notification regarding acceptance will be sent on December 1, 2011.


Contact USF ICHS (813-974-4450) or e-mail Dr. Joanne Waugh jwaugh AT

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