CFP: A theatre of Justice: aspects of performance in Greco-Roman oratory and rhetoric

A theatre of Justice:
Aspects of performance in Greco-Roman oratory and rhetoric

19-20 April 2012, University College London, London

The notion of “performance” has recently attracted considerable scholarly attention both in literary criticism and in cultural history. In fundamentally “performative” societies, such as the Greek and Roman, a “performance” approach seems to be a sine qua non for the understanding of the nature of several genres. Oratory is, certainly, among them: for the Greeks and Romans, oratory was not primarily something they wrote or read, but something they performed before the audience. Despite the significant scholarly advances that have been made on the area of oratory in/as performance, there is still a lot more to be explored, further questions need to be asked and answered.

For example:

What is performance? Suggested definitions of performance based on information offered by Greek and Roman rhetorical texts.
Performance and text: can we reconstruct something as elusive and fleeting as performance from the extant written copies of oratorical speeches?
Why performance matters? What difference does it make in our understanding of the oratorical texts that they were performed?
“Imagine that you are not in a court, but in a theater” (Aeschines 3.153): what is the relation of oratorical performance with theatre?
Features of the “performative” infrastructure of certain oratorical speeches.
Ethopoiia as an aspect of performance.

Our postgraduate conference aims at bringing together not only classicists, but also students from other fields of study such as law, reception and theatrical studies, in order to present their on-going research work in this fertile area.

Keynote speaker: TBA

Interested postgraduate students are warmly invited to submit titles and abstracts of no more than 300 words for a 20-minute research paper by Sunday, 18 December 2011 at the latest. Please send your abstracts or enquiries, to both conference organisers:

Andreas Serafim (andreas.serafim.10 AT
Beatrice Da Vela (beatrice.vela.10 AT

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