CFP: Representions of Space and Place

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Domesticating Reality: Representations of Space and Place in Antiquity

Graduate Student Conference
Department of Classics
University of Toronto
20-21 April, 2013

Keynote speakers: Lisa Nevett, University of Michigan
Gábor Betegh, Central European University

The interplay between culture and space in ancient thought is
manifested in many ways. Not only are artistic and literary features
envisioned and understood in spatial terms, but physical spaces are
also imagined and explored through cultural expression. This
interaction is found in all forms of the representation of spaces –
textual, verbal, pictoral, architectural. Alex Purves’ recent study of
space and narrative highlights this approach: "Plot’s spatial legacy
is pervasive in ancient Greek thought, where songs might be conceived
as pathways, logoi as routes, writing as the movement of oxen turning
back and forth across a field with a plough…, narratives as pictures
or landscapes, and plots even as living creatures that take up set
areas of space."

As scholars of Classical antiquity, we find ourselves at the mercy of
representation to shape and inform our understanding of spaces –
landscapes, buildings, voyages, rooms – which are no longer knowable
by any other means. At the same time, our understanding of cultural
expression is often enriched by our ability to comprehend it in
spatial terms.

We invite graduate students working in any area of Classical studies
(such as literary criticism, history, archaeology, science,
philosophy, social history, and philology) to submit papers exploring
the various means by which space was represented in antiquity. How was
space conceived, constructed, and defined in the Greek and Roman
worlds? How were differences in spaces and places articulated? How was
their use represented?

Some further possible themes to explore include:

-Abstraction: How is space conceptualised in ancient sciences such as
geometry, astronomy, geography, and astrology?
-Scale: How do cartographic or proto-cartographic representations
negotiate issues related to the size of the subject? (The microcosm
and the miniature.)
-Rhetoric: How do the spaces and places invoked function in discourse?
How do particular ritually, historically, or mythologically relevant
places resonate in various genres?
-Mobility: What is the effect of movement through space? How do travel
and representations of real or imagined journeys articulate
differences and universalities? (Ethnography, alterity, regional
-Polarities: What frequently appearing dichotomies are built on
spatial concepts? (Public & private, home & away, liminal &
-Formalities: What formal techniques do poets, painters, and other
ancient artists employ to represent and construct space and places?
(Ekphrasis, pastoral, space as literary trope.)

We ask that abstracts of no more than 300 words be submitted as email attachments (.doc/.pdf) to utoronto.grad.classics AT gmail.c
om no later than January 28th, 2013. Papers will be allotted 20 minutes, plus 10 minutes for discussion.

Conference funding provided by the University of Toronto?s Department of Classics and the Collaborative Program in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy (CPAMP).

CFP: Framing Classical Reception Studies

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Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands 6th – 8th June 2013

Confirmed keynote speakers: Marcello Barbanera (Roma) – Constanze Güthenke (Princeton) – Philip Hardie (Cambridge) – Lorna Hardwick (Open University, UK) – Miriam Leonard (UCL) – Joep Leerssen (Amsterdam) – Charles Martindale (Bristol) – Daniela Müller (Nijmegen)

Overview: The field of classical reception studies examines the different ways in which antiquity or a particular aspect of it, such as texts, concepts, material culture, images or names, has been adopted into later contexts, including antiquity itself. The function and scope of classical reception studies has radically changed in the last decades. From their rather marginal role in the 20th century, they appear now to have been granted centre stage in many leading academic communities. This development is to be welcomed: reception studies provide an excellent way for classicists to make themselves more visible, not only to other disciplines within the humanities, but also to a larger audience, through seeking to explain the role that classical civilisations have played in many cultures and cultural discourses, also beyond the Western world. So too, the discipline of classics itself is forcefully reinvigorated by this process, through the self-examination which the study of reception implies.

Yet this proliferation of classical reception studies also entails what could be seen as a drawback. As the field develops and widens, approaches, methods and theoretical stances are proportionally multiplied. The result has been that the field has become highly diverse, accommodating a spectrum of methods, themes and stances as polymorphous as the academy itself. And, inevitably, considerable scholarly energy is spent on the discussion of matters of principle: what exactly do classical reception studies study, from which presuppositions do they work, and how does the theoretical framework from which a given scholar operates affect the outcome of his or her work, and the function of the field as a whole?

Main goal of the conference: To honour this diversity and to seek not only what divides but also what may unite, we are organizing a conference under the title of ‘Framing Classical Reception Studies’. The notion of ‘framing’ here refers to the care and caution with which scholars need to approach the manifold cases of classical receptions, and the field as a whole. In a stricter sense, framing stands for the influence of concepts, figural speech, methods and other ways of phrasing and mapping, and for how we formulate research questions, position our research and address audiences. The main goal of this conference is to gain further insight into how the ‘discipline’ of classical reception studies is functioning today, to define it more clearly and to organise its increasingly widening scope.

Call for Papers: We therefore launch a call for papers that specifically address the theme of ‘framing’, that is, papers that take as their focal point the framework itself from which reception is, or may be, studied. These frames are not necessarily of the same category. They may concern a given approach or method, for instance, by interrogating the models of ‘source texts’ or ‘cultural memory’. A frame may also consist of notions such as ‘paganism’, and the way in which these notions, often handled unconsciously, inform the scope and result of the research. Also, frames may consist of competitive models, such as scholarly discourse versus popular culture, and the different ways in which these mutually affect, contradict and exclude each other. Whatever form of ‘framing’ is chosen, we would like contributions not only to state explicitly from which perspective the contributor operates, but also to address questions that pertain to the functioning of these frameworks in classical reception studies.

We would particularly like to encourage junior scholars (Phd students and postdocs) from different disciplines and countries to apply. Abstracts in English of 500 words should be sent by email by 30th of January 2013 to framingcrs AT Please visit also our conference website:

Convenors: Maarten De Pourcq (Nijmegen, Cultural Studies and Classics) – Nathalie de Haan (Nijmegen, Ancient History) – David Rijser (Amsterdam, Classics)

Scientific committee: Piet Gerbrandy (Amsterdam, Classics) – André Lardinois (Nijmegen, Greek Language and Literature) – Sophie Levie (Nijmegen, Cultural and Literary Studies) – Eric Moormann (Nijmegen, Classical Archaeology) – Marc van der Poel (Nijmegen, Latin Language and Literature)

Financially supported by: – The Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO) – The Institute of Historical, Literary and Cultural Studies (HLCS) and The Radboud University Internationalisation Fund, Radboud University Nijmegen – The Faculty of Arts, University of Amsterdam – The Chairs of Ancient History, Classical Archaeology, Cultural and Literary Studies, Greek Language and Literature, Latin Language and Literature of the Radboud University Nijmegen – The Dutch Research School OIKOS – Museum Het Valkhof, Nijmegen

Classical Words of the Day