2014 meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA)


A Call for Papers for the panel "On The Classics: Debating a Concept Across the Premodern Mediterranean World," co-organized by Alexander Key (Stanford University)

Submission of abstracts deadline: November 1, 2013

March 20-23, 2014 | New York University

This seminar is a conversation about the concept of the “classics” in the broader Mediterranean world, as the term relates to both Greek and non-Greek texts and ideas. We will discuss how classical Greek texts were received in different times and places, and how other (and in some cases the same) contexts developed “classical” canons with no apparent connection to Greek or Latin. Our chronological and regional focus will be on ancient Greece, Rome, pre-and post-Islamic Persia, the classical and post-classical Arabic world, and the Europe of humanism and renaissance.

We are interested in the dynamics with which intellectual cultures constructed canons of classical texts. Did the same processes hold true in different contexts? Did a scholar writing in Arabic in the 1100s approach the canon of classical Arabic poetry in the same way as a scholar writing in Venice in the 1500s approached the canon of classical Greek literature? We intend to test whether a comparative notion of the "classics" is a useful tool for looking at genre across time and space. Our focus will be on the contours of debate about terms that included, excluded, and privileged texts and ideas, and we will use the concept of the “classics” as a focal point to bring the conversation together across a broad chronological swathe of time, and across a large area roughly centered around the Mediterranean.

For more details, please see: http://acla.org/acla2014/propose-a-paper/.

For more information, please contact:

Alexander Key
Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature
Stanford University
450 Serra Mall, Room 109 Building 240
Stanford, CA 94305-2006
+1 650 723 9272

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