Call for Papers: 2014 Penn Center for Ancient Studies Graduate Symposium


Call for Papers: 2014 Penn Center for Ancient Studies Graduate Symposium

"Views from Below: Outsiders, Masses, and the Margins in Antiquity"

Deadline for Submission: January 10, 2014

"I hate all that is common," wrote Callimachus, and scholarship on antiquity has often been obliged to agree: from palace archaeology and studies of luxury objects, to studies in political history and canonical literature, the preponderance of evidence, and so of interest, has traditionally focused on the highest echelons of society. We know that most people in the ancient world spent their lives outside of elite spheres of influence, and many were deliberately excluded from them. These non-elite cultures may be hard to find, having little opportunity to leave traces in the literary and archaeological records.

The goal of this symposium, therefore, is to bring together graduate students from all disciplines related to the ancient world, broadly construed, to discuss the non-elite, the popular, the marginalized, and the commonplace. What people did the elites of the ancient world consider outsiders? Who considered themselves outsiders? How do we study the history of people deliberately left out of history? Is it possible to discover the 'ordinary' experience in antiquity? Can we define 'popular culture' or 'popular politics' for ancient societies? What can 'low' genres or 'mediocre' literature tell us about culture? In order to effectively deal with these complex issues, submissions are welcome from graduate students working in such fields as: Anthropology, Art History, Classics, Linguistics, Archaeology, the Ancient Near East, Ancient History, Pre-Columbian studies, East Asian Studies, and Middle Eastern Studies.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:
– Slavery and the labor class
– Aesthetics of mediocraty and the middlebrow
– Archeology of small sites
– Mass culture, popular movements and uprisings
– Constructions and perceptions of non-elites
– Outsiders in representation, literature and mythology
– Nomads and ethnic minorities and their relations to territorial states
– Subsistence in marginal environments
– Popular and unpopular experiences of the divine

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent, along with your name, email, and institutional affiliation to no later than January 10, 2014. Please also feel free send any questions to this address.

The conference will begin on Friday evening, March 7th, with a keynote address by Dr. Jonathan Tenney of Cornell University, followed by a reception. Sessions for papers of 20 minutes each will follow on Saturday, March 8th. All events will be held at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Philadelphia.

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