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CALL. 17.10.2016: International and Interdisciplinary Workshop, Institute for Classical Archaeology


The face holds great potential as a vehicle for non-verbal communication in both the living world and constructed images. In order to exploit the face as a means of expressing particular ideas, messages, emotions, and narratives, an artist might alter the presentation of the face and its features. Communication through the face might be achieved, and its effect controlled, through a variety of means; perhaps most apparently through the materials used (their relative value, color, and quality) and the physiological presentation of individual features (e.g. are the eyes open or shut? Is the mouth smiling or frowning? Are there wrinkles?). Since presentation and understanding of concepts embedded within the face are in large part culturally determined, our comprehension and appreciation of the many nuances in artistic representations of the face are strengthened through an interdisciplinary approach. From observable trends in the ways that faces are portrayed in different regions, time periods, and media, as well as the ways in which ancient writers discuss, describe, and visualize them, we might better understand the cultural context in which certain images were created and understood. From studies in psychology, cognitive science, semiotics, etc., we may better understand the biological, social, and cultural elements that influence the ability of viewers (ancient and modern) to “read” a face created within or outside of their own cultural frame. This workshop invites paper proposals from all relevant fields and disciplines that engage with concepts related to the presentation of faces in ancient art, their potential for communication, and our ability as viewers to understand and appreciate them



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, Tubingen (Germany)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Molly Allen, MPhil (Columbia University, New York); Verena Hoft, MA (Eberhard Karls Universität, Tübingen) INFO: web - CALL: available call for papers : PDF German / PDF English

Topics may include (but are not restricted) to:

Art History/Archaeology: How does the choice of medium or material affect the overall effect of a face? What roles do context and visibility play in the construction and understanding of a a face? Semiotics: What is the relationship between individual facial features and the face as a whole? Do individual features contain their own significance and charge? Are they able to be altered or manipulated?

Literature/Dramatic Arts: How do ancient sources describe the face? How can we use ancient vocabularies, concepts, and theories to help us better understand ancient conceptions of the face? How might the representation of emotions in theatrical performances (including the use and representation of masks) help us to better understand facial communication?

Psychology/Cognitive Science: How universal is facial expression? How do individuals view and understand cues in the faces of their living peers v. photographs v. constructed images? Which features are most frequently used for expressing emotion? Can a face be fully expressionless?

We welcome 20-minute papers (English or German) from all relevant disciplines. Proposals should be no more than 300 words. We hope to be able to pay for accommodations (TBD) for 2 nights for all accepted speakers. A preliminary program will be released at the end of October. Please e-mail proposals or further questions to For more information concerning the workshop, visit

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