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Materiality, representation, and performance in Archaic and Classical Greek poetry - 20-21/06/2017, Edinburgh (Scotland)




Literature is littered with objects: things created in words, materials embedded in text. But what is the relationship between language and object? How does the one contain or mediate the other? If language is the medium through which an object is constructed, to what extent is the thing co-extensive with the language that defines it? How does the ontology of objects change when they are not of the real world, but constructs? Most of the theoretical standpoints of the New Materialisms are based on the real-world interactions between people and things: the relationship as seen through philosophy or anthropology. Comparatively little work has been done on literary representations of that relation. Mediation through language and through literature is a crucial factor which makes a substantial difference to the status of objects and to the location of agency. For instance, when Bryant 2011:88 writes ‘objects require no subjects to manifest themselves in the world’, this may be true of real-world objects but it is not the case for representations of them. What effect does the medium or mechanism of representation have on the object represented, and what effect does the represented object have on the mediated domain? Both Greek epic and drama can be experienced through a text – but is there an agency of objects that goes beyond their textual constructedness? What role is played by performance and the presence of props? How do we negotiate the question of interface in our readings of ancient texts?


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 20-21/06/2017


LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh (Scotland)








Tuesday 20th June

9-9.30 Registration and welcome

9.30-10.15 Jakob Lenz, University of Heidelberg
Layers of Reality vs. Layers of Agency: A comparative analysis of how Homer’s Shield & Hesiod’s Pandora embody alternative worlds

10.15-11 Lilah Grace Canevaro, University of Edinburgh
Wrestling like Rafters: Objects and the Homeric Simile

11-11.30 Coffee

11.30-12.15 Jonas Grethlein, University of Heidelberg
Odysseus and his bed. From significant objects to thing theory in Homer

12.15-1 Amy Lather, Wake Forest University
Hephaestus' Artificial Intelligence: Robots and Automata in Homer and Hesiod

1-1.45 Lunch

1.45-2.30 Emma Griffiths, Manchester University
Hephaestus and Artificial Intelligence in Greek Myth

2.30-3.15       Nick Brown, Warwick University
Mantiklos’ Apollo: Real-World Object, Poetically Defined

3.15-3.45       Coffee

3.45-4.30       Elena Iaffe, Tel Aviv University
The Materiality of Language in Bacchylides

4.30-5.15       End of day discussion, and break

5.15 Keynote Lecture: Leslie Kurke, University of California Berkeley
        (The Charles Gordon Mackay Lecture)
The Rough Stones of Aegina: Pindar, Pausanias, and the Topography of Aeginetan Justice
- followed by a drinks reception

8 Conference dinner at a local restaurant

Wednesday 21st June
9.30-10.15 Melissa Mueller, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Iphigenia among the Ruins: Object life in Aeschylus and Euripides

10.15-11 Nancy Worman, Barnard College, Columbia University
Skin, Cloth, and Stone in Aeschylus and Euripides

11-11.30 Coffee

11.30-12.15 Joshua Billings, Princeton University
Orestes’ Urn in Word and Action

12.15-1 Mario Telò, University of California Berkeley
Aeschylean Archives

1-1.45 Lunch

1.45-2.30 Clara Bosak-Schroeder, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
The Utopia-Slavery Phenomenon: Reading Comic Fragments with Barad

2.30-3.15 Daniel Anderson, University of Cambridge
The Scroll as Prop in Old Comedy

3.15-3.45 Coffee

3.45-4.30 Karen Bassi, University of California Santa Cruz
What gets left behind: Objects and death in Euripides' Alcestis

4.30-5.15 Bronwen Wickkiser, Wabash College, and Peter Schultz, North Dakota State University
Materiality and Performance in Fourth-Century Cultic Paeans: The Case of Epidauros

5.15-6 Concluding discussion and close



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