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CALL. 15.03.2017: PONTES IX: Classical Heroism in the Modern Age: Ideas, Practices, Media - Freiburg


Classical antiquity is the fountainhead of much of our Western ideas of heroism. Starting from religious Greek hero cult, elements of the heroic manifested itself in myth, literature, war politics, and a number of other domains. The influence of these ideas on later concepts of heroism is obvious until the end of the early modern period. With the rise of industrialized societies since the 19th century, however, the reception of ancient heroism becomes more obscure, and postmodernist currents have questioned the very idea of heroism in many ways. Nonetheless, the concept of heroism keeps informing our perception of and desire for extraordinary persons and actions. For the period from ca. 1800 to our own day, the role of classical patterns in these processes often remains to be uncovered – witness D. Voss’ recent contribution on „Heldenkonstruktionen“ (KulturPoetik 11, 2011, 181-202), in which the author describes a number of differences between ancient and modern heroism but remains silent about reception. Readers are left with the impression that there is a gaping divide between modern day heroism and antiquity. True to its name, the PONTES conference will attempt to build bridges of reception across that divide.



LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: Classics Library of the Seminar für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie of Freiburg University, Freiburg (Germany)




Preference will be given not to individual hero figures, but to larger ideas, practices and media of heroism. Individual heroes may be dealt with, however, as long as their representative character is emphasized. Possible subjects include, for instance, the strategies of hero-making in fascism, Lucretius’ praise of Epicurus as a blueprint for modern heroes of science, or the massive return of ancient heroes in contemporary epic films. This PONTES conference will be held in cooperation with the Freiburg Sonderforschungsbereich 948 ‘Helden–Heroisierungen–Heroismen’. For further information see the Sonderforschungsbereich’s survey of recent research on heroism, ‘Das Heroische in der neueren kulturhistorischen Forschung: Ein kritischer Bericht’: Registration: Researches on all career levels are invited to submit proposals. The proposal should contain a working title and a short abstract of ca. 100 words. Please send your proposal by 15 March 2017 to Decisions about acceptance will be made by 30 March 2017. For participation without a paper no registration is needed. Travel: Since we start on Thursday morning at ca. 9 am, arrival on Wednesday might be advisable for those who come from further afield. Rooms will be booked by the organizers, unless otherwise requested. We shall contact you with all the details after the end of the submission period. We aim to refund travel and accommodation costs if they are not refundable at your home institution. Place: Classics Library of the Seminar für Griechische und Lateinische Philologie of Freiburg University. Format: Papers of 30 minutes + 15 minutes discussion. Revised versions of the papers will be published in a conference volume. The PONTES conferences on the reception of Classical Antiquity were founded in 1999 by Karlheinz Töchterle and Martin Korenjak. They took place biannually until 2011 and have been organized triennially since then. So far, conference venues have been Innsbruck, Bern, and Freiburg, where the PONTES will return to in 2017.

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