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The Popular in Classical Antiquity - 26/04/2019, Philadelphia (PA, USA)


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What is popular culture in the ancient world? How can we study it? Why should we study it? In recent years the discipline of Classical Studies has sought to move away from its traditionally elite bias and broaden investigation of the ancient world to include popular culture. From Johann Gottfried Herder’s work on folk songs in the 18th century to Lucy’s Grig’s recent edited volume, the “popular” has been variously defined: as folk culture located in the rural tradition; as mass culture in urbanized centers; as the opposite of “high” or “literate” culture; and as unauthorized culture expressed as resistance. One of the aims of this conference is to discuss the validity of such definitions for the Classical world.


FECHA/DATE/DATA: 26/04/2019

LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO: University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA, USA)

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Amy Lewis, Nikola Golubović, and Jordan Rogers (Graduate students, University of Pennsylvania)

INFO: web - popularupenn2019@gmail.com

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Session 1: 9:30- 11 Popular Spectacle

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  • Kevin Lee, University of Texas, Austin: “Non-Elite Art and Roman Visualization of the City: The Case of the Amphitheater Riot Fresco from Pompeii”

  • Konstanze Schiemann, University of Amsterdam: “Popular Culture as Political Capital: The Organization of Animal Hunts within the Changed Administrative Hierarchies of Late Antiquity”


Session 2: 11:30-12:30 Reassessing Notions of the “Popular”

  • Ben Salisbury, University of Birmingham: “Reconsidering the Language of Popular Public Opinion in the Late Roman Republic”

  • Laurie Porstner, Rutgers University: “Boundaries, Magic, and ‘Popular Religion’ in Two Mosaics from Ancient Thysdrus (El Jem, Tunisia)”


Session 3: 1:30-3:00 The Elite-Popular dichotomy

  • Julia Simons, University of Pennsylvania: “The Vulgar Herd Gapes: Popular Appeal and Medical Maltreatment in Classical Greece”

  • Matthew Pincus, University of Virginia: “Ego et Populus Mecum? Horace and the Crowd in Satires 1”

  • Jovan Cvjetičanin, University of Virginia: “Business in the Front, Party in the Back: Popular Culture in Plutarch’s Crassus”


Session 4: 3:30-4:45 Reading the Populus

  • Sidney Kochman, Indiana University: “‘How Shall Any of the Achaeans Readily Obey You?’ How Homer Undermines the Greek Desire to Leave Troy”

  • Sherry Huang, Texas Tech University: “‘Solon’ and his People: Afterlife of Archaic Political Personage in Late Democratic Athens”

- In memoriam Maurice Harton, University of Pennsylvania



Key Note: 5-6: Jeremy Lefkowitz, Swarthmore College: “Stories People Tell”

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