Cargo Culture: Literary and Material Appropriative Practices in Rome

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Cargo Culture: Literary and Material Appropriative Practices in Rome

Stanford University / March 7th-8th, 2014

Appel à contributions
Date limite : 1er août 2013



In the realm of Roman cultural studies, exciting conversations are taking place on parallel but largely unengaged tracks. Scholars of Latin literature have long studied Rome's competitive emulation of Greek literary models: this practice has been identified in the earliest moments of Roman literature, which indeed tropes itself as a “takeover” of a specific form of Hellenism (Feeney 2005, rev. Suerbaum 2002). More recently there has also been a surge of interest in Roman material appropriation, particularly plunder and the significance of its display in the city (e.g., Miles 2008, Rutledge 2012). Until now, however, disciplinary boundaries have obscured possible parallels between literary and material modes of cultural appropriation. This conference aims to dissolve these boundaries—to bridge the “dirt-word” divide—by initiating an interdisciplinary conversation on appropriation in Rome, from plunder to evocatio to literary quotation and aemulatio.
More than a decade ago, Stephen Hinds' Allusion and Intertext (1998) made a memorable first foray into tackling the “dynamics of [Roman] appropriation,” but many more questions remain on the table. One of this conference's primary goals is to highlight significant points of contact and divergence between Rome's various appropriative activities: how is quotation like/unlike spoliation, or evocatio like/unlike commercial importation? More importantly, what are the heuristic possibilities of treating appropriation in Rome as a foundational practice through which Roman culture made and remade itself? In other words, how does the importation, incorporation, and even worship of various kinds of literary and material cargo—a veritable “cult” of cargo—texture Roman culture?
To facilitate answering these questions and others, we encourage participants to experiment with bringing modern theoretical perspectives to bear on Roman appropriative practices. For example, Robert Nelson's frequently cited discussion of appropriation, which compares appropriation to Roland Barthes' theory of myth, suggests one approach: “appropriation, like myth…is a distortion, not a negation of the prior semiotic assemblage. When successful, it maintains but shifts the former connotations to create the new sign and accomplishes all this covertly, making the process appear ordinary or natural” (2009: 163). Nelson's theorizing represents but one possible framework for enriching our discussion of appropriation in Rome. Other models are earnestly sought, and all will be interrogated rigorously in our efforts to generate new models capable of shedding light on the full range of Roman appropriative activities.

Suggested topics:

Papers are invited on a wide range of topics, including but not limited to the following.
To what extent do pre-existing theoretical models of appropriation help us understand the Roman material?
Is there a Roman discourse of appropriation? How do Romans reflect upon and justify their practices of cultural borrowing?
Relatedly, how does appropriation function as a gauge or index for improving or declining social mores?
What are the mechanics of Rome's self-fashioning through appropriating foreign cultures?
Similarly, what are the mechanics of Rome's self-fashioning through appropriating previous iterations of itself? Specifically, how does Rome in the imperial period appropriate Republican versions of itself?
How do Roman practices of material, literary, and cultural appropriation change over time?
How are acts of Roman appropriation remembered? How long do appropriated res derive their meaning from the fact/memory of their appropriation?
To what ends, and by what processes, is Rome appropriated in Late Antiquity, the Renaissance, and the modern age?


Submitting an abstract:

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. . Final papers will be 20 minutes long. When submitting your abstract, please remove all identifying information from the abstract itself (i.e., name, university); provide this information in the body of your email. Abstracts are due by August 1, 2013. Individuals will be notified of their acceptance within one month of the deadline.
Confirmed participants currently include: Emma Dench (Harvard); Basil Dufallo (University of Michigan); Stephen Hinds (University of Washington); Scott McGill (Rice University); Ellen Perry (College of the Holy Cross); Stefano Rebeggiani (La Sapienza); Ann Marie Yasin (University of Southern California).

Plus d'information ici.

Source : APA


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