Reading Antiquity always already presupposes an act of re-membering and thereby a bringing back to heart (ri-cordare). At the same time, remembering is based on generating difference, i.e. on differences enabling the reappearance of the past as a phantom-like present. When identifying significant historical events and explaining their impact, classical mythology is often engaged in literary and cultural discourses that re-shape and re-interpret narratives that develop our sense of self. Therefore, constructing collective memories and remembering a shared antiquity are often interwoven through mechanisms of encoding, storing, retrieving and forgetting the Greco-Roman past.
Remembering Antiquity implies calling into question past cultural and political amnesia and repression: With the return of the ghost of right-wing politics which deny the relevance of intellectuals, the criteria of choosing one text and not the other become all the more important. This Conference will explore and discuss Dis-/Re-Membering as an urge to consume and/or erase the memory of “classical” texts that we may call into question by re-writing them in the context of various literary, artistic, visual or musical representations.
Possible subjects for papers
-To what extent does the re-appropriation of classical texts contribute to (de-)constructing memory?
-What is the rhetoric of constructing memory in modern literature and art?
-How are dis-continuities exploited in favour of rejecting the concept of a collective cultural memory?
-To what extent does contemporary literature exploit classical antiquity as propaganda?
-Does the ancient world progressively elude our memories in the era ofpostmodern cultural amnesia, or do the spectres of the classical past still haunt us?
-How do the mechanisms of re-membering the classical past change within the context of national and transnational, sociohistorical and fictional accounts of classical literature?
-What impact does the digital age have on our relationship with our (remembrance of the) past?
-What are the politics of (re-)establishing a Greco-Roman literary canon?
-How is cultural memory constructed as a form of opposition or as a survival technique that makes use of classical antiquity?
-How does re-/dis-membering the Greco-Roman past operate in our fragmented and/or catalogued present?
-What is the connection between personal literary and collective cultural memory, especially in times of crisis when there is a blatant lack of founding myths.
-How is the classical world (re-)mediated – as a dead corpse or as a living organism – and what aspects make Antiquity relevant for our social, moral, artistic and intellectual world?
This international conference is organised in collaboration with the Centre for the Classical Tradition (CCT) Bonn (University of Bonn), Jocasta | Classical Reception Greece (University of Patras) and the Centrum für die Geschichte und Kultur des Mittelmeerraums (GKM, WWU Münster – Münster University) and will take place in Bonn (Germany), from 28-30th September, 2017.
-We invite abstracts of approximately 300 words (30 minute presentations, followed by 10 minute discussions). Abstracts and presentations are to be delivered in English.
-Abstracts and any inquiries may be sent to the organisers, at [email protected]. Submissions are due by May 30, 2017.
Dr. Milan Herold (Bonn)
Penelope-Foteini Kolovou, PhD Student (Bonn)
Efstathia Athanasopoulou, PhD Student (Patras)