Second Call for Papers: “Making and Unmaking Memory in the Ancient World, from the 7th Century BCE to the 7th Century CE”

The 19th UNISA Classics Colloquium in collaboration with the ARC Discovery Project, ‘Memories of Utopia: Destroying the past to create the future (300-650 CE)’ will take place in Pretoria, on 7-10 November 2018.

Keynote speakers:
Tom Stevenson (University of Queensland)
Eric Varner (Emory University)
Bronwen Neil (Macquarie University)

Further round of paper abstracts are invited for the annual Unisa Classics Colloquium in collaboration with the Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Project: “Memories of Utopia: Destroying the Past to Create the Future (300-650 CE)”.  We have set up a website for the conference here: .

The conference aims to explore a wide variety of aspects relating to the building, dismantling and reconstructing of memory and reputation across the various cultures bordering on the ancient Mediterranean, and over a wide time-frame.  We know that memory and history are not fixed, objective occurrences, but are subjective representations of reality, and we can see evidence of this in the way in which those items which transmit memory are manipulated and used throughout antiquity. Memory and history, for example, are often reconstructed in light of various utopian (or even dystopian) ideals, thereby creating visions of the future that are based on strategic manipulations of the past. The unmaking and reconstitution of memory can be discreet, but more often occurs through violent means, whether through discursive and/or physical violence, which is an important aspect for further investigation.

The proposed conference aims to create fruitful interaction between the disciplines of Classics, Early Christian Studies, Late Antiquity and Byzantine Studies, by exploring both ancient written material and/or ancient material culture within the stated theme. The conference thus offers plenty of areas for further exploration, of which the following fields are a sample:
-Methodological considerations on the use of Memory Studies and Utopia Studies in the field of Ancient History
-From damnatio to renovatio memoriae.  The mutilation, transformation and/or re-use of items representing the past such as buildings, statues and iconography
-The effects of iconoclasm and intersectional violence
-Spolia: from the narrative of power to repurposing of architectural fragments
-The importance of promoting or undermining ancestry in the ancient world, for example in Greek or Roman portraiture and busts and the recutting of busts to new portraits
-Continuity and change in historiography – debates on the past among the ancient historians
-The making and breaking of reputations, e.g. techniques and strategies (and their effectiveness) in ancient biography and hagiography
-Memory, utopia and ancient religion
-Utopias and the building of collective identities
-Building genealogies and ancestry, and aristocratic genealogy-competition and rivalry
-The purpose of evoking memory though Classical reception

Paper proposals (approximately 300 words) are invited for papers of 30 minutes debating current issues and problems on any aspect of the conference theme.  Abstracts and titles can now be submitted via the second tab (SUBMIT A PROPOSAL) on the website:

Deadline for abstracts: 30 August 2018

The conference will be held at the Leriba Hotel and Conference Centre.  Registration for the conference can be done via the conference website.  The website also provides details for the hotel booking facilities, which need to be done separately from the conference registration itself.

Prof. Martine De Marre, Associate Professor of Classics, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, UNISA.
Prof. Chris de Wet, Associate Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies, Department of Biblical and Ancient Studies, UNISA.