The registration for the online workshop Antiquity and the Anthropocene (University College Dublin, 26 February 2021) is now open. The event will take place via Zoom and is free of charge, but registration is mandatory. You will receive further details after the registration.

You can sign up here:

Antiquity and the Anthropocene

In the last two decades the current, unprecedented environmental crisis has led many scholars to rethink radically the anthropocentric model of political entities centred on the interactions between ideology, politics, economics and the military. Instead, the focal role played by nature and the environment in shaping social and political power is becoming increasingly recognised. At the same time scientific validation of the Anthropocene, a new geological epoch that is functionally and stratigraphically distinct from the Holocene (11,700 BCE–present day), dramatically confirms the overwhelming and irreversible influence that human activities have on our planet and shows how we humans are a force of nature ourselves. The start-date of this new epoch is highly debatable (was it the Neolithic Agricultural Revolution? The Industrial Revolution?) and has strong political implications (e.g. a very early date can be used to normalise environmental change). Building on this environment-human interdependency debate, this workshop encourages scholars and artists to re-examining ancient perceptions of nature, power, and power over nature to help us better understand our present situation. By offering a lively and challenging setting for discussion to international scholars and artists, the workshop will foster new approaches to explain the relationship between human societies and their natural environments, providing a novel interpretative framework for current and past environmental crises. We aim to start a conversation that will produce an interdisciplinary response to the most important issue of our time.

Programme – Friday 26 February 2021

13.00–13.05 (Dublin time) Welcome and opening remarks

13.05–13.30 Matthew Mandich (Independent Scholar) and Giacomo Savani (University College Dublin):

Antiquity and the Anthropocene: An Introduction

13.30–15.15 Session 1: Greek Nature (Chair: Chiara Blanco – University of Oxford)

13.30–14.00 Micheál Geoghegan (National University of Ireland, Galway):

Zeus the Tamer: Male Social Power and the Conquest of Nature in Hesiod’s Theogony

14.00–14.30 Richard Hutchins (University of Miami):

A Way of Seeing: Technicity in Prometheus Bound

14.30–14.45 Break

14.45–15.15 Enrico Postiglione (University of Modena and Reggio Emilia):

Aristotle on Techne: Reconsidering the Nature-Technology Divide in light of Western Demonology

15.15–15.30 Conversations with the Artist 1: John O’Reilly (Artist)

15.30–16.30 Session 2: Of Beasts and Men (Chair: Patty Baker – Virgina Tech)

15.30–16.00 Dimitrios Papadopoulos (University of Patras):

Wonder, Knowledge and Ignorance: Animal Nature and Empire in Pliny the Elder and Aelian

16.00–16.30 Konstanze Schiemann (University of Amsterdam):

Animals out of Place: Organising and Criticising Animal Hunts in Late Antiquity

16.30–16.45 Conversations with the Artist 2: Marti Cormand (Artist)

16.45–17.00 Break

17.00–18.30 Session 3: Textual Nature (Chair: Jason König – University of St Andrews)

17.00–17.30 Thomas Munro (Yale University):

Tellus imbuta: An Ecocritical Reading of Catullus 64

17.30–17.45 Conversations with the Artist 3: Patty Baker (Virgina Tech; Artist)

Roman Floral Design: The Embodiment of Environmental Ephemerality

17.45–18.00 Break

18.00–18.30 Treasa Bell (Yale University):

Puellae in an Anthropocentric World

18.30–19.45 Session 4: Environment and Collapse. (Chair: Matthew Mandich – Independent Scholar; Giacomo Savani – University College Dublin)

18.30–19.00 Gil Gambash (University of Haifa):

The Collapse of the Late-Antique Negev Society: Environmental Aspects

19.00–19.50 Kyle Harper (University of Oklahoma):

Keynote address: Microbes and the Ancient Anthropocene

19.50–20.00 Closing Remarks

This event is made possible thanks to the generous funding from the UCD Humanities Institute and College of Arts and Humanities Interdisciplinary Research Grant.

The organisers:

Dr Giacomo Savani (University College Dublin)

Dr Matthew J. Mandich (Independent Scholar)