Call for Papers: Classics in the Anthropocene, UofT Graduate Conference

University of Toronto, Department of Classics, Graduate Conference 
April 19-20, 2019 

Keynote Speakers: Brooke Holmes (Princeton), Katherine Blouin (Toronto) 

The recent popularity of the notion of “the Anthropocene” reflects a growing recognition that human societies and their natural environments radically and reciprocally shape and influence one another. Additionally, there is a looming sense that the ecological conditions under which humankind has thrived for millennia are about to undergo a set of epochal transformations. Speculations about the near-future range from optimistic to pessimistic extremes. Will there be a collective and self-conscious effort to re-shape civilization as we have known it, or a total extinction of life on earth? In either case, humanity faces an unprecedented crisis.

This crisis provides a novel horizon of meaning for the interpretation of human society and culture, past as well as present. The task of rethinking traditional categories such as history, culture, individuality, and nature, has become both possible and necessary. In many disciplines this work is already underway.

The question guiding this year’s conference is how the study of classical literature, philosophy, history, and archeology, might contribute to this rethinking. This might involve investigating the ways ancient attitudes have or have not influenced present ones; how ancient authors conceived of their environment; how ancient authors conceptualized the place of human beings in nature; ancient methods of exploitation and/or preservation of resources; ancient experiences of environmental change. Further potential topics of interest are (but are not limited to):

  • ancient conceptions of nature in general
  • natural disasters, cataclysms, conflagrations, apocalypses
  • nature, politics, imperialism
  • technology and human agency
  • scientific expertise and political deliberation
  • human migration and its relation to environmental change
  • nature in ancient mythology and/or religion
  • ancient philosophical thought about the finitude of civilizations, planets, etc.
  • individual and collective responsibility, inherited guilt: is the Anthropocene in some sense “tragic”?
  • philosophical ethics as learning how to die

Guidelines for submission: Graduate students and early career scholars are invited to submit abstracts of no more than 300 words, for papers of 15-20 minutes in length, to uoftclassicsconference@gmail.com by January 7, 2019. Please include your name and institution in the submission email, but leave the abstract anonymous. Accepted participants will be notified by email in late January. Any questions may be directed to the above email.

UTM to host their third annual Classics and the World Today

The department of Historical Studies at the University of Toronto, Mississauga will be hosting their third annual “Classics and the World Today” set of events, a two day affair featuring a public lecture on Thursday, Oct. 25 and a workshop for graduate students and faculty on Friday, Oct. 26.

For further information, click here.

Job Posting: Associate Professor – Ancient Philosophy

The Department of Classics and the Department of Philosophy in the Faculty of Arts and Science at the University of Toronto invite applications for a full-time tenure-stream position in the area of Ancient Philosophy. The appointment will be at the rank of Associate Professor or Professor and will commence on July 1, 2019, or shortly thereafter.

Find the full job description here.

Building Mid-Republican Rome, a new book by Seth Bernard

Congratulations to Prof. Bernard, whose monograph, Building Mid-Republican Rome, sees it official release today through OUP.

From the publisher:

Building Mid-Republican Rome offers a holistic treatment of the development of the Mid-Republican city from 396 to 168 BCE. As Romans established imperial control over Italy and beyond, the city itself radically transformed from an ambitious central Italian settlement into the capital of the Mediterranean world. Seth Bernard describes this transformation in terms of both new urban architecture, much of it unprecedented in form and extent, and new socioeconomic structures, including slavery, coinage, and market-exchange. These physical and historical developments were closely linked: building the Republican city was expensive, and meeting such costs had significant implications for urban society. Building Mid-Republican Rome brings both architectural and socioeconomic developments into a single account of urban change. Bernard, a specialist in the period’s history and archaeology, assembles a wide array of evidence, from literary sources to coins, epigraphy, and especially archaeological remains, revealing the period’s importance for the decline of the Roman state’s reliance on obligation and dependency and the rise of slavery and an urban labor market. This narrative is told through an investigation of the evolving institutional frameworks shaping the organization of public construction. A quantitative model of the costs of the Republican city walls reconstructs their economic impact. A new account of building technology in the period allows for a better understanding of the social and demographic profile of the city’s builders. Building Mid-Republican Rome thus provides an innovative synthesis of a major Western city’s spatial and historical aspects, shedding much-needed light on a seminal period in Rome’s development.”