Each proposal should be prepared by the person who is intending to direct the symposium, or by the lead person if co-directors are envisioned. The successful director will have logistical assistance from the Vergilian Society’s Italian staff and from the executive committee; a set of guidelines is available to assist in planning.
Proposals should be 250-300 words in length, giving a brief rationale for the theme, some thoughts on what kinds of subjects are likely to be treated, and the names of several scholars who have worked on this theme and might be approached to participate. As international meetings, our symposia attract participants from all over the world, but since the Vergilian Society is an Italian-American cultural association, we are especially interested in seeing solid participation from scholars in these two countries.
Proposals should be submitted electronically by to the president of the Vergilian Society, James O'Hara, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Informal enquiries are also welcome at that email address.
This is one of two calls for proposed symposium topics. The Vergilian Society invites proposals for topics for the fourth annual Symposium Campanum, to take place at the Harry Wilks Study Center at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy in mid-October, 2019. These October Symposia differ in focus from our summer Symposium Cumanum: we will consider proposals on any aspect of the history, archaeology, art and architecture, and geology of Italy and Sicily from the remotest antiquity to the Renaissance. For information about earlier Symposia Campana, see: http://www.
Call for Papers for the 2018 Symposium Cumanum:
rerum cognoscere causas: Learning in the Late Republic and the Augustan Age
Co-Directors: T.H.M. Gellar-Goad (Wake Forest University) and Christopher B. Polt (Boston College)
The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2018 Symposium Cumanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy.
Learning and teaching were fundamental to Roman literature from the start: Livius Andronicus, the primus auctor of Latin letters, was first a teacher whose pedagogic experiences profoundly shaped his own writing (Feeney, Beyond Greek). Instruction becomes a special interest in the culture and literature of the late Republic and Augustan periods, when attitudes towards education find complex, fluid, and multivalent expressions (Bloomer, The School of Rome). This symposium aims to interrogate the varied, shifting roles that teaching and learning play in this pivotal period, especially with reference to the literary milieu in which Vergil was educated and to which he contributed.
While teaching and learning were esteemed in the time of Vergil, and while didactic verse represents the most familiar incarnation of poetic teaching and learning, this distinct form of literature long lacked recognition as a formal genre (Sider, “Didactic poetry: The Hellenistic invention of a pre-existing genre”). Indeed, its ambiguous status has increasingly exercised the attentions of scholars, who struggle to define what sets didactic literature apart (Effe, Dichtung und Lehre; Dalzell, The Criticism of Didactic Poetry). What motivated ancient poets to become professed teachers and compose defined lessons in such an ill-defined “genre”?
Poetry occupies an ambiguous role in teaching and learning. Vergil ranks among history’s most influential teachers, even with his non-didactic work: grammatici used his Aeneid as a core school-text for elite Roman boys and many viewed it as a source of prophetic learning (the sortes Vergilianae). Vergil’s authority as epic teacher led Dante to select him as tour guide in Hell and resulted in an early modern “cult of Vergil” as supreme didact, especially among the Jesuits (Haskell, Loyola’s Bees). But Vergil also learned at the knees of others: Ennius, Lucretius, and Philodemus, whose Epicureanism profoundly influences Augustan-age poets. Scholars have noted Vergil’s debt to prose authors such as Varro (Thomas, Vergil; Horsfall, The Epic Distilled), who offered both material and methodological approaches adapted to new purposes.
Recent years have also seen the development of frameworks for the philosophical, ethical, and cultural implications of didactic (Nelson, God and the Land; Kronenberg, Allegories of Farming from Greece to Rome), but its boundaries and generic status remain contested (Itsumi, “Didactic Poetry: A Generic Tradition?”), as have the relationship between prose and poetry that claims to teach (Atherton, Form and Content in Didactic Poetry; Hutchinson, “Read the Instructions”) and the dynamics between teacher and student in ancient literature and culture (Schiesaro et al.,Mega nêpios).
This symposium aims to continue these investigations and to open up new fields of inquiry related to ancient teaching and learning. Papers might focus on topics including (but not limited to):
· interactions between Vergil and his didactic predecessors/successors
· the teacher-student relationship in Vergil’s Georgics and elsewhere
· Roman cultures of learning and ancient learning communities
· translating Greek teachings for Italian audiences
· how ancient education practice informs poetic production
· ethical and philosophical implications of teaching through poetry
· contact between “scientific” work and didactic literature
· didacticism outside traditionally didactic poetry
· the later reception of Vergil and other ancient authors as educators
Papers will be 20 minutes long with ample time for discussion. The symposium will include three days of papers, discussion, and visits to Vergilian sites.
Participants will include Barbara Weiden Boyd, Monica Gale, Steven Green, Alison Keith, James O’Hara, and Alessandro Schiesaro
Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 300 words to polt (at) bc.edu by .
Call for Papers: Symposium Campanum 2018
Women on the Bay of Naples: Recent Research
Director: Brenda Longfellow, University of Iowa
The Vergilian Society invites proposals for papers for the 2018 Symposium Campanum at the Villa Vergiliana in Cuma, Italy.
For almost any woman in the Roman world, our knowledge is inherently colored by the viewpoint of ancient authors, who primarily focused on how elite women – and particularly those of the senatorial and imperial classes – lived up to contemporary expectations about the female experience. The feminine virtues of beauty, modesty, faithfulness, piety, and familial devotion emphasized by historical sources were internalized by women across the social spectrum, as evidenced by the domestic walls in Pompeii, where modestly dressed women with elaborately coiffed hair and rouged cheeks affectedly display their wedding rings or pose next to their husbands. What these historical sources and Pompeian portraits fail to capture are the myriad public moments in a woman’s life that go beyond projecting an image of a beautiful, modest, and fertile matron. This symposium gathers together scholars who are using epigraphic, archaeological, art historical, and architectural evidence from sites throughout the Bay of Naples to recover some of those moments when women operated in ways that could complement or complicate their primary social roles as mothers, daughters, and wives. The goal of the symposium is to better understand the lives of women outside the domestic sphere, and in particular to examine how women from a range of social backgrounds and geographic origins engaged with the local community through families, businesses, philanthropy, religion, and the funerary realm.
Papers might focus on the traces of female lives and activities in any number of situations or circumstances, including but not limited to issues of self-identity, ethnic identity, monument patronage, funerary activities, legal commitments, priesthoods and ritual involvement, land ownership, workshop participation, prostitution, slavery, literacy, and health.
The symposium will include three days of papers, discussion, and visits to Vesuvian sites. Papers will be 30 minutes long with ample time for discussion. Interested scholars should send an abstract of no more than 300 words to email@example.com by January 15th, 2018.