Thursday, February 02, 2006

A little inspiration and some CFPs

This may get me into a certain amount of trouble, but one of the objections I have had with academia is the apparent need for everyone to have an extreme focus on a rather minute subject of interest. As someone who regularly obsesses over minor details, I see the appeal for this and the need, but I fear it is often practiced to the exclusion of understanding the greater context of this extremely important detail. And often, this leads to a failure to truly understand the subject at all. I, of course, am not pointing any fingers. In fact, I would like to emphasize that this has nothing to do with anyone in my Classics department, lest anyone get the wrong idea about the great level of respect I have for my profs. But I've seen it occur. Most often with people studying English literature who don't understand the Classical background, but this is not always the case.

Anyway, today, I was reminded of the use of spreading one's horizons and looking elsewhere and, in fact, not spending so much time zoning in on just one subject. In fact, I was sitting in my Tolkien class, attempting to tone down my references to all things Greek and Roman, when Tolkien himself made brief reference to the Greeks (not his ghost, his article) and thus inspired what I hope will be a promising future paper or thesis topic for a Classics course. Unfortunately, that did mean I probably missed out on the later part of the class, since I was too busy ruminating on this idea. But such is life.

In fact, this is one of the points I was trying to make in my Statement of Purpose for my grad apps. I hope it didn't screw me over, and I truly wish I'd had this inspiration before sending them all out. Oh well.

In other news, a couple CFPs have come to my attention, if anyone's interested:

The Nature and Function of Water, Baths, Bathing, and Hygiene from Antiquity through the Renaissance
Call for Papers


Hosted by Northern Arizona University, this conference will explore depictions, discussions, and interpretations of water from antiquity to the Renaissance. We will seek to understand how water and all things associated with water e.g., baths, bathing, hygiene, dams, water rights, agriculture, pollution, rites, and, of course, a plethora of symbols, concepts, and ideas emerging from an understanding of water were elucidated, even socially constructed, and how these descriptions and discussions influenced the politics, literature, religion, and architecture of early cultures. The conference will examine how the uses and disputes of water in daily life, ceremonies, and literature transformed, and were transformed by, the cultures in which they resided.
We encourage scholarly submissions from a wide array of disciplines, including any papers that explore the theme of water through presentations on art, archaeology, history, literature, religious studies, linguistics, rhetoric, anthropology, sociology, environmental studies, and technology.
Proposals should be 300 to 400 words in length and can be submitted online to Dr. Anne Scott (Anne.Scott@nau.edu) or Dr. Cynthia Kosso (Cynthia.Kosso@nau.edu, 928-523-9305). Proposals will also be accepted via regular mail; send these to the Department of History, Northern Arizona University, Box 6023, Flagstaff, AZ 86011.

For more information, please contact Dr. Scott or Dr. Kosso.

DEADLINE FOR CALL FOR PAPERS: APRIL 30, 2006
CONFERENCE DATES: OCTOBER 5-7, 2006


The Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, together
with the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, invites
abstracts for a conference entitled

**Alexander the Great in Medieval and Early Modern Culture**
University of Toronto, 8-10 March 2007.


The life of Alexander the Great is one of the most frequently treated subjects of the Middle Ages. It figures prominently in Latin epic and the vernacular literatures as well as in historiography and the fine arts. Papers on late medieval and early modern treatments of Alexander are especially welcome.

Topics might include:
- theorizing the transformations of the medieval and Renaissance Alexander;
- historical, cultural, social meanings and contexts of Alexander texts and artefacts;
- images and constructions of space, gender, and ethnicity;
- the uses of Alexander in genealogical fictions and political representation;
- manuscript and print transmission of Alexander material;
- material culture; Alexander in medieval art; illuminations and woodcuts accompanying Alexander texts;
- literary vs. historiographical status of texts; verse vs. prose; fabulous vs. historical;
- Latin vs. vernacular;
- practice and theory of translation and adaptation of Alexander texts in various vernacular literatures.

Keynote speakers:
Christopher Baswell (UCLA)
Christine Chism (Rutgers)
Klaus Grubmiller (University of G?ttingen)

Please send an abstract (max. 250 words) for a paper in English or French and a brief vita or CV which includes institutional affiliation to the
organizers (email preferred): Markus Stock, University of Toronto: , or: Stefanie Schmitt, University of Frankfurt am Main:

Consideration of abstracts will begin 31 March 2006.

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