“Profanum Vulgus: Representations of the Everyday in the Ancient World”

Graduate Student Conference
The Graduate Center of The City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue, New York City
Ph.D. Program in Classics
Saturday, April 12, 2008

Odi profanum vulgus et arceo; favete linguis! (Hor. Ode 3.1). Literature almost by definition concerns itself with the extraordinary, and yet Greek and Roman texts from Homeric epic to Roman epigram have also explored the ordinary. In this conference, we seek to investigate representations of the everyday in the ancient Mediterranean world. Sometimes ancient “realism” is characterized by the elegant and refined treatment of everyday practices in ancient society; sometimes it is low, bawdy, or downright obscene. We wish to explore works that celebrate the private and public lives of everyday people as well as the intimate lives of gods, heroes, and aristocrats. We welcome papers dealing with periods from archaic Greece through the Roman Empire as represented in all media: poetry, prose, the visual arts and architecture, theatre, dance, etc. We also encourage papers dealing with "real life" or the exploration of menial and mundane social and cultural institutions from housekeeping and child-rearing to slave-dealing and prostitution.

The keynote speaker for the conference will be Jeffrey Henderson a William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Greek Language and Literature at the Department of Classical Studies at Boston University, as well as the General Editor of the Loeb Classical Library. Jeffrey Henderson received his B.A. (1968) from Kenyon College and Ph.D. (1972) in Classical Studies from Harvard University. His research and teaching interests lie in Greek literature, especially drama, palaeography and textual criticism.

Graduate students interested in presenting a paper should submit an abstract of 300 words or less as an attachment to profanumvulgus AT gc.cuny.edu by November 30, 2007. On your abstract, include your name, email, institution, city and state (country if not USA), and phone number. Notifications will be sent in January. Questions and concerns about the conference may be addressed to either Alissa Vaillancourt (availlancourt AT gc.cuny.edu) or Michael Broder (mbroder AT gc.cuny.edu).