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Erika Weiberg, Assistant Professor of Classics, Florida State University lectured on “Making an End: Penelope and Ambiguous Loss in the Odyssey.”

October 22, 2019—Families whose loved ones go missing in action (MIA) confront a different type of loss from families whose loved ones’ bodies are returned home. Not only have these MIA families lost a spouse or child, but they are also deprived of an explanation of their loss. As a result, their unresolved feelings of grief are as much about narrative, about a story without an ending, as about death (Boss 1999, 2006). This lecture employs recent sociological and psychological research on “ambiguous loss” to frame the narrative strategies of the Odyssey and its portrayal of Penelope’s grief. I argue that, like many spouses of MIA soldiers, Penelope experiences her loss of Odysseus as an ongoing trauma in which Odysseus is psychologically present, but physically absent. This trauma, moreover, is encoded in narrative repetitions and hesitations, culminating in a final decisive act that testifies to Penelope’s agency and resilience in making an end. With its tidy ending of return and reunion, the Odyssey defies the reality that most people never find closure when they lose a loved one, especially a soldier who goes missing in action. Yet the subplot of Penelope’s ambiguous loss nonetheless gives voice to the perspective of those who learn to live with a story of loss that has no ending.


Kathy L. Gaca presented a paper at the Fall Langford Conference for the Department of Classics at Florida State University.

October 4, 2019—


Helen Morales, Argyropoulos Professor of Hellenic Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara lectured on “Intimate Violence in Ancient Fiction.”

October 3, 2019—This talk addresses the question: What kind of history of sexuality can we write if we put marginalized texts at the center, rather than the ancient romances? It will analyze The Life of Secundus the Silent Philosopher, a compelling work of fiction that was told and retold in Greek, Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopian, Syriac, and Latin, from the 3rd century BCE to 12th century CE. It will argue that we can work towards a cultural history of incest in antiquity


Joseph Rife was an invited participant in an international conference at the Norwegian Institute of Archaeology in Athens, Greece. He spoke on magical texts and social relations in Roman Greece.

June 1, 2019—Joseph Rife was an invited participant in an international conference at the Norwegian Institute of Archaeology in Athens, Greece. He spoke on magical texts and social relations in Roman Greece.


Ari Bryen has received a fellowship at the Stanford Humanities Center for 2019-2020.

May 1, 2019—Bryen is working on a book tentatively entitled The Judgment of the Provinces. This book seeks to understand the diverse modes through which Roman provincial populations, especially in the eastern empire, conceived of law, and how the imperial state eventually sought to manage them.


William Caferro, Petrarch's War: Florence and the Black Death in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2018) has won the book prize of the American Association of Italian Studies.

April 1, 2019—


Ari Bryen was awarded a fellowship from the Loeb Classical Library Foundation.

March 1, 2019—


Stephen Hinds, University of Washington, Seattle, lectured on “Virgil, Wordsworth and the Anxieties of Translation: Literalism, Lake Poetry and Lyric Revision.”

November 8, 2018—


Joseph Rife lectured on Late Antique burial and society in Greece for a conference at the Humboldt University in Berlin, where he is participating in a working group on emerging Christianity in southeastern Europe.

June 25, 2017—Joseph Rife lectured on Late Antique burial and society in Greece for a conference at the Humboldt University in Berlin, where he is participating in a working group on emerging Christianity in southeastern Europe.


Chiara Sulprizio gave a paper entitled "Sex and the Enslaved Woman in Roman Legal Texts," at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.

June 1, 2017—Chiara Sulprizio gave a paper entitled "Sex and the Enslaved Woman in Roman Legal Texts," at the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians, held at Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY.



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