Theorizing Africana Receptions

 In Calls for Papers, Eos Events

For our inaugural workshop at the annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies, we invite abstracts for papers that develop trans-historical and transnational models of Africana reception. Contributions will be pre-circulated and then discussed at the 2019 SCS meeting in San Diego.

As Classical Reception Studies has burgeoned, existing models of appropriation, creativity, and dialogue have struggled to capture the complexity of the relationship between classical works and their receptions.  For example, studies often focus exclusively on one temporal point over the other, trace a direct line of influence from source to target, or hierarchize in such a way that source works become the privileged creative inspiration to a later ‘political’ manifestation.  This is not just a scholarly problem. Artists themselves have rejected attempts to categorize their refigurations without acknowledging their idiosyncratic perspectives: as Romare Bearden said, ‘we must remember that people other than Spaniards can appreciate Goya, people other than Chinese can appreciate a Sung landscape, and people other than Negroes can appreciate a Benin bronze…an artist is an art lover who finds that in all the art that he sees, something is missing: to put there what he feels is missing becomes the center of his life’s work’ (S. Patton, Memory and Metaphor 1991: 31).

Classicists have already begun to find new paths forward. Drawing on the work of Deleuze and Guattari, Lorna Hardwick has argued for utilizing a rhizomatic network of classical connections that recognizes multiple, non-hierarchical points of entry (“Fuzzy Connections” 2011: 43).   Emily Greenwood has further developed Hardwick’s classical connectivity model by advocating the ‘omni-localism’ of classical works and of their Africana Receptions (“Omni-Local Classical Receptions” 2013). Striation or layering, as discussed in Deep Classics (Butler, ed. 2016) and “The Reception of Classical Texts in the Renaissance” (Gaisser 2002) respectively, has also been proposed as an alternative metaphor for conceptualizing the varied processes of reception.

To that end we seek papers that go beyond a focus on one point of entry, privileged viewpoint or implied ‘tradition’ into the network of classical connections and offer a distinctive methodological contribution, a case study of a model through multiple receptions, or a novel theoretical analysis.

Proposals may address (but are not limited to) the following sub-disciplines: intellectual history; literature; visual art and performance studies; music; political activism; and education.

Eos is committed to creating a congenial and collaborative forum for the infusion of new ideas into Classics, and hence welcomes abstracts that are exploratory in nature as well as abstracts of latter-stage research. Above all, we aim to create a supportive environment for scholars of all stages working on Africana Receptions of Greco-Roman antiquity.

Abstracts of no more than 400 words should be sent as an email attachment to All persons who submit abstracts must be SCS members in good standing. The abstracts will be judged anonymously: please do not identify yourself in any way on the abstract page. Proposals must be received by February 23rd, 2018.

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