Language, Myth and Society in the Ancient World

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Language, Myth and Society in the Ancient World

Brackenridge Classics Symposium

University of Texas at San Antonio
Friday-Saturday, November 5-6, 2010

Appel à contributions
Date limite : 15 juin 2010


Ernst Cassirer helped define the development of scholarship in the 20th century with the interests proclaimed in the title of his book, Language and Myth. More recently, Roland Barthes has written in Mythologies that “myth is a type of speech,” but one that needs “special conditions in order to become myth”: more precisely, as a form of speech, myth has “historical limits” and “conditions of use”… and in order to understand myth, we must “reintroduce society into it.” Taking account the addition of this third term, this two-day conference seeks to explore the variety of ways in which language, myth and society reflect and interact with one another in Greek and Roman antiquity. Though the title of the conference is not meant to imply a hierarchy, the relationship(s) among language, myth and society can be viewed as a question of dependence: one can ask what role or roles language plays in the construction of myths, to what degree the forms of a language embody a particular Weltanschauung, or in what ways myth manifests itself to constitute society. One immediately thinks, for instance, of the myth of Romulus as the “founder” of Roman institutions – iura dedit – and the city's spatial dimension. This relationship can also be viewed as one of interaction and interchange—how do myths reflect linguistic usage, and how does linguistic usage reflect mythic knowledge? In what ways does myth-making serve as both a model of and model for social practice more generally? Here, one might consider the myth of Saturn as it shapes the character of the Saturnalia, whose proceedings conform to the practices “of that time”, illo tempore... or the suicide of Erigone, which stands as a mythic counterpart to the Attic festival of the Aiora.

We invite participants to examine and reflect upon the interconnectedness of language, myth and society in the ancient world from any disciplinary perspective—art, archaeology, linguistics, philology, philosophy, anthropology or any other area of study within Classics—above all in ways that combine multiple such perspectives to bring innovative and fresh understandings to this theme. Papers that take an “emic” approach, to cast light on how the Romans and Greeks themselves conceived these categories and their interrelation, are particularly encouraged. The conference will take place at the University of Texas at San Antonio on Friday and Saturday, November 5-6th, 2010. The keynote speaker will be Maurizio Bettini, Professor of Classics at the Università degli Studi di Siena (Italy) and Director of the Center for Anthropology of the Ancient World.
Please send abstracts of no more than one page (bibliography may be added on a second page) to classics[at] by Tuesday, June 15th, 2010.

Source : University of Texas at San Antonio.



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