Truth-Value and the Value of Truth in Roman Historiography

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Truth-Value and the Value of Truth in Roman Historiography

APA - Seattle 2013

Appel à contributions
Date limite : 1er février 2012



Organizer: Ayelet Haimson Lushkov, The University of Texas in Austin.

The question of truth-value in the literary historians has been central to the modern discipline of history since Ranke first subjected the issue to systematic criticism. Within Classics, the same question has been explored along two divergent paths: historians have responded to the apparent unreliability and limitations of ancient authors' claims by abandoning text-based analyses in favor of documentary and data-oriented methods, whereas historiographers have recuperated the artistic and cultural significance of historical texts, while largely dismissing the question of the relationship between text and truth. Recently, however, the status quo has been disrupted by J. E. Lendon's (2009) provocative criticism of the practices of Roman historiography, while others (e.g., O'Gorman 2005 and 2009, Riggsby 2007, and Levene 2010) have explored the tensions arising from historiography's amalgamation of literary artifice and historical subject matter.

The time is thus ripe to explore more fully the utility of truth as a category within the broader milieu of Roman historical practices, of which historiography was merely the most formal manifestation. This panel aims to interrogate the concept of truth-value in Roman historiography, and in particular to provide an account of the historians' objectives and practices that moves beyond the traditional categories of truth and mendacity. In order to replace this opposition with a more nuanced range of possibilities, the panel will consider how truth-value functioned as a cultural and literary concept at Rome and how that context relates to the specific genre of historiography. The panel thus embraces various Roman historiographical forms, broadly conceived to include prose, poetry, and visual narratives.

Topics might include:

How does the question of the historians' concepts of truth sharpen or diminish attention to the artistic features of the texts?
What is the role of overtly fictive elements in an ostensibly truth-seeking work? How do poetic texts, especially historical epic, reconcile or exploit those tensions for their own purposes, and do those aims align well with historiography?
Woodman's seminal monograph Rhetoric in Classical Historiography now forms the basis of many readings of historiography. How can oratorical practice, as opposed to rhetorical theory, illuminate historiographical practices, or the expectation of the reading audience? How does the place of truth in forensic oratory relate to evidentiary argument in historiography?
Philosophy and didactic, technical or scientific texts all participate in a broad discourse aimed to assess the validity of certain claims to truth. What is the role of the intellectual milieu in Rome in constructing a common sense, or conflicting senses, of truth and truthfulness?

Abstracts must be received by the APA office by 1 February 2012. Please send an anonymous abstract as a PDF attachment to Cette adresse email est protégée contre les robots des spammeurs, vous devez activer Javascript pour la voir. , and be sure to provide complete contact information and any AV requests in the body of your email. Submissions will be reviewed anonymously.



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