2014 Events



A Conference on Classics in African Contexts

March 14-15, 2014, at the University of Michigan
Kelsey Museum, 434 S. State St., Ann Arbor MI


A heterogeneous world of writers, intellectuals and political figures in Africa and in African diasporas created new classicisms in their transformation and contestation of European textual traditions founded on ancient Greece and Rome, and in their engagement with the traditions of African antiquity. Few would hold that there was or is a singular black Atlantic classicism -- each author has her or his historical moment of engagement with "the classical." Nevertheless, the historical frame of African/diasporic cultural construction has long been understood as transnational, mobile and interconnected. This conference seeks to explore precisely these transnational dimensions of classicism in the work of intellectuals and artists of the Black Atlantic. We seek to bring classicists and scholars of classical reception into conversation with cultural and intellectual historians of Africa and African diasporas to trace conjunctures and disjunctures of the classicisms created in the Black Atlantic, as well as the historical circuits and trajectories of the ideas and thinkers that created them.

Organized by Professor Ian Moyer, Department of History. Co-sponsored by Contexts for Classics, Institute for the Humanities, LSA, OVPR, International Institute, Eisenberg Institute, and the Departments of Afro-American and African Studies, Classical Studies, Comparative Literature, History, and the Program in Modern Greek.

Schedule of Events (all events at the Kelsey Museum)

FRIDAY, March 14th

1-2pm: Paolo Asso (University of Michigan) -- The Idea of Africa in the Ancient Roman Literary Imagination

2-3pm: Mira Seo (Yale/NUS) -- Latino's Library and Cervantes' Bibliomania: Poetics of Lepanto

3:15-4:15pm: Dan-el Padilla Peralta (Stanford) -- Athens and Sparta of the New World: Classical confrontations in Santo Domingo

4:15-5:15pm: Justine McConnell (Oxford) -- 'A high-level fuku, the local version of House Atreus': Junot Diaz's Engagement with Classical Antiquity

5:30-7:00pm: Keynote: Emily Greenwood (Yale) -- Middle Passages: Mediating Classics in Black Atlantic Contexts

SATURDAY, March 15th

10-11am: Margaret Williamson (Dartmouth) -- What's in a Name? The ironies and legacies of classical slave names in the British Caribbean

11am-12pm: Michele Valerie Ronnick (Wayne State University) -- The Mysterious Mr. Hartley (1861- c.1935)

1-2pm: Butch Ware (University of Michigan) -- Black Egypt and the United States of Africa: Cheikh Anta Diop's Vision of the Classical Past and the African Future

2-3pm: Tracey Walters (Stonybrook) -- Bernadine Evaristo's The Emperor's Babe and the Blackening of British History

3:15-4:15pm: Adam Lecznar (University of Bristol) -- After Antaeus: Tragedy between Cesaire and Nietzsche

4:15-5:15pm: Patrice Rankine (Hope College) -- Everybody's Classics: Performing blackness in the plays of August Wilson and Suzan-Lori Parks



U-Monument 2014

Objects as Text: Reading the Facade of Angell Hall
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 29, 2014 | 5:00-7:00pm Kelsey Museum of Archaeology

Objects as Stage: Dancing the Facade of Angell Hall
TUESDAY, APRIL 22, 2014 | 9:00-10:30pm Angell Hall Courtyard

For more information please visit:



Translation for Vulnerable Times


A Reading and Discussion with Translators

Stanley Lombardo
Sarah Ruden

5:30-7pm | MONDAY, JANUARY 13, 2014
The Gallery at Hatcher Graduate Library



2013 Events


The Reception of Ancient Rome as a Flawed Model

A Conference at the University of Michigan | September 20-21, 2013

The idea of large-scale Roman missteps -- whether imperial domination, sexual immorality, political corruption, greed, religious intolerance, cultural insensitivity, or the like -- has been a notion "good to think with" since antiquity, and persists in familiar comparisons between the Roman Empire and the present-day United States. This conference seeks to go beyond a merely thematic discussion to re-examine the connections between "Roman error," broadly conceived, and basic features of the reception of antiquity including: misunderstanding and misprision, repetition and difference, the subject's relation to a (remembered or unconscious) past, performance and illusion, and links between text and image. If the Romans "erred," what are the consequences for Rome's inheritors as they attempt to construct a stable relation to Rome as a flawed "source" or model? We ask not simply, "Are Rome's errors ours?" but, "How does Roman error figure in the reception of Rome itself?"

FRIDAY, September 20th
2:00 | Welcome
Error and Empire
2:15 | Phiroze Vasunia (University of Reading), "The Roman Empire and the Error of Civilization"
3:00 | Margaret Malamud (New Mexico State University), "Worse than Cato? How to Think about Slavery"

Error and the Body Politic
4:00 | Michèle Lowrie (University of Chicago), "Civil War and the Republic to Come in Victor Hugo's Quatrevingt-treize"
4:45 | Joy Connolly (New York University), "Past Sovereignty: Roman Freedom in Modernity"

SATURDAY, September 21st
Error and Affect
9:00 | Marc Bizer (University of Texas at Austin), "Romans into (Elite) Frenchmen: Michel de Montaigne's Revision of Cicero on the Politics of Friendship"
9:45 | Craig Williams (Brooklyn College, CUNY), "False Friends: Moments in the Reception of amicitia"

Error and Assessment
10:45 | Caroline Vout (University of Cambridge), "The Error of Roman Aesthetics"
11:30 | Serafina Cuomo (Birkbeck, University of London) , "Measurement, Error, and Accuracy in the Roman World"

Error, Religion, and Philosophy
2:00 | Marco Formisano (Ghent University), "Roman Errors and Religion: Symmachus and Lorenzo Valla"
2:45 | Richard Fletcher (The Ohio State University), "The Kristevan Slip: Narcissus, Eros, and Other Errors in Roman Philosophy"

Error, Narrative, and Film
3:45 | Catherine Edwards (Birkbeck, University of London), "The Romance of Roman Error: Encounters with Antiquity in Hawthorne's The Marble Faun"
4:30 | Maria Wyke (University College, London), "The Pleasures and Punishments of Roman Excess: Elagabalus at the Court of Early Cinema"


2012 Events



Translated by Anne Carson
New Directions Press (2012)

A Reading and Booksigning by
Anne Carson & Friends

5:00 PM | TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2012
The Gallery at Hatcher Graduate Library

With: Anne Carson (Chorus), Robert Currie (Stage Directions), Ray McDaniel (Antigone), Joan Morris (Creon), William Bolcom (Teiresias), Eliza Woodford (Guard & Messenger), John Woodford (The Messenger), Amanda Krugliak (Eurydike), Ken Mikolowski (Ismene), Spencer Hawkins (Haimon)

Co-sponsored by the Fall 2012 LSA Translation Theme Semester and Contexts for Classics at the University of Michigan






Lecture by Rita Copeland
(University of Pennsylvania)

4:00 PM | THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 2012
The Gallery at Hatcher Graduate Library

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages & Literature, Department of Classical Studies, Gerald F. Else Fund, Department of English, Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS), Department of Comparative Literature, and the Fall 2012 LSA Translation Theme Semester.



A Discussion of the Exhibit from the
Special Collections & Papyrology Librarians

4:00 PM | MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012
The Gallery at Hatcher Graduate Library

With Faculty Panelists: Pablo Alvarez (MLibrary Special Collections), Richard Janko (Classical Studies), Karla Mallette (Near Eastern Studies and Romance Languages, Yopie Prins (English and Comparative Literature), Ruth Scodel (Classical Stuides), Sean Silver (English Literature)

Co-sponsored by Context for Classics and the Fall 2012 LSA Translation Theme Semester



THURSDAY, March 22, 2012
4-5:30pm | Public Lecture: Kurt Raaflaub, "War as Spectacle"

FRIDAY, March 23, 2012
2-6pm | Welcome and Conference Papers
7-9pm | The Philoctetes Project, "Theater of War"

SATRUDAY, March 24, 2012
9am-5:15pm | Conference Papers
8-10pm | The Philoctetes Project, "Theater of War"

For more information visit: http://www.umich.edu/~ancwars/

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