Search

MemberSamuel Dorf

Dr. Samuel N. Dorf is a musicologist and dance historian. He has published articles dealing with the performance and reinvention of ancient Greek music and dance in fin-de-siècle Paris, and queer music reception and has presented papers at history, queer studies, dance history, archaeology, and musicology conferences throughout North America and Europe. His research areas include intersections between musicology and dance studies and the history of technology, reception studies, queer studies, film studies, and the history of performance practice. His book, Performing Antiquity: Ancient Greek Music and Dance from Paris to Delphi, 1890-1930, is under contract with Oxford University Press.

MemberThomas J. Nelson

Tom Nelson is a Research Fellow in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. In 2018, he completed his PhD at Trinity College, supervised by Professor Richard Hunter (‘Early Greek Indexicality: Markers of Allusion in Archaic Greek Poetry’). His thesis explores the so-called “Alexandrian footnote” and markers of intertextuality in Latin and Greek Literature, with a particular focus on archaic and classical Greek poetry. It examines the manner in which these poets self-consciously signalled their interactions with other texts and traditions. He completed the MSt in Greek and Latin Languages and Literature at the University of Oxford, writing a dissertation on the various analogies and allegories employed to conceptualise victories over the Galatians in Hellenistic Literature and Art. From 1 October 2018, he will be a Research Fellow in Classics at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. He has recently co-organised a conference on Hellenistic Poetry Beyond Callimachean Aesthetics, 1-3 September 2016 (http://www.castingoffshadows2016.co.uk/), and was also a member of the organising committee for the Cambridge AHRC DTP’s Conference on Time and Temporality, 14-16 September 2016. Teaching materials for his undergraduates is available at http://www.thomas-j-nelson.co.uk/teaching.html. He is very open to any kind of collaborative research and happy to be contacted about any ideas for collaboration, however preliminary.

MemberMaddalena Italia

Maddalena started working on her doctoral thesis in September 2013, after completing her MA (with Distinction) in Languages and Cultures of South Asia at SOAS. Before moving to SOAS, she earned her BA and MA in Classics (both cum laude) from Milan State University. Her first MA dissertation focused on the Sanskrit figure of speech śleṣa (“Śleṣa, or ‘double meaning’: traces of stylistic continuity from the Ṛgveda to Sanskrit kāvya literature”). Her SOAS Master’s dissertation (“Non-verbal communication in Sanskrit kāvya literature: an emic perspective”) dealt with the theoretical frameworks through which literary body language is analyzed in Sanskrit systematic thought on drama and literature (nāṭya- and sāhityaśāstra). Maddalena’s doctoral research aims to offer new insights and a better understanding of the history of the modern reception of Sanskrit erotic poetry. In her PhD thesis (working title: “The erotic untranslatable: the modern reception of Sanskrit love poetry in the West and in India”), Maddalena analyses commentaries, translations, and rewritings of Sanskrit erotic poetry produced by modern intellectuals – Orientalists, Indian nationalists, colonial and post-colonial translators, poets, and philologists.

MemberCarol Atack

Post-doctoral research assistant, ‘Anachronism and Antiquity’ project, Faculty of Classics, University of Oxford, and non-stipendiary Junior Research Fellow, St Hugh’s College. Fellow (2019-20), Harvard Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC. Associate editor, Polis: the Journal for Ancient Greek Political Thought Current research is focused on fourth-century BCE Greek political thought, especially temporality and change in Greek political thought and the dialogues of Plato. Current teaching includes lectures and classes for Sexuality and Gender in Greece and Rome, an upper-level course for students in Classics and Ancient History at the University of Oxford. I am the treasurer of the Women’s Classical Committee UK.

DepositIntroduction: Creating new worlds out of old texts

Despite initial expectations that globalization would eradicate the need for geographical space and distance, “maps matter” today in ways that were unimaginable a mere two decades ago. Technological advances have brought to the fore an entirely new set of methods for representing and interacting with spatial formations, while the ever-increasing mobility of ideas, capital, and people has created a world in which urban and regional inequalities are being heightened at an accelerating pace. As a result, the ability of any given place to reap the benefits of global socio-technical flows mainly hinges on the forging of connections that can transcend the limits of its material location. In contrast to the traditional “topographic” perspective, the territorial extent of economic and political realms is being increasingly conceived through a “topological” lens: as a set of overlapping reticulations in which the nature and frequency of links among different sites matter more than the physical distances between them. We have decided to respond to these analytical and methodological challenges by focusing on ancient Greek literature: a corpus of work that has often been characterized as being free of the constraints imposed by post-Enlightenment cartography, despite setting the foundations of many contemporary map-making methods. In the 12 chapters that follow, we highlight the rich array of representational devices employed by authors from this era, whose narrative depictions of spatial relations defy the logic of images and surfaces that dominates contemporary cartographic thought. In fact, many of the disciplinary and conceptual perspectives explored here are at their inception, and have a more general relevance for the wider community of humanities and social science researchers interested in novel mapping techniques.

MemberCatherine Bonesho

I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Near Eastern Languages and Cultures department at the University of California-Los Angeles. In 2017-2018 I was the Emeline Hill Richardson Pre-Doctoral Rome Prize Fellow in Ancient Studies at the American Academy in Rome. I received my PhD in Classical and Ancient Near Eastern Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My primary research interests are in the Early Judaism, rabbinic literature, the Roman Near East.

MemberValerie Hannon Smitherman

Performing Relationships:  Choreia, Qasida, and Community — A Cross-Cultural Perspective   The communal culture of classical Greece was fundamentally musical.  This, as many have noted, harkens back to a pre-literate society, where song and oral formulae were aids to composition, memory, and cultural preservation.  Yet, even after the Greeks developed writing, musical expression retained pride of place. Thus the Athenian confidently asserts: οὐκοῦν ὁ μὲν ἀπαίδευτος ἀχόρευτος ἡμῖν ἔσται, τὸν δὲ πεπαιδευμένον ἱκανῶς κεχορευκότα θετέον; (Plat. Laws 654a-b).   This ‘culture of musical expression’ is far more than a source of entertainment, or a basis for education (as Plato would have it).  Indeed, they are fundamentally connected to the roots of the community itself, as Damon observes in the Republic: οὐδαμοῦ γὰρ κινοῦνται μουσικῆς τρόποι ἄνευ πολιτικῶν νόμων τῶν μεγίστων  (5.424c) Not only does the medium itself represent social cohesion — paradoxically, it is also frequently used to depict stasis and social isolation.  Indeed, the very act of performing a choral song expresses and confirms the network of reciprocal social relationships by and through which communities are formed, either directly or meta-poetically.  So we see Odysseus reduced to tears by Demodocus’ song, utterly isolated in his grief, even as he is an honored guest among the Phaeacians (Od. 8.521-31) and we also see Achilles sing the tales of heroes to Patroclus, although anger isolates him from the rest of his comrades (Il. 9.189-91).   The social significance of musical expression extends beyond the creation and performance of song to the political realm, as we see in Hesiod, where the wise king is one who, through the blessing of the Muses, is able to deploy language skillfully, soothing high spirits and maintaining social order (Thg. 80-92;93-103).  The successful king, then, must also be a successful performer.   When we turn our gaze to the Arabian desert, we find that Nabati poetry, the oral poetry of the Bedouin, has served a strikingly similar function within that culture.  Indeed, the Arabs themselves consider poetry to be the essence of their language and the poetry of the desert to express the fundamental social and political structures of their society: “The people of pre-modern Arabia were ruled by eloquent persuasion rather than by outright force; therefore, the gift of poetry constituted an essential qualification for effective leadership” (Sowayan 1985: 67).   And the fundamental quality of that poetry is that it is a musical performance: “When one hears a new poem one may ask ‘wiššū h-aṭ-targ’ (‘What is this rhythm?’) or ‘wišlōn šēlitah?’ (‘How is it sung?’)”  (Sowayan 1985:158).   Nabati poetry ranges in scope from brief, direct love-poems composed for the most intimate of audiences to accounts of tribal histories and versified negotiations between rival parties.  It is not epic poetry and, yet, the nature and function of its role in Arab society, particularly that of the Najd, certainly calls the Homeric poems to mind — these are also performances outside of historical time, marked by a unique dialect, memorializing communal bonds and individual losses, all in song.   My aim, without supposing that these works are genetically related in any sense, is to compare the nature and function of these traditions, and to consider the wider role of poetry, music, and expressions of community in East and West.  It is my earnest hope that such an endeavor will both better our understanding of the ancient world we study and an often misunderstood part of the modern world we share.   Sowayan, S. A., (1985), Nabati Poetry: The Oral Poetry of Arabia (Berkeley: University of California Press). ___________________________________________________________ About me:  Classicist, philologist, eternal student of Indo-European, endlessly entertained by etymologies. Things I like: strong tea, Oum Kalthoum, re-performances of ancient drama and music Things I dislike: Fitting into boxes, filling out boxes, checking off boxes, packing boxes. Random FAQs: Where are you?  I’m nomadic, so it depends. Where do you work?  See above. Do you speak Arabic?  Not as well as I should, but I’m working on it. How do you propose to do this work without a degree in Arabic?  Very carefully.  I think my philological training has prepared me fairly well for work like this, plus, I have the support of very kind, learned colleagues helping me learn Arabic and come to grips with that textual tradition. There isn’t a lot here, where can I find out more?  Follow me on Twitter @DrVHSmitherman. Cheers!