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On the CLASSICISTS mailing list, a very interesting-looking call for papers for a conference in July 2012 arrived this evening:

Locating Popular Culture in the Ancient World

School of History, Classics and Archaeology
University of Edinburgh, 4-6th July 2012

FIRST CALL FOR PAPERS

While the representation of the ancient world in modern popular culture has received a great deal of scholarly attention in recent years, ancient popular culture has generally been neglected. However, Jerry Toner’s recent Popular Culture in Ancient Rome (Cambridge, 2009) and Nicholas Horsfall’s The Culture of the Roman Plebs (London, 2003) have shown the possibilities offered by this fascinating field. This conference aims to bring together scholars representing a diverse range of subjects, interests and approaches, to explore the challenges of investigating a field ignored by traditional classical scholarship.

Crucial questions include: Was there such a thing as popular culture in the ancient world? How can we, as scholars, locate it? What defined it? Which themes were prominent? What are the political implications of studying the ‘popular’ in the ancient world?

Papers are invited on a broad range of subjects related to ancient popular culture: including (but not exclusively):

  • theoretical and comparative approaches to ancient popular culture
  • culture and class
  • popular visual culture (e.g. graffiti, artefacts)
  • popular performance (e.g. comedy, mime)
  • popular literary texts (e.g. fiction, oracles, fables)
  • popular religion (e.g. festivals, the role of Christianity)

Confirmed speakers include Jerry Toner, Pavlos Avlamis, Serafina Cuomo and Ruth Webb.

30-minute papers are welcomed from scholars at all stages of their career. Please send abstracts of up to 500 words by 1st February 2012.

Please send abstracts, queries or expressions of interest to the conference organiser:

Dr Lucy Grig, Classics, University of Edinburgh
lucy.grig@ed.ac.uk