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I’ve got three papers coming up in the next couple of months:

First up is Commanders and Commentary: The City and Territorial Discourse in the Roman Imagination at the 28th Pacific Rim Roman Literature Seminar in Melbourne on the 6th to 10th July 2014.

In Republican Rome, did the literature of the conquered and traversed landscape express theories about Rome itself? This paper starts with an examination of Cicero’s De Provinciis Consularibus. In this speech, delivered to the senate, Cicero sets up a polemic between the ‘virtuous’ commander, who writes reports to the Senate on his activities in the provinces, and the ‘worthless’ commander, who does not. I argue that this comparison contrasting ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Romans exemplifies Roman attitudes about the relationship between territorial conquest and discursive knowledge on one hand, and lacunae and oblivion on the other. In turn, the paper demonstrates the ways in which such discursive practices about contested territory clearly signal Roman conceptions of Rome itself, by contrasting the city to the territory it controls. In light of this textual interplay between Roman provinces and the discursive strategies of knowledge, the paper examines further models of territorial discourse and control in other Roman writers of the Late Republic and Augustan period. In particular it interrogates Livy’s history of the Second Punic War and teases out the ways that Livy uses the actions of commanders in the field as part of his discussion of the Roman political struggle in the city. The paper undertakes a comparative analysis of Cicero’s directly political literature on the one hand, and Livy’s literary historiography of politics, on the other, to uncover the potential commonalities and differences that they share in their respective understandings of Roman ‘power projection’ in the provinces and how these affect their literary theorisations of Rome itself.

After I deliver that I’m doing a slightly different version of it straight after: Conflict and Power in the Territorial Discourses of Late Republican Rome at the Australian Historical Association annual conference, (this year at the University of Queensland), on the 11th July 2014.

In Republican Rome, the landscape often features prominently in literature which discusses Roman governorship and territorial control. This paper examines Cicero’s De Provinciis Consularibus. In this speech, delivered to the senate, Cicero sets up a polemic between the ‘virtuous’ commander and the ‘worthless’ commander. I argue that this comparison illustrates Roman attitudes about the relationship between territorial conquest and discursive knowledge on one hand, and lacunae and oblivion on the other. In light of this comparison, the paper examines further models of territorial discourse and control in other Roman writers of the Late Republic and Augustan period.

Finally a paper with a slightly different bent; Using Django, Tasty Pie, and lxml for the Digital Humanities at Pycon AU 2014 in Brisbane on the 1st to 5th August.

Digital Humanities is the application of computer technology or computer-based quantitive methods to the problems and data of the disciplines of the Humanities. This paper will details some of the lessons learned by a recovering Java and C programmer in implementing a new Digital Humanities project on the Django platform. Using experience gleaned from two decades of programming experience and an ongoing PhD candidature in Classics and Ancient History, it will detail some of the gaps that need to be bridged between the two worlds and how Python APIs like Django and lxml can be used to bridge them, as well as what remains currently unsolved. It will also explore how the Tasty Pie REST framework for Django can be leveraged to solve particular types of problems in the Digital Humanities in creating textual annotations and linked data sets.