E-University and Online Seminars

Yesterday, while assisting a Conference on Scientific Cooperation between Greece and Germany held at the University of Hamburg, I heard a convincing presentation about the Open University of Cyprus. Antonis Petridis, assistant professor there, explained the advantages of this form of University.
As a nice coincidence I also received yesterday an advertisement for a “Webinar”, actually a online seminar on ancient letters that will be given next term conjointly between the University of Heidelberg and the University of Würzburg.

Open University of Cyprus
Heidelberg-Würzburg Webinar

Interesting observation about our attitude towards digital tools

Last week, at the last session of a series of conference about new approaches to Classics (Alte Texte – neue Ergebnisse), Prof. Markus Friedrich from the University of Hamburg talked about the reception of new technological inventions in the Humanities (Exzerpt, Photoauftrag, Datenbank: zur Entwicklung und Bedeutung technischer Hilfsmittel in der Geschichtswissenschaft). He focused in particular on the ways scholars had access to the primary sources and how they started to use devices enabling them to transport the information these documents contained to their working places where they could explore them further.

First he discussed the advent of photography which allowed scholars to move beyond copying manually the texts and get more accurate documents to work on once they left the library or the archive where the primary sources were. As a second step he mentioned the usage of photocopies and other ways of reproducing faithfully a great number of sources and documents. Finally in a third step he dealt with the digital tools that are available now.

However, it is not so much this tripartition which is striking, but his observation that it is actually this third step that raised the most vigorous criticism from scholars. He was himself rather surprised by his findings and wondered whether there may be witnesses of such a suspiciousness against the technologies used previously. However, if his observation is correct, it may also raise the question of that would be so peculiar about the currently available digital tools and technologies to be more subjects to criticism than previously used tools.

Should I change the title of my blog?

Just before Christmas, on December the 17th, I passed the viva of my Habilitation-thesis on Demetrios of Scepsis. So it seems that the research for which I started the blog comes to an end. The book is written!!

It is entitled “Demetrios of Scepsis and his Τρωϊκὸς διάκοσμος. A New Evaluation of the Remaining Fragments” and it has been approved by the University of Hamburg. I can now start to think about publishing these first results. GREAT, isn’t it!?

But actually I don’t feel like have got rid of Demetrios during this process. There is still plenty to say and to do about this scholar and his book. So I guess it is not the right moment to think about ending the blog: maybe just a little change in the title while exploring what may come next so that we can enjoy “travelling beyond Demetrios of Scepsis”…

Call for Paper: Digital Humanities: the example of Antiquity

As a quick note, I just copy here the call for paper for the conference, that will be held at the University of Grenoble between the 2nd and the 4th of September 2015:

Call for paper “Digital Humanities: the example of Antiquity”

The University ‘Stendhal’ of Grenoble 3, the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme-Alpes, L’Université Grenoble 2, the Humboldt Chair for Digital Humanities and HISOMA organise the conference “Digital Humanities: the example of Antiquity”. The conference will take place in Grenoble, from the 2nd to the 4th of September 2015.
The goal of this conference is twofold: at the same time an assessment of existing methodologies and a looking forward to new ones. It also has the objective of evaluating current practices of the application of Digital Humanities to the study of antiquity, practices which are quite numerous but also sometimes disconnected from each other and without an overall understanding. The conference also aims to contribute toward the design of new projects and the opening new paths, by establishing a dialogue between scholars for whom the Digital Humanities are already familiar and those wishing to acquire knowledge and practice in this domain.
The confirmed Keynote speakers are Gregory Crane (Tufts University & University of Leipzig) and Charlotte Roueché (King’s College London). The conference will be preceded by a workshop, particularly aimed at doctoral students, but open to everybody.

The study of Antiquity encompass very large geographical, historical and linguistic domains: from the Mediterranean to the borders of Europe and Asia, from the end of Prehistory to the Middle Ages, and from Greek and Latin to the languages of the Near and Middle East. This study is also distributed among different disciplines: Linguistics, Philology, Literary Criticism, Philosophy, History, Archaeology, Epigraphy, Numismatics, etc. In all these disciplinary traditions, the application of computational techniques has been employed for several decades now, an application that has left quite a strong mark on the study of Antiquity. The employment of digital methods has also enabled substantial changes of methodology, the extent of which remains to be assessed.

Considering the diversity of such approaches in a context of research which is more and more internationalised, it seems worthwhile to present to scholars and PhD students an overview of current research in order to develop future endeavours.

The conference will be organised around four key topics: Editions of literary texts; Study of scholia and commentaries; Archaeology and Epigraphy; Prosopography and historical geography. Papers will focus on methodological questions and/or discuss general issues emerging within such topics. We also encourage proposals of posters presenting work in progress.

Please send your proposals of up to 300 words, in French or English (which will be the languages of the conference) by the 15th of January 2015 to the organisers:
icogitore@msh-alpes.fr
elena.pierazzo@u-grenoble3.fr
NB: In order to encourage the participation of young researchers, we will provide a limited number of bursaries. If you wish to be considered for one of these then please include a letter of motivation with your application.

News from Leipzig: Sunoikisis Europe

On February 16-18, 2015 there will be a planning seminar for the new Sunoikisis Programme in Europe. The courses will be organised and hosted by the Humboldt Chair of Digital Humanities in Leipzig. It is inspired by the Sunoikisis programme offered since 1999 at the Center for Hellenic studies:

Sunoikisishead2

It will offer courses in digital humanities for students of Greek and Latin and takes advantage of the experience the organisers acquired while creating the Perseids platform. The venue in February will therefore also inform about this platform and give some practical insights into the new tool.  Have a look at their announcement and consider joining them!

perseids_banner31

Digital Classicist Seminars Berlin

Two years ago I took part in the Digital Classicist Seminars in Berlin. I was therefore very happy to see the new programme for 2014-15. It looks pretty exciting!

Capture d’écran 2014-09-30 à 22.53.47

For more detail, please have a closer look at the Digital Classicist Berlin homepage

FIEC 2014 in Bordeaux

I will be presenting some aspects of my work on Demetrios of Scepsis at the 14th FIEC Conference which will be held in Bordeaux in a couple of days (25th-30th August). The presentation belongs to panel 1 which as been entitled Ecdotica: current trends in the edition and criticism of the classics (with two many subjects: epistemology of classical scholarship and editing fragmentary texts). Here is the programme of the panel:

Monday 25th August:

  • Anne-Catherine Baudoin: Traduttore salvatore: comprendre les Actes de
    Pilate grecs grâce à leur traduction latine
  • Sophie Bocksberger: Oxyrhychus 11 1B.156/C(b) – Philoctetes, 86-88, 109-134, 177-181
  • Veronica Bucciantini: Da Felix Jacoby a Friedrich Gisinger: il carteggio inedito nel Nachlaß della Bayerische Staatsbibliothek di Monaco sul dibattito per la struttura della quinta parte dei Fragmente der griechischen Historiker
  • Micheline Decorps-Foulquier: L’édition critique des textes mathématiques grecs et ses difficultés propres

Tuesday 26th August:

  • Margalit Finkelberg: The Original vs. the Received Text and the case of the Comma Johanneum
  • Daniel Kiss: Publishing a critical edition on the Internet: the case of ‘Catullus Online’
  • Brigitte Mondrain (conférence plénière/plenary session): Les manuscrits scientifiques et techniques grecs constituent-ils un genre?
  • Nigel Wilson (conférence plénière/plenary session): Lectorum in usum: what can editors of Greek texts still offer?
  • Ilaria Ramelli: The Dialogue of Adamantius: A Reassessment in View of a New Critical Edition and Commentary
  • Ute Tischer: Quotation, fragment, and context, or How to understand a quoted speech (Enn. Ann. v. 197-8 Sk.)
  • Alexandra Trachsel: Les citations en tant que reformulations de savoirs ou comment rendre le travail des érudits antiques plus visible dans les éditions de fragments?
  • Gertjan Verhasselt: Editing fragmentary historians: the problem of context
  • Anna Zouganeli: Édition des tragédies fantômes : la reconstitution de la Médée de Dicaiogenes et son nouveau fragment (?)
  • Gauthier Liberman: Un nouveau poème de Sappho. Présentation et discussion

Wednesday 27th August:

  • Danuta Shantzer (conférence plénière/plenary session): Some Reflections on Textual Criticism: Gaps, Indirect Traditions, Schools, Psychology, and Consequences
  • Gosciwit Malinowski: Necessity of a new critical edition of Agatharchides’ works
  • Enrico Prodi: Odes monostrophiques et performance processionnelle: origine et fortune d’un lieu commun

For the rest of the programme, see here

A fragmentary summer III

If one starts thinking about conferences focusing on fragments that will take place this summer, one should not forget the one organised by the Department of Classics from University College London:

Song Regained, Greek Epic and Lyric Fragments from the Archaic to the Imperial Era
2-4 July 2014

For further information see their webside

In this case the focus is on Greek poetic fragments and interestingly the topic is addressed in a chronological perspective including works from the Archaic period up to Late Antiquity. Three sessions are dedicated to Hellenistic poetry and many of the participants can also be found in the programme from the Warsaw Conference on fragments. The venue is preceded by a one-day workshop were methodological questions are dealt with and participants will be trained in the handling of papyri. It is really a pity that I will not be able to attend the conference!

A fragmentary summer II

Here is the announcement for the second venue on fragments happening this summer. Fragments, seen as reused textual elements, will be the theme of a panel discussion at the Digital Humanity 2014 Conference which will be held in Lausanne from the 7th to the 12th July. More information about the panel may be found at wiki.digitalclassicist.org, but here a sort summary of the approach the panel will explore:

RETHINKING TEXT REUSE AS DIGITAL CLASSICISTS
DH 2014, Lausanne, 10 July 2014, 09:00-10:30
Amphimax, room 410

Text reuse – the meaningful reiteration of text, usually beyond the simple repetition of common language – is a broad concept that can naturally be understood at different levels and studied in a large variety of contexts. This panel will gather researchers from different projects focussing on text reuse in the field of Digital Classics with the aim of discussing the possible approaches to and understandings of the notion. It will also bring together current efforts and lay the ground for further research.

Conveners:
Aurélien Berra (Université Paris-Ouest & EHESS)
Matteo Romanello (German Archaeological Institute & King’s College London)
Alexandra Trachsel (University of Hamburg)

Invited participants:
Monica Berti (University of Leipzig)
Chris Forstall (University at Buffalo, SUNY)
Annette Geßner (University of Leipzig)
Charlotte Tupman (King’s College London)

I am really looking forward, especially after having attended the Warsaw conference on fragments last week, to taking part in this panel. It will be particularly interesting for me to switch from one domain, Classics, and its approach to fragments to the other, Digital Humanities. Both research fields face the same difficulties when dealing with the fragmentariness of the past, but each has its own tradition and methodology. The challenge consists, therefore, in bringing both fields together.

A fragmentary summer I

Photo authored by Ewa Kondracka and kindly provided by Jan Kwapisz

Photo authored by Ewa Kondracka and kindly provided by Jan Kwapisz

Last week the conference entitled Fragments, Holes, and Wholes was held in Warsaw. Its theme was the reconstruction of the past in theory and practice. The papers focused on several aspects of the fragmentariness of our access to the past, especially to the Greco-Roman past and gave fascinating insights into the different fields of Classics. Here is a sort summary:

Themes linked to the more theoretical aspects:

  • A first important aspect was the question of how scholars should deal with quotations and their incorporation in later works. The context in which they have been transmitted is different from the original one and there may be a huge gap between the original context and the several and various reuses of the pieces coming from the lost work.
  • Secondly much attention was given to the concept of reuse and what the new context of a given piece may tell us about either the way ancient people understood these pieces or about the social context in which these reuses were made. This was illustrated with examples such as the tabulae Iliacae and the ancient collections of poems preserved in papyri. It was, however, also a central element in two further papers: the one on the Hellenistic machines and that which presented an interesting attempt to make sense of a large amount of pottery remains.
  • Furthermore, the quoting methods of ancient authors was brought to the fore in several papers. It was illustrated in Cicero’s speeches and in Latin oratory in general, in Plutarch’s Lives, in Polybios, in Ps.-Apollodorus and to a lesser degree even in Stephanus of Byzantium. On the other hand, also the quoted authors were discussed and how a new approach focusing more on the context could help to collect the fragments of their works. Here we had examples from the Latin Atellane comedies and from Dicaearchus. In the paper on the Pythagorean tradition the question was raised whether it was always necessary to reconstruct the past or if the awareness of several readings of a lost past would be more accurate in some cases, especially when we start to think about the evidence we have as several layers of reception.
  • Finally, as a result of this focus on the context in which a piece has been preserved, the question was raised whether one can trust the ancient context in which a fragment has come down to us. This new aspect was for instance also addressed by the papers dealing with the ways the quotations are introduced, either by a certain category of verbs which can be analysed or by imputed intentions that a quoting author may mention while he reproduces the thoughts or speeches of the quoted author. Similarly interesting was the idea which came up in the discussion that we should also explore the ways a work disappears in order to get more information about how it could be recovered.

Themes related to more practical aspects of the reconstruction of the past:

  • Here we may first mention the brilliant demonstration given by the papyrologists of how they reconstruct on a daily basis the often very tiny pieces and bits preserved on the papyri.
  • We had also several papers on the previous collections of fragments, such as Jacoby’s FGriHist, Diels’ collection of Presocratic fragments and Kassel-Austin’s collection of comic playwrights. The choices from these outstanding editors were presented and discussed. The papers showed how controversial they are today, even if they also pointed out how necessary these choices were for the projects themselves at the time when they were undertaken. A large part of the discussion was, however, dedicated to the presentation of new projects and their new ways of approaching the difficult question of collecting fragments.
  • Finally we also had an interesting summary of the archaeological project of the Institute of Mediterranean and Oriental Cultures from the Polish Academy of Sciences and this reminded us that fragments can be more than just textual elements.

The three days were extremely inspiring and they will certainly help to develop further research on fragments and their modern understanding. However, I am also please to announce here that this was only one of two venues scheduled for this summer where fragments play an important role. The second is coming soon…


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