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The History of Humanity

It is now the second time I hear from this huge project of the UNESCO. The first time it was at the GISFOH Sympsion in Potsdam last September. Now, being at the New Europe College in Romania, I attended another paper on this project. It was given by Bogdan C. Iacob, researcher from the project: Turning Global: Socialist Experts during the Cold War (1960s-1980s).

It started in 1947, just after the WW II and had two phases: it was first a History of Mankind and then became a History of Humanity. Both presentations underlined the difficulties the project encountered and the many controversies it fostered as the project struggled to get a global perspective, by taking account of all kind of new players.

At the GISFOH in Potsdam the focus was on the South and the paper presented the rise of Africa in the international context and its claim to have the right to tell its own history.  Last week at the weekly NEC-seminars we learned about how the Balkans got their way back into History.

It is an amazingly large project, with each volume having grown to over 1000 pages, but nonetheless, with all the debates and disagreements among the participants, it reached a conclusion in 2009 and the volume are now available:

  • Volume I: Prehistory and the beginnings of civilizations
  • Volume II: From the Third Millennium to the Seventh Century B.C. 
  • Volume III: From the Seventh Century B.C. to the Seventh Century A.D.
  • Volume IV: From the Seventh to the Sixteenth Century
  • Volume V: From the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century
  • Volume VI: The Nineteenth Century
  • Volume VII: The Twentieth Century

Some of them are freely available online and further information can be found on two different websites:
History of Humanity
Learning to Live Together

Of course I had a quick look at volume III, which contains the timespan under which the field of Classics falls! A surprising large number of French Classics scholars took part in the undertaking….

Exploring “The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours”

At the Imouseion Project Workshop in Paris held at the beginning of June I learned about Greg Nagy’s project of an online course about the Homeric epics, the concept of Greek heroes and how the Greeks themselves dealt with it. The project has been launched in March and students can join until July 2013. See here for a general overview of its aims and content.

I just enrolled today and browsed through the first lesson. The choice of the first texts are particularly well fitting and the videos accompanying them give the necessary insights to understand their depth or to compare them with more modern experiences.

The whole course will be taught by a group of scholars including, besides Greg Nagy, also Lenny Muellner, Kevin McGrath, Alex Forte, Claudia Filos, Natasha Bershadsky, Glynnis Fawkes and Sean Signore. All are either teaching or studying at several US-universities. For each lesson, or hour, several texts are given. They are explained and discussed and the sessions ends with two sections of questions, one more about facts and the second about the texts and their meanings.

There is also a discussion section and an information blog giving the latest news about the progress of the course. Finally one can also find a link to the e-book version of Greg Nagy’s latest book, The Ancient Greek Hero in 24 Hours, which is based on his teaching material assembled over more than 30 years for this topic.

I am looking forward to having time for looking into hour 2!

Digital Classicist Berlin

Last Tuesday the new Digital Classicist in Berlin started with an introductory presentation given by Dr Gabriel Bodard, one of the two co-organizisers of the Digital Classicist in London, a series of seminars which has been running since 2006.

As one of Gabriel Bodard’s main field of interest is Greek epigraphy (e.g. Current epigraphy), his talk was about the progresses and challenges Digital Humanities brings to epigraphy: “A View on Digital Classics Collaboration: from a cacophony of epigraphic databases to a citizens’ web of inscriptions”.

Among the many interesting topics, I would however like to mention one which is of particular significance for my own research projet on Demetrios of Scepsis. It is the presentation of Prof. Jenny Strauss Clay about the mapping of the Catalogue of the Ships. She has already show in a recent study ( Homer’s Trojan Theater) how combining the new tools of Digital Humanities and conventional scholarship enables scholars to provide amazing new approaches, especially for Homeric scholarship. She has created for instance a visual representation of the so-called battlefield books in the Iliad. One of the many interesting aspects of her results was, to my opinion, the fact that the representation could work without being linked to any kind of map or real landscape. I am looking therefore forward to hear more about her project.

Finally I would like to mention a second series of seminars inspired by the Digital Classicist in London. The Univeristy of Leipzig is organizing in parallel the 2012 Leipzig eHumanities Seminar . Their programme has serveral highlights too and completes the one of the Berlin seminar in a most interesting way.

Chating at Classicsconfidential

A few days ago I had the opportunity to chat with Jessica Hughes one of the co-authors of Classicsconfidential. She and Elton Barker started a few years ago a series of interview about academics whose main field is Classics. By now they have gathered an impressing list of people who they were able to interview. Their blog is really worth having a look and it shades a refreshing light on the field of Classics.

3D Reconstruction of Troy

The University of Cincinnati hosts an interesting site on Troy.

TROY HOMEPAGE

It has been created in collaboration with the Troja-Projekt at the University of Tübingen and the CERHAS of the University of Cincinnati. You find there a wealth of material on the current state of research about Troy, with historical timelines, information about the Trojan myths and tables explaining the structure of the Iliad within the Trojan cycle.
Among the many maps you find there, you may also come across some 3D reconstructions. They represent either views on parts of the city or show the aspect the city may have had during the different periods in short films.

Venue at the CHS: The Future of the Classics

Today the CHS hosted the meeting: The Future of the Classics: A Discussion of the State of the Art. The speakers were:

Don Lavigne, Texas Tech, “Introduction: Classics as Cost Center?”
Liz Gephardt, Williamsburg Middle School, “Classics in American Schools”
Nikolaos Papazarkadas, Berkeley, “Classics in Greece”
Barbara Graziosi, Durham, “Classics in Italy and Britain”
Norman Sandridge, Howard, “Classics and ‘Academic Renewal'”
Johannes Haubold, Durham, “Classics and Comparative Studies”
Allen Romano, Florida State, “Classics and Digital Humanaties”

You may find more information about it on the CHS fellowship research blog.

The meeting was broadcast on the web and a chat interface was made available:

So I could attend the meeting and follow the presentations as well as the discussion afterwards. Of particular interest I found the fact that the speakers and participants not only thought about the future of Classics and the way it will be presented by its members, but also about the way the students of Classics perceive their own studies.

CAIM

Another promising French project with two online databases:

TELMA (Traitement électronique des manuscrits et des archives)

CALLYTHEA: a database which is in preparation. One of the many interesting points about this new database is its interdisciplinary aspect. Indeed it is planned to assemble in this database commentaries on texts and images, which is extremely fruitful for studies on texts from the Hellenistic period.

Feedback about the Asia Minor Atlas

Last week was held at the University of Besançon the first meeting on the Atlas Asia Minor-Project.
The conference was well attended and the range of subjects in the papers impressively large. Everyone who attended may agree that one of the biggest challenges for the project will be to coordinate the enormous variety of subjects, methods and scholarly traditions linked to Asia Minor. It will however be very interesting to follow the next steps of this project. For the time being, I would like to mention three digital projects which have been presented:

1) The Epigraphic database for ancient Asia Minor at the University of Hamburg. The database provides for each inscription the original text (Latin/Greek), some commentary and bibliography as well as a map showing where the inscription has been found.
2) The AIDA-Project from the Universities of Trier and Erfurt. The project aims at creating a dynamic Atlas through which it will be possible to visualise historical processes and changes over time. The Atlas will start from Europe and take into consideration the whole Mediterranaen Basin.
3) Finally there was a paper on the European ARCANE-Project. The project focus on the Eastern Mediterranean and the Near East regions and aims at synchronize the different outputs from several scholarly disciplines working on this areas.

Seminar on Digital Humanities in Paris

Here the programme of a seminar on Digtial Humanities that will be given in Paris between december 2010 and May 2011:

Mercredi 8 décembre 2010
1. Le sens de l’oxymore

Mercredi 12 janvier 2011
2. Qu’est-ce qu’un texte ? Projets du vingtième siècle, 1

Mercredi 2 février 2011
3. Quand lire, c’est faire. Projets du vingtième siècle, 2

Mercredi 2 mars 2011
4. Philologie à venir. Projets du vingt et unième siècle, 1

Mercredi 6 avril 2011
5. Quelle(s) communauté(s) ? Projets du vingt et unième siècle, 2

Mercredi 4 mai 2011
6. Le projet « Athénée numérique »

For further details, see Philologie à venir.


A Venue on Digital Edition in Leuven

The COMSt Network is organizing a workshop with an interesting programme. Even if it is focusing on Textual Criticism of Oriental Manuscripts, many papers are also very appropriated for digital edition in the field of Classics.

25-26 October 2010
the Workshop on Textual Criticism of Oriental Manuscripts
will be conducted by COMSt Team 2 (Philology / Text criticism) in Leuven, Belgium.

The Workshop is conceived as a first step in the preparation of the corresponding handbook chapter(s). The programme is therefore as follows:

Monday, 25 October

09:00 Welcome and Introduction: Johannes den Heijer (Louvain-la-Neuve)

09:30 Session 1: Critical editions : general principles and methodological considerations
chair: Caroline Macé (Leuven)

1. Alessandro Mengozzi (Turin), Philological traditions – different approaches to editorial methods
2. Ph. Roelli (Zürich), To what extent can the Lachmannian method be formalized?

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Session 2: History of Manuscripts and Textual Criticism
chair: Alessandro Bausi (Hamburg)

1. Marie Cronier (Paris), Text History as a tool for philology
2. Zuzana Gazakova (Bratislava), Fluid traditions in popular literature
3. Wido van Peursen (Leiden), Dealing with sacred texts and their linguistic features
4. Ugo Zanetti (Chèvetogne), Cataloguing and editing liturgical manuscripts

13:00 Lunch

14:00 Session 3: Specificities of textual transmission and editorial responses
chair: Antonia Giannouli (Nicosia)

1. Hugo Lundhaug (Oslo), Dating and interpreting texts from a bilingual setting
2. Sébastien Moureau (Nancy), Editing a translation of a lost treatise
3. Willy Clarysse (Leuven), Editing documentary texts

15:30 Coffee break

16:00 Session 4: Establishing the text – Round table
chair: Johannes den Heijer (Louvain-la-Neuve)

Participants: all welcome

17:00 Session 5: Lay out and presentation
chair: Alessandro Mengozzi (Bologna)

1. Paolo La Spisa (Louvain), Orthography. Linguistic particularities v/s normalization
2. Antonia Giannouli (Nicosia), Punctuation and other aspects of original formal aspects

18:00 General discussion
chair: Johannes den Heijer (Louvain-la-Neuve)

19:30 Dinner

Tuesday, 26 October

09:00 Session 6: From traditional to electronic editions, I: Tools
chair: Jost Gippert (Frankfurt)

1. Tara Andrews & Caroline Macé (Leuven), Digital Tools for Scholarly Editions
2. Various participants: Short additional presentations on specific tools and methods
Tara Andrews: the Interedition Project
Ilse De Vos: automatic identification of citations
Caroline Macé: phylogenetics and stemmatics
Sébastien Moureau: Classical Text Editor

10:30 Coffee break

11:00 Session 7: From traditional to electronic editions, II: Project presentations
chair: Witold Witakowski (Uppsala)

1. Denis Searby (Stockholm), Digital solutions for the fluid textual tradition of Greek gnomologia
2. Aafke van Oppenraay (The Hague), Editing an Arabic-Latin text, present-day practice and wishes for the future

12:00 General conclusions
chair: Johannes den Heijer (Louvain)


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