A Rutgers Classics conference ‘Food & Drink in the Ancient World’ (31 May / 1 June 2019): call for papers

CONFERENCE CALL FOR PAPERS: Food and Drink in the Ancient World

Rutgers University (New Brunswick NJ), Friday 31 May—Saturday 1 June 2019

Keynote Speaker: Dr Kristina Killgrove, UNC Chapel Hill

Human activity is regulated by the constant need to acquire and consume food. Assuredly, food and drink played a significant role in antiquity just as now, and, since we all must eat and drink, we naturally become curious about what and how our distant ancestors ate and drank (Alcock 2006). The study of food and drink in the ancient world expanded tremendously in the 1990s and has continued to do so in the decades following (e.g. Davison 1997, Garnsey 1999, Wilkins and Hill 2006). This resultant trend is partly owed to a focus in research less preoccupied with the great deeds of great men, but one open to seeing antiquity as a period that offers a wealth of information on the varied life of the everyday world (Donahue 2015).

One does not need to look far in the corpus of classical literature to find mention of viands—there is animal sacrifice in the epics of Homer and Vergil, ever-flowing wine in the sympotic and love elegies of Alcaeus and Horace, conceited cooks in the comedies of Aristophanes and Plautus, and indulgence in the elite banquets of the Deipnosophistai and Satyrica. Beyond these portraits, there are ancient treatises specifically devoted to the topic of food and drink—both philosophical, such as Porphyry’s On Abstinence from Animal Food, and medical, e.g. Galen’s On the Power of Foods. In supplementation of investigations based on literary texts, archaeology has produced an immense amount of information for our understanding of consumption in antiquity. From grand tomb finds to the more ordinary discoveries of kitchen utensils, excavations have dramatically clarified our picture of ancient dining. Archaeozoology and archaeobotany have helped answer questions about ancient diets, as have the osteological analyses associated with bioarchaeology.

We invite abstracts for papers that explore the topic of food and drink through various disciplines, such as Classics, Archaeology, Anthropology, Food Science, and related fields. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

The Ancient Mediterranean Diet: staple foods in the Mediterranean (wine, oil, and bread; cereals and legumes); meat consumption, availability of seafood; specialized diets, medical approaches to nutrition (e.g. for the military, athletes, infirm)

The Social Context of Food and Drink: sacrifices and offerings, public and communal meals; variations in diet based on social class; food supply and shortages, grain doles (e.g. frumentatio, annona)

Food as a Point of Contact, Creator of Identity, Delimitation of Otherness: import and markets, especially for spices and exotic ingredients; horticulture, soil chemistry, and cultivation of local specialties; taboos (e.g. beer and milk as barbarian; cannibalism as historical fact or political slander)

Alcoholic and Non-Alcoholic Beverages: wine and viticulture (e.g. merum, mulsum, and conditum); access to potable water, aqueducts; drinking vessels (e.g. kylikes, skyphoi, kantharoi, and their images)

Our confirmed keynote speaker is Dr. Kristina Killgrove, teaching Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, research scholar at the Ronin Institute, and senior contributor to Forbes. Dr. Killgrove, a bioarchaeologist, will deliver a talk on Roman diet and its correlation to disease, climate change, and migration.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words (excluding bibliography) by February 1st, 2019 to rutgers.foodanddrinkconference@gmail.com. Be sure to include any audio-visual needs in this email. Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length. Please include in the email your name, affiliation, and contact information. The abstract itself should be anonymous. Questions may be sent to the same email. Successful applicants should expect to hear back from conference organizers by February 28th, 2019. In addition to providing accommodation, we are looking forward to hosting an ‘ancient’ feast for the conference organizers and speakers.

Emmanuel Aprilakis and Nicole Nowbahar (PhD students, Rutgers University) [organizers]

 

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For RU Classics PhD candidate Emmanuel Aprilakis, academic adventures in Oxford, St Andrews, and beyond

The last months have been an academic whirlwind for Rutgers Classics PhD candidate Emmanuel Aprilakis, now in his fourth year in our program. This past summer and fall have taken Emmanuel to the UK (twice) as well as Slovakia and Greece, for research, paper presentations, and more. But we’ll let Emmanuel Aprilakis tell the whole, intriguing story in his own words…

“I was fortunate enough to spend a portion of this past summer from June into July as an Academic Visitor at the University of Oxford. The main purpose of this endeavor was to undertake pre-dissertation research that would feed directly into my ensuing dissertation proposal to be submitted at Rutgers this fall. While there, I also presented a paper at the Graduate Workshop in Ancient Greek and Roman Music, which took place on June 29that the Ioannou Centre, which houses the Faculty of Classics at Oxford.”

The Ancient Greek and Roman Music conference venue in the Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies

“Appearing on the panel treating music and drama, my paper, entitled “Athena’s Θεσμός: Sound, Assonance, and Speech Acts in Eumenides 566-73,” dealt with Athena’s ordinance, which is central to Aeschylus’ Eumenides, the culmination of his peerless Oresteia trilogy. As she presides over the very first trial there, Athena herself intermittently explains the institution of the pioneering law court on the Areopagus. My piece sought to highlight the sound imagery, assonance, euphony, and speech acts employed by Athena in this pivotal speech in the play.” Continue reading

RU ready for Philadelphia? Here are some highlights of the Fall 2018 CAAS meeting @ Penn (4-6 Oct)

In our parts, one of the indisputable high points of the academic year is the Classical Association of the Atlantic States annual meeting. And this fall’s gathering—to be held at The Inn at Penn in Philadelphia on 4-6 October 2018—promises to be an especially memorable one.

Highlights are many. A presentation of outstanding undergraduate research, co-sponsored by Eta Sigma Phi. A book signing and panel organized by Kurt Raaflaub (Brown) to mark the publication of The Landmark Julius Caesar. The annual Clack Lecture, delivered by Emily Greenwood (Yale) on “What Thucydides Didn’t Write: Adventures on the Frontiers of World Literature and World History.” Plus workshops on developing race and ethnicity syllabi; the history of secondary school teaching in Classics; Gwendolyn Brooks‘ “The Anniad”; and two dozen additional panels and paper sessions. You can download the full listing of offerings here: CAAS_PROGRAM_FALL_2018.

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For Jonas Tai ’20, summer travel to Greece and Bulgaria on Rutgers Classics’ Ethel S. Cook Scholarship

Fragment of a statue excavated in Varna (Bulgaria). Credit (for this and all photos in this article): Jonas Tai

Jonas Tai is a junior in Rutgers’ School of Arts & Sciences, who impressively will graduate with three majors: Classics (Greek option), History (Ancient History & Classics option), and Medieval Studies. Here Jonas recounts how he spent this past summer in Greece (including Crete) and Bulgaria on two intense and intensely rewarding programs.

“With the help of Rutgers Classics’ Ethel S. Cook Travel Scholarship, I was able to fund my participation in two excellent summer programs: the Summer Session of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, and Late Antique archaeology in Bulgaria under the Balkan Heritage Foundation.

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Cook Travel Scholarship recipient Max DuBoff ’19 recounts summer ’18 at Goethe-Institut Berlin

The iconic quadriga atop Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, above scenes of the Centauromachy. Credit (for all images, unless otherwise noted): Max DuBoff

[Editor’s note: Rutgers’ Department of Classics holds an annual competition for its undergraduate and graduate students to receive one of several Ethyl S. Cook Scholarships, which support travel abroad for programs that specialize in fields relevant to classical studies. Here is the very welcome report of a recent recipient, Max DuBoff ’19, a member of the inaugural class of the Rutgers Honors College and a 2017/8 Lloyd C. Gardner Fellow who will graduate with a double major in Classics (Greek & Latin option) and Philosophy.]

“When I began to learn Latin, I felt like the language I had spoken my whole life suddenly made a whole lot more sense. I discovered roots behind common and uncommon words—I’ll never forget my first cognate, equus—and gained insight on the grammatical and linguistical development that helped shape English into the glorious hodgepodge it is.

Although I advanced greatly in my language learning in the interim, I experienced no similar wonderment for over half a decade, until this summer in Berlin, when I began to learn German at the Goethe-Institut with generous funding from the Ethel S. Cook Travel Scholarship program. I continually delighted in finding out which common English words derive from German; even though I knew abstractly that English is a Germanic language and that many of its grammatically integral words are from German, I simply did not understand German’s concrete influence on English. My new knowledge of German provided further color to my understanding of my native tongue as well as my other previous language learning.

The top of the classically inspired Triumph Arch opposite the New Palace in Sanssouci Park, Potsdam

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Rediscovering the “classical element” at NYC’s Rutgers Female Institute & College (1838-1895)

Official seal of the Rutgers Female Institute, featuring Revolutionary War personality Col. Henry Rutgers. From its 25th anniversary celebratory booklet (1864)

There is so much to admire in the new (2018) book The Douglass Century: Transformation of the Women’s College at Rutgers University, coauthored by Rutgers faculty members Kayo Denda (Libraries), Mary Hawkesworth (Women’s and Gender Studies), and Fernanda H. Perrone (Libraries), and published by Rutgers University Press. It is deeply researched, lucidly written, lavishly illustrated and wonderfully produced, and features more than a few narrative twists. In short, the volume marks an immensely engaging and indeed indispensable contribution to the history of women’s education in America.

For many readers, one startling item will leap out right at the beginning of the first chapter (pp. 4-6), the whole account of New York City’s Rutgers Female Institute. It was organized in 1838 with a bequest of three lots of land from the estate of Colonel Henry Rutgers—namesake of our university—and later (1867), with the introduction of a robust classics curriculum, transmuted into the Rutgers Female College. As such, it became the first institution in the city of New York where women could earn the degree of Bachelor of Arts—more than 20 years before the chartering of Hunter College and the founding of Barnard College.

First location of the Rutgers Female Institute (1839-1860), in NYC’s old Seventh Ward, in the lower east side of Manhattan. From the institution’s 3rd Circular (1841).

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Rewriting Rome from the outside in: Spotlight on Katheryn Whitcomb RU Classics PhD ’16

Philip the Tetrarch (4 BCE-34 CE) of Judaea, son of Herod the Great, pays homage to Augustus in 8/9 CE; the reverse depicts the Augusteum at Paneas. Credit: Heritage Auctions no. 3018 (2016) lot 20068

Ever since Katheryn Whitcomb (Rutgers Ph.D. 2016) earned an A.B. in Classical Languages at Bryn Mawr College, her work has managed to maintain an impressive balance between ancient literatures and history, texts and material culture, center and periphery. Her primary research focus eventually centered on non-Roman perceptions of Rome during the late Republic and early Empire.

This trajectory resulted in an ambitious Rutgers dissertation entitled “Allies, Avengers, and Antagonists: Rome’s Leading Men Through the Eyes of Ioudaioi”. What Katheryn compellingly conveys here is a complex and ever-shifting variety of local attitudes, with each thread in her narrative showing real development. In the end, she shows that even some generations after Pompey’s invasion and assault on the Temple in 63 BCE, one can hardly speak of universal resentment of Roman rule in Judaea. Continue reading