Plutarch and Emotions
CFP: Plutarch and Emotions
University of Hamburg, 13th-14th September 2023
It has been more than twenty years since classical scholars have turned their attention to the study of the emotions of the Greeks and Romans, resorting to an interdisciplinary methodological framework that combines insights from the more traditional fields of literary studies, textual criticism, ancient history, archaeology, papyrology, with the new impulses provided by the neurosciences, social linguistics, communication theories and psychology. Several studies (e.g. A. Chaniotis, Unveiling Emotions 1, 2 and 3, Stuttgart 2012, 2013, 2021; D. Cairns, A Cultural History of the Emotions. 1, In Antiquity, London/New York 2019; D. Konstan, The Emotions of the Ancient Greeks: Studies in Aristotle and Classical Literature, Toronto 2006) led to a better understanding of the ways the Greeks and the Romans expressed their anger, their fear, their love, etc., within various contexts, whether literary, performative or social. Thus, they managed to refine significantly our understanding of the conceptualisation of emotions as well as the importance ascribed to them in different social fields in the ancient world – one may think, for example, of the social and political contexts, in which emotions such as shame or anger should or should not find expression.
So far, only selective attention has been devoted to Plutarch’s corpus, despite its potential for deepening even more our understanding of emotions in the ancient world: the corpus of the surviving works of Plutarch that has come down to us is not only exceptionally voluminous, covering many different literary genres and types of texts, but it also deals with questions resulting from the everlasting conflict between one's reason and one's desires and emotions. Plutarch’s reflection about the importance of emotions in forming one’s own character allows for a broad spectrum of approaches, while it offers at the same time a broad field of application, be it from ethics and politics, or the right way to read poetry or the appropriate attitude towards the divine, but also the impact of the control of emotions on social behaviour and their relation to the ideal paideia. The literary characterisation of emotions also proves crucial in determining the interactions between the characters in the dialogues and represents a significant narrative element in Plutarch’s works.
The German Section of the International Plutarch Society (IPS) in co-operation with the Departments of Theology and Ancient History of the University of Hamburg wishes to address the subject of Plutarch and emotions through an international workshop, which is going to be held in Hamburg on 13th-14th September 2023. The present call is directed at scholars of Plutarch regardless of their stage of experience (PhD students and Early Career Researchers are encouraged to submit an abstract), whether focusing on the Lives or the Moralia. However, contributions dealing with emotions which include other authors from Plutarch’s time are also welcome; interdisciplinary approaches (philology, philosophy, ancient history, psychology, social and communication studies) are also encouraged. The aim of the envisaged workshop is to deepen our understanding of Plutarch’s conceptualisation of emotions, their literary functions and the social issues involved.
Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:
(Re-)Conceptualisation of emotions
Functions of emotions in literary/narrative contexts
Paideia, virtue and control of emotions
Emotions and politics (including gender and ethnicity)
Emotions and poetry
Emotions and rhetoric
Emotions and their cognitive and psychological implications
The 30-minute papers will each be followed by 15-minute discussions.
Papers in German or English are welcome.
Keynote speaker will be Professor Douglas Cairns (University of Edinburgh).
The organising committee
Anna Ginestí Rosell, Justine Diemke, Felix John, Francesco Padovani, Theofanis Tsiampokalos.