A Classicist’s Guide
to Social Theory

We continue our 2011-2012 Colloquium on recent developments in social theory! Last semester we examined grand-scale approaches to cultural analysis in anthropology and sociology. This semester we turn to some of the latest trends that specialize in science, geography, and material culture. We want to discuss questions like these: Why do we draw a line between science and make-believe (continuing our discussion of discourse)? How do peoples create social spaces, and vice versa (continuing our discussion of praxis)? And, why would objects not be social (continuing our discussion on symbols)? This term’s colloquia promise a soupcon of the daring, a dash of the cutting-edge, and even a hint of the factical.

We seek to discuss whether and how these theoretical models may be of use for classicists. We will read and discuss a brief text by each author, along with a short passage by an ancient writer to which the author’s methodology might be profitably applied.

Everybody is cordially invited to participate in the Colloquium. Readings will be circulated in advance: these will include the relevant excerpt(s) (not exceeding 35 pages total), as well as an excerpt of an ancient texts (not exceeding 50 lines total). Additional contributions are encouraged. Lunch and refreshments will be served. Time: 12:00 PM. Location: PH 401.


February 10
Hacking on science and make-believe.
Reading from: The Emergence of Probability (2006).

March 9
Horden and Purcell on places and peoples.
Reading from: The Corrupting Sea (2000).

April 20
Knappett on objects and networks.
“Communities of things and objects: a spatial perspective” (2010).

Questions and suggestions:;

Ruins photo