These are the signature seminars offered by the Graduate Group. They are listed below, most recent first.
For regular seminars in all three Graduate Group departments, please click on the button to the right.
GSEM 638: Death & Beyond-Ancient Greece and China
Radcliffe Edmonds (Classics) & Shiamin Kwa (East Asian Studies)
GSEM 621: Encounters
Peter Magee (Archaeology) & Ignacio Gallup-Diaz (History)
GSEM 622: Video Art and Temporality
Homay King (Film Studies) & Hoang Nguyen (English)
GSEM 654: War & Peace
Annette Baertschi (Classics) & Astrid Lindenlauf (Archaeology)
GSem 620: Carthage: The View from Elsewhere
Alicia Walker (History of Art) & Catherine Conybeare (Classics)
GSem 657 Curatorial Issues
Emily Croll (Curator and Academic Liaison for Arts and Artifacts)
This seminar will examine a broad range of issues related to contemporary curatorial practice. Guest scholars, curators, and faculty members will lead discussions on topics that will include cultural patrimony and repatriation of collections; history of collections; race, gender, and sexuality in curatorial practice; display of cultural and sacred objects; exhibition of performance art and new media; interpretation and pedagogy; conservation; and new technologies for curatorship. The seminar is intended to provide graduate students with the theoretical and conceptual background for curatorial work with art, archaeology, and history collections. Students will consider the role of the curator as not just guardian, but translator, transformer, and innovator
GSem 654 War and Peace in the Ancient World
Annette M. Baertschi (Classics) and Astrid Lindenlauf (Archaeology)
For centuries history has been perceived, written and taught as a series of wars and periods of peace. Yet, the question remains: what does it mean when a city, a state or a nation is at war, and how do different cultures and societies conceptualize peace? This interdisciplinary seminar explores theories and practices of war and peace in the ancient world, examining the archaeological, epigraphic, and literary evidence. The archaeology of warfare will include battlefields, fortifications, arms and weapons, siege machines, war memorials, funerary monuments as well as the iconography of victors and victims. The literary sources that we will be reading, among them the Homeric epics, select passages from Greek and Roman historiography, philosophical and rhetorical works and ancient handbooks and manuals of warfare, will shed light on the recording of conflicts, the conduct of war, notions of power and peace, the depiction of leaders, the representation of violence, and strategies of commemoration. Investigating bodies of evidence, which are normally studied separately and within specific disciplinary formations, we aim to challenge the entrenched oppositions between archaeology, philology, and history and to engage in a discourse about the complex and changing conceptualizations of war and peace in the ancient world.We plan to have several guest lecturers. Students participating in this seminar will be expected to give oral presentations and to develop their special areas of interests in their research projects applying a variety of methods. No previous classics or archaeology training is required.
GSem 655 Spolia
Dale Kinney (History of Art)
This seminar will focus on the problem of theorizing spolia, in particular through the conceptualization of spolia as a distinctive form of appropriation and attention to the differences between appropriation and reuse. Guest speakers will offer a variety of perspectives and expertise. Research topics may be in any field from antiquity through postmodernism. Especially for those working in earlier eras, reading knowledge of Italian and/or German will be helpful.
R. Edmonds (Classics) & M. Ataç (Archaeology)
The question of what happens after the moment of death has always fascinated humanity - at one moment there is a living person, the next only a corpse; where did the person go? Every culture struggles with these questions of death and afterlife - what does it mean to die and what happens after death? This seminar will examine a variety of types of evidence - archaeological, poetic, and philosophical - to uncover ideas of death and afterlife in some of the cultures of the ancient Mediterranean world, with particular attention to the similarities and differences between ideas of death and beyond in the cultures of Greece, Egypt, and Mesopotamia. Van Gennep's model of death as a rite de passage provides the basic structure for the class, which is divided into three sections, each concerned with one section of the transition: Dying - leaving the world of the living; Liminality - the transition between the worlds; and Afterlife - existence after death. This anthropological model allows us to analyze the different discourses about death and afterlife.
C. Hertel (History of Art) & I. Meyer (German)
The interests of this interdisciplinary seminar are situated at the juncture of gender, race, nation, and history in narratives of modernity. Gender and race are deeply embedded in these narratives, and yet they remain blind spots in the story Western modernity tells about itself. Gender and race can function as foundational categories in modern notions of nation precisely because their working mechanisms remain concealed in the tales and art works modernity fashions to make sense of itself. The seeming universality of modernist master narratives is bought at the expense of repressing the particularities upon which the narratives hinge. We are interested in the points at which this repression breaks down and where modernity’s story loses its cohesion. When the smooth façade of grand narratives—presented in the form of literature, art works, or philosophical or scientific discourse—begins to crack, the structures used to prop it up are revealed. Thus, our seminar will focus on Viennese Modernism, a culture that emerges against the backdrop of a weakened empire whose fractured state is mirrored in both this culture’s forms and its contents.
D. Kinney (History of Art) & R. Scott (Classics)
An introduction to the topography and monuments of the ancient City, their medieval disappearance or transformation, and their archaeological rediscovery beginning in the 15th century. Discussion of the many modes of representing the (lost or mythical) City in literature, maps, and material and virtual reconstruction. The renowned poet Richard Wilbur (http://slate.com/id/2110115/) will visit with the class in October. Prof. Bernard Frischer (http://www.virginia.edu/insideuva/2005/05/frischer.html) will also visit the seminar to discuss the "virtual Rome" of which he is a principal author.
L. Saltzman (History of Art) and M. Kale (History)
The seminar will begin by establishing the categories of history and memory, as they have been constituted across the humanistic disciplines, defining and refining the epistemological and ontological distinctions between the two. Readings will be drawn first from the writings of Nietzsche and Freud and then move to the work of Barthes, Caruth, Connerton, Foucault, Guha, Gundaker, La Capra, Margolit, Nora, Sebald, Todorov, and Yerushalmi. Once a grounding context is established, the second half of the seminar will be organized around a set of categories, ranging from the material to the theoretical, through which we will continue our explorations in history and memory, among them, the following: trauma, witness, archive, document, evidence, monument, memorial, relic, trace. It is here that we would each draw specifically on our own disciplinary formations and call upon students to do the same. The seminar would, of course, be open to all students in the Graduate Group.
J. Wright (Archaeology) and C. Hein (Cities)
Political, economic, religious and cultural forces govern cities. These powers and their desires translate into the form and function of public spaces. This interdisciplinary graduate seminar first examines public space from a theoretical perspective. It will then investigate case studies throughout history and across the world. Finally, it will concentrate in depth on specific Greek and modern cities. Students will be develop their special area of interest in their research projects.
R. Hamilton (Classics), Ataç (Archaeology) and D. Kinney (History of Art)
This seminar explored the post-Panofsky universe of iconography and semiotics through concentrated case studies in different cultures and disciplines. Participants will do one or more projects that test the utility of these methods in their own fields. Professor Oleg Grabar (Emeritus, Institute for Advanced Study) will visit the seminar twice as respondent to these projects.
J. Gaisser (Classics), D.Cast (History of Art)
Topics considered include: reception theory, imitation theory, rediscovery of classical art, architecture, and texts, textual transmission, reuse of ancient works and materials, literary and artistic imitation of ancient works, and translation of ancient works into later languages and settings.
C. Conybeare (Classics) and H. King (History of Art)
The Western imaginary is preoccupied with death. image According to dominant philosophical, political, and theological ways of thinking, death is the endpoint that gives life meaning, structure, and value. Recent feminist scholarship, however, has shown that this view of life has its source in long-held masculinist presuppositions. These scholars have suggested that we turn instead to birth. How might birth serve as a new structuring metaphor for living, thinking, and creating? What is lost, when meaning is seen to originate with endings rather than beginnings? What changes would arise, were we to privilege "becoming" and transformation over "being" and identity? What might an ethics of natality, as opposed to a Heideggerian ethics of being-towards-death, look like - and what effects might such an ethic have upon current socio-political thought and global policy? This course addresses these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective, drawing upon a wide range of materials: canonical texts of Western philosophy (Plato), landmark essays in feminist philosophy and theory (Arendt, Irigaray), films of the Hollywood Renaissance (Altman), and contemporary scholarship (Jantzen). No previous classics or film training required.