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Shame and virtue in Antiquity

Honte et vertu dans l'Antiquité

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Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2019 by Anastasia Giardinelli

Summary

Shame is a fundamental social emotion in Mediterranean cultures, which (still nowadays) place a strong and structuring value on honour, and ancient literature bears its mark. From the outset, it is also an ambivalent emotion, with contrasting faces, as evidenced by the semantic differences and overlaps of the doublet αἰσχύνη/αἰδώς. The historical field targeted by the scientific committee of the colloquium is broad, where existing studies preferentially focus on archaic poetic texts (Homer, tragic poets) and on classical authors, Plato and especially Aristotle. The conference Shame and Virtue proposes, from and beyond this period, to extend the investigation to Hellenistic schools, the Roman world and ancient Christianity. In this field, which articulates various types of pluralism (historical, political, linguistic, religious), the papers presented will help to explore the ambivalent relationship between shame and virtue in antiquity.ng

Announcement

Aix Marseille University and the research teams Center Gilles Gaston Granger (UMR 7304) and Center Paul-Albert Février (CPAF TDMAM UMR 7297) are organizing an international conference on Shame and Virtue in Antiquity, June 15th to 17th, 2020, Aix-en-Provence, France.

Argument

Moral philosophy is nowadays marked by an interest in questions of psychology and anthropology of behaviour, and in the ethics of virtues rather than in the ethics of duties. This context has brought to the forefront the issue of emotions. The dominant paradigm is no longer an opposition between reason and desires or passions, but a complex interaction between the normative and rational principles of action and the emotions of the moral agent. Emotions are understood not as obstacles or disturbances to the morality of behaviour, but as factors that play a positive and driving role in this respect. 

In ancient philosophy, this turning point is reflected in the rise of studies devoted to emotions, feelings and passions in the ethical and social register. Major works in this area include those of Douglas Cairns (1993) and Bernard Williams (1994) on shame,  William Harris (2004) on anger, and David Konstan on fear, pity or hate (2006). All these feelings have a clear moral dimension, which is developed within an anthropology whose central subject is a social individual, a member of a community constituted by a sharing of values and beliefs, source of both norms and expectations. As a result, these emotional states have an ambivalent relationship with morally right or virtuous behaviour.

The conference Shame and Virtue in Antiquity aims to question this ambivalence by focusing on shame, an emotion that is particularly rich in this respect. Shame is a fundamental social emotion in Mediterranean cultures, which (still nowadays) place a strong and structuring value on honour, and ancient literature bears its mark. From the outset, it is also an ambivalent emotion, with contrasting faces, as evidenced by the semantic differences and overlaps of the doublet αἰσχύνη/αἰδώς. The historical field targeted by the scientific committee of the colloquium is broad, where existing studies preferentially focus on archaic poetic texts (Homer, tragic poets) and on classical authors, Plato and especially Aristotle. The conference Shame and Virtue proposes, from and beyond this period, to extend the investigation to Hellenistic schools, the Roman world and ancient Christianity. In this field, which articulates various types of pluralism (historical, political, linguistic, religious), the papers presented will help to explore the ambivalent relationship between shame and virtue in antiquity.

Keynote speakers

  • Douglas Cairns (University of Edinburgh)
  • Christopher Gill (University of Exeter)
  • Carlos Lévy (Université Paris-Sorbonne)

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts of no more than 500 words are to be submitted in English or French. Please send your proposal and a short bio-bibliography to :

isabelle.koch@univ-amu.fr and anne.balansard@univ-amu.fr

no later than December 31st, 2019

Authors will be notified of acceptance by January 31st, 2020.

Organizing Committee

  • Anne Balansard, Professeur de Langue et littérature grecques, CPAF (TDMAM) UMR 7297
  • Isabelle Koch Maître de conférences HDR de Philosophie, CGGG, UMR 7304

Scientific Committee

  • Anne Balansard, CPAF (TDMAM), AMU 
  • Angelo Giavatto, CAPHI, Nantes/IUF
  • Frédérique Ildefonse, CNRS
  • Isabelle Koch, CGGG, AMU
  • Sabine Luciani, CPAF (TDMAM), AMU 
  • Moacyr Novaes, USP, Brésil

Additional informations 

Reading time for each paper is 30 minutes, including 10 minutes for the discussion.

Conference fees are 30 €.

Conference fees cover coffee breaks, lunch, and dinner.

We will not be able to provide funding for travel and accommodation.

Places

  • Maison de la Recherche - Centre Schuman, 29 Avenue Robert Schuman, 13100 Aix-en-Provence
    Aix-en-Provence, France (13)

Date(s)

  • Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Keywords

  • Honte, Vertu, Antiquité, Philosophie, Honneur, Émotions, Face

Contact(s)

  • Isabelle Koch
    courriel : isabelle [dot] koch [at] univ-amu [dot] fr
  • Anne Balansard
    courriel : anne [dot] balansard [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

Information source

  • Anne Balansard
    courriel : anne [dot] balansard [at] univ-amu [dot] fr

To cite this announcement

« Shame and virtue in Antiquity », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, November 26, 2019, https://calenda.org/708841

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