Columbia University Ancient Mediterranean Graduate Student Conference The World Upside-Down: Absurdities, Inversions, and Alternate Realities November 1-2 2019
Columbia University Ancient Mediterranean Graduate Student Conference
The World Upside-Down: Absurdities, Inversions, and Alternate Realities
November 1-2 2019
Keynote Speaker: Patrick R. Crowley (University of Chicago)
This conference is dedicated to representations of alternate realities in ancient drama, painting, and sculpture, to disparate histories and archaeological evidence. Papers will address the motivations behind, and effects of, the absurd, inverted, and alternative and explore the relationships between fact and fiction, order and chaos.
In an era of ‘fake news’ and ‘alternative facts’ it can seem like no form of media should be entirely trusted. While these issues are a modern problem, exacerbated by the unprecedented rise of social media, evidence from the ancient world produces a similar ‘truthiness’: an upside-down world or alternate reality that is latent, barely below the surface of the present and just beyond the borders of civilization and norms. Unlike utopias, which are placeless or displaced, many of these imagined dystopic or feigned worlds are presented as dangerously close to their contemporaries.
1 (Friday) 9:00 pm - 2 (Saturday) 6:00 pm
Center for Science and Society & Columbia Center for Archaeology Maikel Kuijpers, Leiden University
Fayerweather Hall (Room 513), Columbia University
What do we consider valuable knowledge, and why? In this presentation, Professor Kujipers intends to explore the connections between craft, science, and technology through the notion of skill.
In the history of science and technology the question of how practice and knowledge are related is an interesting theoretical and analytical issue. In archaeology, it is also a very practical problem, because it is through science that knowledge about prehistoric crafts is generated. The talk starts by introducing the methodology of perceptive categories through which an empirical analysis of skill is achievable, taking European Bronze Age metalworking as a case study. Based on scientific data provided by the material sciences (in this case compositional and metallographic analyses of Early Bronze Age axes) the thresholds to categorize and interpret these data, and organize them in a chaîne opératoire, are centered on the human senses—and thus on metalworking as a craft. The subsequent detailed study of Early Bronze Age axes shows a remarkable variation of skill, forcing us to reconsider particular entrenched views on the Bronze Age economy and the role of metalworkers therein.
Having explored the relevance of skill in the past – or what craft was – Professor Kujipers jumps to the present in the last part of the presentation. Via his documentary The Future is Handmade we get an idea of what craft is, today. He ends with a provocative idea about what craft can be, in light of a more sustainable future.
Maikel H. G. Kuijpers is Assistant Professor of European prehistory at Leiden University. He holds a Ph.D. in archaeology and anthropology from Cambridge University. Specializing in the Bronze Age, his work concerns the formulation of knowledge over time, cognitive archaeology, craftsmanship, and skill.
Free and open to the public. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
(Thursday) 4:15 pm - 6:00 pm
Columbia University - 513 Fayerweather Hall
1180 Amsterdam Avenue, New York
Center for the Ancient Mediterranean Displaced Communities Workshop November 8 This workshop brings together an interdisciplinary assemblage
Center for the Ancient Mediterranean
Displaced Communities Workshop
This workshop brings together an interdisciplinary assemblage of scholars working on refugees, deportees, exiles, metics, and other displaced communities whose existence can be traced in the inscriptional and archaeological records. Talks and discussions will focus on the rich variety of cultural dynamics that occur when communities relocate or are uprooted and must forge a place for themselves in an entirely new social landscape. More information will be posted closer to the date.
Image shows prisoners deported from Lachish in the aftermath of Assyrian conquest.
Photograph by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg) – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=42128981
All Day (Friday)
Rockstone and Fire A documentary film of Jamaica's traditional built environment. Screening followed by a discussion with the Director. Friday November
Rockstone and Fire
A documentary film of Jamaica’s traditional built environment.
Screening followed by a discussion with the Director.
Friday November 22nd
202 Altschul, Barnard College
(Friday) 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Barnard College, 202 Altschul