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Narrative, Cognition and Rhetoric: How narratives shape(d) ancient culture

From:We 20-04-2022
Until:We 01-06-2022
Where:Amsterdam, Oudemanhuispoort E2.12

OIKOS course offered by ACASA (UvA+VU)

Narrative, cognition and rhetoric: How narratives shape(d) ancient culture

Storytelling is an essential aspect of our lives as human beings. We constantly tell narratives in daily life, not least as a means of structuring our own experience, while narrative is also the most popular literary text-type, and historians avail themselves of narrative to present their reconstructions of the past – to mention only some obvious examples. Narrative has always been a topic of interest for literary critics and linguists, who have developed a refined set of tools for analysing its various forms. But recently other disciplines have started to pay attention to narrative aspects of their object of research, too. Scholars have shown how narrative has played a vital role in the evolution of mankind and the human ability to form and maintain complex societies. In Memory Studies narrative is regarded as perhaps the most important medium through which societies shape and remember collective experiences.

Classical antiquity offers rich opportunities to reflect on this ‘narrative turn’, and this course will offer an overview of the various ways in which narrativity is relevant to the disciplines assembled within OIKOS. Topics to be discussed include: how should we read Herodotus or Livy as historical source while taking into account their narrative shape, too? What story do the Parthenon frieze, Trajan’s column or depictions on coins want to tell? Can extreme experiences like war be properly represented in narrative? Is the medium the message, i.e. do oral, written, or visual narratives differ? What stories can landscapes tell? How do archaeologists construct narratives to make silent material remains ‘speak’? And what story-patterns underly modern scholarly publications on the ancient world?

Study load: 5 EC (6 EC for ACASA students, who do an additional assignment)

Intended for: ReMa and PhD students of OIKOS in the fields of Classics, Ancient Philosophy, Ancient History and Archaeology (15-20 participants). Some knowledge of Greek and Latin is recommended.

Lecturers: Rutger Allan (VU), Lidewij van Gils (UvA), Luuk Huitink (UvA).

Contact: Please, contact l.w.vangils to enroll in this course.

Number of sessions: 4 (3 x half day of class, 1 day oral presentations)

On offer: biannually, first offered in the spring semester of 2021-20221

Location: Amsterdam, Oudemanhuispoort E2.12

Programme 2022

• 20 April 2022: 13.00 - 17.00

• 11 May 2022: 13.00 - 17.00

• 25 May 2022: 13.00 - 17.00

• 1 June 2022: 13.00 - 17.00