Events Calendar

18 Mar
CANCELED: The Grammar of Being Human: Greek Grammar and American Slavery
Event Type

Lectures, Symposia, Etc.

Topic

Humanities

Target Audience

Faculty, Graduate Students

Tags

humanities, Humanities Center, humanities lecture

Website

https://www.humcenter.pitt.edu/

University Unit
Humanities Center
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CANCELED: The Grammar of Being Human: Greek Grammar and American Slavery

This event has been postponed until further notice.

The Humanities Center welcomes our Visiting Fellow Emily Greenwood (Yale University, Classics) for a lecture. 

Emily Greenwood studied Classics at Cambridge University, where she gained her BA, MPhil, and PhD degrees. After finishing her PhD she was a research fellow at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge (2000–2002), before joining the department of Classics at the University of St Andrews where she was lecturer in Greek from 2002–2008. She joined the Classics department at Yale in July 2009.

Her research interests include ancient Greek historiography, Greek prose literature of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, twentieth century classical receptions (especially uses of Classics in Africa, Britain, the Caribbean, and Greece), Classics and Postcolonialism, and the theory and practice of translating the ‘classics’ of Greek and Roman literature. She is more than happy to talk to students who are interested in working in any of these areas.

Abstract:

Aristotle’s discussion of slavery in Book 1 of the Politics is notorious for its theory of natural slavery (the idea that there are some human beings whose natures fits them for slavery). In the course of his discussion of the role of slavery in the domestic economy of the ancient Greek city, Aristotle makes the claim that “the slave is a kind of animate tool”. This lecture will analyze Aristotle’s language, to show how the grammar reveals the equivocation in his thought as he tries to get across the counter-human idea of a human being as a tool. In particular, the lecture will ask what it means to read this passage in the light of American history and literature, using the aesthetic criticism of Toni Morrison, Hortense Spillers, and Christina Sharpe to analyze the lazy metaphors of Aristotle’s racial imagination. This dialogue between modernity and antiquity gains additional significance from the fact that Aristotle’s linguistic choices in Book 1 of the Politics bear comparison with the strained grammar of American slave codes as they attempted to reconcile the counter-intuitive idea of human beings as property, and the fact that Aristotle’s metaphors were adopted by pro-slavery advocates in the decades prior to the civil war.

Wednesday, March 18 at 4:00 p.m.

Humanities Center, 602
Fifth Avenue at Bigelow, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

CANCELED: The Grammar of Being Human: Greek Grammar and American Slavery

This event has been postponed until further notice.

The Humanities Center welcomes our Visiting Fellow Emily Greenwood (Yale University, Classics) for a lecture. 

Emily Greenwood studied Classics at Cambridge University, where she gained her BA, MPhil, and PhD degrees. After finishing her PhD she was a research fellow at St Catharine’s College, Cambridge (2000–2002), before joining the department of Classics at the University of St Andrews where she was lecturer in Greek from 2002–2008. She joined the Classics department at Yale in July 2009.

Her research interests include ancient Greek historiography, Greek prose literature of the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, twentieth century classical receptions (especially uses of Classics in Africa, Britain, the Caribbean, and Greece), Classics and Postcolonialism, and the theory and practice of translating the ‘classics’ of Greek and Roman literature. She is more than happy to talk to students who are interested in working in any of these areas.

Abstract:

Aristotle’s discussion of slavery in Book 1 of the Politics is notorious for its theory of natural slavery (the idea that there are some human beings whose natures fits them for slavery). In the course of his discussion of the role of slavery in the domestic economy of the ancient Greek city, Aristotle makes the claim that “the slave is a kind of animate tool”. This lecture will analyze Aristotle’s language, to show how the grammar reveals the equivocation in his thought as he tries to get across the counter-human idea of a human being as a tool. In particular, the lecture will ask what it means to read this passage in the light of American history and literature, using the aesthetic criticism of Toni Morrison, Hortense Spillers, and Christina Sharpe to analyze the lazy metaphors of Aristotle’s racial imagination. This dialogue between modernity and antiquity gains additional significance from the fact that Aristotle’s linguistic choices in Book 1 of the Politics bear comparison with the strained grammar of American slave codes as they attempted to reconcile the counter-intuitive idea of human beings as property, and the fact that Aristotle’s metaphors were adopted by pro-slavery advocates in the decades prior to the civil war.

Wednesday, March 18 at 4:00 p.m.

Humanities Center, 602
Fifth Avenue at Bigelow, Pittsburgh, PA 15260

Topic

Humanities

Target Audience

Faculty, Graduate Students

University Unit
Humanities Center