Upcoming Lecture: Ancient Roman Visual Humor in its Social and Archaeological Contexts

Ancient Roman Visual Humor in its Social and Archaeological Contexts
Speaker: John R. Clarke, University of Texas at Austin
November 7, 2013, 6pm
ASU Tempe Campus
Murdock Hall 101

The ancient Romans, much like us moderns, valued humor, whether as a social safety valve, an oratorical tool, or just for the fun of it. Yet because humor is so rooted in its specific culture, most Roman comic visual representations remain opaque to the modern viewer. This lecture examines a broad range of objects, from wall paintings to ceramics, emphasizing the context of the built environment and the social status of viewers. Archaeological sites, as well as a range of ancient texts, inscriptions, and graffiti, provide the background for understanding the how and why of humorous imagery.

John R. Clarke earned his doctorate in ancient art history at Yale University in 1973. He has taught at the University of Texas at Austin since 1980, where he holds the title of Annie Laurie Howard Regents Professor in the Department of Art and Art History. His teaching, research, and publications focus on ancient Roman art and archaeology, art-historical methodology, and contemporary art. Clarke has seven books and over 100 essays, articles, and reviews to his credit, His early work investigated the architectural and social contexts surrounding the production and perception of Roman mosaics and wall painting, with an emphasis on Roman Italy. During the past fifteen years he has focused on how visual representations can shed light on ancient Roman attitudes toward the practices of everyday life. His 1998 book, Looking at Lovemaking, rethinks erotic art in Roman terms. Art in the Lives of Ordinary Romans (2004) examines non-elite art in its lived context. In 2007 he published a scholarly book, entitled Looking at Laughter, on visual humor. In the same year Roman Life appeared, a richly-illustrated book for laypersons accompanied by an interactive CD-ROM. Since 2006 he has directed the Oplontis Project, a multidisciplinary study aimed at the publication of two ancient Roman villas buried by Vesuvius (www.oplontisproject.org). Volume one, Oplontis Villa A (“of Poppaea”) at Torre Annunziata, Italy: The Ancient Setting and Modern Rediscovery, is slated to appear this year as an open-access, born-digital e-book in the Humanities E-Book series of the American Council of Learned Societies.

Sponsored by Project Humanities and the ASU School of International Letters and Cultures

For a printable PDF flyer for this lecture, click here: Clarke Flyer

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Upcoming Lecture: Closer than We Know: Comparing the Rock Art of Australia and North America

Closer than We Know: Comparing the Rock Art of Australia and North America
Speaker: David Lee
October 24, 2013, 6pm
Deer Valley Rock Art Center
3711 W. Deer Valley Road, Phoenix, AZ

Both Australia and the New World were originally colonized by people who brought with them rich spiritual and symbolic systems. These people successfully adapted to major environmental changes, and these adaptations may be reflected in the paintings and engravings they left on cliff faces and on shelter walls. Despite being a world apart, there are a surprising number of parallels in the production, evolution, and context of rock art on the two continents. Viewing rock art with a global perspective highlights both the similarities and the differences of people surviving under similar circumstances. This lecture will investigate the rock art of both continents, focusing on environmental and cultural context, ethnography, and current research trends.

David Lee is an independent rock art researcher, focusing on the function and context of Native American rock art in the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert. He is a founding member of Western Rock Art Research, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study and management of rock art. He has documented rock art in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Idaho and Australia, and has co-authored several papers and reports on the Mojave Desert, eastern California, and Australia. For the last seven years he has been documenting rock art and associated traditional stories in northern Australia.

Sponsored by Project Humanities and the ASU School of International Letters and Cultures

For a printable PDF flyer for this lecture, click here: Lee Flyer

For a printable PDF parking map for this lecture, click here: Lee Parking Map

Upcoming Lecture: Athens Under Roman Domination

Athens Under Roman Domination
Speaker: Michael Hoff, Professor of Art History at University of Nebraska—Lincoln
September 19, 2013, 6pm
ASU Tempe Campus
Life Sciences Building E Wing, Room 104

Few cities of the ancient world can rival Athens’ rich array of cultural splendors. Monuments such as the Parthenon, Erechtheion, and Theater of Dionysos (to name only a few) serve as visual reminders of Athens’ glory during the Classical Age. But scholars have neglected the era in Athenian history when Rome held dominion over all of Greece and the “Golden Age” of Athens was long passed. The Romans heavily patronized the city with endowments of magnificent buildings and monuments that outwardly reflect and honor Athens’ past glory, yet also readily testify to Roman domination. Considering the heavy debt the Romans owed to Greece with respect to their own art and culture, it is curious to note the Roman contributions to Athenian art and architecture.

This talk traces the topographical and architectural changes Athens underwent during the formative period of Roman control, which occurred during the late Hellenistic period and to the mid-first century AD. There is a particular emphasis on the role Augustus played in the civic transformation based on research by the lecturer. Monuments to be discussed include the Parthenon, Agora, Temple of Roma and Augustus, Roman Market, and others.

Michael Hoff specializes in Greek and Roman archaeology, particularly of Asia Minor in Turkey where he has conducts research. From 1997 to 2004, Hoff co-directed the architectural survey team of the Rough Cilicia Archaeological Survey Project that documented newly-discovered ancient Roman sites in Turkey. Since 2005, Hoff serves as Project Director for the large-scale excavations of the ancient Roman city of Antiochia ad Cragum on the south coast of Turkey. This project is conducted within a consortium of universities including UNL, Clark University in Massachusetts, and Ataturk University in Erzurum, Turkey. Hoff has excavated previously at Athenian Agora, Corinth, Crete, and at the Sanctuary of Zeus at Nemea, Greece. Hoff also conducts research on the history and topography of Roman Athens. Hoff has authored many articles in international journals and has co-edited several books. His latest publication is Rough Cilicia: New Historical and Archaeological Approaches, was published by Oxbow Press in 2013 and co-edited with Rhys Townsend. Hoff also is one of the leading lecturers with the Archaeological Institute of America and has delivered lectures on his research at over 30 colleges, universities, and archaeological societies throughout North America. Professor Hoff received his AB from the University of Missouri, MA from Florida State University, and Ph.D. from Boston University. Hoff joined the UNL faculty in 1989. In addition to his many courses in classical archaeology, Hoff offers study tours to Greece as well as archaeological fieldwork opportunities in Turkey.

Sponsored by Project Humanities and the ASU School of International Letters and Cultures

For a printable PDF flyer for this lecture, click here: Hoff Flyer

For a printable PDF parking map for this lecture, click here: Hoff Parking Map