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Ancient World Graduate Workshop Series (AWGWS)

11/17/2020 @ 5:00 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

One event on 11/17/2020 at 5:00pm

The Society for Ancient Studies (SAS) and the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World Student Council (ISAW-SC) are delighted to announce a joint initiative aimed at connecting graduate students across NYC, who are working on topics in the ancient world through a new Ancient World Graduate Workshop Series (AWGWS). Faced with new physical distancing protocols and building access restrictions that would have seemed unfathomable in bygone semesters, a unique challenge that graduate students in the age of Covid face involves finding new ways to maintain what is arguably one of the hallmarks of higher education: an active and engaging graduate community. Now more so than ever is the time to find proactive ways of connecting with each other. The AWGWS aims to do just this. The series will offer graduate students an opportunity to present their work in an informal virtual setting (via Zoom), to benefit from peer discussion and feedback, and to connect with members of other NYC institutes and universities. Faculty, postdocs, and undergraduates are welcome to tune in and join the discussion, though presentations will be reserved for graduate students (MA or PhD).

Fall 2020 Events Schedule:

Tues. Oct. 20th, 5:00pm EST – Inaugural AWGWS Meeting


Registration available HERE.

*Please note that this series is not suitable for the general public. Registration is restricted to academic participants. Undergrads, graduates, postdocs, & faculty are welcome.



  1. Noam Cohen (NYU, Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies)

    How to Talk about Domestic Abuse in Old Babylonian

Despite growing scholarly interest in violence against women in the Ancient Near East, domestic abuse in the ANE has been little studied. Any discussion of this subject must be careful to distinguish modern definitions of domestic abuse from ancient ones (whether attested or reconstructed). Certain behavior, such as a man punishing his wife by cutting off her ears, is shockingly abusive in the modern sense, but in the context of the Middle Assyrian Laws is the legally required outcome in certain cases. This study, focusing on the Old Babylonian period, will demonstrate that we can speak of native conceptions of domestic abuse in the ANE, at least in limited contexts. The verb buzzu’um (among others to be discussed) is used frequently in the OB period to refer to behavior best translated as abuse and is attested in marriage contexts. The textual evidence for domestic abuse includes letters written by women (from Mari and Qaṭṭara) and legal documents (a Nippur trial record and possibly the Laws of Hammurabi). Together, these texts demonstrate that there were multiple ways in Old Babylonian to refer to spousal violence.


  1. Rebekah Rust (NYU, Department of Classics)

    Staging Shame: Conceptual Metaphor in Action in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon

Aeschylus’ poetic style is famous for its preponderance of metaphors, the Agamemnon arguably being the most famous example of this style. Metaphors involving Light/Darkness, Storm Winds, and Hunting, to name a few, are not merely aesthetic but are used conceptually to describe and visualize abstract or invisible qualities (Earp 1948, Scott 1966). Similarly, in recent studies on emotions, ancient and modern, scholars have shown how metaphor is not simply descriptive but essential for forming and expressing affective and evaluative concepts (Lakoff and Johnson 1980, Kövecses 2000 and 2020, Cairns 2016, et al.). Because emotions are in large part abstract psychological states, metaphors allow one to describe the unfamiliar or abstract with something more familiar or concrete. In emotions, this mapping often takes the form of a physiological symptom or physical gesture mapped onto the psychological. One example of this mapping in ancient Greek is how shame is described and conceptualized as a veil (Cairns 2016), a metaphor Aeschylus innovatively utilizes.

In this paper, I will show how Aeschylus visualizes the abstract concepts of ‘shame’ (αἰδώς) and ‘shamelessness’ (τὸ αἰσχρόν) by integrating an established Greek conceptual metaphor of the emotion, namely SHAME IS A VEIL, into the staging. In two passages, the sacrifice of Iphigeneia and Agamemnon’s famous disembarking from the chariot, fabric, which ought to be used for covering, is instead used aberrantly in acts of shamelessness. For example, rather than being veiled for her wedding and displaying the αἰδώς of a bride, Iphigeneia is unveiled (233, 238-40) in Agamemnon’s αἰσχρός sacrifice (222). Later on, rather than using robes for their proper function of covering or veiling, Agamemnon walks upon them (914-957), feeling αἰδώς but acting αἰσχρός. Aeschylus, by reversing the metaphor of shame to present its opposite –shamelessness – visually shows just how perverted both actions are. The incongruity between acts and intentions of αἰδώς and τὸ αἰσχρόν in both scenes shows just how disordered the House of Agamemnon is.

Tues. Nov. 17th, 5:00pm EST

Call for Papers open (see below)

Call for Papers: We are looking for graduate students of the ancient world who are excited about an aspect of their current research and would be willing to share it with their fellow students via Zoom. Preparing for an upcoming conference? Need to practice your online presentation skills? Struggling with a difficult chapter in your dissertation? This series is for you. The presentations should aim to be no more than 20 minutes followed by a 10 minute discussion (polished Powerpoint presentations are welcome but not required, though we recommend some form of visual content). The setting will be informal and accompanied by a virtual happy hour. Abstracts can be submitted through THIS FORM.


5:00 pm