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Special Events: Spring 2007
MARCH 3-4, 2006, Columbia University
Translatio: Translation and Cultural Appropriation in the Ancient World

501 Schermerhorn

The conference will explore the dynamics in ancient scribal cultures that developed in symbiosis with an older, more authoritative reference culture. For the Assyro-Babylonian Empires, Ancient Rome, and Early Japan the written records of Sumer, Greece, and China provided precedents in lexicon, genre, and rhetorical sophistication. Elite cultural literacy was defined as the mastery of a biliterate cultural canon, written in Sumerian and Akkadian, in Greek and Latin, or Sino-Japanese and Japanese. Biliteracy went far beyond the linguistic mastery of two different idioms, encompassing thorough familiarity with religious beliefs, strategies of governance, uses of textuality, and models of self-representation appropriated from the reference culture. This conference will explore similarities and differences in the cultural dynamics of ancient multiliterate societies and hopes to initiate a more vivid dialogue between translation theorists and philologists.

For the conference program, please click here.

To view the poster for the conference, please click here.

For any inquiries please contact the organizers, David Damrosch ( and Wiebke Denecke (

Lunchtime Lectures: Spring 2006
Thursdays at Noon

All lectures are held in the Common Room on the second floor of the Heyman Center (except when noted otherwise,) which is located in the East Campus Residential Center of Columbia University. Lectures are free of charge and lunch is provided. 
February 2
Global Hierarchy and Comparative Critique: Bodies, Objects, and Values

 Michael Herzfeld
Harvard University

February 9
Acoustic Spectacle and Vernacular Aesthetics in the Chinese Martial-Arts Novel

 Paize Keulemans
Society of Fellows, Columbia University

February 16
The Political Landscapes of Archaic Greek Sicily

 Trinity Jackman
Society of Fellows, Columbia University

February 23
The Antisocial Profile: Cultural Pathologies and Moral Personalities in Greek Psychiatry

 Elizabeth Ann Davis
Society of Fellows, Columbia University

March 2
The Decapitated Head in Late-Imperial Chinese Literature

 Tina Lu
University of Pennsylvania

March 9
Loving Children: Greek Myths, Etruscan Mirrors, and the Issue of Orality

 Francesco de Angelis
Columbia University

March 23
Performing Panic: Methods for a Postdisciplinary Real

 Jackie Orr
Syracuse University

March 30
Collective Action in Greek Political Thought

 Josh Ober
Princeton University

April 6
Commodity Nationalism and the Lost Objects

 Bill Brown
University of Chicago


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