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Nolan S. Epstein (Stanford), "Choral Orientations: spatial cognition & geopoetics in Pindar, ..."

May 16, 2019 - 10:45am to 11:45am
Bldg. 110, Rm. 112

This event is free and open to the public.

 Cognition theory describes the human experience of space as dynamic both in terms of the many scales at which we perceive places and landmarks, and in terms of the many orientations through which we organize locations and distances within such scales. This is also the case for the presentation of space in late choral poetry. Such dynamism may be detected in the songs’ construction of and interplay between different orientations within the visual and local scales of experience. Reading Pindar’s visual and didactic rhetoric reveals a poet who used imagery and performance to bring attention to, to comment on, and, in turn, to re-configure his audience’s act of spectatorship. A corpus-wide survey of language and narrative pertaining to activities and landscapes of inhabitation highlights a constant oscillation between the centrality of local experience and its participation in broad networks of outside locations. Respecting the dynamic, network-bound nature of real experience and memory is part of what made this celebratory and occasional poetry appealing and believable to diverse audiences. Such audiences should no longer be thought of on the paradigm of the ideally observant, aware, and in-the-moment spectatorship that performance studies typically assume. Nor, moreover, should they be considered fixed to one perspective on their local space so as to satisfy theories either of panhellenism or epichoricity. Choral Orientations is a study of the nuanced treatments of vision and locality in this corpus of archaic literature—one that provides a critical method to support future work both on larger, regional spaces, and on multiscalar and multimodal narratives.

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Department of Classics
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