Type of Event: International Workshop within the framework of the project “A partire da Ovidio”
Organisers: Cultural Association Rodopis and the Department of Humanities of the University of Urbino Carlo Bo
Location: Urbino, Italy
Dates: 30 November and 1 December 2017

Deadline for abstracts: 10 October 2017

On the occasion of the 2000th anniversary of Ovid’s death, the Cultural Association Rodopis and the Department of Humanities (Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici) of the University of Urbino Carlo Bo organise an International Workshop, titled “Metamorphosis: the Landslide of Identity”.

Nowadays the Metamorphoses are surely Ovid’s most renowned work: some of their characters entered contemporary imagery, became the focus of theoretical reflections, art and literary works. The tragedy encountered by Narcissus, Daphne, Hermaphroditus (just to mention a few examples) talks to readers and gets them deeply involved: it is the tragedy of the transformation in action, focusing on the very moment of being “no more” and “not yet”. In Ovid’s poetry we find the tragedy of the encounter with an alterity that becomes endemic while being refused, and the difficulty of leaving an originary shape to embrace a different one; this together with a constant tension to mutation, and to an evolution without conclusion. The incidents Ovid’s characters live push the readers to question their own identity, to wonder about what keeps them the same through space and time, and what stands as pledge of their non-renounceable essence. On the other hand, they stand there to question the possibility of dismissing and forgetting their own self, in order to become something else.

The problem tackled by Ovid in poetical terms is the same with which many fields in the Humanities and Social Sciences (from history to anthropology, from psychology to sociology) have struggled, constituting one of the major philosophical questions from the XVII century onwards. The XX century has put an end to (or at least eclipsed) the “strong” or essentialist conceptions of “identity”, and left the floor to “weak” interpretations of the term, aiming at including in such an intrinsically static concept the categories of change and relationality, space and time. Finally, some scholars proposed a full obliteration of “identity” (intended as a category of analysis) from the scientific and scholarly discourse, in the light of the inevitable ambiguity of the notion itself. The reflection on “transformation” widens the field of investigation to the relationships between identity and alterity, the very instant of passing from one shape to the other, and the possibility that this change may affect one’s very essence. It puts into question the very existence of an immutable essence and its features, the assumed necessity of maintaining or dismissing it, in an ongoing dialectic which interprets the “origins” as either roots or chains.

This Workshop aims at taking inspiration from Ovid’s work in order to stimulate an interdisciplinary dialogue on the notion of “metamorphosis”, and on the relationship between identity and alterity. Abstracts may concern different disciplines (such as ancient and modern literatures, philosophy, sociology, anthropology, psychology), and tackle the envisaged issues both in individual and collective terms.

Proposals may concern (but do not have to be limited to) artistic and literary expressions of transformation; issues linked to the identity/alterity relationship in specific political and social contexts; anthropological or ethnographic case-studies concerning the encounter of different cultures or populations (with a particular focus on hybridization phenomena or the origin of “frontier-cultures”); the definition of personal identity through the relationship with the “other”. We also encourage papers presenting a purely methodological and epistemological approach, taking into account the theoretical issues connected to the concept of metamorphosis.

Official languages of the Workshop will be Italian and English. Each paper should be planned for a 20 minutes presentation.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Prof. Francesco Remotti (University di Torino – Italy); Prof. Massimo Fusillo (University of L’Aquila – Italy). On November, 30th, speakers will be invited to assist to the performance Metamorfosi, by Debora Pradarelli and Giulietta Gheller.

PhD Students and Early Career Researchers are invited to submit an anonymous abstract of maximum 300 words to rodopismetamorphosis2017@gmail.com, by October, 10th 2017. The paper selection will be carried out in the following two weeks.

The Workshop is part of the project “A partire da Ovidio”. For more information: http://www.rodopis.it/2017/06/05/a-partire-da-ovidio/