Mapping Latin Cosmopolitanism

Autumn Workshop

Date: 4 December 2018
Location: Ghent University, Faculty room (1st floor)
Download the programme and abstracts here.


  • Christoph Pieper (Leiden University): Cicero as Subject and Object of Cosmopolitan Ideas through the Ages
  • Cristiana Sogno (Fordham University): Cosmopolitanism in Late Latin Literature
  • Jürgen Leonhardt (University of Tübingen): International Language, International Authors and International Books. Integrating and Disintegrating Ways in European Universities
  • Karl Enenkel (University of Münster) will respond to the papers


The workshop will be devoted to the concept of cosmopolitanism and what it can offer the study of Latin as a European language. How has the concept been interpreted before, in the discourses of history, philosophy, and cultural studies, and how can we shift its course in order to make it more valuable for the study of European historical literature and the role of Latin in it?

The first step would be to retrace the footsteps of ‘cosmopolitanism’ across disciplines and national traditions. Firstly, we want to ask where cosmopolitanism crossed paths with other terminology that is used to denote ideas of crossing and transcending borders in literature: the Republic of Letters, literature that is global/glocal, pan-European or transnational, bi- or multilingual, born-translated, comparative, etc… Secondly, we want to assess if and how the journey through this web of other concepts has transformed the concept of cosmopolitanism.

The second step would be to explore how we can make use of the concept to gain a better understanding of how Latin literature has functioned throughout the ages as an important presence in the landscape of European literature. How can we develop the concept to make it dynamic and workable for historical literature in all its facets: authors (their language, their identity, their project, their life,…), texts (their language, their style, their generic features,…), readers (their communities, their geography, their habits,…), etc. At the same time, how do we take into account the influence of our own academic background and practices (our institutional identity of Latinists, classicists, medievalists, or Neo-classicists; the history of our disciplines)? In line with the central aim of our new research group RELICS, namely to cross boundaries traditionally set out by academia, the workshop wants to work towards conceptualising cosmopolitanism anew for the study of European historical literatures.

This workshop will be the autumn workshop of 2018 in a planned bi-annual series of workshop organised by the recently established research group RELICS (Researchers of European Literary Identities, Cosmopolitanism, and the Schools). It is our aim to organise the spring and autumn workshops of each year around the same theme, which will be discussed more generally in the first part and then focus on the role of Latin in the European literary landscape in the second part.

More information on the past, related workshop: ‘Mapping Cosmopolitanism’.

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