A Thanksgiving Conference on
Empedocles in Sicily
Syracuse, Sicily, 20-23 November, 2023
With a post-conference excursion to Agrigento, November 24-25
Empedocles of Akragas (modern Agrigento) is arguably Sicily’s most important Greek intellectual. He is considered not only an influential philosopher, but also a poet, an orator, a doctor, and even a god. He was active in local politics, an enemy of the aristocracy despite his noble birth, and who may have been exiled for this reason. One of the many legends about Empedocles says he died on Mount Etna after throwing himself into a crater. As a philosopher, Empedocles focused on reality, tracing it to the composition and decomposition of four immutable elements: water, air, fire and earth, which are moved by two opposing forces, Love and Hate. The strong religious inspiration of his thought is manifest in the doctrine of metempsychosis and in the belief that cosmic events constitute a process of expiation and purification. Meanwhile, the discovery in 1990 of some Empedoclean verses in a papyrus (P. Strasb. Gr. Inv. 1665-1666) has further enriched the important yet mysterious image of this great Sicilian. This conference will bring scholars from a variety of disciplines to Siracusa to discuss Empedocles the man, his work, and the work of those he inspired, with special attention to their connection with Sicily.
The event will take place at the Exedra Mediterranean Center, adjacent to the Piazza Duomo in Ortigia, the ancient heart of Syracuse. It will include academic presentations, visits to the Neapolis archeological park and Paolo Orsi museum, and a post-conference excursion to the archaeological site and museum of ancient Akragas. We will also enjoy traditional Sicilian hospitality with group dinners and catered lunches featuring local specialties, plus an American style Thanksgiving dinner (with families invited) Thursday evening.
The official languages of the conference are English and Italian. Proposals for presentations related to any aspect of the life and work of Empedocles are welcome. Abstracts for papers should be 200-300 words in length, prepared for blind review, and saved in .docx or .rtf. They should include a title, but no footnotes or references. Evaluation criteria include quality, relevance to the conference theme, and relevance to the heritage of Sicily and Southern Italy. Presentation times range from 20 minutes for individual papers to 90 minutes for panel discussions. Scholars are welcome to participate without presenting a paper.
Selected proceedings will be published by Parnassos Press and indexed open access on JSTOR.
Send abstracts directly to Heather L. Reid at firstname.lastname@example.org. Abstracts received by July 1, 2023 will be considered for early acceptance. Final deadline for abstracts is October 1 2023.