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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellows' Seminar - The Soul Political

21st January 2019, 13:00 to 14:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Professor Michèle Lowrie (University of Chicago)


A central topic of Professor Michele Lowrie's book project, Security: A Roman Metaphor, is a metaphor she calls “the soul political.” Unlike “the body politic,” a well-recognized metaphor with a conventional name, this metaphor is common, but not usually named. In Roman political thought, her area of research, the phrases corpus rei publicae (the body of the republic) and corpus imperii (the body of the empire) give conceptual heft to a host of metaphors, such as the head of state or Menenius Agrippa’s fable of the belly and the limbs, that attribute body parts to political entities. This paper will review metaphors in Latin literature that presume the Roman state, in part or as a whole, possesses some kind of collective soul. She will ask two sorts of questions. What does it mean for a collective soul to feel secure? What are the methodological challenges to describing a metaphor that circulates without a name?

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues or students interested in attending a seminar should register online in advance to reserve a place. Places will be confirmed within 48 hours of receipt (subject to availability). Alternatively please contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.