Stargazing with a Classicist, an Art Historian, an Astronomer, a Photographer & a Filmmaker

Our OSU Humanities Institute Pilot Working Group Rough Draft got off to a great start yesterday with the event Constellations: Mapping Space.

Dani Leventhal and I introduced four short talks on a wide range of topics from an eclectic group of speakers whose research or creative work all involved the idea of mapping the night sky: Karl Whittington – OSU Art History, David Weinberg – OSU Astronomy, Aspen Mays – OSU Art/Photography and special guest, Jeanne Liotta – UC Boulder, Film – skyping in. (It was Jeanne’s amazing film Observando El Cielo (2007), which Dani had shown a few weeks ago at the Wenxer Center, that was the impetus for the whole event and kickstarted our exploration of the topic for our first Rough Draft event).

Although my own work does not directly address astronomy, I was able to chime in with a few comments on Apuleius’ De deo Socratis and his use of Manilius’ Astronomica in terms of the connections between zodiac constellations and the idea of the Olympian gods as their tutelary deities and how both Apuleius and Manilius ‘visualize’ the relationship between the two in their narratives, especially in terms of the distinction between seeing with the eyes and ‘seeing’ with the eyes of the mind!

We had a great crowd (I counted over 50 people), from a wide-range of departments – including Classics, Art, Art History, Astronomy, Spanish and Portuguese, French and Italian – and the presentations all offered intriguing connections and overlap across a range of approaches to this expansive topic.

Here are a couple of pictures from the event:

Left to right: David Wienberg, Aspen Mays, Karl Whittington, Richard Fletcher

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