February 26, 2016
Lecture: Sasha-Mae Eccleston, "Twitter: The Rhetoric of Chatter in the Apuleian Corpus"
Friday, 4:15 p.m., Psychology 105
This talk places the imagery and design underlying the social media platform, Twitter, into conversation with the work of a 2nd century Roman North African thinker, author, and public speaker named Apuleius. Famous for writing a raucous and raunchy story about an entitled young man who loses his human form and becomes a donkey, Apuleius also refers to animals in his public speeches and philosophical treatises. Whereas Twitter makes profit from promulgating speech acts, making what we say/type repeatable, easily memorable, and searchable, Apuleius urges human beings reconsider the purpose of speech in a world crowded with chatter and nonsense. Trying to distinguish himself from rival speakers in the Roman Empire, Apuleius argues that only those like him, men equipped with both philosophical knowledge and philosophical eloquence, offer something worthwhile, and that, in Twitter parlance, is #Wisdom.
Sasha-Mae Eccleston is assistant professor of classics at Pomona College.
Sponsored by the Office for Institutional Diversity's New Scholar Series and the department of classics.