Northwestern Events Calendar


Student Workshop, "Virgil in the Cane Fields" and Book History with Erika Valdivieso (Yale University)

When: Friday, May 26, 2023
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT

Where: Kresge Hall, 4364, 1880 Campus Drive , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Elizabeth Upenieks   (847) 491-7597

Group: Department of Classics

Category: Academic


In this workshop, Professor Valdivieso will share her process for researching and assembling a current work-in-progress, “Virgil in the Cane Fields.” Undergraduate and Graduate Students with an interest in research methods that open up book history, ancient and early modern representations of slavery, and Vergil’s poetry for fresh analysis are warmly welcomed. This paper uses a poem about Brazilian sugar to reconsider the gap between the omnipresence of slavery in the Roman countryside and its relative absence from the Georgics. I argue that a plantation owner’s imitation of Virgilian didactic offers a different intellectual paradigm from which to approach the murmur of ancient slavery in Virgil. This particular poem is one example of a corpus of poems from the Atlantic world that use Virgil to describe the administration of enslaved persons.  Their open discussions of the day-to-day mechanisms of chattel slavery, expressed in polished Virgilian hexameters, indicate an awareness of the Georgics as the product of an agricultural system predicated upon forced labor.

This workshop will offer free lunch to all registrants. Please RSVP by Friday, May 19 by visiting

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