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Seven academics get together to discuss modern uses of Classics around the world, from China to the Balkans and Central and South America, Classical references are commonly used for various reasons - please stay tuned for the discussion!
Abstract – This international panel addresses the entanglement of Classics with politics from a global perspective. Indeed, it is a widespread and universal practice – not restricted within the confinements of the Global North – for political authorities and power groups to deliver strong messages that begin with claims or references to classical tradition or require a popular ascription to that particular past. The evocation of the classical past appeals to emotion rather than reason, typically to create ties among a targeted group or exclude outsiders. The panel brings together colleagues from four continents to discuss representative cases of the uses of Classics in political discourse in their respective countries. All focus on uses and abuses of the Classical past at the higher echelons of political power or power groups across various constitutions and cultural backgrounds. The panel examines Classical receptions and appropriations in global peripheries in South America (Mexico, Brazil, Colombia), China, and Zimbabwe, before moving to an area at the heart of the Classical World to tackle the (ab)use of Classics in two neighbouring Balkan states (Greece and North Macedonia). In all these locales, Classics have been used to build or burn bridges and we unravel a discussion of critical aspects of our discipline. What should be the role of Classics in our Strange New World? Has our field negotiated sufficiently its rather problematic entanglement with political authorities? Can Classics, with a past blemished by colonialism and the white man's burden, serve the purpose of next-generation values in a globalised world championing equality, inclusion, fairness, and diversity rather than segregation, exclusion, and biases? What is the role of academics in spirited political discussions that distort historical interpretations to serve changing political purposes?
Papers & Discussants:
For more information on the Conference, the Full Programme, scheduling, and registration, visit the Conference website.
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