The Classics and Colonial India

Prof. Phiroze Vasunia talks about his new monograph The Classics and Colonial India (OUP, 2013) on Classics Confidential:

Vesunia book cover

In the sixth interview recorded during this year’s Classical Association meeting, CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni talks to Professor Phiroze Vasunia of the University of Reading about his recently published book The Classics and Colonial India (OUP, May 2013).

He tells us about the impact of the Graeco-Roman classics in the age of empire (1750s-1945) and about the collision of cultures in India during this period. The very concept of the ‘classical’ was problematic in a culture with its own long-standing local traditions which included Sanskrit, Persian and Arab threads. These competed with the imported Graeco-Roman classics privileged by the British educational system which encouraged the colonisers to view themselves as ancient Romans. Neoclassical architecture, now largely destroyed, also radically transformed the landscape of the country. Indians such as the writer Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809-31) and Mahatma Gandhi, however, opened up their own dialogue with ancient Greek culture and its literature. Inspired by British Romantic Philhellenism, Derozio’s poetry forged a passionate connection with both ancient and modern Greece, while Gandi’s admiration of Socrates informed his own political thinking. This is not, therefore, a simple story of empire, but one of a dialogue of traditions.

Phiroze also tells us about his work as the general editor of the Ancients and Moderns series which is published in the UK by I.B. Tauris and in the USA by OUP. The series explores how classical antiquity continues to inform modern thinking, and examines the encounter between ancients and moderns on topics such as gender, slavery and politics. Seven books have appeared to date, and more are forthcoming.

Click on the image below or follow this link to watch the interview!

Dr Sonya Nevin on Classics Confidential

New on Classics Confidential:

In the fifth interview recorded at the Classical Association meeting and the second shot on location in the Ure Museum CC’s Anastasia Bakogianni talks to Dr Sonya Nevin about the project to create animations based on the characters and stories depicted on ancient Greek vases. This was also the subject of her presentation at the conference on the Classics and Museums (1) panel.

Sonya helped to create these animations as the Classics consultant working in collaboration with Steve K. Simons, who specialises in the digital restoration and animation of ancient Greek vase images. For more information about their on-going work see: www.panoply.org.uk

The first animation they produced based on Exekias’ vase depicting Achilles and Ajax playing a game of dice was entitled the Clash of the Dicers

It was produced as part of the Ure-View project, an outreach initiative that brought together Classics students and young people from two Reading secondary schools, Kendrick and Maiden Erlegh. The two groups were asked to work collaboratively to produce story boards based on what they saw depicted on ancient vases housed in the Ure Museum.

These animations also featured on the Stories of the World programme presented as part of Arts in Parliament series at Westminster Hall (24 July 2012). The animations help to draw attention to the importance of athletics in the classical world but they can also be used as a teaching resource.  An exhibition of a new set of animations from the recent Ure Discovery project, will be launched on 17th June 2013 at the Ure Museum.  The animations, with insights into their backstories, will be appearing on the Panoply website from that date.

Another animation The Cheat was created specifically for The Open University’s module The Ancient Olympics: Bridging Past and Presentwhich also drew attention to the links between the ancient Olympic games and their modern reincarnation.

As Sonya points out what all these animations have in common is that help to focus the viewer’s attention on the ancient artefacts. They utilise the new technologies available to us, but the stars of the show are the ancient vases themselves.

Click on the image below or follow this link to watch the interview!

Three UROP Placements Available For 2013

Once again the Department of Classics has been very successful indeed in securing UROP placements for our undergraduate studentship.

The UROP (= Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme) scheme is (almost) unique to Reading, and it gives those of our undergraduate students who are about to move into their final year the opportunity to undertake six weeks of work in collaboration with, and under the supervision of, a member of academic staff, typically resulting in some type of research output that acknowledges student collaboration. This alone is an excellent opportunity (and an asset to any CV), but it gets better – you also get paid, namely £1,200, tax free!

This year’s projects include

For more information please follow the links and visit the UROP webpage: http://www.reading.ac.uk/urop.

Still not sure whether you should apply? Listen to Dr Matthew Nicholls and Philip Smither and find out just how amazing this opportunity can be for our students:

Reading’s Department of Classics Launches the Annual Percy Ure Lecture

On occasion of its Centenary in 2011, Reading’s Department of Classics introduced the Annual Percy Ure Lecture as a new, high-profile lecture series in Classics.

The lecture series is named after Percy N. Ure, Reading’s first Professor of Classics, whose appointment coincides with the creation of Reading’s Classics Department as it exists today.

The Inaugural Percy Ure Lecture was delivered by Professor Robin Osborne (Cambridge) on 9 November 2011: