Revolutions and Classics, hosted by The Classical Reception Studies Network and the Legacy of Greek Political Thought Network with the support of the UCL Department of Greek and Latin and the Department of Classics at the University of Reading, was held at UCL on the 22nd of July 2016. Inspired by recent trends in classical reception research, particularly on the political significances of antiquity for subsequent cultures and societies, this one day workshop explored the manner in which classical texts and artefacts are deployed in modern societies undergoing radical change. The event brought together seven speakers from a range of academic disciplines, including Classics, French, and History, which resulted in resulted in a fruitful variety of theoretical and interdisciplinary perspectives. Participants included a healthy mix of established international scholars in Classical reception and postgraduate students from the US and UK. Papers analysed various revolutions from 17th century to the present day in various geographical contexts, including England, France, Mexico, and Greece. A portion of the day was also devoted to discussion of teaching across classical reception, classics, and politics. Two sessions, one featuring early-career researchers, and the second more seasoned scholars, featured five further papers addressing a range of important teaching issues, from incorporating classical reception within a wider context of liberal arts pedagogy to covering sensitive subjects in today’s classroom.
This one day-event thus combined important discussions of pedagogical matters with a timely research interest in the intersection between Classics and politics. One participant wrote the following of the experience: ‘I was there to hear most of the papers, and was impressed by their quality, variety, and overall coherence. I learned a good deal, in the course of the day, about classical aspects of the English, American, French and Mexican Revolutions, as well as about a 20th-century revolutionary movement. The talks on teaching provided a good moving picture of experiments with the curriculum.’ Another participant commended the ‘intellectual and friendly atmosphere’ that the workshop had created. Some participants live tweeted the event, which can be seen at https://twitter.com/hashtag/classicsrevns?src=hash.