The Classical Association Conference 2013

On 3-6 April the Department of Classics hosted the annual conference of the Classical Association, which last came to Reading in 2005. Around 400 delegates from around the world came to hear over 200 papers on a huge range of topics.

A packed house hears Classical Association president Robin Osborne’s lecture on ‘Filling the Gaps’

A packed house hears Classical Association president Robin Osborne’s lecture on ‘Filling the Gaps’

An insider’s account of the conference (by our wonderful conference administrator, Dr Sonya Nevin) can be found here and a delegate’s perspective can be found here. The conference had a lively following on Twitter, which for me added to the general buzz around the event. I have included a few photos to give just a hint of the great range of activity:

Delegates at the conference browse the bookstalls

Delegates at the conference browse the bookstalls


Historical author Tom Holland takes time away from his pint to entertain delegates in the bar

Historical author Tom Holland takes time away from his pint to entertain delegates in the bar

It was privilege for me to chair the organising committee, a task made incredibly easy and enjoyable because of the hard work and imagination of my colleagues and of the heroic student helpers.

David Carter

Contemporary Greek Film Cultures 2013 Conference

The Department of Classics and our Centre for Hellenic Studies is proud to support a two-day conference on contemporary Greek cinema to be held at the Hellenic Centre in London in July:

Contemporary Greek Film Cultures 2013: International Conference
5-6 July, The Hellenic Centre
, London

At a time when news surrounding Greece has almost exclusively been about the financial crisis, it is imperative to redress the balance by examining the productive forces of culture in the country, maintaining that Greece is something more than a country in debt. Contemporary Greek Film Cultures 2013 is an international conference for the study of Contemporary Greek Film, co-organised by the Universities of Reading and Glasgow. This 2-day conference seeks to actively help expand the current scholarship in Greek Film Studies, and help promote a more concerted study and theorisation of Contemporary Greek Cinema, reflecting on the multi-faceted contexts of its production, distribution and research, in Greece and abroad.

Register online at:

2013 Classical Association Conference at Reading

The 2013 Classical Association Conference will be hosted by the University of Reading and will take place from Wednesday 3rd to Saturday 6th April.

Highlights of the conference include the presidential address by Robin Osborne, plenary lectures by Alan Sommerstein on translation and Charlotte Roueché on digital Classics, and an informal evening with the author Tom Holland.  Over two hundred speakers will participate in parallel panel sessions on a huge range of subjects, including: the Ancient Ideal in Contemporary Greek Music; the Changing Character of Ancient Warfare; Christianity and the Roman Emperors; Travel Writing and the Idea of the Past; Classics in Children’s Literature; the Ancient Bibliocosm; and a great many topics in Greek and Roman literature and history.  Among the numerous coordinated sessions are panels organised by the American Philological Association, the Council of University Classical Departments, the Joint Association of Classical Teachers, the Classical Reception Studies Network, the International Network on the Legacy of Greek Political Thought, and KYKNOS. One particular highlight of the conference will be the number of panels on issues in Classics teaching, in both secondary and higher education.

Excursions on the afternoon of Thursday, 4th April, will include visits to the Roman town of Silchester, the Ure Museum of Greek Archaeology, the Museum of English Rural Life, and a Thames river cruise.  Delegates will also be able to visit our exhibition hall for browsing and purchasing the latest books from a variety of publishers.

Delegates will be leaving comments on papers and excursions through the conference twitter account @CA2013Reading.

Philology and Empire 1700-1900 Conference

The Department of Classics held a lively conference on ‘Philology and Empire, 1700 to 1900’, on Wednesday, 27 June 2012, in Reading. The conference was held in conjunction with the Network on Ancient and Modern Imperialisms (follow this link for more information: , which is based in the Department.

The event was well attended and drew an international audience of students and scholars. The conference aimed to look at the period from 1700 to 1900, which is crucial for the development of scholarly philology and imperial expansion.

Speakers covered such topics as the nexus between theology, philology, and empire in the Victorian period; the teaching of Latin in West Africa; the construction of Sanskrit as a classical language in the late 18th and early 19th centuries; the British colonial linguistic survey of India; and the evolving relationship between philology and empire from the ancient to the modern eras. A central feature of the conference was its comparative framework, as it brought together scholars who work on a variety of languages, literatures, and histories.

The speakers/respondents included the following:

  • Simon Goldhill (Cambridge)
  • Barbara Goff (Reading)
  • Phiroze Vasunia (Reading)
  • Javed Majeed (King’s College, London)
  • Daniel Selden (UC Santa Cruz)
  • Peter Kruschwitz (Reading)
  • Pedro López Barja de Quiroga (Santiago de Compostela)
  • Tim Whitmarsh (Oxford)

The conference was co-sponsored by the Department of Classics; the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science; the Network on Ancient and Modern Imperialisms; and the Jowett Copyright Trust (Oxford).

Encountering the Divine – A Successful International Conference at Reading

On September 1st-3rd, the Classics Department held an international conference entitled ‘Encountering the Divine: Between Gods and Men in the Ancient World’, organised by Dr Susanne Turner and Alastair Harden. Speakers and delegates alike agreed it was a huge success!

We welcomed twenty-eight scholars from eight different countries – our furthest travelling speaker joined us from New Zealand – to discuss and debate the ways in which Greek and Roman men and women forged relationships with the gods. The aim was to move beyond the functionalist models which have dominated the way we approach ancient religion. Ritual was an integral part of daily life in the ancient past, but scholarship has often found it much easier to take seriously the ways in which men competed with other men at sanctuaries and festivals, for instance, than it has the very dynamic ways in which those same men constructed and enacted relationships with their gods through the active processes of dedication, prayer and sacrifice (etc…).

The focus of our debate was interdisciplinary: we asked speakers who work on a range of topics (from inscriptions to hymns, from archaeology to historical texts, from philosophical thinking to visual images) to work together to conceptualise human and divine interactions with greater conceptual sophistication. Some speakers explored the metaphorical bridges ancients built between themselves and their gods through the mediating figures (snakes and hybrids, heroes and emperors, daemons and doctors, and even poets and sculptors). Other speakers focused on deconstructing the role of the imagination in reaching out to divine (envisioning them on votives, or encountering them in the landscape) – while still others were imaginatively reconstructing religious feeling and ritual framing (especially in the case of mystery cults!). Some speakers brought together different bits of evidence to explore mortal-divine relationships through the relationships between texts and between objects; others brought their ancient sources into dialogue with modern theories, shining a self-conscious spotlight on our own efforts to articulate the elusive rapports between gods and men.