Posts Tagged ‘Classics for All’

I think it would be fair to say that the idea of Boris Johnson as a national figurehead for classics was problematic long before he started deploying far-right dog whistles in his newspaper column. I actually don’t intend this as a criticism of the charity Classics For All for having invited him to be one of their patrons; I can entirely understand the logic of seeking the support of a prominent public figure who not only studied classics but who continues to make classical references at every opportunity. But the benefits of such an association inevitably come with a potential cost, especially in today’s febrile culture where every controversy is immediately magnified and accentuated, and especially with a political figure who actively courts controversy, in the form of throwaway remarks that can always be excused as a joke if the consequences look like becoming too serious – the current burka fuss is by no means Johnson’s first foray into vulgar racism.

But this goes beyond the sort of embarrassment produced by, say, having a patron convicted of financial irregularities (more…)

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Introducing the T3 Project, a spin-off from the Bristol research project on the reception of Thucydides.

The ancient Greek historian Thucydides famously claimed that his work would be ‘a possession for all time’: not just the history of a single war between the Athenians and the Spartans, but a guide to the way that the world works, and especially to politics and war.  He was right. Over the last two hundred years, Thucydides has been one of the most frequently quoted ancient writers. His ideas have influenced historians, politicians, international relations experts and soldiers; all agree that his work is useful and important.

Thucydides does not offer simple lessons, but a training course in analysis and deliberation. He demands that his readers follow his narrative of events and think about how things could have turned out differently; he asks them to listen to opposing arguments and to weigh up the issues – and then to think about how those arguments relate what actually happened.  He shows how the world is complicated – and how we can make sense of that complexity. In brief, he aims to help his readers to develop the skills that every citizen of a democracy needs. (more…)

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Over this past term, Bristol’s Institute of Greece, Rome and the Classical Tradition has been supporting some new outreach activities in local state schools. These have taken the form of a series of ‘Taster Classes’ in Classics, and have been made possible by a generous grant from the new charity Classics for All.  Two students from the Department of Classics, Matthew Ball and Madeleine Fforde, have been given the task of introducing the ancient world to classes of 11-13 year olds. Judging from the feedback on surveys distributed to the school pupils last week, the children have been loving their first taste of Classics. “It was fun and thank you for teaching me and I want more lessons” wrote one student from Merchants’ Academy.  “Very interesting and fun. Shame I can’t learn more. (I want to for GCSE)” wrote another from Redland Green School.


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