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Crises of Democracy at Columbia: Weaponizing the Classics

Politics of the Present

May 15, 2019

The ancient world has always been used as supporting evidence for modern arguments - pro and anti democracy, pro and anti slavery, pro and anti various stances on colour, gender, labour, government etc. What has changed recently is the extreme polarisation of opinion in many places in the world, particularly in the US, and the manifestly unacceptable assumption that if the Greeks or Romans did or said something, it is by definition fine for us. So, instead of supporting evidence for a point of view, the ancient world becomes a weapon. This panel will explore the misuse of the Classics as well as identifying models from the ancient world that really might be helpful in addressing modern problems.