New Directions in Classics


The Department of Classics’ highly successful public lecture series, New Directions in Classics, returned for a third year beginning Friday, September 27, 2019.

This year, we’re fortunate enough to host six visiting and two local speakers, with great thanks to the Laird Lecture Series, the Society for Classical Studies Classics Everywhere Initiative, and donors to our University of Winnipeg Foundation “crowd-funding” campaign.

Most lectures take place in 3D01 at 3:30PM, but this year we’re partnering with our friends in the Department of Urban and Inner-City Studies to host two special talks at the Merchant’s Corner Campus (541 Selkirk Ave). These two public lectures (by Dr. Matthew Sears [UNB] and Dr. Rebecca Kennedy [Denison University]) tackle topics of contemporary relevance: Dr. Sears’ talk examines absences in ancient and modern war memorials (October 25, 3:00PM) while Dr. Kennedy compares the experiences of immigrant and refugee women in antiquity and today (March 20, 3:00PM).

We’re excited for our talks this year, which focus on the “new” in our series’ title: from a re-examination of the colonial foundation myth of ancient Alexandria, to Wikipedia’s gender bias in Classical Studies, and an analysis of an ancient “computer,” the Antikythera Mechanism, our series offers novel, relevant, and accessible scholarship on the world of Classical Antiquity.

Light refreshments provided. All welcome. 

If you’d like more information on New Directions in Classics, please see the UWinnipeg News Centre article, download the poster [PDF, image below], find us on Facebook, email Dr. Peter J. Miller, or see dates, times and locations below.

 Learn more about the 2018-19 and 2017-18 lecture series.

Promotional poster for New Directions in Classics lecture series, information available on this web page

Promo poster for Dr. Blouin's New Directions in Classics lecture, text on web pageSeptember 27, 2019

Prof. Katherine Blouin, University of Toronto

Colonial Fantasies and Occluded (Hi)Stories: The Case of Early Alexandria

Duckworth Centre, 3D01| 3:30-4:30PM

According to some historians, ancient Alexandria was a completely new - and Greek - settlement on Egypt's Mediterranean coast. But, Dr. Katherine Blouin stresses that this foundation story severs Alexandria from Egypt, its landscapes, and its native populations. In this talk, she explained that this environmental, socio-cultural, and economic disconnection is rooted in colonial fantasies that testify to the imperial entanglements of classics, Egyptology, and papyrology.

Promo poster for Dr. Sears' New Directions in Classics lecture, text on web pageOctober 25, 2019

Prof. Matthew Sears, University of New Brunswick

Presence and Absence in War Memorials, Ancient and Modern

Merchant's Corner, 541 Selkirk Ave | 3:00-4:00PM

Far from simply recording or preserving history, war memorials should be considered part of history, both reflecting and shaping how a society expresses itself. War memorials honour the dead, but also the ideals for which they supposedly fought. By the same token, what is left out of memorials is also telling. Today, ancient and modern war memorials are being mobilized by the far-right to advance exclusionary ideas about the "West" and its values. In this talk, Dr. Matthew Sears advocated for a new and critical evaluation of war memorials and their myriad uses.

Watch Prof. Sears' lecture archived on Facebook

Sponsored by the Society for Classical Studies Classics Everywhere Initiative

November 8, 2019

Prof. Daryn Lehoux, Queen's University

The Antikythera Mechanism: An Ancient Technological Marvel

Duckworth Centre, 3D01| 3:30-4:30PM

The Antikythera mechanism is one of the most remarkable technological devices from the premodern era. Originally found in the debris of an ancient shipwreck in 1901, the device was little studied and little understood until much later in the twentieth and even into the twenty-first century. Then, its most important secrets began to be unveiled by advanced imaging techniques. This lecture looked at the remarkable technological and astronomical knowledge embedded in the ancient machine, and the efforts that it took to uncover them in the modern era.

Watch Dr. Lehoux's lecture archived on YouTube

Part of the Laird Lecture Series

Promo poster for Jan 24 New Directions in Classics lecture, all text on web pageJanuary 24, 2020

Natalie Swain, University of Bristol

Narrative Fragments, Fragmented Lovers: Reading Latin Elegy through Comics

Duckworth Centre, 3D01| 3:30-4:30PM

How are Latin poems like comics? Although these texts seem far removed in time and place, Natalie Swain explained how comics can bring a new perspective on ancient poetry. In this talk, she showed how a highly ornate collection of Latin love poetry can be read as a connected sequence - and, how reading comics today can provide the tools and help us understand these intricate ancient narratives.

Watch Natalie Swain's talk archived on YouTube

Promo poster for Feb 7, 2020 New Direction in Classics lecture, all text on web pageFebruary 7, 2020

Dr. Victoria Austen-Perry, University of Winnipeg

#WCCWiki: Using Wikipedia for Public Engagement and Social Change

Duckworth Centre, 3D01| 3:30-4:30PM

Wikipedia, the fifth most visited website in the world, is one of the most influential sources of information available. However, gaps and prejudice remain: out of the 1.5 million biographies available, only 17% focus on women. This talk examined the targeted online activism of the #WCCWiki project, the Women's Classical Committee's project to rectify Wikipedia's stark gender imbalance, beginning with Classics and Classical scholarship.

This talk was followed by a #WCCWiki Wikipedia Editing Workshop on Monday, February 10.

Watch Dr. Austen-Perry's talk archived on YouTube


 March 13, 2020

Prof. Greg Anderson, Ohio State University 

Classics After the Ontological Turn: New Horizons of History and Critique

Duckworth Centre, 3D01| 3:30-4:30PM

This talk would have introduced the idea of “pluriversal history,” an approach to history where the past is lived in many different worlds of experience, not just in one. Using Classical Athens as a case study, this talk intended to show how this exciting new paradigm would transform how we think about an ancient Greek polis and all its constituent elements by understanding them on their own terms. Prof. Greg Anderson advocates for a fresh and critical approach, where Classics and other disciplines are aligned with radical social movements which question the wisdom of modern life.

March 20, 2020

Prof. Rebecca Kennedy, Denison University

Fears of Foreign Women: Women's Experiences as Refugees and Immigrants in Antiquity and Today

Room 115, Merchant's Corner, 541 Selkirk Ave | 3:00-4:00PM

Prof. Rebecca Futo Kennedy would have discussed the literary and archaeological evidence on immigrant, enslaved, and refugee women's movements in the ancient Greek Mediterranean and the prejudices and stereotypes they experienced. In this talk, she would have reflected on how these phenomena have endured in our own communities and public discourses surrounding non-white immigrants, refugees, and indigenous women.

Sponsored by the Society for Classical Studies Classics Everywhere Initiative

March 21, 2020

Prof. Max Goldman, Denison University

New Research on the Eurysaces Monument in Rome

University Club, Wesley Hall | 3:30-4:30PM

Most historians of ancient Rome have interpreted the tomb of Marcus Vergilius Eurysaces in reference to his status as a freedman - a freed slave - or his profession as a baker. In this talk, Prof. Max Goldman would have introduced the research of a team made up of a philologist, archaeologists and art historians, who are re-evaluating the meaning of this unusual monument. He intended to illustrate the problems with the traditional views and places the monument within the memorial practices of its time.