Classics Department to Present "Why Classics? Reception and Receptivity"

April 11, 2019
headshot of Emily Austin

Time: 4:15 – 5:15 p.m.
Date: April 16, 2019
Place: HSSC N3118

All are welcome to a lecture by Emily Austin, assistant professor of classics at the University of Chicago, that discusses the field of classics and the liberal arts. Her paper argues that classics teaches the art of balanced receptivity. The field sprawls across thousands of years, two different languages, and a range of authors, genres, and disciplinary methods. Yet this sprawling quality also creates a strange coherence, since the ancient authors were constantly aware of, and "talking to," their predecessors. This ongoing dialogue is sometimes playful, sometimes reverent, sometimes dismissive, sometimes learned, but in all of its forms, it immerses us in an acutely receptive space. We, separated by so many generations from these authors, have to approach them attentively and with care, lest we miss the particular nuance of a moment of reception through importing into it any fixed ideas. Austin will go through three texts as case studies for how this receptivity works: the views of suffering, divine will, and human excellence in Iliad 24, Aeschylus' "Hymn to Zeus" in the Agamemnon, and Sophocles' Philoctetes.

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