Please note - this page is under construction and is being updated.
A Statement on current inequality in Classics Teaching
Here at the Department of Classics and Ancient History we acknowledge that the teaching of Classics, Ancient History and Archaeology has been (and continues to be) problematic in terms of racial representation, inclusivity, and lack of curriculum diversity. We firmly reject, in line with the Society of Classical Studies, the use of our discipline to support dangerous ideologies and narratives, but we believe that we still have a long way to go.
We know what a privilege it is to educate oneself on racism rather than to experience it, but as a Classics & Ancient History department we believe we are taking steps in the right direction, and we shall endeavour to take more concrete actions in the months and years that follow. We also realise that, as the 2018 Race, Ethnicity & Equality Report of the Royal Historical Society has laid bare, there are deep racial and ethnic inequalities that underpin the teaching and practice of History in the UK, including a worrying underrepresentation of Black, Asian and other Minority Ethnic students and staff and a substantial level of bias and discrimination experienced by BAME historians studying and working in Higher Education.
The WCN we have been working hard with local schools to dismantle the elitist outlook of Classics and to make the subject accessible and welcoming. We are all too aware of the failures within our discipline to foster an inclusive academic and learning environment, and our ongoing commitment will be towards the opening up of this subject to everyone from every background. (Left - local Coventry school children enjoying our WCN visit to Lunt Roman Fort in July 2019).
As part of our effort to address these inequalities, we are creating a number of resources including these here on the WCN website designed specifically to help school teachers address issues of race and ethnicity in the ancient world and to expand the traditional boundaries of the discipline as it is currently taught in schools.
BLM and BAME Resources
Following the recent tragic events with the murder of George Floyd, we are aware that teachers may be looking for ways to address BLM and the issue of BAME representation in Classics in the classroom. As such, we are collecting together resources to help inform this debate.
Here you can find a link to a public bibliography of Black-Centered Resources for Ancient Mediterranean Studies which is constantly being updated and which provides bibliographies for Black Scholars in Ancient Mediterranean Studies; Black Scholars Outside of Ancient Mediterranean Studies; Inclusive Pedagogy; Classical Reception; Religious Studies; Related Methodologies; Anthropological Theories; Creolization; Decolonization and Indigenous Theory; Postcolonial; Violence and the Body; Black Feminist Theory; Critical Race Theory; Ethnography, Geography, and Identity
We will be continually adding to our resources, so watch this space.
MRECC Anti-racist guide for teachers
The MRECC have published a very useful anti-racist guide for teachers which might be helpful when thinking about how to address this topic. Follow this link here to access the MRECC resources.
Teaching British Histories of Race, Migration and Empire
The Institute of Historical Research and the School of Advanced Study of the University of London have collected together a range of teaching and learning resources based on teaching British Histories of Race, Migration and Empire, with sections for Primary Schools, Secondary Schools, Academic researches, and teachers, tutors and lecturers. Resources include some on Roman Britain created by the University of Reading.
BAME Resources based on Warwick Modules
Part of what we can do here at Warwick is to give access to resources which deal with a wider picture of the ancient world than traditionally considered part of the Classical world. These resources below are based specifically on the work of our current Warwick academics, reflecting the diverse approach towards classics of the dept here at Warwick.
In our curriculum here at Warwick, starting with our core modules on Greek and Roman History and the Hellenistic World and continuing with many of our honours modules (e.g. Art & Architecture of Asia Minor, The Roman Near East, Receptions of Antiquity: East and West) we have long wished to provide a broad and diversified picture of the Ancient Mediterranean World.
Our modules Principles and Methods of Classical Archaeology, Africa and the Making of Classical Literature and From Confucius to Constantine: Ancient Global History address directly issues such as the legacy and influence of colonialism in our discipline, the misuse of cultural heritage for political aims, the dangerous pitfalls of creating a myth around the legacy of Western civilisation, the applicability of critical race studies to Classics, the uncovering of conscious and unconscious biases in classical scholarship, while The Vulnerable Body in Roman Thought and Literature engages first-hand with disability studies and feminist philosophies. Our research clusters in Medical Humanities and Graeco-Arabic Studies, Punic Studies and Connecting Classics continue to expand the disciplinary boundaries of the field.
Below you will find links to a host of resources based on our curriculum at Warwick
Diversifying the teaching provision of Classics and Ancient History does not necessarily help us to ‘decolonise’ the discipline and engage in anti-racist pedagogical practice. In this blog, Dr Elena Giusti reflects on her undergraduate module 'Africa and the Making of Classical Literature' at the University of Warwick.
Africa and the Making of Classical Literature
This module considers the import of north Africa in the shaping of Western Classical Literature in the Mediterranean, and investigates the simultaneous erasure of Africa from the Western Classical canon - an erasure which originated in the ancient Greek and Roman texts and was further crystallised in their subsequent critical history. Over the course of the year, our students analyse and discuss both Greek and Roman portraits of Africa and Africans (with an emphasis on Berbers, Egyptians and Ethiopians) and the various ways that the relationship between centre and periphery affects the works of north-African authors writing in Greek and Latin. The course also explores and discusses the history of the equation of the Classical world with modern (and colonialist) Europe, and the more recent attempts to 'decolonise' the Western Classics, together with the reactions to them (such as the famous 'Black Athena Debate' of the 80s). A final section of the module considers the effects that preconceptions and assumptions about the Graeco-Roman heritage have on the engagement with classical literature by people of African descent, both in Africa and in the Western World. The course also explores some critical positions of black classicism (such as Classica Africana) and investigates the reception of Greek and Roman literature in selected authors from the African diaspora.
Guest Speakers Interviews
The contributors to the module 'Africa and the Making of Classical Literature' have agreed to release an interview on their research, on some of the topics of the module, as well as on strategies on how make the discipline of Classics more interdisciplinary and inclusive in terms of both curriculum design and classroom teaching. You can read the contents of each interview by clicking the tabs in the bar above, or the links below.
Watch this space for further resources based on this module.
From Confucius to Constantine: Ancient Global History
This module seeks to put knowledge of the cultures of the Mediterranean into the wider context of what else was going on within the ancient world within the time frame of the Greeks and Romans. It introduces students to the different methodologies of global history, the problems and opportunities particularly of ancient global history, as well as help build up an understanding of the different ancient cultures in western and central Asia, India, Africa and China thriving between the 6th century BCE and the 4th century CE. The lectures focus on particular themes and historical moments and map comparative and connective histories between these worlds covering politics, religion, warfare and trade.
As part of this University of Warwick HEIF Impact Award funded (2015-6 and 2016-7) project, Prof Michael Scott and the Academic Technologist Steve Ranford along with Computer Minds have created the Oiko Portal Project, an ambitious online resource which sets out to demonstrate the links between communities stretched across the ancient globe and seeks to move beyond the traditional bounded way in which we usually study history. This allows us to really get a sense of how communities connected together, and gives a wider comparative sense of how civilisations evolved.
Oiko.world is a place in which users can discover, compare and discuss what was happening in different ancient civilisations across the ancient globe, exploring and making connections between these different communities. As Prof Scott says, "Given the globalised world in which we live, and the even more globalised future which we will occupy, a global perspective – as much of the past as of the present and the future – seems to me to be something we cannot afford to be without."
Watch this space for more teaching resources based on this module.