The Classics and Activism

August 21, 2020
Activist Graduate School co-founders Chiara Ricciardone and Micah White will co-teach the seminar with faculty from the Department of Classics. Photo: Activist Graduate School

In Fall 2020, professors of Classics Brooke Holmes and Dan-el Padilla Peralta will launch an experimental  graduate seminar, “Rupturing Tradition: Ancient Past, Contemporary Praxis,” supported by a Humanities Council’s David A. Gardner ’69 Magic Grant for a project entitled “The Classics and Activism.”

Offered under the auspices of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities (IHUM), the two Classics faculty will co-teach with founding members of the Activist Graduate School, creating a new curriculum capable of broader reach and impact.

By bringing two experienced activists together with two scholars seeking to reinvent the study of classical Greco-Roman antiquity, the seminar creates a lab for students and professors alike to envision the inter- and extra-disciplinary communities that might emerge from a rupture within a classical tradition whose founding myth is one of privileged continuity with the past.  

The unique structure of the course opens the door to thinking of communities fluidly. Students from Princeton and nearby institutions will share the course with students—primarily activists and non-academic knowledge practitioners—enrolled in the Activist Graduate School. In moving between these different communities, the course aims to uncover ideas that emerge when we cross-contaminate academic knowledge with activism, and vice versa.

The project will be featured as part of the Humanities Innovation Forum on September 29, a joint initiative of the Humanities Council and the Keller Center.

For Holmes and Padilla Peralta, scholarly activism—broadly understood as a set of political, social, and aesthetic practices—is a crucial tool for institutional and intellectual transformation and for forging a new discipline premised on the full inclusion of all of its practitioners.

Read more about the course here.

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