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Made up of nine prominent scholars, The Postclassicisms Collective aims to map a space for theorizing and reflecting on the values attributed to antiquity. The product of these reflections, Postclassicisms takes up a set of questions about what it means to know and care about Greco-Roman antiquity in our turbulent world and offers suggestions for a discipline in transformation, as new communities are being built around the study of the ancient Greco-Roman world.

Structured around three primary concepts—value, time, and responsibility—and nine additional concepts, Postclassicisms asks scholars to reflect upon why they choose to work in classics, to examine how proximity to and distance from antiquity has been—and continues to be—figured, and to consider what they seek to accomplish within their own scholarly practices. Together, the authors argue that a stronger critical self-awareness, an enhanced sense of the intellectual history of the methods of classics, and a greater understanding of the ethical and political implications of the decisions that the discipline makes will lead to a more engaged intellectual life, both for classicists and, ultimately, for society. A timely intervention into the present and future of the discipline, Postclassicisms will be required reading for professional classicists and students alike and a model for collaborative disciplinary intervention by scholars in other fields.

256 pages | 3 halftones, 1 line drawing | 6 x 9 | © 2020

Ancient Studies

History: Ancient and Classical History, History of Ideas

Literature and Literary Criticism: Classical Languages

Political Science: Classic Political Thought


“This is an important, innovative, and timely project. Classics has long been the cornerstone of a liberal education, but its value can no longer be taken for granted, and the discipline must find new justifications for its relevance if it is to survive. This disciplinary crisis poses unique opportunities and challenges, which Postclassicisms aims to meet. It proposes exciting new ways of conceptualizing the relationship between modernity and antiquity and of reconceptualizing each category. Through incisive, original, and often brilliant examples, it provides clear models for future work in the field—models which truly could revolutionize Classical Studies.”

Victoria Wohl, author of Euripides and the Politics of Form

 “Postclassicisms is a deft and needful companion text for the critical classicist. The authors invite readers to think through the complex history and identity of classics through a series of interconnected concepts, launching a manifold inquiry into what it means to do classics. They elucidate difficult questions of knowledge, identity, agency, responsibility, and temporality, alert at every turn to both the field’s baggage and its capital. This is a cerebral and accessible book: to read it is to hear the hum of astute minds engaged in an expansive conversation. As an interrogative metacommentary on classics it deserves to become a staple of proseminars and other methodological courses.”

Emily Greenwood, author of Afro-Greeks: Dialogues Between Anglophone Caribbean Literature and Classics in the Twentieth Century

“If the study of classics is no longer to be driven, at least in an uncomplicated way, by the ideas that Greek and Roman texts have intrinsic value and that Western culture has its roots in the Greek and Roman past, then how is it to be studied? How and why are we drawn to the past, and alienated from it? What are our responsibilities toward antiquity, and to our contemporary world? Reading Postclassicisms is like being a guest at a dinner party with members of the collective: the discussion is intense, knowledgeable, and heated. Sometimes you might have an attack of indigestion, or want to throw a glass across the room, but the conversation is always stimulating, the expositions brilliant, and the arguments will stay with you for a long time.”

Helen Morales, author of Classical Mythology: A Very Short Introduction

"Postclassicisms is an exceptional accomplishment of true collaboration, collating key issues and concepts central to the discipline of Classics, while signaling how these vitally important discussions could and should develop. With its authors among the most forward-thinking and insightful classicists working today, the resulting volume is presented in a style that is at once lucid, provocative, and compelling. It marks an extraordinary achievement –comprehensive without overgeneralizing, innovative without excessive novelty, decisive without foreclosing continued discussion: A timely and crucial intervention that will certainly define and redirect the discipline for decades to come."

John T. Hamilton, author of Philology of the Flesh

"The book is a provocative account of how and why scholars study the classical world and the tensions that animate the field."


"Postclassicisms is important and were it not so cerebral in tone and content would register as a rousing manifesto, a clarion call for roads not taken by classical studies in the past. Its intellectualism and nuanced consideration of issues rein in what could otherwise be read as a provocative wake-up call for traditional classicists...The nine authors are whistleblowers of a sort. They want to reclaim the worth of classical studies both intrinsically and in terms of contemporary debates beyond the borders of disciplinary classics."

Classics Ireland

Table of Contents


Part 1   Introduction

1.1       Introduction to the Introduction
1.2       Value
1.3       Time
1.4       Responsibility

Part 2   Concepts

2.1       Agency
2.2       Discipline
2.3       God
2.4       Human
2.5       Knowing
2.6       Materiality
2.7       Situatedness
2.8       Untimeliness
2.9       World

Postscript: On Collaborating


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