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“Celebrating the Elite or Just Elitism? The Ancient Olympics and Contemporary Academic Values”

July 18, 2012

Now online with Classics Talks!

Drs Elizabeth Pender and Emma Stafford, of the Department of Classics at Leeds presented this Special Guest Lecture at the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London on 8th May, as part of the ICS lecture programme for London 2012

The Guest Lecture traced an ancient Greek analogy from the dialogues of Plato between excellence in Ancient Greek Olympic sports and in dialectical engagement and used this to reflect on the distinction between celebrating the elite and being elitist in judging sporting and academic excellence today.

The Olympics/academia analogy, illustrated through ancient textual and visual evidence, shed interesting light on various contemporary values on the pursuit of excellence, with the question of wealth-elitism being an acute concern for contemporary academia in the UK, as a new generation of students prepares to pay increased tuition fees of £9,000 from September 2012. The event is now listed as one of the Institute’s ‘Highlights of the Year’.

Listen

View the Olympics talk May 2012 PowerPoint as pdf

See the Handout ICS Olympics handout (pdf)

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