Cultural Change and the Classics in 20th- and 21st-Century Europe

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This WP, which partly builds on the work of WP6, addresses the changing position of Greco-Roman antiquity in European culture during the last 100 years. Our time has been described as a ‘postclassical’ age (The Postclassicisms Collective, 2020), in the sense that this is a reception period in which Antiquity is no longer an obvious reference culture. Reference cultures typically provide other cultures with models, ideas or examples, and have been formed through public discourse over different generations. How do these relatively robust cultural formations relate to the rapid cultural change that is believed to be so endemic to the modern and contemporary world? The WP centers around questions of (de)valuation and renegotiation of antiquity as an anchor, and also studies processes of de-anchoring.

Key concepts: cultural encounters / inclusion-exclusion / reference-culture / repertoire (as that which is actively retrievable from the cultural archive)/(de)imperialization / de-anchoring.

Research Questions

Under the umbrella of the social and political use of Antiquity, this group has two major research interests:

-‘democratization’ & mediatization of antiquity: the inclusion of new social groups, new media, and other repertoires (globalization).
-politicization of the classical languages (in public spaces, education, social media).

How does the concept of anchoring help in the study of postclassicism? How is Classics still an anchor – and for whom? In what ways is it in need of (de-/re-)anchoring itself in view of developing value systems?