The "Classics" Departments - What to do with them? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15302847
We are noticing a worldwide trend to cancel the Classics, first I heard of it, I decided to raise the flag of my Greekness and defend the Classics from what I perceived to be woke attacks against my culture.

So, I signed petitions to maintain dying Classics Departments and became quite aggressive in my defense as exemplified here for example.

Lately, I 've been thinking about this subject a lot to the point of torture, so after researching the foundations of Classics in the west, and realising that:

1) They teach "Classics" as a separate subject to Greek [or Roman] studies. That is they have divorced the Classics from the study of the broader Hellenic and Roman culture.

2) They are fundamentally racist towards the living Greek people.

3) They teach their students a monstrous Greeklish pronunciation that they have elevated to holy status against all evidence to the contrary.

At this point, I believe it may be preferable for the entire Classics studies to go to the dustbin of history. And replaced by Hellenic studies like we have 'Chinese Studies', etcetera, that would teach all stages of Hellenic civilization and not distinguish between good ancients and debased medievals/moderns.

Furthermore, I find the term "Classics" entirely out-of-order.

It invites unwarranted criticism against Greco-Roman culture as western classicists elevate a particular era of Greece & Rome as the most superior form of civilization, they place it on a pedestal from where it can be rightfully spat on by other cultures who by default are deemed lesser.

To achieve that "elevated status" they divorce it from all other eras of Greco-Roman civilization and openly treat them as inferior, thus rendering the Greeks and the Romans [of the other eras] themselves as children of a debased culture.

Lastly, they appropriate the provenance of Greco-Roman civilization .ie "Rennaisance", since when did the Germans, Anglos, and Franks ever have this literature to rediscover it?

They instruct their students to not "taint" their selves with modern Greek and generally treat Greek people as the "great unwashed".

If one truly respects Greco-Roman literature and civilization, one can teach it without the plosive statements, without elevating it to the "highest form of culture" and without ΦΘΧ-ΒΔΓ as Anglo-Germanic plosives.

Unless of course one is only teaching the "Classics" with the expressed intent to appropriate them and thus place their own selves in the fake pedestal; in which case they should be allowed euthanasia by letting their [western] departments die out with a whimper so they can be reborn from the ashes as more encyclopedic 'Greco-Roman studies'.

Wouldn't that be a fitting destiny, as tragic as the heroes they pretend to worship.
#15302856
@noemon There is a general lack of realism and lack of respect for what living in the ancient Greek and Roman societies of the past is all about. The context of how people lived their lives is often totally ignored, in favor of distorted versions of what is a known element or foundational element of ancient Greek society or Roman society.

There is a lot of cultural appropriation of cultures that are mother cultures or seminal cultures that have influenced others. In that process, the distortion of the meaning of certain philosophies is often common.

I find that to humanize the cultures of the past one should study the entirety of that society. That means how the nobles lived, how the merchant class and craftsmen class lived, how women lived, how children were raised and under what religions and political indoctrination, and the economic activities that were commonly practiced at that time.

if it is done properly? One gets a lot from that exercise. You get wise about what makes us human and being able to face adversity and what makes us strong. What tears us down and what makes society break down over time?

You then can make better choices based on the virtues and the mistakes made by our ancestors. Who is not put on a pedestal or vilified unfairly either? Complexity is the key to understanding human culture. Mixtures of what all of us have as humans. The ability to transform ourselves. The ability to destroy ourselves. The ability to renew ourselves.

It is all up to us eh?

I loved your original topic.

I vote for Hellenistic studies. The Classics is too vague.
#15303118
Tainari88 wrote:@noemon There is a general lack of realism and lack of respect for what living in the ancient Greek and Roman societies of the past is all about. The context of how people lived their lives is often totally ignored, in favor of distorted versions of what is a known element or foundational element of ancient Greek society or Roman society.

There is a lot of cultural appropriation of cultures that are mother cultures or seminal cultures that have influenced others. In that process, the distortion of the meaning of certain philosophies is often common.

I find that to humanize the cultures of the past one should study the entirety of that society. That means how the nobles lived, how the merchant class and craftsmen class lived, how women lived, how children were raised and under what religions and political indoctrination, and the economic activities that were commonly practiced at that time.

if it is done properly? One gets a lot from that exercise. You get wise about what makes us human and being able to face adversity and what makes us strong. What tears us down and what makes society break down over time?

You then can make better choices based on the virtues and the mistakes made by our ancestors. Who is not put on a pedestal or vilified unfairly either? Complexity is the key to understanding human culture. Mixtures of what all of us have as humans. The ability to transform ourselves. The ability to destroy ourselves. The ability to renew ourselves.

It is all up to us eh?

I loved your original topic.

I vote for Hellenistic studies. The Classics is too vague.



Thanks Tainari, I whole-heartedly agree.

The anachronisms that plague the "Classics" are invited into it when the field itself declares itself "eternally classic".

I created this website and I will be creating a petition for this as well once I am confident that sufficient critical mass exists.

https://cancel-classics.org/
#15303119
The goal of these types is the destruction of western civilization because they think it's racist, sexist, and generally oppressive, and they're well on their way.

Of course, sometimes they're right, but the real question is "compared to who"? If you have to delete/suppress ancient Greek thinkers and past Western culture more generally then you have to suppress every culture that has ever existed in any other part of the world, including right now. If the standard is perfection then everything must be cancelled because nobody is perfect. The point, really, is to strive to be better but understand we'll make mistakes along the way. A pretty irrational idea to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

It's a culture war, and these woke-ish types are doing everything they can to commit cultural genocide/suicide against Western civilization.
#15303121
I used to see it the way that you do.

I do not believe that Greco-Roman studies are "racist","evil" or "elitist".

However, the Classics Departments of western universities are racist, evil and 300% elitist.

As such they need to die so they can be reborn.

There is no reason to call Greco-Roman studies "Classics" unless one explicitly intends to humiliate all other non-classic cultures as inferior.

And the "Classics" departments have a traditional history of treating other cultures as inferior.

This needs to end, the anachronisms that people apply to ancient Greeks and Romans are invited by the hubristic attitude of western "classics" departments because they declare their extremely narrow view of Greek and Roman civilization as "Eternal". This invites anachronisms of the type: "if they are eternally classically good then how do you justify slavery among them?"

If one does not declare them as "classically eternal" then the question becomes moot.

Hence why all these departments need to die and recreate themselves.

This hubris does not apply to any other type of studies.

If you wish to learn about Chinese culture you go learn "Chinese studies" which encompasses a wide range of Sinology, ancient, medieval, and modern.


For Greek culture, you have the "Classics", Byzantinology, and modern Greek studies.


This is nonsense. They should all be unified under Hellenic studies.
#15303127
noemon wrote:Thanks Tainari, I whole-heartedly agree.

The anachronisms that plague the "Classics" are invited into it when the field itself declares itself "eternally classic".

I created this website and I will be creating a petition for this as well once I am confident that sufficient critical mass exists.

https://cancel-classics.org/


I created a petition at Change.org

https://www.change.org/decolonize-classics

Please sign.
#15303136
noemon wrote:I used to see it the way that you do.

I do not believe that Greco-Roman studies are "racist","evil" or "elitist".

However, the Classics Departments of western universities are racist, evil and 300% elitist.

As such they need to die so they can be reborn.

There is no reason to call Greco-Roman studies "Classics" unless one explicitly intends to humiliate all other non-classic cultures as inferior.

And the "Classics" departments have a traditional history of treating other cultures as inferior.

This needs to end, the anachronisms that people apply to ancient Greeks and Romans are invited by the hubristic attitude of western "classics" departments because they declare their extremely narrow view of Greek and Roman civilization as "Eternal". This invites anachronisms of the type: "if they are eternally classically good then how do you justify slavery among them?"

If one does not declare them as "classically eternal" then the question becomes moot.

Hence why all these departments need to die and recreate themselves.

This hubris does not apply to any other type of studies.

If you wish to learn about Chinese culture you go learn "Chinese studies" which encompasses a wide range of Sinology, ancient, medieval, and modern.


For Greek culture, you have the "Classics", Byzantinology, and modern Greek studies.


This is nonsense. They should all be unified under Hellenic studies.


This is a very important concept to understand fully. This should not be about who has a superior culture or who has an inferior culture, but which cultures came up with universally useful human ideas that transformed the world. If you see it that way? There are a lot of people, and a lot of diversity of individuals who have contributed to the modern civvies we live in today.

I stated this:

There is a lot of cultural appropriation of cultures that are mother cultures or seminal cultures that have influenced others. In that process, the distortion of the meaning of certain philosophies is often common.


Many people remain in ignorance about the original cultures who have brought us a lot of very important advances in the world. Many of us remain ignorant about the origins of our food and our dietary habits, the origins of our values, our architecture, our inventions. It is a lot more diverse than we ever give credit for.

The beginning of a well rounded education is being able to see other societies as very human, flawed, and also inventive, creative and resilient. It is the fusion of opposite qualities and complex factors at play.

What never changes is that the world is about differences. Not all wheat variations, corn variations, grape and wine variations, or any product in this world relies on only one way of being something to be successful. It is about a reliance on variation that there is survival. Human cultures are not the exception to that rule.

What I find offensive is that there is a lot of ignorance about cultures that have been silenced now for thousands of years. Killed off. Sent to the historical oblivion because the ones in power wish it to be that way. Because they do not want to face the acts they committed. Truth is about facing facts and then owning the immorality and the injustice. OWNING IT. And then using that knowledge from the past mistakes to not repeat them. To build on what was gained through the fogs of war, the fogs of loss, the fire of rage, the fires of hatred, and of resentment. To build peace and to build understanding. More than that--to commit to dialogue and to acknowledge that all of us are human beings and are complex in our lives. We are full of virtue and talents, but we also fail a lot and do not really accomplish our goals in life due to our state of irresponsibility, and living in too many states of denial.

If we can get past the denial syndrome and be more responsible and acknowledge the mistakes of the past? We will be able to accomplish tremendous forward, positive progress.

If we do not do that? We get stuck with repeating mistakes over and over again. Unnecessarily.

It is obvious which cultures influenced many others over time. The Greek culture is one of them. But having people who do not understand that culture tries to distort it for some petty appropriation attempts is really terrible.

Make it about our common human roots struggling with the big questions in life eh?

I signed your petition Noemon.
#15303161
noemon wrote:We are noticing a worldwide trend to cancel the Classics, first I heard of it, I decided to raise the flag of my Greekness and defend the Classics from what I perceived to be woke attacks against my culture.

So, I signed petitions to maintain dying Classics Departments and became quite aggressive in my defense as exemplified here for example.

Lately, I 've been thinking about this subject a lot to the point of torture, so after researching the foundations of Classics in the west, and realising that:

1) They teach "Classics" as a separate subject to Greek [or Roman] studies. That is they have divorced the Classics from the study of the broader Hellenic and Roman culture.

2) They are fundamentally racist towards the living Greek people.

3) They teach their students a monstrous Greeklish pronunciation that they have elevated to holy status against all evidence to the contrary.

At this point, I believe it may be preferable for the entire Classics studies to go to the dustbin of history. And replaced by Hellenic studies like we have 'Chinese Studies', etcetera, that would teach all stages of Hellenic civilization and not distinguish between good ancients and debased medievals/moderns.

Furthermore, I find the term "Classics" entirely out-of-order.

It invites unwarranted criticism against Greco-Roman culture as western classicists elevate a particular era of Greece & Rome as the most superior form of civilization, they place it on a pedestal from where it can be rightfully spat on by other cultures who by default are deemed lesser.

To achieve that "elevated status" they divorce it from all other eras of Greco-Roman civilization and openly treat them as inferior, thus rendering the Greeks and the Romans [of the other eras] themselves as children of a debased culture.

Lastly, they appropriate the provenance of Greco-Roman civilization .ie "Rennaisance", since when did the Germans, Anglos, and Franks ever have this literature to rediscover it?

They instruct their students to not "taint" their selves with modern Greek and generally treat Greek people as the "great unwashed".

If one truly respects Greco-Roman literature and civilization, one can teach it without the plosive statements, without elevating it to the "highest form of culture" and without ΦΘΧ-ΒΔΓ as Anglo-Germanic plosives.

Unless of course one is only teaching the "Classics" with the expressed intent to appropriate them and thus place their own selves in the fake pedestal; in which case they should be allowed euthanasia by letting their [western] departments die out with a whimper so they can be reborn from the ashes as more encyclopedic 'Greco-Roman studies'.

Wouldn't that be a fitting destiny, as tragic as the heroes they pretend to worship.


Would you elaborate with some examples of 2)?

Maybe I'm wrong, but I see these Classics departments as studying philosophy, arts, religion and literature with a narrow focus so I think 1) is correct - but I don't know if this is something they can change.

It does make sense to me, though, to refocus them into Hellenic culture since it is probably hard to understand the Classics without understanding Hellenic culture.

As for 3), let's say you can find experts on Latin America who only speak... English :lol:
#15303165
2 is part of number 3 and one can see the racism in the writings of Gibbon, Blass and many others.

Western classicists in the 16th century found themselves in a unique position.

The Greek emigres fleeing the Ottomans brough all the ancient knowledge in the west, they founded academies, schools and printing presses, once they died, their English, Dutch, German successors found opportunity to rehash the ancient documents as their own cultural legacy.

They started building narratives as manifested by Edward Gibbon, that the "ancient Greeks" refer mainly to Athens 500-400BCE, everything else to be deemed as tainted(.ie by Jews, Septuagint 285BCE, Egyptians, Persians), broken and otherwise discarded, so Gibbon built this entire narrative isolating the parts he considered "classic" against the parts he considered tainted and dirty.

This type of tradition continues to the present day within classical departments and is distilled within the term "classics" itself.

The racism is manifested in many ways even to the present day which is replacement theory manifest. .ie "us educated, elite, industrious Anglo-Germans of the 'renaissance' and industrial times" must be the inheritors of these ubermenschen and not these filthy Greeks down under.

The things I hear from these classicists during my conversations with them would make one's blood boil.

If you follow this rather long thread, you will find lots of racist examples and very poor argumentations from a bunch of professors, phd's, lecturers on "classics" as well as in my other thread about Pronunciation.

#15303168
noemon wrote:2 is part of number 3 and one can see the racism in the writings of Gibbon, Blass and many others.

Western classicists in the 16th century found themselves in a unique position.

The Greek emigres fleeing the Ottomans brough all the ancient knowledge in the west, they founded academies, schools and printing presses, once they died, their English, Dutch, German successors found opportunity to rehash the ancient documents as their own cultural legacy.

They started building narratives as manifested by Edward Gibbon, that the "ancient Greeks" refer mainly to Athens 500-400BCE, everything else to be deemed as tainted(.ie by Jews, Septuagint 285BCE, Egyptians, Persians), broken and otherwise discarded, so Gibbon built this entire narrative isolating the parts he considered "classic" against the parts he considered tainted and dirty.

This type of tradition continues to the present day within classical departments and is distilled within the term "classics" itself.

The racism is manifested in many ways even to the present day which is replacement theory manifest. .ie "us educated, elite, industrious Anglo-Germans of the 'renaissance' and industrial times" must be the inheritors of these ubermenschen and not these filthy Greeks down under.

The things I hear from these classicists during my conversations with them would make one's blood boil.

If you follow this rather long thread, you will find lots of racist examples and very poor argumentations from a bunch of professors, phd's, lecturers on "classics" as well as in my other thread about Pronunciation.



I noticed the obsession that the Anglo cultures had with appropriating ancient Greece and ancient Roman cultural legacies. I just thought it strange Noemon.

I still do.
#15303172
I have always noticed that there seems to be disrespect for ancient Greek/Roman studies. They like to pit the two against each other and focus on their rivalry and how the Greeks thought Romans were "barbarians", but there was more to it, in my opinion. Or they compare the mythology.

When I learned about Roman history, they tended to focus on the gladiator sports and Julius Caesar which isn't even the best part of Roman history.

I would love if they redid the curriculum to look at more than the rivalry and the blood sport that happened during the time.
#15303175
MistyTiger wrote:I have always noticed that there seems to be disrespect for ancient Greek/Roman studies. They like to pit the two against each other and focus on their rivalry and how the Greeks thought Romans were "barbarians", but there was more to it, in my opinion. Or they compare the mythology.

When I learned about Roman history, they tended to focus on the gladiator sports and Julius Caesar which isn't even the best part of Roman history.

I would love if they redid the curriculum to look at more than the rivalry and the blood sport that happened during the time.


Something that is less known to people today is that Greek & Roman cultures fused. Greeks call themselves Romans to the present day and the official name of the Greek minority in Turkey by the Turkish state itself is 'Roman'.

Roman became a civic identity like American. So all through the Eastern Roman Empire we see the names Roman, Greek, Hellene interchanging. We see emperors proclaiming in Greek, "We are the Roman Empire, the descendants of the Greeks" without finding any kind of contradiction and how would they, Greeks were Roman for 1700 years continuously and the Romans learned Greek for 2000 years.

As an example consider how Germans, English, Dutch, etcetera fused in the US to become collectively 'American WASPS' within only 200 years or less, now imagine this happening for 1700 years(250BCE-1450 CE) officially and a further 200 years unofficially.

The original Greek national anthem(Thourios) refers to the Greek people as 'Romans'.

During the Greek Revolution, there was a debate as to whether the nascent state should be called Rome or Greece, the vast majority of people wanted Rome, the elites wanted Greek and it won out purely because the Ottomans and the Europeans objected to the term 'Roman', for the modern Greeks both terms were equally valid and interchangeable.
The Ottomans because they feared the name Roman and the geographical connotations it implied(Roman Empire makes a larger territorial claim than Greece), even though they used it for the Greeks and they still officially do and the Europeans objected because they were hilariously using the term 'Roman' to refer to their own Empires as in the "Holy Roman Empire" that was neither Holy, nor Roman nor an Empire but a hodgepodge of Germanic principalities and the last nation to unify in Europe.

As far as a modern Greek person is concerned, Ceasar and Cicero are as much ancestors as Alexander & Socrates.

Last but not least almost all of both Greek and Roman literatures have been preserved by Greek scribes of the Eastern Roman Empire.

This kind of pitting against occurs purely for the reason of throwing ash to the eyes of people so that they do not understand this historical process and treat them as separate, this is also the reason why a "Holy Roman German" invented the term 'Byzantine' to refer to the actual Roman state as well as why Charlemagne proclaimed himself "Roman Emperor" even though the Roman Empire was in continuous existence at the time and objected quite explicitly to such appropriation. The Chuch split because of it and went to war(s) over it, too. The Church remains split to this day.

Check this elderly overweight English dude aptly named himself 'testes':

#15303207
MistyTiger wrote:The word classic can refer to a vintage car or an English novel written in the 15th century. The term of classic or classics is just too broad and very nondescript. I don't even think it's accurate to refer to classical music as classical, but I'm not an expert at all.

The term “classic” or “classical” can only be applied retrospectively. The ancient Greeks or Romans certainly didn’t think of themselves as living in the “classical” period. The very use of the term implies that the people who use it are no longer living in classical times. And, as you say, the term is applied so loosely that it’s not very meaningful. Most classical music isn’t classical; only the music of the period from about 1770 to about 1830 is “classical”, properly speaking; the rest is Baroque, Romantic, Modernist, Serialist, and so on.

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