Friday, September 1, 2017

Eidolon News: Introducing #Syllabi: collecting some of the best writing about Classics-related topics that are relevant to current events.

Introducing #Syllabi
Whenever a topic related to Classics enters the mainstream media discourse — like this summer’s discussion about what it meant that several members of the Trump administration (both current and former) profess to be fans of Thucydides — I brace myself. Too often, the discourse in articles about the phenomenon is at a fairly low level. Generalizations about what an author like Thucydides “means” abound (as though there were only one way to read Thucydides!). And when classical scholars do decide to weigh in on social media and blogs, their nuanced and thoughtful contributions get far less attention than they deserve.
But we can change that. I’m thrilled to announce a new feature for Eidolon: virtual syllabi, collecting some of the best writing about Classics-related topics that are relevant to current events.
One of the healthiest and most exciting trends in public academic engagement of recent years is the collectively sourced virtual syllabus of texts that can help make sense of confusing and disturbing events. Ferguson Syllabus, Trump Syllabus (versions one, two, and three), and the recent All Monuments Must Fall syllabus are just a few examples that come to my mind, but there are other excellent syllabi as well.
Many of these syllabi, although not all, were crowdsourced. We’ve decided to go in a slightly different direction for now by finding individual scholars with expertise in the field to provide the first iteration of the syllabus. But we hope that others will suggest more sources to add, and we’ll update the syllabi as they do.
Additionally, because we’re Eidolon, we’re going to make sure to incorporate sources in these syllabi that go outside the normal range of scholarly articles and books. Do you know of an excellent blog post, internet think piece, or Twitter thread on the topic? Suggest it!
Tomorrow we’ll publish our first syllabus, led by Neville Morley, who has written a great deal about the online reception of Thucydides. Morley’s syllabus will provide context to help readers understand this summer’s somewhat surprising revelations about Thucydides in the White House.
If you have suggestions to add to this syllabus, add them as comments on the article itself. And if you have an idea for a different topic for a syllabus, send it to us at

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