Dynamics of Civilisation


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Impression of a jade seal designed by Professor Wang Mingming for CREDOC, containing the Chinese characters Xue (interpretation) and Wenming (civilisation).

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Centre for Research into the Dynamics of Civilisation (CREDOC)
104 Gordon House
29 Gordon Square
London WC1H 0PP
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 7522
d.alabaster@ucl.ac.uk

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NEWS AND EVENTS

Watch the video for ‘Antiquity’ and the dynamics of civilization: Part One

Watch the video for ‘Antiquity’ and the dynamics of civilization: Part Two


Watch the video for Civilisation and its Critiques: An Art-Historical Perspective


Civilisation and Hierarchy: encompassment revisited

hierarchies_small

Friday 6th July 2015

Time: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.

Location: Seminar room 209, Institute of Archaeology 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1

See here for more information. No need to register.


Inequality, Scale, and Civilisation

Inequality, Scale and Civilisation smaller

Date: 8-11 July 2015

Click here for more information


Arendt and the Ancients (supported by CREDOC)

Arendt small

Thursday 17 and Friday 18 September 2015

Time: See here

Location: Gordon House 106

See here for more information and to register.


Events


Civilisation and Hierarchy: encompassment revisited

Date: 3 July 2015

Time: 10 a.m. -7 p.m.

Location: Seminar room 209, Institute of Archaeology 31-34 Gordon Square, London WC1

All are welcome. No registration is required.

hierarchies_web

From the ritual knowledge and age-grades of the Hadza, the Big Men of Melanesia, the chiefs engaging in the Kula, to Indian rulers and Brahmins, Chinese emperors and their ritual experts, including lay preachers and their texts, to the civilisation of individual and popular self-realisation as meritocratic and market-led, it is evident that hierarchy and civilisation are one and the same. But the nature, rake and ranking of hierarchy, the extent of exclusions from realising the highest achievements in it, are varied. Anthropological perspectives have often associated cosmology and hierarchy in varied forms and in this workshop we will address how these approaches expand our comparative understanding of civilisations.

Chaired by Mike Rowlands and Stephan Feuchtwang

A UCL Centre for Research on the Dynamics of Civilisation workshop

Programme

10-10.30 Mike Rowlands and Stephan Feuchtwang introduction

RESPONSES AND FURTHER THOUGHTS

Encompassment without hierarchy

10.30 – 11.15 Harry Walker

11.15 -11.30 coffee

11.30 -12.15 Jerome Lewis

Encompassment with hierarchy

12.15 – 1.00 Jason Hickel

Lunch 1.00- 2.30

2.30 - 3.15 Tom Boylston

3.15 - 4.00 Beverley Butler

Coffee/tea 4.00 - 4.15

4.15 – 5.00 Chris Pinney

5.00 – 5.45 Maurice Bloch

5.45 – 7.00 David Wengrow and then general discussion

Dinner


Inequality, Scale, and Civilisation

Inequality, Scale and Civilisation small

Date: 8-11 July 2015

Click here for more information


Arendt and the Ancients conference (supported by CREDOC)

Arendt

Thursday 17th and Friday 18th September 2015

Times below

Location: Gordon House 106

Register here.

Organisers: Miriam Leonard, Tim Beasley-Murray

One of the most original figures of the twentieth century, Hannah Arendt (1906-1975) still exerts a profound influence on political thinking today. From her discussion of action, to her critique of totalitarianism, from her declarations about “the banality of evil” to her reclamation of revolution, Arendt remains an essential point of reference for modern political thought. Her work continues to animate debates about democracy, about Israel and Palestine, about feminism and about the nature of political participation - she has even been the subject of a recent film. Yet, Arendt’s critique of contemporary politics paradoxically found its inspiration in antiquity. Throughout her work, Arendt draws extensively not just on the writings of Plato and Aristotle but on a much broader conception of the political structures of Greece and Rome. In particular, Arendt turned to the Greek polis as “the space of men’s free deeds and living words” to model an egalitarian, pluralist and agonistic politics. This immersion in antiquity was far from backward-looking; rather, Arendt discovered in these Classical civilizations a “forgotten treasure” which opens us on to a new future.

Arendt’s thought raises questions about the centrality of Greco-Roman ideas to the constitution of modern politics. Does Arendt’s investment in the Greek polis perpetuate a Eurocentric bias? Does her lack of attention to ancient slavery fundamentally undermine her notion of a free politics? Can Arendt move beyond the androcentrism which was constitutive of ancient political organisations? Arendt’s relationship to the ancients thus opens up a debate about the complicity between a conception of Western civilization and the contemporary idea of politics.

This conference brings together Classicists, Political Theorists and Arendt scholars to look both at the impact of antiquity on her work and the potential for Arendt to open new avenues for studying the ancient world. The significance of antiquity to Arendt’s thought has always been recognized, but its implications for continuing debates in modern political theory have yet to be fully investigated. Conversely, Classicists have become increasingly interested in the legacy of ancient political thought in the modern world but have yet to explore Arendt’s writings in any detail. This conference will provide a uniquely interdisciplinary forum for exploring the relationship between ancient and modern politics.

Speakers:

Andrew Benjamin, Monash University

Adriana Cavarero, University of Verona

Joy Connolly, New York University

Katherine Harloe, Reading University

Bonnie Honig, Brown University

Frisbee Sheffield, Cambridge University

Dana Villa, University of Notre Dame

Programme and registration information will be available in June.

For more information, please contact: m.leonard@ucl.ac.uk

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the UCL Centre for Research on the Dynamics of Civilisation (CREDOC), the UCL European Institute and the A.G. Leventis Foundation.

Programme:

17 September, 2015

2pm Registration and Welcome

2:30-3:30 Joy Connolly (NYU) ‘Purposive Conservation: Arendtian practices of reading’

3:30-4:30 Katherine Harloe (Reading) ‘Arendt and the Quarrel of Ancient and Modern’

4:30-5:15 Tea/Coffee

5:15-6:15 Bonnie Honig (Brown) ‘Hannah Arendt and the Lost Sabbath: Ancient Practices in Modern Perspective in The Human Condition’

6:30-7:45 Reception in the Flaxman Gallery

18 September 2015

10:30-11:30 Dana Villa (Notre Dame) ‘Arendt and Pericles’

11:30-12:30 Frisbee Sheffield (Cambridge) ‘Arendt on Plato, Aristotle, and Politics’

12:30-2:00 Lunch (for speakers)

2:00-3:00 Andrew Benjamin (Monash/Kingston) ‘The Problem of Authority in Arendt and Aristotle’

3:00-4:00 Adriana Cavarero (Verona) ‘Arendt and the Socrates paradigm’

4:00 Tea/Coffee

4:30-5:30 Roundtable and Closing Discussion: John Ackerman (Northwestern) and Kevin Inston (UCL)

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