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Edinburgh University: Prof Dame Mary Beard – Gifford Lectures – #2/6 – The Ancient World and us – Whiteness



Professor Dame Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at Newnham College, University of Cambridge, delivers the Gifford Lecture “Whiteness”. It is the second lecture in the series “The Ancient World and us: from fear and loathing to enlightenment and ethics”.

This lecture moves from the colour of ancient statues to the skin colour of the Greeks and Romans themselves. Why have these issues proved so inflammatory in the study of antiquity? Who is committed to a white vision of the ancient world, and why? It argues not that antiquity was a world before racism, but that its very different ideas about colour (skin and otherwise) can destabilise our own.

This lecture series explores why the classical world still matters and what ethical dilemmas the study of classics raises (and has always raised). Taking six particular themes, it hopes to show how antiquity can continue to challenge the moral certainties of modernity.


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