First announcement/Call For Papers
‘Classics Hell’: Re-Presenting Antiquity in Mass Cultural Media
Tue 17th April 2007, 10.30 – 18.00, Department of Classics, University of

Interest in reception studies has of course grown rapidly in recent times,
and increasing emphasis has been laid on the validity and importance of
mass culture, especially the diverse ‘new media’ that have emerged over
the last few decades. In the 1930s, F.D. and Q.R. Leavis famously lamented
the spread of mass media like cinema, popular fiction, advertising and
radio, arguing that they would encourage a passive approach to the
consumption of culture. Seventy years on, cultural consumers are taking
increasingly interactive roles in the interpretation and re-presentation
of mass cultural texts with participatory activities like game-playing and
fan fiction. What are the effects of this popular assault on the high
cultural bastions of Classics? What new forms is antiquity taking? Where
will it go next?

We seek to shed light on assorted areas of non-elite culture: from
television to tourism, celluloid to cyberspace, pornography to politics,
bringing together speakers working on a wide range of media (visual and
otherwise) to explore the consequences of a (somehow?) ‘de-classified’
classics. Confirmed speakers include Nick Lowe (RHUL), Gideon Nisbet
(Glasgow), and our keynote speaker, Bettany Hughes (independent scholar,
TV and radio presenter, and author).

The schedule is currently being finalised. However there are a few slots
still available and anyone interesting in presenting should contact the
organisers, Dr Dunstan Lowe (d.m.lowe AT or Dr Kim Shahabudin
(k.shahabudin AT as soon as possible. We are seeking twenty-minute
papers addressing some aspect of the interface between antiquity and
modern (i.e. 20th and 21st century) non-elite culture. Proposals from
postgraduate and non-classicist speakers are welcomed.

We welcome non-academic participants as well as those from all levels and
areas of education. All papers will be accessible to non-Classicists. A
small registration fee will apply to cover refreshments and a buffet lunch.

To register interest in attending or to submit a proposal, contact Dr
Dunstan Lowe (d.m.lowe AT or Dr Kim Shahabudin
(k.shahabudin AT For further information see the Conference
website at