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Showing posts from August, 2015

ISIL & classicism: cultural cleansing & an end of history

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The world in which we live in is not without it’s sorrows, its barbarisms. We stand amid the furthest reaches of culture and prosperity ever known to any epoch, yet there are those who would tear that down to impose their own, brutalising ideologies.

Islamic State/Islamic State in the Levant/Islamic State/Daish in Syria (hence:ISIL) are the proponent of cultural destruction of the moment. It is woven into their very being, their way of operating. What ISIL are doing augments the innovations of their predecessors—the Taliban's destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, Osama bin Laden’s masterful, propagandistic usage of the cassette tape, the mass purges of nascent communist nations—twisting their actions into a new paradigm of mass terror in the age of spectacle of the internet. Their goal is not just the establishment of a caliphate, but of a ‘pure’ theocratic nation state. The drive to purity is, as at other points in the tragic history of humanity, the twentieth century in particu…

Planning a Public Uni talk

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Recently I went along with a PhD buddy who was participating in an event called Public Uni. It consists of several ten-minute talks to a public audience by researchers at Cardiff University and is currently held at the Chapter Arts Centre in Canton, Cardiff, a few minutes down the road from my apartment. Subsequently, my name was passed on to the organiser and I was invited to do my own talk.

I accepted unhesitantly. I'm fairly comfortable talking to groups. I also have experience with public engagement in of a different stripe, on the one hand from having had to convey complex information to my team in my former life in retail management, and also from my work with the SHARE with Schools project. In this regard I count myself fairly lucky, public speaking can be really daunting to many.

Writing a book review

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I wrote a book review. It's for an online series run by Classics for All, and is a continuation of the older JACT book review series. JACT recently merged with the Classical Association and so its properties have been either subsumed or renamed. It has what the blog's strapline admits is 'a temporary home' at https://classicsforallreviews.wordpress.com/, where my review should appear soon [edit: my review of Hoyos, Mastering the West is here].

I would've liked to have finished writing the book review a few weeks ago, but a delay in sending the review copy out to me pushed its reading into a busy period. It had to wait while I completed a chapter for annual progress review, spent a week in Swansea brushing up on my Latin and lots of other bits and pieces. You know, the usual doctoral stuff. (I'll have to blog about some of that soon.)

So, finally having has chance to get all the way through the volume, i set about penning my review. I often write mini-reviews o…