The Camden fringe recently saw a Dikaiopolis, dissatisfied with the EU referendum result, making a personal deal to retain his European citizenship in Leave. To Remain. In the academy, there have been conferences at Columbia University and at King’s College London, considering, respectively, Aristophanes’ importance for understanding ancient politics, and where the comedy lies in Aristophanes work, for ancient and modern audiences.
These approaches are complementary to our own. We are interested in exploring the issues surrounding living in a world where “political comedy” brings up questions of the demarcation and mutual implication of the spheres of politics, representation, media, the comic, and whether now is a particularly good time to read and reread Aristophanes. We want to explore, through a variety of approaches, how Aristophanes and how scholarship on Aristophanes might respond to the moment we are in, when the relationship between comedy, criticism and power is urgent and when the appeal of the grotesque makes is not only an ally of subversion, but of domination as well.
The international group of scholars gathered for seminar series which attempted to respond to some of the possible discourse:
Liz Irwin (Columbia) - Acharnians and politics
Ian Ruffell (Glasgow) - Aristophanes and Populism
Amy Coker (ICS) - Political Incorrectness? Aristophanes, Hate Speech & Power
Carol Atack (Oxford) - Gendered politics of performative assembly in Aristophanes
Rob Tordoff (York, Toronto) - The Cavalry and vulgarism
Mario Telo (Berkeley) - Aristophanes, Jacques Rancière and Democracy
Constanze Güthenke (CCC) - Reading Leo Strauss reading Aristophanes