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Book Launch: Critical Ancient World Studies

with Dan-el Padilla Peralta, S. Sayyid, Santiago Slabodsky, Mathura Umachandran and Marchella Ward

Please join us to celebrate the publication of Critical Ancient World Studies: The Case for Forgetting Classics (Routledge, 2024) edited by Mathura Umachandran and Marchella Ward.

Event details

Book Launch: Critical Ancient World Studies

Please join us to celebrate the publication of Critical Ancient World Studies: The Case for Forgetting Classics (Routledge, 2024) edited by Mathura Umachandran and Marchella Ward. The volume builds on the work of the Critical Ancient World Studies project – a global, decolonial collective of scholars who came together in 2020 to re-think the narratives we use to make sense of the ancient world and write the history of a decolonial future.

The event will take place from 2.30 – 5pm, and will consist of a roundtable, with the editors and members of the Critical Ancient World Studies collective and cognate projects, followed by a reception in celebration of the book’s publication. The roundtable can be accessed either in person or online – the reception will be in person only. For the biographies of speakers, see below.

Speakers (in alphabetical order):

Dan-el Padilla Peralta is Associate Professor of Classics at Princeton University, where he associates with African American studies and affiliates with the programs in Latino studies, Latin American studies and the University Center for Human Values. He is the author of Undocumented: A Domincian Boy’s Odyssey from a Homeless shelter to the Ivy League (2015) and Divine Institutions: Religions and Community in the Middle Roman Republic (2020), and co-editor of Rome, Empire of Plunder: The Dynamics of Cultural Appropriation (2017) and Making the Middle Republic: New Approaches to Rome and Italy, c. 400 – 200 BCE (2023). He has also published pieces for The Guardian, Matter, Vox, the NYT, Fabulist and diaphanes.

S. Sayyid is a Professor of rhetoric and decolonial thought, currently at the University of Leeds.  He reads historical ontologies and writes political theory.  His publications – including the monographs A Fundamental Fear (1997) and Recalling the Caliphate (2014) – have been translated into several languages.  He is involved in the Critical Muslim Studies research programme and is also the founding editor of the inter-disciplinary journal ReOrient, and contributes to Network ReOrient podcasts. 

Santiago Slabodsky is an Argentinean social theorist who holds the Kaufman Chair in Jewish Studies at Hofstra University in New York. He is co-director of the journal Decolonial Horizons edited from South America and published by Pluto Press in the UK, co-chair of the Religions, Social Conflict and Peace Unit at the American Academy of Religion and for over a decade he has been visiting concurrent professor at institutions in the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Costa Rica, North Macedonia and Argentina.  Among his publications, his book Decolonial Judaism: Triumphal Failures of Barbaric Thinking received the 2017 Frantz Fanon Outstanding Book Award from the Caribbean Philosophical Association.

Mathura Umachandran is an Eelam Tamil scholar from London, trained at Oxford and Princeton in classics. They teach Greek at the University of Exeter and dream of ways of making more just knowledge.

Marchella Ward (“Chella”) is Lecturer in Classical Studies at the Open University. Her work seeks to unravel the complicity of the classical with Western supremacy, racism, ableism and other injustices, and she is especially interested in using Muslimness as an epistemological tool of insurgency against the Eurocentrism of the classical tradition. Together with Mathura Umachandran, she co-convenes the Critical Ancient World Studies collective, and she writes frequently for non-specialists and also for children.

Please use this Zoom link to join us online:

We look forward to seeing you there!



Forum Seminar Room 03