About this Project

2014 – 2016

This project explored the variable forms and semantics of history and historical consciousness in the Occident, based on a synergistic dialogue between Classics and Renaissance studies. Why is history foregrounded or occluded in different cultural and ideological milieus? How has an obsession with classical antiquity molded the more recent past and, indeed, our present? What have different epistemological practices (philology, rhetoric, philosophy) and literary forms (epic, drama, dialogue) deriving from the Graeco-Roman world contributed to our position in and with respect to historical time? In what sense should Humanism still be part of our notion of the Humanities?

The project established a two-year colloquium at the University of Chicago bringing together Classicists, Renaissance scholars, comparatists and historians of ideas who pondered these fundamental questions while reflecting on the overlapping histories of Classics and Renaissance studies as well as on the potential of these fields’ methodological conservatism in an age of digital humanities. Participants (University of Chicago faculty, visitors, and graduate students) sought to define a long-term agenda, identify secondary and primary sources whose existence in English is a desideratum, and assessed the possibility of establishing a consortium, across universities, for the advancement of the studia humanitatis.

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