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    Diversity Arenas? A Roman Pre-History of Racial Capitalism

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    Event description

    Presenting an HRC - Centre for Classical Studies Distinguished Lecture

    This talk will introduce key themes from the speaker’s forthcoming book on Roman diversity, using examples from the Roman gladiatorial arena to illustrate how the value Romans placed on diversity was often tied to the commodification of racial difference. Drawing from Achille Mbembe's work on necropolitics and the archive, this talk views the arena as a diversity theater that enabled Romans to tokenize and consume memories of the violent incorporation of the foreign that ultimately resulted in the orderly heterogeneity of empire. It will ask whether Rome's gladiatorial spectacles speak to our own modern mechanisms for negotiating ethnic difference, from sports arenas to universities to quotas.


    Dr Nandini Pandey is an Associate Professor of Classics at John Hopkins University. In 2018, she published a prize-winning monograph, The Poetics of Power in Augustan Rome (Cambridge University Press, 2018). This book puts textual, historical, and material evidence into dialogue to explore how imperial authority was built, critiqued, and deconstructed over time. More recently, Dr Pandey's public-facing essays and podcasts have analyzed modern culture, politics, and racial issues in light of the ancient past. Dr Pandey also serves on the board of the Society for Classical Studies and comes to the ANU as the 2024 HRC-Centre for Classical Studies Visiting Fellow

    Lecture followed by light refreshments from 7pm

    This lecture is presented by the ANU Humanities Research Centre in partnership with the ANU Centre for Classical Studies in the School of Literature, Languages and Linguistics.  

    If you require accessibility accommodations or a visitor Personal Emergency Evacuation plan please contact the event organiser.

    Image: ANU Classics Museum, Figurine of a Gladiator - (item 1975.20)

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