Today we are happy to continue our interview series with Andre Lardinois, Professor at Ratboud University and Adjunct Member of the new FIEC Board:
1. What is your current position at Radboud University?
I am professor of ancient Greek language and culture.
2. What does your research focus on?
My research focuses primarily on archaic Greek lyric poetry and Athenian tragedy.
3. What made you study the ancient world?
When I was a young boy of nine years old my parents took me to Rome. I was so impressed by the ruins that I became very interested first in Roman and very soon also ancient Greek culture. I also had a very good and funny teacher for Greek and Latin in high school, who helped to fuel my interest in the ancient world.
4. What is your job as Adjunct Member of the FIEC board?
I am the FIEC delegate to the European Alliance for Social Sciences and Humanities in Brussels.
5. One of the main objectives of FIEC is to foster cooperation among classical scholars! Where do you see the future for classicists in that regard?
One of the strongest points of our discipline is that it is very international. Classical antiquity and its literatures, history and art are studied in many parts of the world without their being a dominant country or region, as is often the case with modern languages. We should cherish this and at the same time seek opportunities to expand our horizon and include scholars from countries and regions that more recently have developed scholarly traditions in Classics, such as China and South America. The FIEC can and should play a pivotal role in this.
6. Another very important objective is to point out the relevance of classical studies to governmental authorities. What do you consider to be the biggest challenges as well as opportunities for classics?
The challenge is at the same time the opportunity. Many governments focus exclusively on the economic welfare of their citizens and think they can foster this without any regard of history or the humanities. We should make clear that there are many more problems that affect the wellbeing of citizens in modern society (e.g. religious intolerance, racism, nationalism, populism) and which the humanities can help societies to think through by examining the occurrences of similar problems in other historical periods. Classics is particularly well placed to contemplate these parallels, because it looks at relatively complex societies that have experienced many of the same problems and whose sources over the centuries have been made relatively well accessible. Even economic innovations, however, only work if the people who have to adopt these innovations are properly understood and to this understanding the humanities, including classics, can contribute as well.