The primary purpose of this site is to provide a forum for my students to engage with both history and academic life in general. In its wider aims, this website might serve as a resource for anyone who is interested in thinking or teaching or writing.
In The Significance of Theory, Terry Eagleton says of children that they, “make the best theorists, since they have not yet been educated into accepting our routine social practices as ‘natural,’ and so insist upon posing to those practices the most embarrassingly general and fundamental questions, regarding them with a wondering estrangement which we adults have long forgotten. Since they do not yet grasp our social practices as inevitable, they do not see why we might not do things differently.” The curiosity and suspicion that Eagleton is talking about serve our world and our communities by invigorating our capacity to be political beings. Being political need not be limited to voting or activism.
Imagine yourself a political animal. Political animal translates the Greek politikon zoon: “an animal intended to live in a city; a social animal,” (Aristotle, “Politics,” I.ii.9). We are all animals who want to communicate with other animals. In Classical Greece, political animals talked to each other in the Agora, a large meeting place where markets were held and announcements were made. Socrates asked his questions here and elsewhere. Unlike the Ecclesia, there were no restrictions upon who could be in the Agora. Being political includes all of our daily choices: what we purchase, what we study, how we commute, who we kiss, what water we drink, what language(s) we speak, what we read. Come to the Agora and have your say.