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Elyanna presents at Classics Conference

28 June 2019

A couple of months back, whilst perusing Classics-related blog posts to aid with my A-Level revision, I came across a call for papers by an organisation called ‘The Sportula’ for an online conference scheduled for Saturday 22 June, only days after my last A-Level exam. Prior to the call for papers, I had never heard of the organisation, but after doing some more research into their story and purpose as a charity that offers micro-grants to disadvantaged Classics students with financial need, my interest was piqued. 

I answered the call for papers by submitting an abstract proposing a paper titled “Orientalism in the Ancient World: the Persians in Classical and Hellenistic Greek Thought and Art” that explored the presentation of Persian peoples by Greek sources through the lens of the modern concept of Orientalism. To my surprise, my paper was accepted, and I began work on the presentation that seemed at first to be quite a daunting task with the conference being so close to the end of my A-level exams. 

The conference itself was divided into three panels concerning gender, Classical receptions (the panel which I presented in), and marginalisation in antiquity. It was attended by over 50 Classicists at any given time (people would tune in and out of the conference room to hear specific talks), from undergraduate students to professors, which meant that I couldn’t help feeling a little intimidated and out of my depth as one of the youngest panelists presenting, as well as this being my first time ever presenting at an academic conference. 

Overall, my experience in both listening to talks and participating in delivering my own talk was overwhelmingly positive, with open discussions about some of the sensitive themes that were touched upon by the speakers allowing a chance for everyone who attended to hear perspectives one would not typically associate with the field of Classics. This experience has not only broadened my understanding and challenged my beliefs about the supposedly “dead” field of Classics, but of academia as a whole for being a space for anyone who wishes to pursue and share knowledge. 

I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to the EHS Classics department for encouraging my academic pursuit throughout my time studying Classical Civilisation at A-Level - I could never have done it without the steady guidance of Mrs McAlister, Mrs Flitter, and Miss Wood. 

By Elyanna Choi

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