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Sunday, October 14, 2018

**Special Guest Episode on Classics and Race/Ethnicity w/Rebecca Futo Kennedy**

This is the second episode in a series where I converse with Classicists about either books or articles that they have published, their current research interests, or just unique classes and topics that they are teaching and exploring further. 

In today's special guest episode, I am joined by Dr Rebecca Futo Kennedy, Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Denison University in Granville, OH. Her primary teaching and research areas include the history of Archaic and Classical Greece, race and ethnicity in the ancient Mediterranean, and women, gender, and sexuality in antiquity. She is the author and editor of a number of books and articles, including Immigrant Women in AthensThe Routledge Handbook of Identity and the Environment in the Classical and Medieval WorldsRace and Ethnicity in the Classical World: An Anthology of Sources, and, most recently, Brill's Companion to the Reception of Aeschylus. She is currently working on the reception of ancient theories of race and ethnicity in the early Smithsonian, on the way inheritance and property laws reflect Athenian understanding of ethnic identity, and on ancient theories on race and ethnicity and their contemporary complications.

In the first hour of the conversation, Dr. Kennedy and I have a lively discussion about race, ethnicity, immigration, and multiculturalism in the ancient Mediterranean. Along the way we point out many of the misconceptions that there are on these topics, and in the second hour we discuss how these misconceptions were shaped by early modern European and American political thought. In doing so, we discuss a course that Dr. Kennedy is currently teaching called Ancient Art, Modern Politics, which examines art and architecture in ancient Greece and Rome and the history of its appropriation by modern fascist, nationalist, and white supremacist movements. Along the way we talk about the theories of German art historian Johann Winckelmann, particularly his fetishization of white marble statues, the use of Classical forms at World’s Fairs to explicitly yoke antiquity to support white supremacy, Mussolini’s reconstruction of Rome and his use of the ancient Roman past in support of Fascist ideology, Hitler’s fascination with ancient Greece and his white European-centric reconstruction of history that has been erroneously perpetuated (which leads into a digression about the impact that Classicists can have on the narrative by perpetuating racist and false versions of Greek history contrary to the evidence), and finally the cooption of classical sculpture in modern white supremacist groups.

There’s quite a bit in this episode, and like reading Herodotus, our conversation had many digressions, but we always found our way back to the original question. So without further ado, here is my conversation with Dr. Rebecca Futo Kennedy.



Dr. Rebecca Futo Kennedy
Associate Professor of Classical Studies at Denison University

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Bibliography for Further Reading

Altekamp, S. 2017. “Classical Archaeology in Nazi Germany” in Roche and Kyriakos, eds. 289-324.

Chapoutot, J. 2016. Greeks, Romans, Germans: How the Nazis Usurped Europe's Classical Past. Trans. Richard R. Nybakken. UC Press.

Fögen, Thorsten and Richard Warren, eds. 2017. Graeco-Roman Antiquity and the Idea of Nationalism in the 19th Century. DeGruyter.

Fortuna, J. 2017. “Neoclassical Form and the Construction of Power in Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany” in Roche and Kyriakos, eds. 436-56.

Heit, H. 2005. “Western identity, barbarians and the inheritance of Greek universalism.” The European Legacy10(7): 725-39.

Lane, BM. 1986. “Architects in Power: Politics and Ideology in the Work of Ernst May and Albert Speer.” The Journal of Interdisciplinary History17(1): 283-310.

Leoussi. 2017. “Making Nations in the Image of Greece: Classical Greek Conceptions of the Body in the Construction of National Identity in Nineteenth-Century England, France and Germany” in Fögen and Warren, eds. 45-70.

Marcello, Flavia. 2017. “Building the Image of Power: Images of Romanità in the Civic Architecture of Fascist Italy” in Roche and Kyriakos, eds. 325-69.

----------. 2017. “Forma urbis Mussolinii: Vision and Rhetoric in the Designs for Fascist Rome” in Roche and Kyriakos, eds. 370-403.


Nelis, J. 2017. “Fascist Modernity, Religion, and the Myth of Rome” in Roche and Kyriakos, eds. 133-56.

Roche, H. 2017. “’Distant Models’? Italian Fascism, National Socialism, and the Lure of the Classics” in Roche and Kyriakos, eds. 3-28.

Roche, H. and D. Kyriakos. 2017.  Brill's Companions to the Classics, Fascist Italy, and Nazi Germany.  Leiden: Brill.

Rose-Greenland, F. 2013. “The Parthenon Marbles as icons of nationalism in nineteenth-century Britain.” Nations and Nationalism 19(4): 654-673.

Rydell, R.W., 2013. All the world's a fair: visions of empire at American international expositions, 1876-1916. University of Chicago Press.

Saure, F. 2009. “Beautiful Bodies, Exercising Warriors and Original Peoples: Sports, Greek Antiquity and National Identity from Winckelmann to ‘Turnvater Jahn’.” German History27(3): 358-373.

Scobie, A., 1990. Hitler's state architecture: the impact of classical antiquity. Penn State Press.

Whyte, I. 2017. “National Socialism, Classicism, and Architecture” in Roche and Kyriakos, eds. 404-37.

Wildmann, D. 2017. “Desired Bodies: Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia, Aryan Masculinity and the Classical Body” in Roche and Kyriakos, eds. 60-81.

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