School of History, Classics & Archaeology

New approaches to Greek institutional history

The study of political institutions has always been one of the most productive branches of Greek history. This tradition, however, has been sometimes described as old-fashioned and abandoned in favour of extra-institutional approaches. This is out of step with contemporary political science, which has witnessed since the late 1970s a growing interest in institutions as key determinants of political and social behaviour. This scholarly tradition, known as New Institutionalism, has produced mature methodological approaches that explore e.g. the development of institutions over time and the psychological constraints they create on political behaviour and discourse.

This conference will showcase some of the most promising new work in Greek institutional history that has relevance for political scientists and students of political institutions more widely, at the same time encouraging Greek historians to engage with the toolbox of the New Institutionalism. Its main objective is to foster renewed theoretical and methodological reflection within Greek history on the importance of institutions and on how we should study them. The cost for attending this conference is £10.00.

Schedule at a Glance

30 March 2017

09.30-10.00 Registration

  • 10.00-10.30 Mirko Canevaro - Introductory remarks
  • 10.30-11.20 Michele Faraguna – Citizenship in the Greek polis: an institutional approach
  • 11.20-11.40 Tea/Coffee
  • 11.40-12.30 James Kierstead – Non-Citizens in Athenian associations
  • 12.30-13.30 Lunch
  • 13.30-14.20 Edward Harris – Formal rules, informal rules and the myth of 'free spaces' in Classical Athens
  • 14.20-15.10    Christian Thomsen – The wandering and the polis
  • 15.10-15.30   Tea/Coffee
  • 15.30-16.20   David Lewis – The Old Oligarch’s remarks on the behaviour of slaves at Athens
  • 16.20-17.10   Sara Zanovello – The institution of paramone and the Greeks’ conceptualisation of slavery and freedom
  • 17.10-18.00   Drink reception
  • 19.30 Dinner at local restaurant

31 March 2017

  • 9.40-10.30 Alberto Esu – Edoxe tei boulei: institutional design and deliberative expertise in the Athenian Council
  • 10.30-11.20   Peter Liddel – Rules, practices, narratives: managing decrees in classical Athens
  • 11.20-11.40   Tea/Coffee
  • 11.40-12.30   Stephen Lambert – The rule of law in late Classical Athens: an epigraphical perspective
  • 12.30-13.30   Lunch
  • 13.30-14.20   Anna Magnetto – Negotiating models and conclusion of interstate agreements in the Classical and Hellenistic Ages
  • 14.20-15.10   Matteo Zaccarini – Military leadership and the figure of the strategos in the Classical period. An approach based on Historical Institutionalism
  • 15.10-15.30   Tea/Coffee
  • 15.30-16.20   Matteo Barbato – Towards an institutionalist approach to Athenian ideological practice: the discourse of autochthony in the Attic orators
  • 16.20-17.10   Robert Sobak – The virtues of agonistic micropolitics in the age of Farage and Trump (three lessons from democratic Athens)
  • 17.10-17.40   Final remarks/discussion

New approaches to Greek institutional history

The Department of Classics of the University of Edinburgh is happy to announce the conference ‘New Approaches to Greek Institutional History’, to be held on 30-31 March 2017.

Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), Hope Park Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9NW