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Classical Cosmopolitanism and its Critics: Rethinking Community in the Ancient World


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On our Classical Cosmopolitanism and its Critics: Rethinking Community in the Ancient World short course you will study ancient Greek and Roman ideas about humans’ ethical attachments and responsibilities beyond their own local community - to larger ethnic or cultural groups, to humanity as a whole, or to all thinking beings - and their echoes in modern debates. You will also learn about different Greek and Roman attempts to give those ideas practical political form, in enlarged federal states and empires or in cosmopolitan outsider communities.

We will consider ancient opponents of cosmopolitan ideas and projects, especially those who identified universalism with imperialism or insisted that virtue, equality, liberty and solidarity are best realised in smaller, more exclusive city-states. The later classes will trace how Greco-Roman models have contributed to the development of modern internationalism and humanitarianism - as well as helping to drive opposition to them.

All texts can be studied in translation. This postgraduate-level course is designed to appeal to students from a range of disciplinary backgrounds, e.g. history of ideas, politics, geography and philosophy, as well as classics and ancient history. It will:

  • broaden your understanding of the long history of debate and disagreement about the value - or dangers - of border-crossing forms of citizenship and political action
  • enrich other study of the ancient world, or provide a fresh perspective on issues in, for example, politics, philosophy and geography.

30 credits at level 7

  • Entry requirements

    Entry requirements

    Most of our short courses have no formal entry requirements and are open to all students.

    This short course has no prerequisites.

    As part of the enrolment process, you may be required to submit a copy of a suitable form of ID.

    International students who wish to come to the UK to study a short course can apply for a Visitor visa. Please note that it is not possible to obtain a Student visa to study a short course.

  • How to apply

    How to apply

    You register directly onto the classes you would like to take. Classes are filled on a first-come, first-served basis - so apply early. If you wish to take more than one short course, you can select each one separately and then register onto them together via our online application portal. There is usually no formal selection process, although some modules may have prerequisites and/or other requirements, which will be specified where relevant.