What is "Classics"?
Put simply, it is the study of the ancient mediterranean and near-east. However, recent years have seen an increase in discussion about which cultures the subject brings within its ambit.
Turkey, Iran, India, China and more are increasingly included in such discussions.
Most people think: Julius Caesar and Sophocles as a frame of reference, and as a starting point, I suppose that’s as good as any.
Is it still important?
The skill set in Classics is broad. It is History and Philosophy and Religion and any number of other subjects, but it is also critical-thinking, analysis of language and evidence, fluency and clarity of written-expression, linguistic elasticity, communication and cross-cultural understanding.
Many employers are more interested in the skill-set of a candidate than the qualifications they have taken. The certificates prove an aptitude in examination, but the real abilities and skills shine through in the study of this subject.
So, Classical Studies could lead you to: university study, journalism (broadcast and written), law, medicine, computer sciences, engineering, architecture, politics and dozens of others.
Remember – employers are interested in SKILLS. Few subjects develop such a broad range as Classics and Classical Studies do.
What is a "Working Classicist"?
There is a class issue with Classics and Classical Studies. Over the last hundred years, Classical Studies, Latin and Greek have been gradually phased out of state schools in the United Kingdom. There are loads of reasons for this, and many of them are difficult and deeply entwined with other issues.
University courses seem to overflow with alumni from independent schools, and this can be hugely alienating for those who went to the local comp. The experience of coming from the 93% turns from being in a place where they are comfortable to being one where they are suddenly the outsider. In such circumstances, outsiders need allies.
To be a Working Classicist is a way for a whole group of people - amateurs, academics and professionals - to identify themselves with pride, and to make connections with others from a similar background.
It is a way of overcoming the imposter syndrome which so many Classicists from the 93% feel.
It is for those who consider themselves socialists, who feel the world can be fairer, and who want to see changes in attitudes which have been entrenched over centuries around class-worth, academic opportunity, gender and sexual-orientation prejudice, racism and arbitrary exclusion created by our society and its institutions.
What do we believe?
We want the field of Classical Studies (and Classics) to better represent the makeup of the population.
It is estimated that 7% of the population attend private schools, but the majority of students in this field come through connection to the private sector.
This is simply not egalitarian. This is not equality of choice or opportunity.
We believe that whatever background you are from you should be able to pursue an enthusiasm in these subjects, as a hobby, a course of study, or as a profession.
We believe that significant redistribution of the knowledge wealth in this area hinges on developing networks of connection between individuals and organisations who have difficulty in accessing it.
We believe in socialism in education and opportunity.
We believe that Antigone was right and Creon was a bit of a knob.
For more information, see our Frequently Asked Questions page.