What is London Classicists of Colour?
We are a society led by a committee of UCL Classicists, hoping to create a safe space, community, and support network for students of colour across the whole of UoL. We are also committed to continuing the education of all classicists in matters surrounding decolonisation and race.
Why “Classicists of Colour”?
The term “Classicists of Colour” stems from the commonly-used phrase “people of colour,” which in its extended form, is “Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour.” This term, alongside other categorizing terms for race and ethnicity, has been vastly debated within modern discourse; implicit within this discourse is the understanding that no one term can wholly represent a community. However, we have personally chosen this term as a form of reclamation and empowerment. To us, identifying ourselves as people of colour allows us to take back control of the narrative of the term, which has largely been embedded in the context of white supremacy and imperialism in the past. All committee members at LCOC self-identify as people of colour, as this shapes the way that we experience the discipline.
We would like to reiterate, as our name suggests, that although we support all marginalized communities within the classical field, we cannot and do not represent all marginalized communities. We feel that it would be superficial to attempt to represent all such communities because we would not be able to do them all justice given their diversity and the breadth of this exercise. However, we aim to uplift the causes of groups that seek to represent such communities, as we are all joined in our aim to make Classics a more intersectional, diverse and welcoming field for all.
We wish to emphasize that our events (excluding POC safe spaces) are open to people from all backgrounds who are willing to engage and discuss decolonization and the representation of POC in Classics.
What are the aims of the society?
Our goals are to provide a safe space for students of colour to come and discuss and learn about the experience of studying texts which are inherently bound up with race and colonialism. We also want to contribute to the education of all classicists in the decolonisation of Classics, and the links it has to race. We hope to host regular panels, events, and talks which are accessible to a wide range of people across London and which provides a platform to anyone with a research interest in this area.
We also aim to support the departmental and the university decolonisation movement, and to be in constant dialogue with them about these issues, and to be working in tandem with organisations across other institutions. This will include addressing concerns with the curriculum and the way the subject is taught.
For more information, click here.
Why does the decolonisation of Classics matter?
Decolonisation matters quite simply because it is a matter of justice. It is about reclaiming and valuing the lost voices of POC’s throughout history and within scholarship and academia; it is about recognising the fact that as a discipline, Classics has had a troubled past inextricably tangled with white supremacy, fascism and colonialism; it is about the displacement and re-centering of Classics away from Greece and Rome, and thus; it is about changing the way we study the degree so that it invites and empowers diversity, rather than excluding it. There are those who (mistakenly) believe that decolonisation is about the eradication of the white male voice: but this is a wholly misguided view. Decolonisation is about levelling the playing field, so to speak; it is about including a huge range of voices from across the globe, alongside the ones we already have, which only serves to enrich our discipline and make it even more worthy of study.
Many esteemed scholars have already written about the benefits of decolonisation within Classics, and we point you to some further reading below:
Do you need to be a person of colour (POC) to become a member and attend events?
No, you do not! Anyone is welcome to join LCoC and attend events, regardless of whether they are a POC or not. However, we do have a strict no-tolerance policy to ensure that all POC find a safe space within this society, which may be found here.
We welcome everyone, but we ask you to please centre the opinions of POC and respect their experiences.
What sort of events do you host?
LCoC hosts a multitude of events:
- Academic Discussion Groups: Our academic discussion groups and reading groups are created for students across the UK to come together and share their perspectives on prevalent issues and topics within the study of classical antiquity. Often, these talks will have a decolonizing focus and encourage students to consider how Western thought shapes our understanding of the topic.
- Social Events: The realm of social events covers general get-togethers and pastoral wellness events with our Welfare Officer. These events are exclusively for UoL students. Additionally, we will have a monthly “POC Safe Space” event that is only for POC UoL students.
- Talks: Our talks will feature guest speakers within the field of classical antiquity shedding light on topics of their interest. These talks will be ticketed, and tickets may be acquired from Eventbrite. Anyone is welcome to attend talks, whether you are a UoL student or not.
Socials, pastoral events and discussion events will occur through Zoom. In order to receive these links, do be sure to sign up for our mailing list, which can be done here! To view our current events, click here.
How else can I get involved?
You can write a piece for our website blog; we accept anything to do with Classics and its intersection with Race, and decolonisation! Send it in to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get back to you! You can also subscribe to our newsletter and follow our social media if you want to keep up to date with what we are doing. This way, you’ll be the first to know about our socials, pastoral events, academic discussions, and talks. Alternatively, to help us cover expenses and pay our speakers, consider donating to us! For more information, click here.