Social Media & Classical Studies

28018096810_7a8c2fda0a_bSocial media is a big part of my life at the moment, and I’ve found that Twitter is a really useful place to share ideas and engage in some interesting scholarly debates. Of course, it’s very different to a face to face discussion, but in the modern world that we live in, social media gives us a unique platform from which we can share our ideas with others around the world.

If you follow ClassicalFix you will know that I like to post content to the BLOG at the weekends, this will continue, but I want to start here with what I hope will become a series of posts that relate specifically to the nature of our subject (Classical Studies) in the digital world of social media.

twitter-logo-finalThis first post is about a recent debate I got myself into on Twitter  and it was relating to the repatriation of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece. In true Mary Beard style, I managed to wade into what I thought would be a constructive discussion about a hotly contested topic, a topic that I felt I could contribute to! However, despite all the best intentions I ended up in a heated argument that resulted in me being added to a Twitter list entitled – ‘I’m British & Ignorant’! which I have to admit did shock me for a moment. Now, before I get started I want to make it very clear that I may be considered many things, but ignorant is certainly not one of them. I choose my battles carefully and never engage in a discussion that I can’t contribute to in both a timely & informed manner, because what’s the point in getting involved if you have nothing to say!

Anyhow, I’m not writing this to further the debate on the Parthenon Marbles, but you are of course welcome to share your opinions on this subject by leaving a comment below. I did BLOG about this topic in the past and you can read that post by following this link – Cultural Heritage: Ongoing Debates, additionally here’s a few useful resources that will bring you up to speed with the debate if you aren’t in the loop.

The Independent (2018)

The British Museum (2017)

A brief overview of both sides of the debate (2009)

As you no doubt know, the issue has been rumbling on for many years and despite all the political wrangling and the most recent calls to return the artefacts to Greece, in my opinion I can’t see how this time it is any different. I firmly believe (others disagree, and of course they are entitled to do so) that this is not a clear-cut decision. So, I made this observation on Twitter and further questioned the claim that the marbles were ‘looted’ and then, well, it all kicked off – See for yourself by following this link to the Twitter thread! 

When you read through make sure that you expand the thread so you can see all the posts by clicking on the – 11 more reply’s & 3 more reply’s.

As you can see, what began as a simple comment with the intent on engaging in a debate turned into a relentless Twitter row! Please understand, I bear no malice to the other individual involved, I have no objection to ANYONE who want’s to disagree with me. I value a constructive argument and welcome a good debate.

The purpose of this BLOG post is not to show my exasperation with today’s events, it is to show just how valuable Twitter and other Social Media platforms can be in fostering open discussion and debate. Not everybody agrees with everybody else, it’d be a pretty boring world if they all did, and evidence and argument is at the heart of Classical Studies. I understand that many are wary of social media and perhaps even a little suspicious about its use, but our discipline is very well represented on Twitter and I urge as many of you that feel comfortable in doing so, to join the debate and get involved.

Please feel free to add your comments below, as I think social media has a significant role to play in the advancement of Classicla Studies. 

Follow @classicalfix on twitter by clicking here!



2 thoughts on “Social Media & Classical Studies

  1. Congrats on your first brush with graeco trolling, Tony. A university forum twitter ain’t! You probably guessed that to a lot of Greeks this is a very personal soar point, rather than an academic discussion as it may be to others, an explanation (if not excuse) for that kind of behaviour (oh, if I had a blog post for every youtube “argument” about Ancient Greek pronunciation!)

    If I were to have the British Archonship for a year, I would opt for returning the marbles, but that’s just based on my own experience of never really appreciating them at the Brit museum until coming back from my first trip to Athens (and I’m neither passionately for or against, to be honest). Of course, any number of shoulds doesn’t make it so, I doubt there’s any real chance of Phidia’s works going athenaze anytime soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, Truth be told, I don’t hold a passionate belief either way in the debate. I simply felt I had something to contribute and still believe it is a far from easy decision. Anyway, it was an interesting exchange. I don’t think Twitter can ever rival a university forum but I do believe it still has a lot of merits. But then again, what is an OU forum if not an ongoing thread of messages? Is that not Twitter? I think it’s a perception thing though. People perceive Twitter as a throw-away frivolous platform as opposed to an academic forum. I’m no expert, but I’m sure there’ll be some good scholarship about this somewhere.


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