Modernity's Classics

Open to the Public
Nador u. 9, Faculty Tower
Friday, December 5, 2008 - 9:00am
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Friday, December 5, 2008 - 9:00am to Sunday, December 7, 2008 - 6:00pm

International workshop hosted and co-organized by the Department of History and Pasts, Inc. Center for Historical Studies

 Convenor: Sally C. Humphreys (CEU University Professor)

Friday-Sunday, 5-7 December 2008
CEU, Popper Room, Nador u. 9

This anthropological and historical project aims to examine the reconfiguration in the modern period of the respective civilizational 'classics' in different cultural traditions where they provided widely acceptable foundations for accommodating the far-reaching changes coming with modernity in its manifold articulations ranging from colonialism to nationalism, from secular scientism to religious fundamentalism. As this reconfiguration involved a global transcultural flow with close interaction, it presents a challenge to the established scholarly fields. The project will take on this challenge by assembling an international team of scholars from different cultural and disciplinary backgrounds to cooperate in analysing this global, and hotly contested, flow of ideas and scholarly practices. The study of the 'classic' will provide insights not only into changing conceptions of pastness but also into modern constructions of the self and of the educational process.



Friday Dec 5

09.15-09.30 Introduction (Sally Humphreys)

09.30-11.00 Modernizations
Speakers: Rajeev Bhargava (on Setrag Manoukian), André Laks (on Rajeev Bhargava), Nancy Florida (on Rudolf G. Wagner), Denis Thouard (on Nancy Florida), Glenn Most (on Nicholas de Lange).

11.30-13.00 Constructions
Speakers: Nicholas de Lange (on Ann Hanson), Wang Tao (on Glenn Most), Ann Hanson (on al-
 Azmeh), Ron Inden (on Algazi).

14.15-15.45 Strategies of Reading
Speakers: Garth Fowden (on André Laks), Gabor Betegh (on Garth Fowden), Gadi Algazi (on Gabor Betegh),  Anna Morpurgo Davies (on Ron Inden), Michalis Fotiadis (on Sally Humphreys).

16.15-17.45 Disciplines
Speakers: Aziz al-Azmeh (on Anna Morpurgo Davies), Setrag Manoukian (on Denis Thouard), Sally Humphreys (on Wang Tao), Rudolf G. Wagner (on Michalis Fotiadis).

Saturday Dec 6 

09.15-09.45 Preparatory discussion in three groups:
Narratives: Rudolf G. Wagner, Anna Morpurgo Davies, Aziz al-Azmeh, André Laks, Algazi, Glenn Most.
Anthropologies: Sally Humphreys, Nancy Florida, Gabor Betegh, Ann Hanson, Ron Inden, Setrag Manoukian.
Classifications: Rajeev Bhargava, Nicholas de Lange, Garth Fowden, Denis Thouard, Wang Tao, Michalis Fotiadis.

09.45-11.15 Narratives

11.45-13.15 Anthropologies

14.30-16.00 Classifications

16.30-17.30 Summary (Sally Humphreys) and general discussion

Sunday Dec 7 

09.15-10.45 Classics Positioned
Speakers: André Laks, Aziz al-Azmeh, Sally Humphreys, Michalis Fotiadis.

11.15-12.45 Classics Divided
Speakers: Anna Morpurgo Davies, Denis Thouard, Nancy Florida, Rajeev Bhargava.

14.00-15.30 Classics in Use
Speakers: Ann Hanson, Algazi, Nicholas de Lange, Setrag Manoukian, Rudolf G. Wagner.

16.00-17.30 Classics Reborn
Speakers: Gabor Betegh, Garth Fowden, Glenn Most, Wang Tao, Ron Inden.

17.30-17.45 Summary, future plans (Sally Humphreys)




  • Gadi Algazi (Department of History, Tel Aviv University )
  • Aziz al-Azmeh (Department of Medieval Studies, School of History and Interdisciplinary Historical Studies, Central European University, Budapest)
  • Raziuddin Aquil (Fellow in History at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta)
  • Gabor Betegh (Assoc. Professor, Central European University, Philosophy Department)
  • Rajeev Bhargava (Director and Senior Fellow, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, Delhi) 
  • Anna Morpurgo Davies (Oxford, Comparative Philology (retired))
  • Yaakov Dweck (Cotsen-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, Princeton University)
  • Nancy Florida (University of Michigan, Asian Languages and Literatures)
  • Charlotte Fonrobert (Stanford University, Religious Studies )
  • Michalis Fotiadis (University of Ioannina, Archaeology)
  • Garth Fowden (Centre for Greek and Roman Antiquity, National Research Foundation, Athens)
  • Tapati Guha-Thakurta (Professor in History, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta)
  • Ann Hanson (Yale University, Program in the History of Science & Medicine, Yale University)
  • Sally Humphreys (University Professor, Central European University )
  • Ron Inden (Professor Emeritus of History and of South Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Chicago)
  • André Laks (Paris-IV, Philosophy)
    Nicholas de Lange (Cambridge (UK), Jewish Studies)
  • Setrag Manoukian (Ass. Prof. McGill University, Institute of Islamic Studies and the Department of Anthropology)
  • Glenn Most (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa, and University of Chicago, Classical Philology and History of Classical Studies)
  • Jim Porter (Professor of Classics and Comparative Literature, UC Irvine)
  • Tapan Raychaudhuri (Professor Indian History & Civilization, Oxford, Emeritus Fellow, St. Antony's College, Oxford)
  • Denis Thouard (Directeur de recherches au CNRS,University of Lille 3)
  • Rudolf G. Wagner (Prof. Chinese Studies, Heidelberg University, Centre of East Asian Studies)
  • Wang Hui (Professor of Literature and History: School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Tsinghua University, 2002-present) 
  • Wang Tao (Senior Lecturer in Chinese Archaeology, Dept of Art and Archaeology, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) & Institute of Archaeology, University College London (UCL))