The Greeks and The Irrational with Francesca Spiegel '07 and Martin Devecka '13

  • 09 Jul 2019
  • 9:00 AM - 5:45 PM
  • UCL, Chadwick Building , Room G07, 18 Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT


  • (YCL login required)

The Greeks and the Irrational  

Francesca Spiegel '07 and Martin Devecka '13

Tuesday, 9 July 2019
9:00 am to 5:45 pm

9:00 am: Registration
9:45 am: Conference
5:45 pm: Finish

Chadwick Building, Room G07
8 Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT

Please note: For those for whom the ticket price is a barrier to entry, 
there is some flexibility to waive the fee.  Please contact Francesca Spiegel.


YCL General Admission: £20
Light refreshments will be provided


About the Event: 

Francesca Spiegel (GRD '07) and Martin Devecka (GRD '13) invite you to join them at this day which asks: when we say the word 'irrational', what are we really saying? Are we just pointing fingers? It will appeal to anyone interested in ideas.  They are keen to see some friendly Yale faces there.


E R. Dodds' The Greeks and the Irrational first appeared in 1951, and has since become a classic in our field. It is also one of the small handful of scholarly Classics books to have crossed the academic/mass-market readership border, comparable to J. G. Frazer's The Golden Bough.

Dodds' argument capitalized on 20th century modernist attraction to the occult and the psychic, shamanistic and oracular wisdom – forms of thought that to a scientifically trained mind fell under the so-called irrational.

Historically, the label of irrationality often served as a rhetorical device to infantilize, pathologize, feminize, denigrate, or demonize others, especially subaltern others.

Even in current affairs, it takes only a very small sample of public discourses or political campaigns of demonization (and their media) to realize how polarizing the rational/irrational dichotomy really is.

In Classics, the cultural-critical dimension of conceptualizing the rational/irrational binary became most visible in the history of scholarship on ancient Greek drama: attributed to women (hysterical/ uncontrolled); enslaved men, whose personal integrity becomes undermined by rhetorics of unwanted feminization; non-Greeks, ridiculed through portrayals of outsize sexual appetites, or impulsive behaviour and ideas more generally.  A full schedule is available here.

Click here to register for this event. 


Contact: Francesca Spiegel GRD '07

Please note: Photos and other forms of recording may be taken at the event and used by the YCL website from time to time.

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