NYU’s Center for Ancient Studies will host “Conditions of Democracy: From Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Iraq” on Thurs., Nov. 3 and Fri., Nov. 4 in NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall (Room 102 of the Silver Center for Arts and Science), located at 100 Washington Square East (at Washington Place). The conference’s keynote address will be delivered by NYU Law Professor Noah Feldman, who was a senior adviser for the constitutional law to the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, on Thurs., Nov. 3 at 4:30 p.m.

The conference will explore, from the perspective of several ancient societies, the preconditions that have made various forms of popular governance possible and relate this historical inquiry to current concerns. The event is free and open to the public, which may call 212.998.8100 for more information.

  • WHAT: Conference-“Conditions of Democracy: From Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Iraq”
  • WHO: NYU Law Professor Noah Feldman, author of What We Owe Iraq; NYU Professor Dan Fleming, author of Democracy’s Ancient Ancestors; Brown University Classics Professor Kurt Raaflaub; University of Texas (Austin) Philosophy Professor Paul Woodruff; Robert Morstein-Marx, chair of the Classics Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara; and NYU Hebrew and Judaic Studies Professor Larry Schiffman.
  • WHEN: Thurs., Nov. 3 (4:30 p.m.-6 p.m.) and Fri., Nov. 4 (9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.)
  • WHERE: NYU’s Hemmerdinger Hall (Room 102 of the Silver Center for Arts and Science), 100 Washington Square East [Subway Lines: 6 (Lafayette/Broadway); A, B, C, D, E, F, V (West 4th Street); N, R, W (8th Street)]

Friday’s roster will feature four sets of talks-on Mesopotamia, Ancient Israel, Greece, and Rome-after which a concluding panel discussion will focus on the ways in which the experience of these ancient societies has a bearing on how we conduct and analyze our own political affairs. Speakers will include Dan Fleming (NYU), author of the recent book, Democracy’s Ancient Ancestors; Kurt Raaflaub (Brown); Paul Woodruff (University of Texas, Austin); Robert Morstein-Marx (University of California, Santa Barbara); and Lawrence Schiffman (NYU). The closing panel will be moderated by Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper’s magazine.

NYU’s Center for Ancient Studies was created in 1996 to promote interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of the past. Directed by College of Arts and Science Dean Matthew S. Santirocco, and supported largely through endowment, the Center funds travel grants for undergraduate and graduate students, annual research conferences and lectures, and summer outreach seminars for faculty from throughout the United States. Scholarly organizations that are based at the Center include the professional journal Classical World; the American section of the Institute for Etruscan and Italic Studies and its journal, Etruscan News; and the Aquila Theatre Company.

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