Democracy Then and Now: From Ancient Greece to This Week / Showcasing Humanities West at 35 and Stanford Humanities Center at 39!

Marines’ Memorial Theatre, San Francisco

609 Sutter Street, San Francisco

Tickets at City Box Office 415.392.4400


Saturday, February 2, 2019

7:30 – 10 pm

In Conversation with Josiah Ober (Political Science and Classics, Stanford), Walter Scheidel (Classics, Stanford), and Caroline Winterer (Stanford Humanities Center, Classics, and History); moderated by Tyler Stovall (History, Dean of Humanities at UCSC). Join us for a scintillating conversation on the ancient principles of democracy, oligarchy, and dictatorship; on the Roman Republic experiment and its failure of Empire; on the implications of Ancient Greece and Rome for American intellectual life and its representative democracy; on the contemporary relevance of ancient Greek political thought and practice; on inequality in democratic societies; and more! Rush Rehm (Theater and Classics, Stanford) presents a special performance of Stanford Repertory Theatre’s Democratically Speaking. Democratically Speaking explores the idea and realities of “democracy,” from ancient Greece forward—a powerful smorgasbord of speeches, writings, and rubrics about democracy across 2,500 years. This staged reading with Courtney Walsh and Thomas Freeland features a timely exploration of “people power” (the root meaning of demos + kratos), a compelling challenge to all of us now.


Josiah Ober, Mitsotakis Professor of Political Science and Classics at Stanford University, works on historical institutionalism and political theory, focusing on ancient and modern political thought and democratic practice. He is the author of a number of books, most recently Demopolis: Democracy before Liberalism in Theory and Practice (2017), and The Rise and Fall of Classical Greece (2015), which won the Douglass North Research Award of the Society for Institutional and Organizational Economics. His other books include Mass and Elite in Democratic Athens (1989), The Athenian Revolution (1996), Political Dissent in Democratic Athens (2008), and Democracy and Knowledge (2008).

Professor of Theater and Classics at Stanford University, Rush Rehm has translated and directed many Greek tragedies and has written extensively on the subject, including Understanding Greek Tragic Theatre; The Play of Space: Spatial Transformation in Greek Tragedy; and Radical Theatre: Greek Tragedy and the Modern World. As an actor and director, he has worked at the Alliance Theater and Seven Stages (Atlanta), Arena Stage (Washington, DC); Guthrie Theater (Minneapolis); Center Theater Group (Los Angeles); and the Magic Theatre, Cutting Ball, TheatreWorks (San Francisco/Bay Area). Founder and Artistic Director of Stanford Repertory Theater (SRT), he has directed several productions for the company, including Brecht’s The Exception and the Rule, Packer’s Betrayal, Priestley’s An Inspector Calls, Frayn’s Copenhagen, Sophocles’ Electra, Euripides’ Hecuba and Helen, Aristophanes’ Lysistrata, and Clytemnestra: Tangled Justice, starring Courtney Walsh. In 2016 he compiled Democratically Speaking for SRT in advance of the 2016 Presidential election. See

Walter Scheidel is Dickason Professor in the Humanities, Professor of Classics and History, and Catherine R. Kennedy and Daniel L. Grossman Fellow in Human Biology at Stanford, where is the former Chair of the Classics Department. He has held appointments in Vienna, Cambridge, Paris, New York, Innsbruck, Chicago, and Abu Dhabi. He is the author of three monographs, editor or co-editor of 12 other books, and has published close to 200 papers. His research focuses on ancient social and economic history, historical demography, state formation, and comparative and interdisciplinary approaches to the study of the past. He also created the interactive website Orbis, a geospatial network model of the Roman world. His most recent book is The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality (2016). Professor Scheidel keynoted Humanities West’s program on The Roman Republic.

Tyler Stovall is Distinguished Professor of History at UCSC and Dean of Humanities there. Formerly he was a professor of French history and Dean of the Undergraduate Division at UC Berkeley. He has written several books and articles on the subject of modern French history, focusing on race, labor, colonialism and post-colonialism. Major publications include The Rise of the Paris Red Belt (1990), Paris Noir: African Americans in the City of Light (1996), and The Color of Liberty: Histories of Race in France (co-edited with Sue Peabody, 2003). A new book, Paris and the Spirit of 1919: Consumer Struggles, Transnationalism, and Revolution (2012). Professor Stovall serves on the Humanities West Advisory Council and has lectured at several Humanities West programs, most recently at our American Expatriates in Paris program.

Caroline Winterer is Anthony P. Meier Family Professor in the Humanities and Director of the Stanford Humanities Center. She specializes in American history of the pre-1900 period, especially the history of ideas, political theory, the history of science, and art history. Her most recent book is American Enlightenments: Pursuing Happiness in the Age of Reason (2016). Her two other books are: The Mirror of Antiquity: American Women and the Classical Tradition, 1750-1900 (2007) and The Culture of Classicism: Ancient Greece and Rome in American Intellectual Life, 1780-1910 (2002). She has published peer-reviewed articles in the American Historical Review, Journal of American History, William and Mary Quarterly, American Quarterly, Journal of the Early Republic, Eighteenth-Century Studies, and Modern Intellectual History. Winterer has also curated two exhibits of rare books and artifacts: Ancient Rome & America at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia (2010) and also The American Enlightenment at Stanford Library (2011). She has received fellowships from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Humanities Center, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Spencer Foundation, among others. For mapping the social network of Benjamin Franklin she received an American Ingenuity Award from the Smithsonian Institution in 2013; an article about Winterer’s project appeared in Smithsonian Magazine (Dec. 2013).


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