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30 March 2017 Start
31 March 2017 End
UK Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH), Hope Park Square, Edinburgh, EH8 9NW


New Approaches to Greek Institutional History

March 30-31, 2017

The School of History, Classics and Archaeology and the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities of the University of Edinburgh are happy to announce the conference ‘New Approaches to Greek Institutional History’.

The study of political institutions has always been one of the most productive branches of Greek history. This tradition, however, has been sometimes described as old-fashioned and abandoned in favour of extra-institutional approaches. This is out of step with contemporary political science, which has witnessed since the late 1970s a growing interest in institutions as key determinants of political and social behaviour. This scholarly tradition, known as New Institutionalism, has produced mature methodological approaches that explore e.g. the development of institutions over time and the psychological constraints they create on political behaviour and discourse.

This conference will showcase some of the most promising new work in Greek institutional history that has relevance for political scientists and students of political institutions more widely, at the same time encouraging Greek historians to engage with the toolbox of the New Institutionalism. Its main objective is to foster renewed theoretical and methodological reflection within Greek history on the importance of institutions and on how we should study them.

The conference fee is £10 and covers teas, coffees and lunches for both days. Attendance is limited to only 16 participants, and places will be provided on a first come first served basis. You can find more information and register at

For information, please contact Mirko Canevaro ( or Matteo Barbato (

Conference programme

March 30th 2017

09.30 – 10.00   Registration

10.00 – 10.30   Mirko Canevaro (University of Edinburgh)
Introductory remarks

10.30 – 11.20   Michele Faraguna (Università degli Studi di Milano)
Citizenship in the Greek polis: an institutional approach

11.20 – 11.40   Tea/Coffee

11.40 – 12.30   James Kierstead (Victoria University of Wellington)
Non-Citizens in Athenian associations

12.30 – 13.30   Lunch

13.30 – 14.20   Edward Harris (Durham University / University of Edinburgh)
Formal rules, informal rules and the “free spaces” of Classical Athens

14.20 – 15.10   Christian Ammitzbøll Thomsen (University of Copenhagen)
The wandering and the polis

15.10 – 15.30   Tea/Coffee

15.30 – 16.20   David Lewis (University of Nottingham)
The Old Oligarch’s remarks on the behaviour of slaves at Athens

16.20 – 17.10   Sara Zanovello (University of Edinburgh / Università degli Studi di Padova)
The institution of paramone and the Greeks’ conceptualisation of slavery and freedom

17.10 – 18.00   Drink reception

19.30           Dinner at local restaurant

March 31st 2017

9.40 – 10.30    Alberto Esu (University of Edinburgh)
Edoxe tei boulei: institutional design and deliberative expertise in the Athenian Council

10.30 – 11.20   Peter Liddel (University of Manchester)
Rules, practices, narratives: managing decrees in classical Athens

11.20 – 11.40   Tea/Coffee

11.40 – 12.30   Stephen Lambert (Cardiff University)
The rule of law in late Classical Athens: an epigraphical perspective

12.30 – 13.30   Lunch

13.30 – 14.20   Anna Magnetto (Scuola Normale Superiore, Pisa)
Negotiating models and the conclusion of interstate agreements in the Classical and Hellenistic Ages.

14.20 – 15.10   Matteo Zaccarini (University of Edinburgh / Università di Bologna)
Military leadership and the figure of the strategos in the Classical period. An approach based on Historical Institutionalism

15.10 – 15.30   Tea/Coffee

15.30 – 16.20   Matteo Barbato (University of Edinburgh)
Towards an institutionalist approach to Athenian ideological practice: the discourse of autochthony in the Attic orators

16.20 – 17.10   Robert Sobak (Bowdoin College)
The virtues of agonistic micropolitics in the age of Farage and Trump (three lessons from democratic Athens)

17.10 – 17.40   Final remarks/discussion