A classic appointment

1 Jan 2014

The classics and ancient history have been guaranteed pride of place in 21st Century Queensland with a new appointment announced on Friday (29 November).

The University of Queensland has named Dr Alastair Blanshard as the inaugural Paul Eliadis Chair of Classics and Ancient History.

He will take up the role early next year.

The Chair was established through a donation from UQ graduate and arts patron Dr Paul Eliadis.

Dr Blanshard, who earned a Master of Arts from UQ in 1996, and a PhD from The University of Cambridge in 1999, is an internationally recognised leader in the field of classical tradition, and a series editor for the ‘Classics after Antiquity’ monograph series published by Cambridge University Press.

Dr Blanshard said he was delighted to be taking on such an important role at UQ.

“It is wonderful to be returning to Queensland as there is such enthusiasm and potential here,” he said.

“The discipline I will be working within is strong and UQ’s Antiquities Museum is an absolute jewel, a real undiscovered treasure,” he said.

“It is an exciting time for the study of the ancient world.

“Almost every day, scholars are making new discoveries. I’m looking forward to sharing this work with the wider community.”

Dr Blanshard’s research interests include Greek cultural history, Greek rhetoric and law, epigraphy, ancient sexuality, and the role that the Classical past plays in the history of ideas.

Most recently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney, he has previously taught at the University of Reading and at Merton College, Oxford.

Dr Eliadis welcomed the appointment and said it was important that future generations understood the links between modern society and those who came before them.

“To me, any Western university that doesn’t have a department that teaches the classics does not have a birth certificate,” Dr Eliadis said.

“If we lose our cultural memory, God help us.

“Erase or pervert a society's cultural memory and you will be able to do whatever you then wish with that society.”

UQ President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Høj AC said the University was proud to offer expertise in the area of the Classics and Ancient History.

“Dr Blanshard was selected from an impressive line-up of distinguished applicants,” Professor Høj said.

“His role will involve teaching, research and leadership to staff and students.”

UQ is the only university in Queensland to offer courses in the history, culture, language and literature of Ancient Greece and Rome. Its Classics and Ancient History program is enriched by the growing collections of the RD Milns Antiquities Museum.