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Dr Chiara Blanco
Research Lecturer in Classics,
Trinity College, Oxford

Dear All,

We are delighted to announce our public event on ‘Disease, Community and Communication from Antiquity to Today’, which will take place online on June 19th 2021.

Stemming from the ‘Body and Medicine in Latin Poetry’ Research Network (2020), 'Disease, Community and Communication from Antiquity to Today' aims to explore how bodily and mental disease may lead to both fracture and reconciliation between the individual and the community, thus navigating issues of isolation and (in)communicability connected with the experience of disease.

By giving examples, ranging from Antiquity to the present day, of how disease can break social relationships and at the same time offer new forms of communication and empathy, the featured talks will suggest alternative ways of reconstructing a community through (and despite) disease. The event will include experts in Classical Antiquity, such as Prof. David Langslow (University of Manchester), Dr George Alexander Gazis (Durham University), Prof. Peter Meineck (New York University), Prof. Bronwen Wickkiser (Wabash College), as well as academics from other fields working on sociological and psychological aspects of disease, such as Prof. Manuela Barreto (University of Exeter), Prof. Brian Castellani (Durham University), Dr Samantha Allen Wright (William Penn University) and medical practitioners, such as Ms Julia Schneider (Narrative Rx). The event will be divided into two parts: one portion involving UK-based speakers, followed by another portion involving speakers based in the US.

Bridging the two portions of the event will be a performance of Sophocles’ Philoctetes, which shall further develop the discussion about isolation, disease and communication, and will be performed by students of the Classics Society at Durham.

'Disease, Community and Communication from Antiquity to Today' is aimed at students and researchers in Classics and other fields, as well as the wider public. In particular, this public event will involve people interested in how the experience of disease in ancient times can help us understand, and therefore deal with, our contemporary experience of disease.

For further information see our website: or contact us at:

Link to the programme:

Link to registration:


Chiara Blanco (Trinity College, Oxford)

Michael Goyette (Eckerd College)

Allegra Hahn (Durham University)

Simona Martorana (Durham University)