Subjects under threat in Europe: ancient languages and cultures at Ghent University

17-04-2018 van 13:30 tot 17:30
Auditorium B, Jozef Plateaustraat 22
Door wie
Andy Hilkens
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​In a recent article in the Times Higher Education (14/02/2018) David Mathews, pointing to a number of increasingly rare subjects, highlighted a grave threat to the biodiversity of European academia. According to a study conducted by the Johannes Gutenberg Universität of Mainz, 38 disciplines are at risk in Germany alone. The Dutch government has taken measures to prevent these subjects from disappearing completely, but in Belgium the trend seems to be continuing. The study of other cultures is a crucial means by which we understand our own culture, our own language(s) and our own past. Moreover, such fields often present links with more popular subjects such as Classics, religious studies and/or Arabic and Islamic studies. This knowledge needs to be saved and passed on before it disappears completely.

Even though research is currently carried out at Ghent University in fields such as Eastern Christian studies, Iranian studies, Semitic Studies or Etruscan and Italic studies, students interested in these topics are more or less forced to look to Wallonia or, more often, to travel abroad. Despite this lack of options, there is still a demand in Flanders and Belgium for this expertise. Experts in these subjects are currently working in the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy, often completely unaware of each other. This workshop is intended as a celebration of the presence of this in-house knowledge at Ghent University, and as an informal platform in which researchers from different departments working in related fields, may meet and exchange information about their research, demonstrating how their subject is under threat and explaining why it should not be.

We warmly invite all interested researchers, students and members of the public to attend. Please register by sending an email to

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