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"Greek Law in the 21st Century" Conference Honors Classics Scholar Michael Gagarin, March 31-April 2

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posted: Monday March 28, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas — The Department of Classics at The University of Texas at Austin will host  a conference on "Greek Law in the 21st Century" to celebrate the career and retirement of Professor Emeritus Michael Gagarin, March 31-April 2. The event is free and open to the public with a reception on Thursday, March 31.

The conference, held in Room 116 of Waggoner Hall, will explore the current state and future directions of research on ancient Greek law. The goal of the conference is not consensus, but a constructive discussion of central issues and controversies in the field.

The study of ancient Greek law has tended to divide along national lines, with scholars from common-law countries studying Athenian law as social history and those from the civil-law countries of continental Europe more engaged in systematic analysis of Greek law along the lines of Roman law.

This conference will bring together the leading scholars in the field from the United States and Europe for an in-depth investigation of many of the fundamental issues raised by these different approaches and will explore directions for future research.

Among the issues to be raised include: What are the boundaries of the field? Does it include oral law, soft law or sacred law? How should we study law in the post-classical period? How did the Athenians define and organize their laws? How does Athenian law shed light on contemporary issues in commercial law or penal law? What direction should future work in the field take: systematic analysis, sociological investigation, or rhetorical study?

Information about the conference, including the schedule and speakers, can be viewed on the conference Web site.

An internationally recognized scholar in ancient Greek law, Gagarin taught at the university for 37 years, from 1973 to 2010. During his tenure,  Gagarin was twice the chair of the Classics Department. In addition to teaching courses in the College of Liberal Arts, he taught an ancient Greek law seminar in the School of Law. He is the James R. Dougherty Jr. Centennial Professor of Classics Emeritus.

Gagarin has been president of the American Philological Association and the Classical Association of the Middle West and South, and has been awarded fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities (three times) and the Guggenheim Foundation.

He has written or edited 13 books and dozens of articles, primarily in the area of ancient Greek law and oratory. Gagarin's most recent book, published just two weeks ago by the University of Texas Press, is "Speeches from Athenian Law," a collection of source materials. Gagarin was also the editor-in-chief of the seven-volume "Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome," and is the series editor of "The Oratory of Classical Greece," in which 12 volumes have appeared to date.

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