The Newnham Conversation

The Newnham Conversation

The Newnham Conversation

event Sunday, September 25, 2022 schedule 11.00am - 12.00pm BST
event Sunday, September 25, 2022 schedule 11.00am - 12.00pm BST
  • Newnham College
Classics Now in Cambridge and Beyond, with Dr Shushma Malik and Dr Carol Atack
In-person | Free
Open to: 
Alumni and guests
Art and culture, Colleges, Humanities
Newnham College | View details

Classical antiquity has rarely seemed more relevant to the politics and culture of the present day. Presidents and prime ministers are routinely criticised through comparisons with figures such as the Roman emperor Nero and the charismatic but flawed Athenian politician Alcibiades. Critics of current political practice look to Athens’ participatory democracy for alternative ways of engaging citizens and legitimising regimes. At the same time, popular interest in the history and culture of ancient Greece and Rome is rising, thanks to the work of classicists and historians such as Newnham’s Professor Mary Beard – and applications to study the subject at Newnham continue to rise. But Classics has provoked controversy, as some have questioned the cultural authority granted to knowledge of classical antiquity. Dr Malik and Dr Atack draw on their research and teaching experience to discuss these questions in the context of the vibrant Classics community at Newnham. 

Join this fascinating conversation followed by a Q&A.
Newnham College, Cambridge has launched the Onassis Classics Fellowship in order to secure a permanent position for the teaching of Classical Studies. This new University post, currently held by Dr Malik, will continue the great tradition of teaching, research, and taking Classics out into the wider world, that goes back more than a century.  
This Fellowship, to be known as the Onassis Classics Fellowship at Newnham College, is a result of a joint fund-raising campaign between Newnham College and Cambridge University’s Faculty of Classics. Donations have been made by Newnham alumnae and anonymous donors, and the funding target has been reached as a result of a large gift from the Onassis Foundation.

The Newnham Conversation


Dr Shushma Malik

Dr Shushma Malik

Dr Shushma Malik is the Onassis Fellow in Classics at Newnham College. She joins the Faculty of Classics as an associate professor this term, after previously holding teaching and research posts in Classics and ancient history at the universities of Roehampton, Queensland and Manchester. Dr Malik’s research interests include the roles of Roman emperors in eighteenth and nineteenth-century texts, Roman religions, and imperial historiography, and she has written and published widely on them. Her first monograph, The Nero-Antichrist: Founding and Fashioning a Paradigm, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2020. 

Dr Carol Atack (Fellow of Newnham College)

Dr Carol Atack

Dr Carol Atack is a fellow of Newnham College, where she is also Director of Studies in Classics and praelector. Her research interests include the classical Greek political thought of Plato and Xenophon, the history of democracy in antiquity, and the contemporary reception of ancient political concepts. Her books include The Discourse of Kingship in Classical Greece, Anachronism and Antiquity (with Tim Rood and Tom Phillips), and The Cultural History of Democracy in Antiquity (with Paul Cartledge). She is currently writing a monograph on the temporality of Plato’s dialogues, and editing a handbook of ancient Greek political thought.


Newnham College
Sidgwick Avenue
United Kingdom


Festival Team
Location information: 

Lucia Windsor Room 

Please ask the Porters' Lodge for directions