Civilisation under siege? The Academy 2024

Introduction

The problems of the current moment are frequently described as ‘civilisational’ in their importance. Some say the culture wars pose a threat to the building blocks of civilisation: family life, privacy, or civility. Others would argue the real threat to civilisation is from ‘global challenges’ like climate change or AI. In the wars in Gaza or Ukraine, some repose arguments about the ‘clash of civilisations’. But in many quarters, especially in academia, the very idea of civilisation is dismissed or treated as a dirty word. Wherever we look, there is a sense that civilisation itself is under siege from hostile forces.

But what is civilisation? How does it emerge? At the origin of the Western tradition, the distinction between civilised and barbarian formed a crucial part of our self-understanding. For the Greeks or Romans, certain customs and ways of life marked them off from their “barbarian” neighbours. Throughout the West, the idea of civilisation formed a key part of the motor of history, from the Renaissance through to the Enlightenment and beyond. But now such distinctions are viewed with suspicion – just one more piece of baggage associated with colonialism.

As ever, The Academy will bring together people from all walks of life who are committed to rethinking some of the basic building blocks of political life. Join us as we look at what civilisation is, whether it is under threat, why it might be worth defending.

PLENARY DISCUSSIONS

FROM DECOLONISATION TO ISLAMISM: CIVILISATION UNDER SIEGE?
Professor Frank Furedi
executive director, MCC Brussels

SHAKESPEARE: CIVILISATION ON STAGE
Andrew Doyle writer, broadcaster, comedian

THE CLASH OF CIVILISATIONS REVISITED
Tim Black
books and essays editor, Spiked

IS THERE A THREAT TO WESTERN CIVILISATION?
Professor Bill Durodié
, chair of Risk and Security in International Relations, University of Bath

CIVILISATIONAL RENEWAL: BUILDING NEW INSTITUTIONS OR SAVING OLD ONES?
Simon Haines
founding director, Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation

WHAT IS WESTERN CIVILISATION – AND HOW SHOULD WE DEFEND IT?
Bruno Waterfield Brussels Correspondent, The Times

HISTORY

THE RISE AND FALL OF INDUSTRIAL CIVILISATION
Dr Ashley Frawley
columnist, Compact Magazine; sociologist,
University of Kent
Dr Nikos Sotirakopoulos visiting fellow, Ayn Rand Institute

CIVILISING MAN: THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN HUMAN AND ANIMAL
Ann Furedi
PhD candidate in Philosophy, VUB; author, The Moral Case for Abortion

ARTS

PRIMO LEVI: CIVILISATION AFTER BARBARISM
Sabine Beppler-Spahl, chair Freiblickinstitut e.V

CULTURE UNDER SIEGE: HIGH ART AND ICONOCLASM
Tiffany Jenkins writer; Keeping Their Marbles: How the Treasures of
the Past Ended Up in Museums – And Why They Should Stay There

 

 

  • What it Means to be Human? Reflections from 1971 to the present, Joanna Bourke

  • The Civilizing Process, Norbert Elias

  • Clash of Civilisations, Samuel Huntington

  • If This Is A Man & The Truce, Primo Levi

  • Inventing Western Civilization, Thomas C. Patterson

  • Civilisation and its Discontents, Sigmund Freud

  • Gibbon: Making History, Roy Porter

  • Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life, Anthony T. Kronman

  • Suggested supplement:
    The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire (Vol. 1), Edward Gibbon
    The insularity of the human species’ in The Unlearned Lessons of the Twentieth Century: An Essay on Late Modernity, Chantal Delsol

Articles and essays

You can choose to buy day tickets without accommodation, or tickets that include accommodation at Wyboston Lakes Resort. Tickets are subsidised to make the event available to as many people as possible.

Day tickets only include lunch

Tickets with accommodation include:
 Brilliant food: a quality breakfast (including continental and cooked options), an extensive lunch, and a three-course dinner
 Excellent facilities: access to the Wyboston Lakes gym, swimming pool and other amenities during your stay
 Social opportunities: staying the night means you’ll experience the full, collegiate atmosphere of the event and get the chance to carry on discussions over dinner and in the bar.

Have a friend who is also interested? You can save up to £50 each by doubling up with a friend. Select ‘double occupancy’ and let us know you’d like a twin room.

All tickets can bought via Eventbrite.

 One night, single occupancy £255

 One night, double occupancy £420

 Two nights, single occupancy £360

 Two nights, double occupancy £570

 Saturday and Sunday £135 

 Saturday only £70

 Sunday only £70

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