147th Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting

Activity: Participating in or organising an event typesParticipation in conference


Libertas plebis: The Metaphor of Slavery in Popular Protest This paper explores how the slave operates as both paradigm and point of differentiation in Livy’s account of the struggles between patricians and plebeians in the early books of his history. It draws on recent debates in Classical scholarship about the possibility of recovering the discourses of the oppressed in elite literary texts, and on work which maps how public narratives of domination (including poetic literature) both shape and are shaped by the “offstage responses” of subordinates. Both Livy's narrative, and the current disciplinary debates, are interrogated in relation to Jacques Ranciere's theorizing of political disagreement as a struggle for what gets heard as speech. Plebeian identifications with slave experience become a way of articulating 'disidentification' - a refusal of civic identity in protest at the fundamental inequality of the state.
Period7 Jan 2016
Event typeConference
Conference number147
LocationSan Francisco, United StatesShow on map


  • livy
  • plebs
  • slavery
  • Ranciere