Challenge the Canon Series

Broadly speaking, the 'Canon' refers to well-known writers, artists or works that have been considered culturally important in any given field. But who has been included in, and excluded from, the Canon? This pioneering series of online courses at Forte Academy is designed to provide an alternative to the traditional stories taught about the past and empower students with the tools for more innovative, inclusive research. We will be asking different questions of the 'big names' from history, balancing the canon with lesser-known authors and primary material, and exposing the biases behind canon formation. Each course includes a welcome pack, activity worksheets with primary sources for each session and interactive lectures.

Radical Renaissance Writers

Next Course: Spring Term 2022

Overview

What does it mean to be a radical thinker or writer? What do they have in common? This short, 6-week course will delve into the fascinating work of six writers from the 'Renaissance' period (1400 - 1700) who challenged mainstream authorities during their lifetimes, with a focus on the relevance of their classical education(s). Some of these individuals are well-known, others have been traditionally understudied.

"Fixing the gender gap in intellectual history"

As a rule, our courses always include at least 50% primary sources by women. This course is unique because it brings together six inspiring thinkers - 4 women, 2 men - not commonly taught together, if taught at all. We will explore a fundamental question: how has a classical education been used to challenge injustice in society, the church and the state? 

Over the course of six, individual sessions you will have the opportunity to: appreciate and learn from the argumentation strategies used by each individual; explore how they engage with classical authors, texts and ideas in their work; consider the reception of their work during their lifetime and their relevance today; situate the texts within their historical and political context; use the selected extracts as prompts to think about what it means to be a 'radical' thinker - then and now. See flyer. All primary material will be provided in English translation.

Each week will focus on a different author and selected extracts from their work(s), including:

  • Christine de Pizan, who wrote The Book of the City of Ladies

  • Isotta Nogarola, who wrote a dialogue defending Eve from 'original sin

  • Girolamo Savonarola, who denounced clerical corruption and called for a Christian renewal

  • Bartolomé de las Casas, who challenged the notion of natural slavery 

  • Tullia D'Aragona, who wrote a dialogue on the nature of love

  • Arcangela Tarabotti, who wrote against the practice of enforced monastic enclosure

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Application Status: Closed​

Join the Waitlist for Spring 2022

How to Apply 

1. Enrol on your chosen course by purchase made via the store.

2. Wait for your place confirmation email

3. Complete the pre-course questionnaire sent to you

In the meantime, keep up with our #RadicalRenaissanceWriters posts on Instagram.

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Challenge the Canon: Ancient Greece & Rome

Next Course: Spring Term 2022

Overview

Do you love Classics but feel like there was something missing in your classical education? Do you want to gain a richer understanding of ancient Greece & Rome beyond the elite, all-male canon of authors? If so, this course is for you! We’ve pulled together years of our own research that will shift your perspective on the classical world; fill some gaps in your education and inspire you with exciting new topics that are ready for you to explore: all compiled into a short, 6-week course.

This course is unique because it explores topics and approaches to Classics that you won’t find on your typical school and university curriculum. Don’t let years pass before you start to #ChallengetheCanon in Classics! If you enrol with us, we can help you with the first step to gaining a fresh and fuller perspective on classical antiquity.  

Topics may include...

1. Pre-History: The 'Venus' Figurines

2. Women & Greek Philosophy

3. How have textbooks played a role in creating Classics?

4. Italy before the Romans: Sources

5. Ancient Rome & Fascism

6. Women Latinists: Exclusions from the Canon?

On this course, you will gain the tools to:

  • question and expand what you know about antiquity

  • challenge common assumptions with confidence 

  • analyse how gender, race and class bias has affected canon formation

  • use different kinds of primary material can provide a fuller picture of the past

  • explore how conceptions of ancient Rome have been created by individuals over history

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Application Status: Closed

Join the Waitlist for Spring 2022

How to Apply 

1. Enrol on your chosen course by purchase made via the store.

2. Wait for your place confirmation email

3. Complete the pre-course questionnaire sent to you

 

In the meantime, keep up with our #ChallengetheCanon posts on Instagram.

To play, press and hold the enter key. To stop, release the enter key.

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Feedback from our Challenge the Canon students....

Online

"I was introduced to the world of classics and brilliant writers who I knew nothing about. As someone who gave up on studying history at school, this made me want to learn even more. Thank you to Florence for sharing your passion for this subject and the authors. It's been thrilling to learn about some radical amazing women writers."
- Amy, Radical Renaissance Writers, 2021.


"I absolutely loved this course! I learnt so much and it wasn’t as restrictive or closed-off as traditional classical learning can be. A real chance to genuinely expand what classics means to a student of it"
- Kasia, CA 2021 Challenge the Canon, 2021.


"I am absolutely blown away by how much information I received during this course. It feels like so many more doors have been opened for me to explore, and thanks to Florence and the team my appetite for the Classics has increased tremendously!"
- Erin, CA 2021 Challenge the Canon, 2021.


"Thoroughly enjoyed the course, felt that it was at an accessible level for someone with history knowledge but limited latin background. Would recommend to others and would love to do another course with the Forte Academy"
- Sophie, CA 2021
Challenge the Canon, 2021.