Patty Baker

Patty Baker on disability in antiquity

Dr Patty Baker, Senior Lecturer in Classical & Archaeological Studies, was invited to take part in the Summer School for Greek and Latin at University College London (UCL) to speak at a round table session about ‘Disability in Antiquity’.

Patty spoke about conceptions of mental disability or learning disability, and how this topic can be used as a prompt for difficult classroom discussions about modern issues of equity and inclusion for those who identify as such.

The round table session was made up of a panel of four experts who research the topic of disability in the past. Patty’s talk explored how adults with mental impairments were defined and treated in the Greco-Roman world, arguing that they were seen as incomplete adults and cared for as if they were children. The second part of her talk explained how information about disability in the ancient world can be used as a platform to evoke difficult classroom discussions in consideration of modern issues related to disability rights.

Patty described the event by saying: ‘The summer school was a mix of academics and students from around the world. Students focused on translating Homer in the morning and early afternoon and then attended an afternoon round-table on topics covered in their reading. The event led to a lively discussion between the audience and the panelists.’