Presenter: Dimitris Vardoulakis
It is often said that the Athenians invented democracy. However, it is well known that voting was widely practiced in various communities throughout antiquity.
I will contend that the Athenians invented something much more important than voting, namely, the distinction between a politics of kinship and a politics of judgment.
The clearest example of this Athenian preoccupation is the trial of Orestes in the Eumenides.
Has Orestes killed his mother and thus is to be tried under the laws of patricide? Or has he disposed of a tyrant thereby liberating his polis?
The Athenians were called to solve this conundrum and their response set the stage for how we think the political even today.
Dimitris Vardoulakis is the chair of the Philosophy Research Initiative at the University of Western Sydney. His books include The Doppelgänger (2010), Sovereignty and its Other (2013), Freedom from the Free Will: Kafka as Political Philosopher (forthcoming), and Stasis: On Agonistic Democracy (forthcoming).
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In October 1916, the Ithacan migrants of Melbourne established the ITHACAN PHILANTHROPIC SOCIETY "The Ulysses", with an inaugural membership of some 153 members. This was in response to pleas for aid from their loved ones in Ithaca who were suffering deprivation during the First World War.
Over the years, however, the Society has been much more than just a philanthropic institution. It has been a constant in the lives of the early Ithacan migrants replacing the homeland which they had left.
The Society takes an active role in the cultural, social, educational and quality of life interests of the Ithacan Community. The Society, as part of its philanthropic role, also makes many monetary contributions to worthy causes, including those outside the immediate Ithacan community. The Society celebrated its 90th Anniversary in 2006.