Barry McNamara  |   Published February 12, 2020

Whose Free Speech?

Balancing tensions in free speech to be explored in annual Fox Classics Lecture on Feb 24.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Who gets to speak, and who doesn’t, when everyone is a hero?

That will be one of the questions answered by University of Kentucky professor Jackie Murray when she presents Monmouth College’s annual Fox Classics Lecture on Feb. 24.

Titled JACKIE MURRAY: Will speak about ?Freedom and Unfreedom of Speech in Appollonius' Argonautica? at ...JACKIE MURRAY: Will speak about “Freedom and Unfreedom of Speech in Appollonius' Argonautica” at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 24. in the Pattee Auditorium of the Center for Science and Business. It is free and open to the public.

Apollonius’ Argonautica, the great Greek epic detailing the adventures of the famous “Jason and the Argonauts,” has at its center the Argo, the ship carrying these heroes to stops in the modern Balkans, Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe.

“This Argo serves as not just a physical ship, but also a metaphor for the ‘ship of state,’” said Murray. “Thus, actions taken and decisions made on the ship reflect debates and understandings about best ways to maintain a peaceful society – in this case, with a balance of appropriate treatment of family, friends and others like oneself (philia) and appropriate treatment of foreigners, strangers and others not like oneself (xenia).”

How to determine that balance, as interactions on the ship model, is through a negotiation of just how free speech should be when balancing the interests of the majority against the wishes of those of exceptional talents and influence.

Murray’s book Destroyer of Worlds: Apollonius against His Argonautic Predecessors is under contract to be published by Harvard University Press. She has also published many articles on Greek and Roman poetry, gender, urbanism and topography.

Among her other interests are race studies and the classics, and the reception of classics in African-American and Afro-Caribbean literature. Her research interests are reflected in her teaching; she has developed many courses, including: “Wicked Women: Women in Power – Cleopatra and Wu Zetian” and “Sex and the Ancient City.”

An assistant professor of classics at UK, Murray has been the recipient of several prestigious fellowships and prizes, including the Andrew Heiskell/NEH Rome Prize and the University of Cincinnati Margo Tytus Fellowship. She earned her doctorate in classics from the University of Washington, following bachelor’s and master’s degrees from two Canadian schools, the University of Guelph and the University of Western Ontario.

The Fox Lecture honors the late Bernice L. Fox, who taught English, Latin and Greek at Monmouth from 1947-81.

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