The conference centres upon the figure of Anacharsis, a Scythian philosopher travelling around the Greek world during the age of Solon’s reforms, killed for adopting alien (Greek) religious practices upon his return to Scythia and pursuing too strong an interest in alterity. His peripatetic presence combined with his penchant for intellectual exploration and questioning of ‘otherness’ will soon make Anacharsis a paradigm of enlightened independence. His legend was revived in the age of the Enlightenment, when his philosophy returned to intellectual discourse as an agent of dissonance and rupture fostering an emergent cultural relativism and cosmopolitanism. Today, Anacharsis helps us understand how ancient and modern reacted to religious conflicts, cultural diversity and political transformation.
The project as whole addresses issues of great relevance to our contemporary world, such as the perceived threat to cultural and national identities, and the successes and failures of cross-cultural interaction. In a period in which these issues permeate our politics, Anacharsis continues to offer insights into the current modalities of dialogue and mediation between 'us' and 'them', and our own fragile sense of national or post-national belonging. Conference Programme and Abstracts