Stoicon 2018 – About the Conference, and Tickets Now Available! (by John Sellars)

This year Stoicon returns to London. It’ll take place on Saturday 29th September in the University of London’s Senate House, in Bloomsbury, the same location as last year’s Stoicon-x in London and just a few yards from where we held our very first public event back in 2013.

There’s short film about that first event (and we’ll make a similar film about this year’s event too).

When we organized that first event we didn’t anticipate repeating it. We had a small amount of research funding that covered the costs, and most of the speakers were either us – the Modern Stoicism team – or people whom we already knew and were relatively local. We had no idea how many, if any, people would turn up. Thankfully people did come and, as importantly, seemed to appreciate it. It was Jules Evans, I think, who encouraged us to do it again, who suggested that people would be willing to pay a registration fee to cover costs, and who later came up with the name ‘Stoicon’. So it was Jules who took the lead for the next two events, both at Queen Mary University of London, in 2014 and 2015.

We were all keen to invite new speakers along, conscious that an audience might soon get bored seeing just the same faces each year. In 2015 we were delighted to have Emily Wilson, William Irvine, and Massimo Pigliucci join us, all of whom came over from the USA. After three years in London, we wondered if it might be good to find a new location, in order to reach a different audience, and so didn’t hesitate to take up Massimo’s offer to host the event in New York, which we did in 2016. This gave Stoicon a completely new audience and a fresh line-up of speakers, including Julia Annas and Ryan Holiday.

Last year, 2017, the event took place in Toronto, organized by Donald Robertson, who has put so much into Stoic Week and our related activities since the beginning. A number of smaller Stoicon-x events also ran in a variety of locations, organized autonomously.

So, after two years in North America, this year Stoicon returns to London. The format remains more or less the same as in previous years, with a mix of plenary talks and parallel workshop sessions.

We are delighted that our keynote speaker will be Professor A.A. Long, without doubt the leading authority on Stoicism in the English-speaking world, who has been publishing on the topic for over fifty years. Some of you may be familiar with his book on Epictetus, published in 2002, and he has a new book on Epictetus coming out this summer (details here).

Other speakers include Professor Catharine Edwards, a leading expert on Seneca who has a number of television documentaries on Roman history to her name, and Antonia Macaro, who participated in our first event in 2013 and this year has published a book on Stoicism and Buddhism under the title More than Happiness (info here).

The other speakers and workshop leaders are a mix of academics, psychotherapists, and Stoic practitioners (see the full listing here). Other things currently being planned include bookstalls, an exhibition in association with Senate House Library, and an art installation. All this is, of course, subject to the vicissitudes of fate.

Tickets for the event are now available via Eventbrite. The registration fee covers the cost of tea/coffee and lunch during the day. In order to keep costs down we have secured generous funding from Royal Holloway, University of London, and the British Society for the History of Philosophy. The event is hosted by the Institute of Classical Studies and the Institute of Philosophy, both based in Senate House, who are providing the venue and logistical support. It simply wouldn’t be happening without them.

If you wish you could come along but can’t, we plan to film the plenary talks and to make a short film about the event, like to the two films above. If you wish there was an event like this closer to where you live, then why not consider organizing your own Stoicon-x event?

In the future we’d like to alternate Stoicon between North America and Europe. So we hope that for 2019 it will return to somewhere in North America, and in 2020 somewhere in Europe (not necessarily London).

Author: Gregory Sadler

Editor of Stoicism Today

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