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Josiah Ober

Oct 14, 2021

Democratic Lessons

What the Greeks Can Teach Us

Open Agenda 2021

Democratic Lessons: What the Greeks Can Teach Us is based on an in-depth filmed conversation between Howard Burton and Josiah Ober, Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professor in Honor of Constantine Mitsotakis Professor of Political Science and Classics at Stanford University. This extensive conversation includes topics such as the serendipitous factors that led him to study the classical world, the insights that examining rhetoric provide about ancient Athenian society, and how social media might help us fruitfully recreate aspects of the past. Prof. Ober discusses his insights that the ancient Athenians didn’t just happen to stumble upon the idea of democracy—they somehow managed to make it work in practice for the better part of 200 years, all the while facing many of the same divisive societal pressures that we are currently grappling with.

Howard Burton is the founder of the Ideas Roadshow and host of the Ideas Roadshow Podcast. He can be reached at

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