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Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Thom Brooks

Brooks, Thom (2008). Bringing the Republic to Life: Teaching Plato's The Republic to First-Year Students. Education, Citizenship and Social Justice 3(3): 211-221.

Author(s) from Durham


I have taught Plato's Republic for several years although seminars on this text can be difficult and pose certain challenges, most especially with first year students new to university: the ancient Greeks seem a long way from the technocratic society we live in today. More importantly, the complexity of our relationship to each other as citizens and to the state has grown increasingly since the ancient world as well. Students find this revered book full of unfamiliar names, arguments, and styles of presentation and immediately become a bit frustrated. In this article, I provide a thorough, concrete example of how I have attempted to overcome this problem in my work using the seminar format. I have learned some useful tips for tackling this text and hope this article might be useful to others grappling with the teaching of abstract concepts and texts, opening the door for students to engage with a new civic awareness.