Arts & Humanities

Mountain West Center for Regional Studies Announces 2023 Bennion Teachers' Workshop

The Mountain West Center for Regional Studies Bennion Teachers' Workshop.

LOGAN, Utah — The Mountain West Center for Regional Studies at Utah State University will examine ancient lessons for democracy in its 24th annual Bennion Teachers’ Workshop.

The workshop will be June 12-16 on the USU Logan campus. Susan O. Shapiro, associate professor of history and classics at Utah State University, will direct this year’s workshop theme, "Athenian Democracy and its Legacy: Learning Lessons on Self Governance from the Ancients.”

Through interactive sessions and activities, participants will look closely at the history, structure and functioning of the Athenian democracy and the Roman republic and consider their influence on the institutions of today. Shapiro will be joined by notable keynote speakers and scholars, including Darryl Philipps and Michael Otteson.

The goal of the annual Bennion Teachers’ Workshop is to deliver practical material for teachers and administrators alike to incorporate into their classrooms and institutions while earning academic credit or continuing education units.

This year’s event will explore the founding principles of ancient Athenian democracy, how the Romans developed their republican form of government, and how the United States’ own democratic republic is rooted in and, to some extent, shaped by these ancient institutions. Participants will examine the successes and failures of previous types of self-government and how this understanding can help Americans think productively about improvement to political and social institutions for the future.

On Tuesday, the Bennion Workshop will host a keynote address by Philips, associate professor of classics at Connecticut College, at 5:30 p.m. in Merrill-Cazier Library Room 154. His talk, “Must Democracies Die? Lessons from Ancient Greece and Rome” will examine the legacy of democracies in the modern world. Phillips is a historian focused on the culture and history of ancient Rome, but his research and teaching interests are interdisciplinary, encompassing history, law, religion, art and architecture, and topography.

The Bennion Teachers' Workshop for the Perpetuation of Democratic Principles is made possible by an endowment to USU’s Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, housed in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. The endowment was created by Ione Bennion, a teacher and community activist, to "provide an atmosphere and the educational resources to explore the concepts upon which democracy is built, the conditions under which it flourishes, and the dangers to its existence."

The June 13 keynote address and preceding reception at 5 p.m. are open to the public. For more information visit:

A cornerstone of Utah State University, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences brings together faculty members engaged in original research and creative activities to teach and mentor students who aspire to be leaders in their professions and communities. Degrees in humanities and social sciences cultivate highly-adaptable professional skills in students through teaching effective communication, research, data analysis, and creative problem-solving.


Molly Boeka Cannon
Mountain West Center for Regional Studies


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