Emperor and Author : Religion, Politics and Identities in the Writings of Julian the Apostate,
International Conference, 16-18 July, 2009, University of Cardiff, Centre for Late Antique Religion and Culture (CLARC). Conference website.
This conference will explore the corpus of Julian's writings, the first conference of its kind. Key themes will include : the relationship between Julian as an author and his imperial roles as Caesar and Augustus ; the cultural, religious and intellectual contexts of his work ; the legacy and reception of his writings ; and the legal, epigraphic and visual expressions of his reign.
Please note : although this conference is open to public, students and staff, attendance must first be confirmed by contacting Nicholas Baker-Brian (Baker-BrianNJ1@cardiff.ac.uk).
The Great Court of the British Museum, London
Photo Andrew Dunn, 26 November 2006
The Troubled Adolescence of Late Antique Studies : Archaeological approaches to 'change' in Late Antiquity
Organizer : Hendrik Dey (University of Aarhus)
Session IV of The 8th Roman Archaeology Conference, University of Michigan (Ann Arbor), 4 April, 2009, 1:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Conference website.
The past few years have seen an outpouring of geographically and chronologically sweeping syntheses devoted to the 'world of late antiquity', all of which have in one way or another reanimated old debates about how 'Roman' society became 'medieval'. The big questions about the end of the Roman Empire and its aftermath are again being asked (why, how, when, to what extend...), and there has been a concomitant resurgence of interest in a number of venerable interpretive frameworks : 'Decline and Fall', 'continuity vs. catastrophe', and the Pirenne Thesis continue to inform the parameters of much scholarly discourse, even in those instances in which they have been subjected to comprehensive and at times violent critiques. It is noteworthy that while the new, synoptic overviews of late antiquity nearly all make extensive use of the exponentially growing corpus of archaeological data amassed over the past 30 years, their authors (Bryan Ward-Perkins, Peter Heather, Julia Smith, Chris Wickham, Michael McCormick...) are with few exceptions more historians than archaeologists stricto sensu. It thus results that the physical evidence has been surveyed mostly by historians mostly dealing with questions framed well before the advent of late antique archaeology, and the heaps of physical data it has supplied. Specialists of material culture, on the other hand, have tended to confine themselves to case-studies and local, or at best regional analyses of narrowly-circumscribed topics and data sets ; and they have been relatively hesitant to take a leading role in shaping the paradigms and interpretive frameworks into which their findings are most frequently - faute de mieux - inserted.
This panel examines alternate ways of using our growing body of archaeological evidence to approach 'change' in late antiquity. As late antiquity increasingly becomes a field or sub-field unto itself, it seems more necessary than ever to think critically about its parameters, its subject matter, its heuristic potential. What sorts of questions should those interested in the period be asking, and what specifically can those responsible for uncovering and analyzing the material record contribute to the discussion ? How might they wish to frame future inquiry into e.g. agrarian change and rural settlement patterns ; urban topography and urban living ; religious beliefs and practices ; trade, communications, and production ; national, ethnic and racial identities ; regional diversity ; technological change ? Finally and most importantly, how can these and a host of other subjects first addressed in the absence of substantial material evidence (and trained specialists in late-antique material culture) in turn contribute to the really big debates about how and why late Roman society underwent the radical evolution that ultimately led to the emergence of a new world order in the Mediterranean and its extended hinterland ?
- Hendrik Dey, tba
- Ann Marie Yasin (University of Southern California) Negotiating Old Sacred Places : Biographies of Buildings and Narratives of the Past
- Campbell Grey (University of Pennsylvania) Stuck in the Middle : Between Grand Theory and the Case Study in the Countrysides of Late Antiquity
- D.L. Brooks Hedstrom (Wittenberg University) Rejecting and Embracing Monastic Archaeology : Finding a Place for Monastic Spaces in Late Antique Egypt
- Will Bowden (University of Nottingham) Digging for urban transformation : archaeological approaches to the late antique town
- John Mitchell (University of East Anglia) tba
- Anna Leone (Durham University) tba
- Andrew Poulter (University of Nottingham) Discontinuity on the Danube : the violent destruction of urban and rural landscapes
- Ramsay MacMullen (Yale) History from head-counts