Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Just for Show Conference Program, University of Bristol, Depart. of Classics and Ancient History, 19-20 March 2009

Just for Show ? Displaying Wealth and Performing Status from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. Status is one of the key terms of social analysis, especially in the study of pre-industrial societies ; it seems to capture the actor's perception of their own behaviour and motivation more precisely than categories coined by modern observers, such as 'class'. The conference will focus on two important aspects of status : how it is created - indeed, constantly re-created and negotiated - and how individuals and groups interact accordingly. Just for Show ? emphasises status as performance, offering new ways of understanding how pre-industrial societies structure themselves and how individuals establish and negotiate their own and others' identities within them. The conference encompasses both the economic and the social, from the nexus between material wealth, social position and different forms of power (economic, social, political, and ideological) to concepts like social competence, prestige, cultural affirmation, morality and emotions. It further offers interpretations and contextualization for behaviour and activities that may otherwise seem curious or strange to the modern observer. Just for Show ? covers different periods and geographical contexts of the ancient Mediterranean world and its spatial and and temporal neighbours, from ancient Mesopotamia to the Middle Ages. 


Day 1 : 19th March, Thursday (Room 2.12 Royal Fort House)

10:00 Welcome / opening 
10:15-10:45 Neville Morley (Bristol) : Status as Performance
11:00-11:30 Silke Knippschild (Bristol) : The abduction and destruction of religious and political identifiers as status performance
12:00-12:30 Lin Foxhall (Leicester) : Performing the body : self and status in Ancient Greece
14:30-15:00 Sitta Von Reden (Augsburg) : From citizen to subject : changing forms of social power in the hellenistic world
15:15-15:45 David N. Edwards (Leicester) : Manifesting status on the African margins of the Classical world
16:30-17:00 Martin Jehne (Dresden) : Performing senatorial status in the Roman Republic : the limits of displaying wealth
17:15-17:45 Roland Mayer (KCL) : Material commemoration of the acquisition of 'gloria' (temples, basilicas, statues)

Day 2 : 20th March, Friday (Room G12 Victoria Rooms)

9:45-10:15 Victor Revilla (Barcelone) : Wealth, status and liberti in Roman society : an ambiguous relationship
10:30-11:00 Marta Garcia Morcillo (Leicester) : The consumption of material luxury in imperial Rome and in Late Antiquity
11:30-12:00 David Konstan (Brown) : Forgiveness as adjustment of status
14:00-14:30 Gillian Clark (Bristol) : Gratia : grace and favour in Roman law and Augustine's theology
14:45-15:15 Filippo Carlà (Turin/Heidelberg) : Gold and gift in Gregory of Tours
15:45-16:15 Stephen D'Evelyn (Bristol) : The meaning of status : problems of wealth, power, and grace in the interpretation of lyrics by Venantius Fortunatus
16:30-17:00 Anke Holdenried (Bristol) : Men and prophetic authority in the twelfth century
17:45-18:15 Mary Garrison (York) : Friendship in the monastic epistolary culture of the Middle Ages

All papers will be followed by discussions. 

For enquiries please contact : 
Silke Knippschild :
Marta Garcia : 
Stephen D'Evelyn : 

Supported by the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts and the Bristol Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition.