2022 Call for Papers

 

We seek papers that raise broader issues and themes in ancient history that will engage all AAH attendees. All sessions are plenary. Papers will be 20 minutes in length, with time for discussion.

 

Please send abstracts (pdf or docx) of no more than 500 words to aah2022meetingucsd@gmail.com by November 15, 2021. Limited in-text references may be provided. Please attach a bibliography of the references cited and indicate the panel to which you are applying.


1. Race and the Abuses of Ancient History

This panel seeks to bring the field of Ancient History into dialogue with the broader humanistic trends of the twenty-first century academy. In the early modern and modern periods, ancient historians developed ideas of Western superiority that both skewed their own understandings of the remote past and fueled justifications of European colonialism, imperialism, and racism. Today, the appropriation of ancient Greco-Roman themes, symbols, and historical data by white supremacists has become a cause of alarm for many. Among other related topics, papers could address the misrepresentation and abuse of the ancient past in scholarship, politics, or popular culture; the relation between notions of Western supremacy and concepts of race/ethnicity, cultural heritage, or Hellenocentrism/Romanocentrism; or ask what the field of ancient history can do to address and redress such issues in the public sphere.


2. Teaching Ancient History Around the World

How is ancient Mediterranean history taught in non-European countries that have their own ancient histories, such as those in Asia, Africa, Mexico and Central and South America, and Oceania? We invite faculty members who teach in these countries to discuss their approach to teaching ancient Mediterranean history, or ancient history more broadly. How are departments structured in which ancient history is taught? To what extent is comparative history incorporated in pedagogy? What languages are graduate students expected to learn? What new perspectives of ancient Mediterranean history emerge when taught in the context of other “classics?”

 

3. Mobility and Migration in Antiquity

The ancient world was inhabited by people in motion. Individuals traveled by sea and by land to fight wars, sell their wares, participate in religious and athletic festivals, and conduct diplomacy, moving across communities as refugees, immigrants, settlers, slaves, and professionals. This panel invites papers that address any aspect of mobility and migration and the effects these two phenomena had on Mediterranean history, including but not limited to cross-cultural interactions, colonial entanglements, bi/multilingualism, questions of citizenship or other social statuses, changing identities, transformations of individuals and states, and models for understanding mobility and migration.

 

4. Ecology, Resources, and Environmental History

This panel seeks to explore how humans, societies, and states interact with their physical surroundings and how the environment and ecology of a region can shape human lives and structure human societies. Among other topics, papers could address climate change in antiquity and its effects on communities, the relationship between power and resources, urbanization, ancient conservation, nonhuman animals and society, ancient theories on ecology and environmental history, historical geography, and notions of environmental determinism.

 

5. Marginalized and Underrepresented Groups in Ancient History

Ancient history is often defined by the scarcity of sources available to its practitioners. In the past, our limited source basis had prioritized the study of elite men. But some of the most stimulating work of the last several decades has redressed that abuse of evidentiary scarcity, recentering those in the ancient world whose importance and value had been marginalized. This panel invites papers on marginalized groups in both the ancient world and in the history of the academy, such as enslaved persons, persons with disabilities, women, metics, refugees, illiterate persons, etc., or papers that show the ways in which intersectionality can bridge work on the ancient world’s sexual, gendered, ethnic, and economic margins.

 

6. Ancient Religion: A Useful Category?
Recent scholarship has questioned the suitability of the category of religion to the study of pre-modern societies, arguing that the analytical tools used for the study of religion, which highlight “belief” and exclusive commitment, were utterly foreign to the ancient world. At the same time, the exploration of ancient religions from a cognitive perspective has accelerated in the last decade, offering a new approach that deemphasizes traditional focuses on doctrine and/or social conformity. This panel seeks to bring together papers that offer alternative views of the category of “ancient religion” and apply these to the study of ancient history. For instance, how can the fluid dynamics of memory help us understand the social and political role of religion(s) in antiquity? Do textual or visual representations of ritual provide insights on the lived experiences of ancient religion?

 

7. The Future of Intellectual History

Intellectual history has its baggage. Its origins lie in unpalatable and often-repeated narratives of Greco-Roman-turned-Western exceptionalism. A part of that unpalatability is the harm done when ideas are cleaved off from the systems of violence and economic coercion which facilitated, and were facilitated by, those ideas. Recent work has both recentered peoples whose intellectual traditions have been trivialized and set the history of ideas against the economic and social realities of the ancient world. This panel seeks papers that reflect on intellectual history’s disciplinary legacy, continue its reformation, and show what new picture of the ancient world the history of ideas can help paint.

 

8. Toward a Global Antiquity
Connections, interactions, and exchanges between different cultures in antiquity have been topics of study for quite some time, but the perspective that guided studies of these topics has almost always been Greek and/or Roman. In this panel, we invite papers that discuss the theme of global networks as viewed from other vantage points. Papers could focus on economic, intellectual, religious, or diplomatic networks that brought different civilizations together; explore how global connections and interactions are depicted and perceived in sources from Iran, China, India, and Africa; discuss why western hemisphere civilizations, such as the Maya and Inca are often excluded from comparative perspectives on ancient history; investigate the effects of globalizing structures, such as empires, on ethnic minorities or other marginalized groups; or, indeed, whether we can study a truly “global” antiquity.

 


 

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