Call for Papers: Identity Under Empire

Boston University Graduate Student Conference

Identity Under Empire: Defining the Self under the Cultural Hegemony of the Athenian, Macedonian, and Roman Empires

Date of Conference: March 17, 2018

Keynote Speaker
Steven Smith
Hofstra University

The Department of Classical Studies at Boston University is excited to accept papers for its 10th annual Graduate Studies Conference. This year, the conference will examine the question of regional, national, personal, artistic, religious, and ethnic identity under the Athenian and Roman Empires as well as the empires of Philip II and Alexander the Great, and the subsequent Hellenistic Kingdoms. The cultural and political influence of any ancient empire has a far-reaching effect on the populace not only of founding city-states, but also that of the extending territories within its dominion. This conference intends to explore how ancient peoples – citizens and non-citizens, male and female alike – negotiated the multifarious problem of identity within the complexity of a unified yet multicultural empire. We enthusiastically welcome submissions from any and all fields of the humanities covering material, textual, or other sources.

Possible paper topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • The question of personae in ancient literature under empire
  • Portrayals of racial/ethnic identity by emperors and/or authors
  • Gender identity and gender roles under empires: correspondences/dissonances between literary depictions, societal expectations, and historical realities
  • Examinations of institutionalized constructs of identity (e.g.: Greek citizenship law of 451; the Leges Juliae)
  • The significance of Greek ethnicity during the Peloponnesian war
  • Local religion/cult and its relationship to official, imperial religion
  • Terminology: ways of expressing ethnic/racial identity in the ancient world, and the connotations/implications of these labels (e.g.: Patavinitas)
  • Philosophy and sophistry under empire
  • Examination and analysis of political satire
  • Self-identification of emperors with different gods and the deification of emperors (e.g.: Alexander and Ammon; Augustus and Apollo)
  • Alexander and the Persians
  • The question of “National Texts” vs. “Propaganda” vs. “Veiled Speech” under empire
  • Racial/Ethnic identity of Roman slaves & Freedmen/Freedwomen
  • Near-Eastern influence on literature and art under empire
  • Historiographical representations of “Others”

We encourage those interested in participation to send an abstract of no more than 500 words, along with a bibliography of no more than 150 words, for a 20-minute presentation to Victoria Burmeister, Shannon DuBois, and William Bruckel at IdentityUnderEmpire@Gmail.com on or before January 14th, 2018. We request that all documents be submitted as PDFs.

Please direct any questions or concerns to us at the address listed above. Submission decisions will be announced in early February.

Photo: "Handwritten" by A. Birkan, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

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