ORGANIZERS: Elizabeth M. Greene (Univ. of Western Ontario), Alexander Meyer (Univ. of Western Ontario), Alejandro Sinner (Univ. of Victoria), Rob Collins (Newcastle Univ.), Matt McCarty (Univ. of British Columbia), Anne Hunnell Chen (Brown University)

Despite the fact that the Roman provinces constituted the vast majority of territory of the Roman Empire, research and teaching in North America has focused predominantly on a Roman imperialist perspective borne out of Italy with Rome at the centre. This North American landscape, however, has changed dramatically. Researchers and students in Canada and the US more readily look to the provinces for new modes of research to answer questions about the past. Now, most Canadian universities employ a Roman archaeologist whose research focuses on the provinces rather than on the imperial core. This conference seeks to harness the surge of research interest in Canada and to set that research into an international framework with a globalized perspective. The very nature of the Roman Empire, as a vast multicultural endeavour, favours an approach that foregrounds the provinces, and which requires the insights of a globalized scholarly community.

The Roman provinces present an impressive and often unexpected array of cultural diversity; the explosion of archaeological data is forcing us to redefine what provincial meant and challenging previous understandings of imperial frameworks and provincial realities. This conference addresses three aspects of provincial research which will be presented in three sessions: 1) Varied definitions of empire and provinces; 2) How our contemporary political geography and upbringing colour our perception and understanding of an ancient empire; and 3) The necessity for a global research community to address the varied approaches to the Roman provinces with varied and changing perspectives. We stand to gain a great deal more than factual knowledge from this conversation by understanding how our approaches, methodologies and perspectives can and do change how we interpret the Roman empire. This dialogue is particularly important at this time when students are increasingly looking beyond their home countries for both educational and professional opportunities. Moreover, our faculties are more diverse than ever, giving us greater opportunities to broaden our perspectives through collaboration. Indeed, the academy is permeated by international scholars trained in one intellectual tradition and who now educate students within another. It is often the cross-cultural exchanges of modern scholars that create innovative approaches to this multicultural context and inspire new perspectives on old problems. We seek to bring together diverse viewpoints in a collaborative forum in order to harmonize some of the disparate approaches taken in Roman provincial research.

Papers in this conference advance this multi-faceted conversation, addressing various aspects of the questions posed above. Papers focus on these issues using data as case studies to explore these broader themes and we hope to generate discussion about growing diversity and collaboration in the globalized academic world and their role in how we view the past. Two keynote speakers will open and close the symposium and all session discussion will be moderated with presenters and respondent. We hope that papers and presenters will invite conversation and debate about these issues, and that the conference as a whole will foster collaboration for future research projects between international scholars.

Sponsors

Social Science Humanities Research Council, Canada
University of Western Ontario, Department of Classics
University of Western Ontario, Faculty of Arts & Humanities Dean’s Office
University of Western Ontario, Office of the Vice President (Research)
Newcastle University, School of History, Classics & Archaeology
University of Victoria, Department of Greek and Roman Studies
University of Victoria, Faculty of Humanities Dean’s Office
The University of British Columbia, Classical, Near Eastern, and Religious Studies
The Joukowsky Institute for Archaeology and the Ancient World
The Department of History of Art and Architecture at Brown University
The Program in Early Cultures at Brown University

To register for the conference or to get more information please email the organizing committee at UnlockingProvinces@gmail.com. In order to register simply email your commitment to attend. There is no payment necessary.

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