The Spatial Turn in Roman Studies

Auckland, January 22-24 2020

Durham, June 10-12 2020

Organised by Amy Russell and Maxine Lewis

We announce two international conferences plus a year-long programme of events in Durham on the theme ‘The spatial turn in Roman studies’. This is the call for papers for the Auckland conference, 22-24 January 2020. A call for papers for the Durham conference will follow.

We plan a series of events reflecting on a generation’s worth of work on the spatial turn in Roman studies and seeking out the best new scholarship arising from it.

The goal of our programme of events is a double one: first, to gain an overview of the directions research has taken, identify underlying themes and trends, and describe successful spatial methodology as a guideline for future work; second, to move beyond what has been done and explore the full potential of spatial approaches, especially by bringing together work that has taken the same body of spatial theory in different directions. The most pressing divide we see is between work on historical and archaeological space on the one hand, and imagined and literary space on the other: they represent two well-developed bodies of scholarship in Roman studies, both often drawing on the same set of 20th-century spatial theory, but not often in conversation with each other. We seek to address the questions: could more be done to bring them together and pool their insights, or does the problem lie in the way the underlying spatial theories fail to bring together real and imagined space?

The Auckland conference will include research papers, seminars with pre-circulated readings from major thinkers in spatial theory, and keynote addresses from Ray Laurence, Nandini Pandey, and Diana Spencer. This call is for those interested in delivering 20-minute research papers on any topic related to the spatial turn in Roman studies. Papers should present new research grounded in spatial methodologies; they could be historical, literary, archaeological, philosophical, or all four and more, and could cover any aspect of the Roman Mediterranean from the archaic period to late antiquity, but should reflect the impact of the spatial turn on their scholarly context. Please send a 300-word abstract as an email attachment to BOTH AND by 28 June 2019, with the subject header ‘The spatial turn in Roman studies: Auckland’. We welcome proposals for innovative presentation formats, and are keen to hear from speakers of all career stages and from any discipline.

It is our ambition to pay for flights within Australasia and accommodation during the conference period for all speakers. Please note that the conference for the Australasian Society for Classical Studies (ASCS) will be held in Otago, New Zealand, the following week. If speakers are flying from outside Australasia to attend both our conference and ASCS, we aim to pay for your transport between Auckland and Otago.

Prospective speakers from the northern hemisphere should consider waiting to apply to the Durham conference, to reduce the total amount of air travel required. We hope to support virtual attendance for some sessions via Skype or similar, but those giving papers should plan to attend in person.

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