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Crasis Annual Meeting 2019 Call for papers

8th CRASIS Annual Meeting and Master Class, themed ‘Identity – Past and Present’
24 October 2018

Keynote & Master: dr. Louise Revell (University of Southampton)

We cordially invite scholars to submit a proposal for the eighth CRASIS Annual Meeting (postdoctoral researchers and senior scholars) and PhD/ReMa Master Class (research master students and PhDs), to be held on 7-8 March 2019, at the University of Groningen.

What examples might ancient evidence provide of groups and individuals trying to reconcile their social, formal, and legal status with their self-understanding? In the last two decades, identity has emerged as a core approach to the study of the ancient world. Yet, identity as a concept has not always been addressed explicitly, but instead used as a safe term to deal with problematic concepts, such as the substitution of ‘cultural identity’ for ‘Romanization’. The term ‘identity’ is not always carefully defined, and the background to the theoretical approach not stated explicitly (is it drawn from sociology or philosophy or feminist studies). Instead, it has too often become part of a ‘common-sense’ or presentist view of the past. In other quarters, there has been a questioning of the applicability of such modern concepts to the ancient world, whether due to the elision of identity and individualism, or to a hesitancy in ascribing identity in the absence of an explicit statement of self-identification.

As such, there has been something of a backlash to the application of identity to the ancient world. However, to what extent is this due to the misuse or misapplication of what in reality is a series of discrete theoretical approaches, often with different disciplinary origins? Is some of this disquiet due to a lack of rigour in how we use the term? What do we mean by the term, and can we apply it from the present to the past? What is the relationship between identity and the individual, and do new intersectional approaches allow us to move beyond this? What is the relationship between identity and social structures? Do studies of identity allow us to write the histories of the powerless, or does it foreground the powerful, leaving underlying narratives intact? How do we study identity from the different forms of evidence available to us (particularly iconography, material and architectural) or are we dependent on a textual claim of identity (e.g. tragedy, historiography, biography)?

We welcome papers exploring ‘Identity – Past and Present’ from linguistic, literary, historical, philosophical, art-historical, and archaeological perspectives. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

·         Modern vs. ancient. The meaning of identity now and then. Did the ancients have an articulated concept of identity and if so how did they articulate it? The difference between modern and ancient conceptions of ‘identity’. The question of anachronism and contemporary models of explanation for studying identity in antiquity.
·         ‘internal vs. ‘external’ identity. The issue and possibility of personal or internal identity in the ancient world as opposed to ‘belonging to’ or ‘sameness’ to others, i.e. external identity. The power of social structures and identity formation.
·         The importance of public and domestic space for understanding identity, community, and group formation. Different means of expressing and constructing identity, such as language and literature, the adoption of certain customs, associations, networks, and building styles.
·         The question of similarity and difference. The impact of imperialism on identity formation, imperial and ‘global’ vs. provincial and ‘local’ identities. Boundaries and fixation of identity as opposed to fluidity.
·         Bodies of evidence (literary, epigraphic, archaeological). Methodological problems and solutions vis-à-vis the handling of these bodies of evidence in relation to studying questions of identity in the ancient world.

CRASIS is the interdisciplinary research institute for the study of culture, religion and society in the ancient world at the University of Groningen, in close collaboration with the Protestant Theological University (PThU). This year’s event is already its eighth Master Class and Annual Meeting. CRASIS is set up as a meeting place for students at PhD or Research Master level, post-docs, and established scholars to promote discussion and exchange of ideas beyond disciplinary boundaries.

Keynote Speaker & Master

This year’s Master and Keynote Speaker is Louise Revell, Lecturer at the University of Southampton. Her primary interest is the use of architectural and epigraphic evidence related to identity issues in the western provinces of the Roman Empire. Her publications include Roman Imperialism and Local Identities (2009) and Ways of being Roman: Discourses of Identity in the Roman West (2015). She currently holds a Getty Fellowship as part of the Arts of Rome's Provinces workshop.

Submission of Abstracts

·         PhD and Research Master Students are invited to submit a title and abstract (500 words) for the Master Class (March 7, 2019), which explains how their own research relates to the theme.
·         We invite established scholars and postdocs to submit a title and short abstract (250 words) for a lecture of 35 minutes on the conference day (March 8, 2019).
·         Please accompany your application for either part of the event with a brief (~75 words) academic background and deliver both parts in a single Word document to facilitate processing.
·         Proposals should be submitted no later than November 30, 2018 to Eelco Glas, via

Please note that at this point, CRASIS unfortunately is unable to offer compensation for travel and accommodation costs of the presenters.

--- Further information for PhD/RMA students ---

Research Master and PhD students are expected to submit a paper of 4000-5000 words. These papers will circulate among the participants of the Master Class and are to be submitted before February 15, 2019. During the Master Class participants will briefly present their paper, followed by a response and discussion under the expert guidance of dr. Louise Revell. Student participation will be graded, and is eligible for the award of 2 ECTS from Dutch research schools OIKOS and ARCHON (NOTE: the writing of the paper itself is not included in the awarded ECTS).

For more information, please contact Eelco Glas via or visit

On behalf of CRASIS,

Lidewijde de Jong
Steve Mason
Bärry Hartog
Bettina Reitz-Joosse
Eelco Glas

Last modified:25 January 2019 3.03 p.m.

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