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Research CRASIS Activities

CRASIS Annual Meeting and Masterclass

CRASIS invites applications for its eleventh Annual Meeting and Masterclass, which will take place on 24 (Masterclass) and 25 (Annual Meeting) February 2022 at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. The Annual Meeting and Masterclass is an annual two-day event, designed to promote discussion and the exchange of ideas about the ancient world across traditional disciplinary boundaries among graduate students, postdocs, and established scholars. Each year, an internationally acknowledged expert in one of the fields represented by CRASIS is invited to give a masterclass for (Research) MA and PhD students and to deliver the CRASIS Keynote Lecture at the annual meeting.

This year we are honoured to welcome Prof. Rebecca Langlands (University of Exeter) as keynote speaker and master. The overall theme of the 2022 Masterclass and Annual Meeting will be:


Exemplarity is an important feature of all human societies. We use specific examples as tools for developing abstract thoughts or sharing our ideas with others. Skills in music, painting and sport – even handwriting – are developed through contemplation and imitation of exemplary models. This is true for broader life skills too: when it comes to learning how to fit in socially and how to live one’s life well. Most cultures celebrate outstanding figures as a way of sharing normative values and ways of life: heroes, saints, villains, leaders. Real lives are simplified and transformed into easily graspable paradigms, providing a resource for ethical debate and learning. Such exemplars can be sources of inspiration or clarification, they can serve as spurs to emulation or imitation, they can delineate the limits of the possible and of the acceptable, the normative or the ideal. Their significance is also unstable and subject to contestation, as societies change or new voices emerge. In recent years we have seen how commemorative statues of historical figures around the globe have been a focus for the shared re-negotiation of value in changing communities: torn down, defended, or newly interpreted. Similarly, new kinds of exemplars can be an important means of empowerment for marginalised groups.

Exemplarity in the ancient Mediterranean world took many forms: from the exploits of Homeric heroes and their later reception to the use of exemplars and imitation in craftmanship, architecture and town-planning; from heroic statues of athletes, generals or statesmen to the depiction of virtues on sarcophagus reliefs and in funerary inscriptions; from the use of precedent in ancient law to the moralising tales prevalent in the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition, in Stoic philosophy, in Roman exemplary ethics, and in the writings of Second Temple and Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity.

For the 2022 CRASIS Masterclass and Annual Meeting, we welcome papers exploring exemplarity, exemplars or examples related to any aspect of the ancient world and from any perspective including linguistic, literary, historical, philosophical, material, art-historical, archaeological, or reception-based. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Negative examples: what role do these play in different spheres, such as ethics, education, rhetoric, or community building? Are they inherently different in their function from positive exemplars?
  • The exemplary deployed as a mode for interpreting and commemorating the past, and in the construction of identities –e.g. communal, familial, individual?
  • The movement of exemplary stories, figures or motifs between cultures, groups, or between different genres or media.
  • The effect of different media on exemplarity: does it function differently in e.g. painting, sculpture, poetry, performance, architecture, epigraphy?
  • The role of specific examples or paradigms in rhetoric or philosophy, ancient or modern; what distinction is there between real-life, historical, fictional and hypothetical?
  • Identity and exemplarity: do exempla discourage diversity? Can our role-models be people we do not identify with? (How) can a slave be a role model for a free person, or vice versa? how might gender and other intersections of status and identity disrupt or enrich the process of exemplarity?
  • Imitation, innovation, adaptation: how are examples, models and templates used as the basis for e.g. learning, education, or artistic production.
  • Reception of ancient exemplars in post-classical settings: how (and why) are ancient examples, heroes and stories made new and relevant in different settings?

Deadline for Abstracts

PhD and Research Master students are invited to submit a proposal of a topic (500 words) for the Master Class (24 February 2022), explaining how their own research relates to the theme. All other researchers are invited to submit a title and abstract (250 words) for a lecture at the Annual Meeting (25 February 2022).

Proposals must be submitted no later than 1 December, 2021 via If possible, CRASIS will contribute to travel and accommodation costs of graduate students, up to a limit of €200 for participants from outside the Netherlands, and up to €100 for participants from the Netherlands.


CRASIS is the interdisciplinary research institute for the study of the ancient world at the University of Groningen and the Protestant Theological University in Groningen. It brings together researchers from Classics, Theology and Religious Studies, Ancient History, Archaeology, Ancient Philosophy, and Legal History, focusing on Greek, Roman, Jewish and Near Eastern civilizations and their mutual interaction.

About the speaker

Rebecca Langlands is Professor of Classics, with particular interests in Latin literature and Roman culture, ethics and exemplarity, the history of sexuality and classical reception. She is the author of Sexual Morality in Ancient Rome (CUP 2006), Sex, Knowledge and Receptions of the Past (edited with Kate Fisher, OUP 2015), Exemplary Ethics in Ancient Rome (CUP 2018) and Literature and Culture in the Roman Empire, 96-235. Cross-Cultural Interactions (edited with Alice König and James Uden, 2020). She is the co-director of the Sexual Knowledge Unit (with Jana Funke, Ina Linge and Kate Fisher), and also of the award-winning Sex and History project which works with museums, schools, charities and young people to promote empowering discussion of contemporary sexual issues.

Information for PhD/ReMa Students

To participate in the Masterclass, Research Master students are expected to submit a paper of 3,000–4,000 words. PhD students submit a paper of 5,000–6,000 words. These papers will be circulated among the master and the participants and are therefore to be submitted no later than 31 January, 2022. During the Masterclass, the participants will introduce their paper, followed by responses from a fellow student and Professor Rebecca Langlands. The Masterclass is an OIKOS and ARCHON activity and students will earn 3 ECTS by active participation.

For more information, please send an e-mail to

Past Meetings

2021: Christian Origins and the Mediterranean Landscape. Keynote & Master: Prof. Laura Nasrallah

2019: Identity: Past & Present. Keynote & Master: Dr. Louise Revell

2018: Motivation & Causality. Keynote & Master: Prof. Dr. John Ma

2017: Ancient Health. Concepts, Materiality, and the Experience of Life. Keynote & Master: Prof. Dr. Ralph Rosen

2016: Hellenism: Interaction, Translation and Culture Transfer. Keynote & Master: Prof. Dr. Benjamin Wright (A short report)

2015: Crisis! The Identification, Analysis, and Commemoration of Crises in the Ancient World. Keynote & Master: Prof. Dr. Monika Truemper (A short report)

2014: Cultural Knowledge in the Ancient World: Production, Circulation and Validation. Keynote & Master: Prof.Dr. Marietta Horster (A short report)

2013: Cultural Encounters in the Ancient Mediterranean. Keynote & Master: Prof.Dr. Martin D. Goodman

2012: Cultures of Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean. Keynote & Master: Prof.Dr. Greg Woolf

Some of the working papers of past meetings can be accessed on the CRASIS working papers page .

Last modified:03 January 2022 10.16 a.m.