Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group

Upcoming Event

March 22-23, 2008
Graduate Conference in Ancient Borderlands

A forum in which participants from a variety of fields and areas of expertise can explore both physical and intellectual borderlands in the ancient world. The specific disciplines the Graduate Student Conference aims to involve include Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Asian Studies, Classics, History, Medieval Studies, Mesoamerican Studies, Near Eastern Studies, Philosophy, and Religious Studies.

Call for Papers

Borderlands, loosely defined, are frontier zones lying along given boundaries, limits beyond which something -- a discipline, an ethnic group, a “nation” -- transforms into something else. The creation, maintenance, and even transgression of identity occurred in these borderlands, tangible and intangible. Whether they be in the form of the Roman frontier, ancient Chinese class distinctions, or Mesoamerican notions of religious transgression, the articulation of such boundaries is a vibrant activity that can be observed, not only within material culture, but also in the rhetorical strategies adopted by ancient authors, in political tactics pursued by those seeking power, or in the establishment of perimeters by believers looking to define their faith. The seminal works of Frederick Barth (such as his introduction to Ethnic Groups and Boundaries: The Social Organization of Culture Difference) and other contemporary borderlands historians have already broken ground in these areas. The Ancient Borderlands Graduate Conference desires to build on the foundation already laid by applying borderland theories and concepts to the ancient world. Further, since the nature of borders themselves includes a variety of perspectives, the study of borderlands encourages-even requires-an interdisciplinary approach. The Ancient Borderlands Research Group at the University of California at Santa Barbara therefore invites graduate scholars of any interested discipline to submit abstracts of papers addressing the question of ancient borderlands while taking advantage of the relevant theoretical models. The conference will be held on March 22nd and 23d of 2008 at the beautiful campus of UCSB, home to the first Ancient Borderlands research group. Limited travel funds are potentially available for those who cannot procure department funding from their home institution. Abstracts are due by December 1, 2007, and should be sent to Olivier Dufault at olivierdufault AT Papers presented at the conference might be selected for a future publication of the Borderlands Research Group. For information on the conference, please feel free to email Olivier Dufault.