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CALL. 21.12.2018: Anthropological Approaches to War in the Roman Period: Theory & Practice Workshop - London (England)









LUGAR/LOCATION/LUOGO:  University College London (London, England)







This workshop aims to address the theme of human behaviour influenced by, reconfigured through and in response to war in the Roman period through the study of archaeological, epigraphic, and historical evidence. With increased current emphasis on the impact of warfare, the workshop aims to engage with the fields of anthropology and sociology of war in order to explore the interpretative, theoretical and methodological potential of such approaches to the Roman material and in turn to propose directions for how the study of Roman past can be used to engage with modern debates and assert its relevance.


The experience of war is a universally transformative event for those caught up in it. War is a period where usual societal customs & laws are suspended, with new roles & behaviours invited from both individuals & groups to meet military necessity. This is true equally for those taking part in active warfare; as fighting forces, local populations affected by episodes of war, communities involved in the supply of resources and providing services to warfare areas, and for those away from conflict areas, but with social ties with those directly affected by war. Areas of conflict moved fluidly around Roman Empire throughout its existence, and most, if not all, inhabitants both inside & outside the Empire would have experienced warfare either directly or indirectly in their lifetime. Did those experiencing war respond to it through their behaviour in universal & culturally defined ways, can archaeological and literary sources enable us to study these individual & group behaviours? Or were these coessentially unique and aligning with the cultural and provincial background of those experiencing it? We encourage submission in relation to all aspects of human behaviour influenced by, reconfigured through and in response to war. Themes may include (but are not limited to):


  • How encounter with war as a personal event links with processes of self-identity and personhood

  • Fragmenting experiences of war and violence

  • Emotional and psychological responses to warfare and trauma

  • Religious and ritual responses to (the experience?) of war?

  • Realignment of belief systems in relation to and in response to warfare

  • Violent behaviour and reproduction of violence in conflict zones

  • Transition into and movement through spaces of war-scapes/frontier zones, both physical and literary

  • Behaviours in response to militarisation of civilian lives and economy

  • Altered institutional behaviour of the Roman state

  • Conceptions of & responses to the ‘enemy’

  • Personalisation of military equipment


The conference is sponsored by the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies and by the Department of Archaeology at University College London. Three bursaries for current HE students in the UK (each to the value of up to £80) have been kindly sponsored by the Barbican Research Associates and further bursaries for participants from community or ex-military background will be made available. Further information on the bursaries and registration will be circulated closer to the date.


Please submit a title & abstract of 200-250 words by 21th December 2018 – early expressions of interest would be welcomed. Submissions can be made directly to organisers Dr. Anna Walas ( or Dr. Joanne Ball (


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