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CALL. 04.01.2019: Citizenship in classical antiquity: current perspectives and challenges - London (




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

ORGANIZADOR/ORGANIZER/ORGANIZZATORE: Chris Carey (UCL); Jakub Filonik (JU); Christine Plastow (OU); Roel Konijnendijk (Leiden); Brenda Griffith-Williams (UCL); Joanna Janik (JU).

INFO: web - -


What did citizenship mean in the ancient world, why was it important, and why should it matter to us today? Citizenship has been defined as ‘both a set of practices (cultural, symbolic and economic) and a bundle of rights and duties (civil, political and social) that define an individual’s membership in a polity’ (Isin & Wood 1999, Citizenship & Identity), and has existed in various forms since antiquity, holding complex resonances up to the present day.

Depending on the socio-political context, a person’s citizenship may be a matter of territorial belonging or blood descent; it may offer privileged or exclusive access to resources or participation in communal decision-making; it may provide a sense of group belonging that can be productive and rewarding, but such identification may also be open to discursive redefinitions and manipulation, primarily in public political debate. Citizenship may be connected to certain civic values, though how these are realised in practice may not always be simple. There are those for whom a society’s emphasis on citizenship may cause serious problems, such as stateless persons and migrants.

The immediacy of issues surrounding the concept and practice of citizenship in the modern world calls for a re-investigation of the notion in its ancient contexts. We aim to encourage broad-ranging discussions of ancient citizenship, with a particular emphasis on contemporary methods, perspectives, and problems. Topics of discussions include but are not limited to:

- similarities and differences across Greek, Roman, Near-Eastern, or broader Mediterranean ideas of citizenship;

- insiders’ and outsiders’ perspectives in considering what citizenship entails (emic vs etic);

- the semantics and varying definitions of ‘citizen’ and ‘citizenship’;

- the self-presentation of citizens as a privileged social group;

- citizenship, social change, and social conflict;

- citizenship and the control of resources;

- interactions between citizenship and other (group) identities;

- creating and exploiting citizen identities in discourse;

- the importance and limits of legal definitions;

- civic training and education;

- political participation and majoritarianism;

- the topicality or inapplicability of classical paradigms.

This three-day conference is intended to promote discussion among scholars across different disciplines working on the theme of citizenship in classical antiquity in any capacity. It will include keynote lectures by Prof Clifford Ando (Chicago),Prof John Davies FBA, FSA (Liverpool), Prof Engin Isin (QMUL), Dr Catherine Neveu (CNRS-EHESS), and Prof Josiah Ober (Stanford), and will also include a public discussion event on the evening of Tuesday 2nd July. The conference stems from Jakub Filonik’s postdoctoral project on the use of cognitive semantics in studying the concept of citizenship in Athenian political discourse (funded by the National Science Centre, Poland).

We expect to be able to offer bursaries to assist graduate students in attending the conference.

Please submit an abstract of 250-350 words (excluding bibliography) for a 20-minute paper by 4 January 2019 to Jakub Filonik at and Christine Plastow at An earlier expression of interest will also be welcome.

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