CfP: Renovatio, inventio, absentia imperii

Belgian Historical Institute in RomeRenovatio, inventio, absentia imperii: From the Roman Empire to Contemporary Imperialism

Deadline: January 31, 2014

Academia Belgica (Rome), with the support of the Belgian Historical Institute in Rome, and the Princess Marie-José Foundation invite submissions to the international conference Renovatio, inventio, absentia imperii: From the Roman Empire to Contemporary Imperialism to be held in Brussels on September 11–13, 2014.

Abstract proposals (max. 1 p.) for papers are to be sent, accompanied by an academic c.v. (max. 3 pp.: institutional affiliation, academic publications, academic degrees, etc), to empire2014brussels@gmail.com, before January 31, 2014. Notification of acceptance will be sent on February 25, 2014. Publication of the proceedings will take place after the selection and evaluation of the definitive papers, which are to be submitted not later than November 30, 2014.

At the heart of the present conference will be the ‘reception’, ‘Nachleben’ or ‘permanence’ of the Roman Empire, of an idea and a historical paradigm which since Classical Antiquity has supported the most widespread claims to obtain and consolidate power. The focus will be on ‘culture’, this latter concept intended in a broad sense, i.e. including not only the arts, architecture, literature etc., but also philosophy, religion and, most importantly, discourse. As such, a wide array of themes will be subjected to academic scrutiny. Whereas the main focus will be on Europe and North America, this conference will also reach out towards non-Western contexts, whether or not directly related to the Roman example.

A theoretical and sociological dimension will join, and ideally integrate, the discussion, by means of the involvement of methodological issues relevant to the conference theme. More specifically, the following question(s) will receive particular attention: what is our position as researchers, embedded in a contemporary, often Western, democratic and capitalist context; what about the notion of empire itself, its constituent elements and the kind of ideological prerogatives to which it is generally subjected; in other words, apart from the many historical variants and instances of reception of empire, through which filters can, and inevitably do we approach this topic? Because the world has changed ever more radically since the beginning of the 21st century: after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the events of September 11, 2001 have inaugurated a revivified American ‘imperialism’, whereas at about the same time an essentially economic variant, driven by ‘emerging’ powers such as China, has increasingly contested existing power structures.

In light of such meta-historical awareness, the present conference will as much inform about the nature of the Roman Empire as it will about its historical legacy and, more importantly so, those who claim the latter inheritance throughout the most diverse epochs. Indeed, by discussing some highly contrasting views upon this topic, participants will explore issues that are of fundamental importance to the writing, creation and negotiation not only of cultural history, but also of history itself.

For more information, contact the organizers at empire2014brussels@gmail.com.

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