CFP: Refuge and Refugees in the Ancient World, Columbia University (Abstracts due May 2)

Refuge and Refugees in the Ancient World
Columbia University Ancient World Graduate Student Conference
November 11-12, 2016. Columbia University in the City of New York, USA.

Keynote Speakers: Demetra Kasimis (University of Chicago) and Elena Isayev (University of Exeter)
We invite papers from graduate students working across disciplines related to the ancient world for a two-day conference which will explore the issues of refuge and refugees. From representations of refugees and the notions of “refuge” to their physical traces in the archaeological record, we hope to discuss how ancient societies experienced and conceptualized the flight and plight of displaced peoples.
In light of the recent upsurge in work on ancient Mediterranean migration and exile, as well as current events, new questions arise: What heuristic value does the term “refugee” have for our understanding of the ancient equivalent? How do we define refuge and refugees? Where do we look for the voices of refugees among the ancient evidence? What and where are the sites of “refuge” attested across the ancient Mediterranean world?
We welcome papers in any disciplinary field––and interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged––pertaining to the ancient Mediterranean world and surrounding regions, including Egypt, the Near East and the expanses of the Roman Empire, and falling within the period spanning from the Bronze Age to Late Antiquity.

Potential topics could include:
• Literary and artistic representations of flight, refuge, or supplication, for example in epic, tragedy, vase or wall painting.
• Classical reception (contemporary engagements with classical representations of refuge and refugees).
• Philosophical and theoretical conceptualizations of refuge, for example in Stoic thought.
• Locations of refuge, such as sanctuary spaces.
• Intersections between refugees and the related spheres of ancient migration, exile, and diaspora.
• Ancient histories of migration catalyzed by displacement through war or other factors.
• The demographic impact of ancient refugees on ancient cities, landscapes, and economies.
• Archaeological evidence, for example, hoards and their significance in tracing ancient refugees.
• Refugee identity, for example, the transition from being a “refugee” to becoming a citizen of a new city.

The conference will include a roundtable on how the content and themes discussed in the context of the ancient world can be brought into dialogue with the contemporary refugee crisis.
Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be emailed to [email protected] no later than May 2, 2016. In the body of your email, please include your name, institution, contact information, and the title of your abstract. The abstract should be anonymous and sent as an attachment. Papers should be no longer than 20 minutes in length in order to accommodate questions.

Housing accommodations will be provided by Columbia graduate students on a first-come, first-served basis.
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