Just For Show conference program

birtha logoJust for Show?  Displaying Wealth and Performing Status from Antiquity to the Middle Ages

University of Bristol, Department of Classics and Ancient History, March 19th and 20th 2009

Status is one of the key terms of social analysis, especially in the study of pre-industrial societies; it seems to capture the actors’ perception of their own behaviour and motivation more precisely than categories coined by modern observers, such as ‘class’. The conference will focus on two important aspects of status: how it is created – indeed, constantly re-created and negotiated – and how individuals and groups interact accordingly. Just for Show? emphasises status as performance, offering new ways of understanding how pre-industrial societies structure themselves and how individuals establish and negotiate their own and others’ identities within them. The conference encompasses both the economic and the social, from the nexus between material wealth, social position and different forms of power (economic, social, political, and ideological) to concepts like social competence, prestige, cultural affirmation, morality and emotions. It further offers interpretations and contextualization for behaviour and activities that may otherwise seem curious or strange to the modern observer. Just for show? covers different periods and geographical contexts of the ancient Mediterranean world and its spatial and temporal neighbours, from ancient Mesopotamia to the Middle Ages.

Programme:

Day 1: 19th March, Thursday

Room 2.12 Royal Fort House

Day 2: 20th March, Friday

Room G12 Victoria Rooms

* All papers will be followed by discussions

For enquiries please contact: 

Silke Knippschild: clzsk@bristol.ac.uk

Marta García: mgm10@le.ac.uk

Stephen D’Evelyn: husmde@bristol.ac.uk

Supported by the Bristol Institute for Research in the Humanities and Arts and the Bristol Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition