The Mediterranean has always been a place that fosters connections through the movements of people, materials, and ideas. The work of archaeologists, art historians, and historians in recent years (e.g., Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell, Cyprian Broodbank, Peter van Dommelen, Tamar Hodos), has brought new ways of understanding these connections in the ancient world through scholarship on connectivity, globalization, mobility, migration, and networks.
Traditional narratives about the western Mediterranean in particular have focused on the large-scale movements of the Greeks, Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Romans who connected vast territories through colonization and trade networks. There is need, however, more research in several areas:
- Investigation that considers connectivity and mobility outside of traditional large-scale colonization narratives, with attention to small-scale and regional connections.
- Increased attention to landscapes and contexts of colonization beyond urban, coastal areas (e.g., rural, industrial, mountainous, inland, and island landscapes).
- Studies that consider the region from a comparative, longue durée perspective, bridging traditional research divisions along national lines and between prehistoric and classical archaeology.
This workshop, Against the Grain: Transversal and Small Scale Connectivities in the Ancient Western Mediterranean, will bring together an international group of scholars, University of Michigan faculty, and graduate students to discuss theoretical and material approaches to mobility and connectivity through an exploration of case studies from the ancient western Mediterranean. The rationale for this selection is twofold. First, the western Mediterranean, especially the Iberian Peninsula, Southern France, North Africa, and the various islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Sardinia, Corsica), have often been overlooked in anglophone scholarship and teaching in classical archaeology. The workshop will provide an opportunity for the University of Michigan community to engage with senior and emerging scholars working in these underrepresented areas. Second, the workshop will bridge traditional temporal divides between scholars working on the prehistoric and classical Mediterranean, periods which are often considered separately.
The February 2020 workshop will take place over the course of 3 days with a series of keynote talks by Peter van Dommelen, Tamar Hodos, and Miguel Ángel Cau, a graduate student poster session, and a workshop of pre-circulated papers by emerging scholars (schedule here and RSVP here). The workshop builds from conversations and research in a graduate seminar taught by Linda Gosner in winter 2019, Connectivity, Mobility, and Global Networks in the Ancient Western Mediterranean. It also has origins in a colloquium organized at the Society for American Archaeology in 2017 by Linda Gosner and Jeremy Hayne, Connectivities in the Prehistoric and Classical West/Central Mediterranean. Ultimately, it will result in an English-language edited volume that will reach a broad audience.