Plenary meeting CIAW: Networking in the Ancient World – 1 May 2020

Plenary meeting research group CIAW: Networking in the Ancient World

Date: 1 May 2020

Venue: Utrecht

EC: 1 for attendance and writing a report.

Please save the date for our second plenary meeting of the OIKOS Research Group Cultural Interactions in the Ancient World (supported by ARCHON), which will take place on Friday 1 May in Utrecht.
The theme is ‘Networking the Ancient World’ and the day will be divided into two parts – a practical session in the morning led by Lieve Donnellan (Aarhus University), and an afternoon session with keynote speaker Anna Collar (Southampton University), followed by pitches from you and a general discussion.
Drawn from the social sciences, network theory and analyses have made significant inroads in studies of the ancient world, sparked in part by Horden and Purcell’s emphasis on connectivity in The Corrupting Sea (2000), and by Irad Malkin in his 2007 issue of Mediterranean Historical Review and A Small Greek World (2011). Around this time a group of graduate students in the UK took this approach to a new dimension, leading to the Connected Past workshops that now take place on a regular basis (
Anna Collar is a founding member of this initiative, and we are delighted to have her as our keynote speaker. Her book Religious Networks in the Roman Empire: the Spread of New Ideas (Cambridge 2013) was received with distinction and her research has advanced the use of network theory with regard to cultural interaction, provoking significant debates on the topic. She will discuss with us the potential and pitfalls of network approaches with ancient sources.
Lieve Donnellan is co-organiser of the next Connected Past conference and we are fortunate to have her guide us through applying network analysis. Her research focuses on networks and city formation in the Black Sea area and southern Italy and she has published extensively on the topic, including the soon to appear Archaeological Networks and Social Interaction (Routledge 2020). She will conduct a hands-on session in the morning with a digital network analysis tutorial.
‘Networks’ has become a mainstream metaphor in conceptualizing interaction in the ancient world, but how would you apply it in your research? What opportunities does it present, and what kinds of problems have you encountered?
We invite you to get your hands dirty with networks in the morning tutorial and to actively contribute to the afternoon discussion by reflecting on a case study relevant to your own area of research. Your ‘pitch’ should be brief (10-15 min.) and aimed at inspiring further debate. We aim at an informal but highly engaged group discussion at the end that includes voices from across the disciplines and at different career stages.
We hope that all of you will be able to attend, but please indicate by 1 April whether you would like to
1) participate in the morning tutorial (bring your own laptop, data will be provided but you can also work with your own dataset if you like) and/or
2) present a pitch related to your research in the afternoon discussion. Send a title and brief description (ca. 250 words) to
Graduate and ReMA students are especially encouraged to actively participate and may also earn OIKOS credit (contact the coordinators if you are interested).
Further information and programme will follow in early April.
With our very best wishes, and on behalf of the steering committee
Mathieu de Bakker
Floris van den Eijnde
Christina Williamson
Some useful readings:
Brughmans, Tom, Anna Collar, and Fiona Coward. ‘Network Perspectives on the Past. Tackling the Challenges’. In The Connected Past. Network Studies in Archaeology and History, edited by Tom Brughmans, Anna Collar, and Fiona Coward, 3-19. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Collar, Anna. Religious networks in the Roman empire. The spread of new ideas, Cambridge; New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
Donnellan, Lieve. ‘A networked view on ‘Euboean’ colonisation’, in L. Donnellan, V. Nizzo and G.-J. Burgers (eds), Conceptualising early colonisation, Brussels; Rome, 2016: 149-166.
Donnellan, Lieve. 2019. ‘Modeling the rise of the city. Early urban networks in Southern Italy’. Frontiers in Digital Humanities 15: 1-19.
Horden, Peregrine and Nicholas Purcell. The Corrupting Sea. A Study of Mediterranean History. Oxford; Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 2000.
Malkin, Irad. A Small Greek World. Networks in the Ancient Mediterranean. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011