Call for Papers: ‘The Materiality of Ancient Greek Identities, 9th to 2nd centuries BC’ (Newcastle University)

Call for Papers – Conference: ‘The Materiality of Ancient Greek Identities, 9th to 2nd centuries BC’

Newcastle University – 21st April 2022 


Identities are the distinguishing features of an individual’s or community’s character. They are often defined by ‘things’, material culture, but the process is reflexive; as we change, and our communities change, so too does our material culture. When investigating ancient societies, material cultures are often some of the few surviving signatures of identities. This conference will explore the changing relationship between material culture and identity amidst the transformation of the Greek world across the Geometric to Hellenistic periods, with a focus upon how social and communal identities were constructed, presented, and transformed by material culture circa 900 to 150 BC.

In recent years, the concept of identity has started to garner significant attention in studies of the ancient world. Reflecting current thinking about ancient Greek identities being constantly evolving, the major theme of this conference is change. As individuals mature and pass through the life course, their identities transition from one trajectory to another. As societies develop and transform, in response to the changing world around them, even elements of local mythology or deeply rooted cultural identifiers can find themselves transformed. The Greek world transformed across the ninth to second centuries BC, with identities of individuals and communities alike evolving to reflect that. This conference will investigate how changes in identity (at an individual and/or community level), resultant of changes in socio-political and cultural circumstance, are evidenced and constructed by changes in material culture.

The event organisers invite postgraduates and early career scholars from across the Humanities and Social Sciences to present contributions that explore how material cultures were involved in the presentation and transformation of identities in Iron Age, Archaic, Classical and Hellenistic Greece. We welcome proposals for 20-minute papers from postgraduates, early career researchers and heritage professionals, which will be presented and discussed in-depth in several conference panels. The panels will provide an ideal setting in which to receive feedback on your research, and to engage with that of your peers. We also welcome proposals for 5-minute lightning talks from scholars in the earlier stages of their postgraduate studies. These will be presented in a dedicated session, which will provide an accessible environment in which to speak about your research and engage with your peers.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • The presentation of identity through material culture
  • Material culture’s contribution to the transformation of identities
  • The changing relationship between identities and material culture throughout the life course
  • Diachronic transformation in the material culture of Greece society

Please submit all proposals to: [email protected] by 31st January 2022. All submissions for papers should include: a 250-word abstract, a brief bio, and an email address. All submissions for lighting talks should include: a 100-word abstract, a brief bio, and an email address. Keynote speakers will be announced closer to the time. Travel Bursaries will be available to postgraduates who are accepted to speak and can demonstrate financial need.