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קול קורא // לכנס: מלכים נוכריים בעת העתיקה [אקסטר 11/22] דדליין=1.8.22

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CfP: Stranger Kings in Antiquity

3-4 November 2022
University of Exeter’s Centre for Hellenistic and Romano-Greek Culture and Society
Kings, in various guises, were the dominant political force throughout antiquity. Recently, the social anthropologists Graeber and Sahlins (On Kings, Chicago: 2017) argued that, in its rawest form, kingship is a human manifestation of divine power. As a conduit for divine authority, the king is inherently different from his subjects, a ‘stranger’ whose difference and ‘otherness’ underpins his own power. Kings have also often been ‘strangers’ in the literal sense of being dynasts from the outside, or alternatively locals who have made themselves ‘strangers’ by assuming the identities of kings from elsewhere. The notion of the ‘stranger-king’ has much to offer as a reflective tool for considering kingship as a phenomenon across the diverse societies of antiquity. Kings were constantly viewed as different and exceptional, most notably through their own links with divinity: Persian kings were representatives of Ahura-Mazda, Alexander was remembered on divine terms and Roman emperors were, among many other things, pontifex maximus and deified upon death. Even in the Christian period, Theodosius II could claim that his personal connection to God provided for the wellbeing of the Roman world. The ‘stranger-king’ as a concept offers a wide range of applications and is an excellent theoretical framework for investigating kingship throughout antiquity and more broadly.
The conference will be held online and in-person on Thursday 3rd and Friday 4th November 2022. We are seeking to cover a broad chronological swathe of the ancient world, from the Archaic period to Late Antiquity, in order to encourage interdisciplinary engagement and draw broader conclusions on the subject. As such, there will be five panels of two to three participants, with each panel being anchored in a specific period:
Beyond Greece and Rome
Archaic Greece
Hellenistic Greece
Early Imperial Rome
The Later Roman Empire
We invite submissions that are chronologically rooted in any of our five panels whilst simultaneously engaging with the concepts of the ‘stranger king’ and ‘stranger kingship’. For example, papers might address (though not be limited to) any of the following aspects:
The imposition of rule by foreigners and/or invaders
Origin myths and stories used to present a ruling dynasty as ‘other’ or exceptional
Ceremonial differentiation between ruler and ruled
A ruler’s religious role and its impact in facilitating ‘otherness’
The fostering of personality cults by rulers to highlight their exceptionalism
Any other context-specific methods of creating ‘otherness’ employed by rulers to secure their power
Any problems that ‘otherness’ might bring to a ruler’s relationship with their subjects
Confirmed speakers include:
Dr. Borja Antela-Bernardez (Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona)
Dr. Meaghan McEvoy (Australian National University)
Prof. Lynette Mitchell (University of Exeter)
Speakers should aim to produce papers lasting approximately 30 minutes, after which there will be 15 minutes of time allocated for questions and discussion.
We welcome submissions from both postgraduate students and early career researchers. Abstracts should be no more than 300 words, accompanied by an academic bio of no more than 100 words. Submissions should be emailed to either ja616@exeter.ac.uk or jg439@exeter.ac.uk. Any questions regarding the conference should also be sent to either of those addresses.
The working language is English.
The DEADLINE for applications is Monday 1st August 2022.
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