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Sexualities in Roman provinces: creating identities through sexual representations in colonial settings

Vucetic, Sanja; (2018) Sexualities in Roman provinces: creating identities through sexual representations in colonial settings. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This thesis investigates provincial peoples’ sexualities during the Roman Empire. It does so through the study of mass-produced visual sexual narratives on moulded lamps from twelve Roman provincial sites. The study examines archaeological material through the lenses of post-colonial and queer theories and combines traditional art-historical perspectives with more novel statistical methods. It looks at bodily representations decorating provincial lamps, and changing patterns of consumption of these images and objects at multiple scales. This project thus looks at the ways sexualities and socio-sexual hierarchies were generated and transformed through bodily representations and practices, while taking into account the ways broader imperial and socio-economic aspects framed provincial social life. In employing the sociological concepts of constructed and complex identities, the study argues that Roman provincial people exercised choice when selecting lamps with sexual imagery; it demonstrates the dynamic and varied nature of provincial sexualities. The findings highlight that there is a distinct variation in the diachronic and synchronic distribution and iconography of sexuality. Lamps and their sexual imagery were received differently and changes in consumption did not manifest uniformly across these Roman provincial sites. Likewise, there are site/region-specific affinities towards particular sexual imagery. Differences in the ways in which shared mass-produced sexual themes were depicted and treated are detected between provincial sites and between provincialmetropolitan traditions. These observations indicate that there was no single paradigm of Roman sexuality that was unilaterally adopted by provincial communities. In fact, the discussion in this thesis goes a long way toward demonstrating the plurality of Roman sexualities, the regional bases for their formation and their implication in broader Roman colonial discourses. In this light, a reconsideration of the significance and the role of mass-produced objects and imagery in shaping social life in the Empire is a worthwhile area to explore.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Sexualities in Roman provinces: creating identities through sexual representations in colonial settings
Event: UCL (University College London)
Language: English
Keywords: Roman sexualities, Roman provincial archaeology, Roman lamps.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10047165
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