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Debating Roman Imperialism: critique, construct, repeat?

Gardner, AN; (2016) Debating Roman Imperialism: critique, construct, repeat? In: Mandich, MJ and Derrick, TJ and Gonzalez Sanchez, S and Savani, G and Zampieri, E, (eds.) TRAC 2015: Proceedings of the 25th annual Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. (pp. pp. 1-14). Oxbow Books: Oxford, UK.

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Abstract

TRAC has given us 25 years of inspiration, engagement – and sometimes controversy – and in the process has made a massive impact on Roman archaeology and on the careers of many Roman archaeologists, including my own. One of the great strengths of TRAC as a community over this period has been its reflexivity, and it has become customary to reflect on the state of the conference and of our field, whether in publications of or about the proceedings, or in keynote lectures such as that which this paper derives from. Here, I aim to take a different approach to this kind of exercise, starting from a position of confidence in the vitality of the TRAC community, but then comparing what has been happening in theoretical Roman archaeology with broader trends in archaeological theory. This exercise reveals that the agendas in Roman archaeology that TRAC has helped us to develop have distinctive strengths, as well as interesting omissions, but above all it shows that there is a common trajectory from a period of high-energy critique to one of more peaceful application, accompanied by a degree of theoretical fragmentation. In evaluating the positive and negative aspects of this state of affairs, I think that significant insight can be gained into where we should be heading in the future. In particular, I believe that we need to open up a more honest dialogue about the underlying tensions that beset archaeological thinking, in Roman studies as much as anywhere else, and develop ways within the TRAC community to resolve these tensions, in order that we may more effectively communicate with other archaeologists, other classicists, and the wider public.

Type: Proceedings paper
Title: Debating Roman Imperialism: critique, construct, repeat?
Event: Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference
Location: University of Leicester
ISBN-13: 9781785702877
Publisher version: http://www.oxbowbooks.com/oxbow/trac-2015.html
Language: English
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/1474655
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