Accordia/Institute of Classical Studies Seminars 2005-6

In connection with the new research programme on literacy and cultural identity in Etruscan Italy, Accordia and the Institute of Classical Studies are running a seminar series on New Perspectives on the Etruscans.  This will examine new approaches to a range of different aspects of Etruscan culture and identity, although some papers will focus more specifically on themes of language and literacy.

Literacy and State Development in pre-modern Societies

A one-day conference on this theme was held at the Institute of Archaeology, UCL in November 2005.  Contributors included: John Tait, Kathryn Piquette, Yvette Balbaligo, Ruth Whitehouse, Kathryn Lomas, Jose-Ramon Perez-Accino, Bill Sillar and Robert Hoyland. The papers will be published in due course by the Institute of Classical Studies.

Previous Seminars

The theme of the Accordia and Institute of Classical Studies seminar series for 2004-5 was  'Language, literacy and identity in the ancient Mediterranean'.  The study of various forms of identity (ethnic, cultural, state, social/personal) has been a key topic in the study of ancient Italy for some years.  Material used to explore various identities has ranged from material culture, through settlement patterns, social behaviour, inscriptions etc. to the literary cultures of the Roman period.  One factor which is under-explored, however, is the role of written and spoken language in the formation of identity, and especially its relation to other cultural markers.  Historically, this stems from the confinement of the study of pre-Roman languages to the field of comparative philology and its relative isolation from the debates being conducted by archaeologists and historians.  Despite this, the study of language and literacy has much to offer the field of cultural history/archaeology and has many implications which deserve to be more problematised and more widely discussed than they frequently are.  The central theme of this seminar series is the relationship between language and other, primarily archaeological, forms of evidence in the development of cultural and ethnic identities.

A series of seminars on the theme of 'The Establishment of Literacy in state societies: the Ancient Mediterranean' took place during 2003/4.  Details of the programme are still available, and we hope to publish many of the papers from both series in the Accordia Special Studies on the Ancient Mediterranean series in 2005.