Ethnic Strategies in the Greco-Roman World: Conflict, Cooperation, and identity-formation

History 101.01

Spring 2012
Instructor (text): 
Day & Time: 
TuTh 1230-2P
Timothy Doran received his PhD in Ancient History and Mediterranean Archaeology from UC Berkeley in 2011. His dissertation concerned the cultural causes and foreign policy effects of the demographic crisis in ancient Sparta. His research interests include ancient Greek and Roman cultural, political, and demographic history.

This research seminar is open to all History majors writing their senior theses, regardless of topic. Course readings will develop the suggested theme of ethnic conflict, cooperation, and identity. Many scholars have analyzed Greek and Roman attitudes toward other ethnic groups as characterized by defamation. More harshly, ";the invention of racism in classical antiquity"; has recently been identified. Even more recently, a more nuanced picture has been developed, in which Greek and Roman perceptions of foreigners allow appreciation and admiration. How did the Athenians, Spartans, other Greeks, Romans, and different ethnic groups living under Roman rule define themselves in contrast to as well as in association with other ethnic groups? What were the underlying motivations behind these groups? conflict and cooperation with other ethnic groups? To what extent might ethnic origin-stories have begun as justifications for domination (or being dominated)? These issues will structure this research seminar; ancient sources will be scrutinized and some modern theory examined for the light it sheds on how history can be written and how sources can be interpreted. The class will meet together in the first four weeks to discuss readings on this seminar's topic and on historical methodology; in subsequent weeks, students will independently write their History theses and meet with the professor individually.