Coming in 2019: Journal of Medieval Worlds

University of California Press is pleased to introduce Journal of Medieval Worlds (JMW), a new quarterly online journal launching in 2019. 

Edited by Edward D. English, University of California, Santa Barbara, Journal of Medieval Worlds will serve as a forum for multidisciplinary scholarship on the world, focusing primarily on 750-1600. The journal’s purpose is to foster innovative research and approaches to pedagogy by publishing peer-reviewed research articles of broad interest that explore interconnections across regions or build meaningful comparisons across cultures.

In an effort to meet the needs of and address the challenges of teaching world history, the journal will also regularly publish reviews of books, textbooks, and relevant exhibitions, as well as essays and features on pedagogy.

Regions addressed in the journal include Japan, China, Central Asia, South Asia, East and West Africa, North Africa, Oceans and Seas, the Americas, Middle East and Levant, and Europe, including Northern and Eastern Europe.

Fields and topics addressed in the journal include, but are not limited to comparative medievalisms, ecology, environment, food and agriculture, the politics of gender, sexuality, health, migration and travel, architecture and urban design, music , and performance, comparative literature, politics, religion, science and technology, and stateless societies.

As the central issues in medieval world history are often best addressed by scholarship that draws on methods and evidence from both the sciences and humanities, multidisciplinary focus is essential to the journal.

Visit the journal at ucpress.edu/go/jmw for up-to-date information leading up to the launch.

Editorial Team
Editor
Edward D. English, University of California, Santa Barbara

Associate Editors
Sally McKee, University of California, Davis
Carol Lansing, University of California, Santa Barbara
Philip Soergel, University of Maryland

The Editorial Board of the journal can be accessed here.

Information for Authors

Journal of Medieval Worlds is accepting submissions for its inaugural volume. Please review the journal’s Author Guidelines before submitting. Submissions and editorial inquiries should be directed to the Editor, Edward English at english@history.ucsb.edu.

 


Studies in Late Antiquity Launches First Issue

University of California Press is excited to announce that the first issue of Studies in Late Antiquity (SLA) is now available at sla.ucpress.edu. To celebrate the journal launch, SLA 1.1 will be freely accessible online for the rest of 2017. To access future issues, become an individual subscriber or ask your institution’s library to subscribe on your behalf.

Edited by Elizabeth DePalma Digeser (UC Santa Barbara), SLA will publish original scholarship, book reviews, and exhibit reviews on a wide range of topics pertaining to the world of Late Antiquity (150 – 750 CE). A defining focus of the journal is fostering multi- and interdisciplinary research that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the Mediterranean with other parts of the late ancient world.

Scholars interested in submitting to the journal can learn more about SLA‘s Call for Papers and Author Guidelines here.

 

“We enjoy the methodological diversity of our field, which has long embraced scholars from Archaeology, History, Classics, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Art History. But because of that very diversity we never find ourselves all assembled in one place. Studies in Late Antiquity is a unique effort to put in conversation scholarship engaged with global late antiquity.”

—Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, Editor, UC Santa Barbara

Table of Contents

Why Does the World Need a New Journal on Late Antiquity?
The Editor and Associate Editors

Community Matters
Elizabeth DePalma Digeser

Late Antiquity and World History: Challenging Conventional Narratives and Analyses
Mark Humphries

How Perilous was it to Write Political History in Late Antiquity?
Anthony Kaldellis

From a Classical to a Christian City: Civic Evergetism and Charity in Fifth Century Rome
Michele Salzman

Book Reviews

Review: Digital_Humanities, by Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp
Sarah E. Bond, Tom Keegan

Review: Décadence: “Decline and Fall” or “Other Antiquity”?, edited by Marco Formisano, Therese Fuhrer, and Anna-Lena Stock
Lorenzo DiTommaso

Review: A State of Mixture. Christians, Zoroastrians, and Iranian Political Culture in Late Antiquity, by Richard E. Payne
Greg Fisher

Review: From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality in Late Antiquity, by Kyle Harper
Wendy Mayer

Review: The Arid Lands. History, Power, Knowledge, by Diana K. Davis
Steven E. Sidebotham


Editor’s Spotlight: Meet Michele Salzman, associate editor of Studies in Late Antiquity

This post is part of a blog series introducing the editors of Studies in Late Antiquity (SLA), our new online quarterly journal launching in February 2017. Learn more about the new journal at sla.ucpress.edu.


salzman photo
Michele Renee Salzman, UC Riverside

We are pleased to introduce Michele Renee Salzman, Professor of History at UC Riverside, University of California Presidential Chair (2009-2012), and one of the associate editors of Studies in Late Antiquity. Having received her PhD in Latin and Greek from Bryn Mawr College, Salzman’s research interests have focused on the social and religious history of the Roman Empire and Late Antiquity. She has published numerous books and articles, and is currently working on a book project, “The ‘Falls’ of Rome,” that examines the city’s response to crisis from the third to seventh centuries.

We sat down with Salzman to talk more about her areas of expertise, her thoughts on the journal, and how she thinks Studies in Late Antiquity will shape the future of the field.

Can you tell us more about your research interests and areas of expertise?

I am interested in Roman, late antique, and early Medieval history. My areas of expertise include religious history, Christianity and its spread, and the social history of women. I also have expertise in the topography and material culture of Rome from antiquity through the modern era, and have a special interest in time and ritual celebrations in the ancient world. I work on Roman calendars and questions of chronology as well.

What drew you to editorship of Studies in Late Antiquity?

The opportunity to shape the future of late antique studies is exciting. As the field has grown so greatly, it now can accommodate a broader vision of Rome in Late Antiquity in relation to the Mediterranean and Near Eastern world. This is an opportune time, since the field has grown so much that it needs another journal to offer scholars chances to publish to a broader audience.

unnamedWhat sets Studies in Late Antiquity apart from other journals in the field?

Studies in Late Antiquity will offer peer-reviewed articles for scholars and students interested in expanding the geographical and chronological reach of the field. The opportunity to cross interdisciplinary boundaries in late antiquity is also a significant attraction—art historians, archaeologists, as well as textual scholarship, make this a unique journal.

What excites you most about the new journal?

The opportunity to shape the future of the field is thrilling. I am hopeful that as the field continues to grow, Studies in Late Antiquity will direct that growth in productive new areas, geographically, chronologically, and materially. The journal will publish cutting edge research that will reflect the growth of the field even as it will shape new avenues of research.

I also think that the possibility of working with academics from a variety of disciplines is exciting. Lastly, I want this journal to also speak to those scholars of early antiquity by addressing issues—substantive as well as methodological—in original ways.


Want to get more involved with SLA? Here are just a few ways:

  • Submit your papers to SLA. Visit sla.ucpress.edu for more information.
  • Recommend SLA to your institution. Give this Library Recommendation Form to your campus librarian to request that your library order a subscription.
  • Sign up for SLA launch updates! For future updates on the inaugural issue, free sample content, and more, sign up for email alerts at sla.ucpress.edu.

Julius Caesar, Pericles, and the Rise of Hitler

This post is published in conjunction with the Society for Classical Studies conference in Toronto as well as the American Historical Association conference in Denver, both taking place January 5-8.When sharing this post on social media, please be sure to use the hashtags #AIASCS or #AHA17!


Much has been written about the conditions that made possible Hitler’s rise and the Nazi takeover of Germany, but when we tell the story of the National Socialist Party, should we not also speak of Julius Caesar and Pericles? Greeks, Romans, Germans argues that to fully understand the racist, violent end of the Nazi regime, we must examine its appropriation of the heroes and lessons of the ancient world. Below is an excerpt from author Johann Chapoutot’s introduction.

What strange mania could have pushed the leaders of the Nazi regime, in the midst of the twentieth century, to talk—and to talk so much—about the Greeks and Romans? Or to commission neoclassical works of art and publish articles on the Rome of the Fabii? Or to subject research and education on antiquity to such ideologically driven revisionism?

We think of National Socialism as the apotheosis of racism in both words and deeds. But racism is an exclusionary practice: it is the distinction between friend and enemy based on a strict biological determinism that, taken to extremes, separates those who get to survive from those who must perish—among both the living and the dead. The biological transmission of racial traits precludes any casual dalliance outside the kinship group, any genealogical digression, and demands extreme vigilance and severe patrilineal discipline. There may be several branches of the racial tree, but the integrity and purity of its rootstock must be verified historically. The Germans thus traced their line far back into the distant past of paleontology and the primeval forest (Urwald), through the Teutonic Knights and the Brothers of the Sword (Fratres Militiae Christi), Frederick the Great and Bismarck, to Hindenburg and, finally, Hitler—the chosen one of the prophets and acme of the race. . . . When Rosenberg and Hitler spoke of the Greeks as a “Nordic people,” they did not simply claim their heritage, but rather asserted a form of paternity that turned the concept of lineage on its head: what if they had all come from Germany? This appropriation of the Aryan myth, which had not previously circulated beyond a few nineteenth century German linguists and historians—who had wistfully imagined that the Dorians of Sparta came from the North—was legitimized and racialized by the Nazis in their desire to give credibility to the idea that Germany possessed such greatness that it had given birth to Western civilization. In this way, Rosenberg argued, imitating antiquity was neither “shameful nor incompatible with national dignity,” since it was actually a legitimate reassertion of Indo-Germanic cultural patrimony. . . .

National Socialism offered a myth. Its narration, by the state and its institutions—and especially its artistic and academic organizations—was presented as reality. Its lies were passed off as truth: Nazi discourse did not adapt to describe an external, objective reality; rather, discourse was shaped, internally and self-referentially, to fit the preconceived notions underlying the discourse itself. . . . It was not just the past, and the legitimate pride that one could take from it, that was at stake here, but the future as well. Germans’ new identity, built upon the Nazis’ version of antiquity, was at once a story of origins and an indication of future horizons.

In Greeks, Romans, GermansChapoutot analyzes a wide range of sources to show the Third Reich’s systematic appropriation of antiquity, including the canonical texts of National Socialist ideology, the speeches and theoretical writings, journals, memoirs, and “table talks” by Hitler, Rosenberg, Goebbels, Goering, and Himmler—the men who created and framed Nazi dogma.


Johann Chapoutot is Professor at the Sorbonne, where he teaches contemporary history.


3 Must-Read Journals at #SBLAAR16

To celebrate the 2016 joint meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature, commencing in San Antonio, TX from November 19-22, we’re offering free access to special content from our religion and ancient history journals. For those attending #sblaar16 in person, don’t forget to visit UC Press at booth #710 to see our wide selection of books and journals in religious studies!


Nova Religio: The Journal of Alternative and Emergent Religions

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 3.18.30 PMMulti-discilpnary and international in scope, Nova Religio is a premier source of scholarship on alternative and emergent religions, religous groups, and religious movements. The journal is pleased offer a free sample issue that includes original research, literature reviews, and conference updates.

#sblaar16 attendees: Don’t miss a special reception hosted by the New Religious Movements Group and Nova Religio on Saturday, November 19, 7:00-9:00pm (Marriott Rivercenter, Conference Room 11, Level 3).

 

 

Religion & American Culture

Screen Shot 2016-11-17 at 3.17.52 PMReligion & American Culture is devoted to promoting the ongoing scholarly discussion of the nature, terms, and dynamics of religion in America. Understanding religious and social dynamics in American life has never been so important, especially in light of the 2016 presidential election. To contribute to undertsandings of a particular facet of American history and contemporary life—immigration—RAC offers free access to a virtual issue on Religion & Immigration in America

#sblaar16 attendees: The editors of RAC invite you join them at reception on Sunday, November 20, 8:00-10:00pm (Hyatt Regency-Rio Grande East, Ballroom Level).

 

Studies in Late Antiquity – Launching in February 2017!

unnamedStudies in Late Antiquity is the latest online, quarterly journal from UC Press launching in February 2017. The journal will publish scholarship on a wide range of topics pertaining to the world of Late Antiquity (150 – 750 CE), and a defining focus of the journal will be fostering multi- and interdisciplinary research that emphasizes the interconnectedness of the Mediterranean with other parts of the late ancient world.

Read Q&A’s with SLA‘s strong team of editors (and keep your eye out for them at the conference!):

Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, Editor, UC Santa Barbara
Emily Albu, Associate Editor, UC Davis
Ra’anan Boustan, Associate Editor, UC Los Angeles
Susanna Elm, Associate Editor, UC Berkeley
Michele Salzman, Associate Editor, UC Riverside
Edward Watts, Associate Editor, UC San Diego
Ryan Abrecht, Book Reviews Editor, University of San Diego


Editor’s Spotlight: Meet Ryan Abrecht, reviews editor of Studies in Late Antiquity

This post is part of a blog series introducing the editors of Studies in Late Antiquity (SLA), our new online quarterly journal scheduled to launch in February 2017. Stay tuned for more Editor’s Spotlights with other SLA editors leading up to the journal launch.


RRA with Tetrarchs
Ryan Abrecht, University of San Diego

We are pleased to introduce Ryan Abrecht, assistant professor at University of San Diego and Book Review Editor of Studies in Late AntiquityA specialist in ancient Mediterranean history and culture, Abrecht’s scholarly work focuses on the history of the Roman Empire, but also endeavors to put Roman history into dialogue with the histories of other regions and to consider the continuing influence of antiquity on modern attitudes and world events. He is also broadly interested in premodern world history, in particular in the comparative study of ancient Roman and Chinese imperialism.

With his wide-ranging background in ancient history across the East and West, the Book Review section of SLA will reflect the journal’s mission of connecting the Mediterranean world with other ancient regions.

We sat down with Abrecht to talk more about his research interests, what drew him to the journal, and how he thinks Studies in Late Antiquity will influence scholarship in the field.

Can you tell us more about your research interests and areas of expertise?

My scholarly work focuses on the history of the ancient Mediterranean, but also endeavors to put that history into dialogue with the histories of other regions and to consider the antiquity’s continuing influence on modern attitudes and world events. I’m interested in the ways that imperialism reshapes the identities of both conquerors and conquered people alike. As a result, some of my research focuses on interactions between different groups in borderlands and frontier regions, such as the contacts that developed between Romans and Germanic peoples along the Rhine and Danube Rivers in late antiquity. I am also interested in urban history and in the relationships between social and spatial boundaries that shape urban landscapes. With that in mind, I’m currently working on a book manuscript that analyzes immigration and neighborhood life in imperial cities such as classical Athens, imperial Rome, late antique Constantinople, and Tang dynasty Chang’an.

unnamedWhat drew you to editorship of Studies in Late Antiquity?

Beyond the chance to work closely with a group offantastic colleagues, what drew me to the editorial board of Studies in Late Antiquity was the opportunity to be on the cutting edge of new scholarship about the late antique world and to develop relationships with others around the world who share my enthusiasm about it. I see SLA as a perfect opportunity to both broaden and critique the boundaries meaning of late antiquity as a field of study. Late antiquity in the Mediterranean, for example, looks quite different than it does in post-Han dynasty China, yet in both places we can trace a shift from an older “classical” model of social and political organization and the emergence of something new. I am excited to have conversations with a diverse group of scholars who can tease out the common ground between these different “late antiquities” while simultaneously calling attention to the contextual differences that make them unique. In short, I’m excited that SLA will be a way explore the different meanings of late antiquity with colleagues whose ideas will challenge and enrich my own.

How do you anticipate Studies in Late Antiquity will influence the scholarship in your field?

Through serving as SLA’s Book Review Editor, I’ll be able to think with others about how the questions we ask about the often tumultuous late antique world relate to contemporary issues such as migration, religious violence, or ethnic conflict. I see this new journal as a perfect opportunity to talk more about issues of reception – how we see the past differently and assign new meanings to it in response to the changing circumstances of the present. I’m already confident that Studies in Late Antiquity will add the expanding body of knowledge about late antiquity by supporting new scholarship and innovative research. Beyond this, I’m also hopeful that Studies in Late Antiquity will galvanize scholars working on a wide range of topics to think about what they can learn from each other by looking beyond the boundaries that have traditionally defined disciplines, geographical regions, and historical periods.


Want to get more involved with SLA? Here are just a few ways:

  • Submit your papers to SLA. Visit sla.ucpress.edu for more information.
  • Recommend SLA to your institution. Give this Library Recommendation Form to your campus librarian to request that your library pre-order a subscription.
  • Sign up for SLA launch updates! For future updates on the inaugural issue, free sample content, and more, sign up for email alerts at sla.ucpress.edu.

Editor’s Spotlight: Meet Susanna Elm, associate editor of Studies in Late Antiquity

This post is part of a blog series introducing the editors of Studies in Late Antiquity (SLA), our new online quarterly journal scheduled to launch in February 2017. Stay tuned for more Editor’s Spotlights with other SLA editors leading up to the journal launch.


Authorphoto
Susanna Elm, UC Berkeley

We are pleased to introduce Susanna Elm, Professor of History at UC Berkeley and one of the associate editors of Studies in Late Antiquity. Having received her D.Phil in Ancient History from St. Hilda’s College, University of Oxford, Elm has taught at UC Berkeley since 1988, teaching at the graduate and undergraduate levels in subjects varying from Ancient Mediterranean History and Archaeology, to Classics, to Religious Studies.

Elm’s areas of expertise fit seamlessly into the broad editorial scope of SLA, with her Ancient History research focused on the political, economic, religious, and cultural history of the later Roman Empire across the East and West. Her current projects include research on Augustine of Hippo and slavery, the possibility of formulating a theology of economics, late Roman Antioch, elite display, and aspects of ancient medicine.

We sat down with Elm to talk more about her research interests, her involvement in the journal, and how she thinks Studies in Late Antiquity will influence scholarship in her field.

Can you tell us more about your research interests and areas of expertise?

My area of expertise is the history of the later Roman empire with an emphasis on social, economic and cultural history. Central to my endeavor is an integrated approach that combines written sources from authors that are Christian and non-Christian with documentary and material sources. Currently, I am particularly interested in questions of slavery and taxation in relation to theology, but also in aspects of masculinity as transmitted through the depictions of Roman, barbarian, and Christian men in a wide variety of contexts in our fourth and fifth century sources.

unnamedWhat drew you to editorship of Studies in Late Antiquity?

My interest in the journal is of very long standing: it goes back to the early days of the collaboration of scholars interested in matters of late antique studies in California, which, early on, always also included the regions bordering on the Roman empire. In fact, I always thought that California itself, such a complex, dynamic region, facing both East and toward the Pacific Rim, always creating and adapting to change, is an incredibly “late antique” world. In other words, for me, living in California has really influenced the way I look at the later Roman empire, and I see aspects of that empire reflected in California. And remember, though many have seen decline when they looked at the later Roman empire, it took a very, very long time until that actually happened – if it actually ever did (just to mention a perennial debate).

How do you anticipate Studies in Late Antiquity will transform the scholarship in your field?

I am very exited about the intention of this journal and its editors to work hard to bring together those who strive to look beyond Rome’s borders from both sides, and also beyond questions of Christian, non-Christian, religious, secular, and so on. I do hope that our colleagues in the non-Roman world will tell us where our blind spots are, what we take for granted without further examination, and to encourage us to experiment with methodological approaches that extend our comfort zone. To offer a forum for such debates is, I find, most distinct, interesting and exiting about SLA.


Want to get more involved with SLA? Here are just a few ways:

  • Submit your papers to SLA. Visit sla.ucpress.edu for more information.
  • Recommend SLA to your institution. Give this Library Recommendation Form to your campus librarian to request that your library pre-order a subscription.
  • Sign up for SLA launch updates! For future updates on the inaugural issue, free sample content, and more, sign up for email alerts at sla.ucpress.edu.

Editor’s Spotlight: Meet Edward Watts, associate editor of Studies in Late Antiquity

This post is part of a blog series introducing the editors of Studies in Late Antiquity (SLA), our new online quarterly journal scheduled to launch in February 2017. Stay tuned for more Editor’s Spotlights with other SLA editors leading up to the journal launch.


Watts photo 2-3
Edward Watts, UC San Diego

We are pleased to introduce Edward Watts, Professor of History at UC San Diego and one of the associate editors of Studies in Late Antiquity. Since receiving his PhD in History from Yale University, Watts has published four books and more than 40 articles on topics ranging from the Old Academy in the fourth century BC, to the relationship between orality and textuality in the early Byzantine period.

With his research focused primarily on the intellectual and religious history of the Roman Empire and the early Byzantine Empire, Watts’ expertise aligns perfectly with the journal’s editorial vision to connect the Mediterranean with other parts of the late ancient world.

We sat down with Watts to talk about his research interests, his involvement in the journal, and what makes Studies in Late Antiquity different from other journals in the field.

Can you tell us more about your research interests and areas of expertise?

unnamedMy research spans most of Roman, late antique, and early medieval history. The areas of Christianization, Roman intellectual and cultural life, ancient philosophy (especially Platonism), and Roman numismatics particularly appeal to me.

What inspired you to get involved with Studies in Late Antiquity?

The journal offers a unique platform to explore the chronological and geographic limits of late antiquity. As the field grows and matures, it needs venues that can accommodate new visions of what late antiquity research could encompass, while offering space for intellectual experimentation. Studies in Late Antiquity offers that space, and this is an an exciting opportunity to participate in the continued evolution of scholarship focused on late antiquity.

What sets Studies in Late Antiquity apart from other journals in the field?

Studies in Late Antiquity will enable scholars working on late antiquity to expand the geographical reach of their work, develop projects that transcend regional or linguistic boundaries, and publish more of the exciting work done on late antique material culture. By providing a venue for new and cutting edge projects, this journal will help chart future developments in the field.


Want to get more involved with SLA? Here are just a few ways:

  • Submit your papers to SLA. Visit sla.ucpress.edu for more information.
  • Recommend SLA to your institution. Give this Library Recommendation Form to your campus librarian to request that your library pre-order a subscription.
  • Sign up for SLA launch updates! For future updates on the inaugural issue, free sample content, and more, sign up for email alerts at sla.ucpress.edu.

Editor’s Spotlight: Meet Emily Albu, associate editor of Studies in Late Antiquity

This post is part of a blog series introducing the editors of Studies in Late Antiquity (SLA), our new online quarterly journal scheduled to launch in February 2017. Stay tuned for more Editor’s Spotlights with other SLA editors leading up to the journal launch.


Emily Albu, UC Davis
Emily Albu, UC Davis

We are pleased to introduce Emily Albu, Professor of Classics at UC Davis and one of the associate editors of Studies in Late Antiquity. Albu’s research began as a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley, where she obtained a doctorate in Comparative Literature focused on medieval literatures in Latin, Byzantine Greek, and Old French/Old Provençal. Since 1995 she has taught at UC Davis, where she has continued her research in Classical receptions, medieval historiography, and cartography in the Middle Ages, including the transmission of texts, genres, and ideas in late antiquity.

Albu’s wealth of experience, particularly in mapping ancient geography and cultures, makes her an ideal associate editor of Studies in Late Antiquity, a journal that seeks to emphasize the interconnected of the Mediterranean with other parts of the late ancient world.

We sat down with Albu to talk about her background, research interests, and what excites her most about the new journal.

What inspired you to get involved with Studies in Late Antiquity?

Studies in Late Antiquity seems the natural next step for the group that first formed in 1999 as the University of California Multi-Campus Research Group (MRG) on the History and Culture of Late Antiquity. I was on its steering committee until it affiliated with the Ancient Borderlands MRG (2011-12) and serve now on the core faculty of the California Consortium for the Study of Late Antiquity (2011-present). unnamedIn its various iterations this group has met several times a year to share research, organize conferences, mentor graduate students, and offer team-taught, video-conferenced seminars to students on our various campuses. We traveled the state to present workshops to California’s public school teachers, and in 2007 the American Philological Association (now the Society for Classical Studies) awarded us its Prize for Scholarly Outreach. An MRG-organized Shifting Frontiers Conference at UC Santa Barbara resulted in the 2006 publication of Violence in Late Antiquity: Perceptions and Practices, ed. H.A. Drake, with four colleagues and me assisting Hal as co-editors.

What excites you most about the new journal?

The expansive research projects of our California Consortium faculty, along with the evolving concerns of the field, informed our desire to create this new journal. I am most excited about the geographical range that Studies in Late Antiquity embraces, as well as the broad reach of the journal’s topical interests. The online format also lets us experiment with new ways of presenting maps and other visual materials. I hope soon to take advantage of all these possibilities while editing an issue devoted to teaching late antiquity.


Want to get more involved with SLA? Here are just a few ways:

  • Submit your papers to SLA. Visit sla.ucpress.edu for more information.
  • Recommend SLA to your institution. Give this Library Recommendation Form to your campus librarian to request that your library pre-order a subscription.
  • Sign up for SLA launch updates! For future updates on the inaugural issue, free sample content, and more, sign up for email alerts at sla.ucpress.edu.

Editor’s Spotlight: Meet Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, founding editor of Studies in Late Antiquity

This post is part of a series introducing the editors of Studies in Late Antiquity (SLA), our new online quarterly journal scheduled to launch in February 2017. Stay tuned for more Editor’s Spotlights with other SLA editors leading up to the journal launch.


unnamedWe are pleased to introduce Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, Professor of Roman History at UC Santa Barbara, as the founding editor of Studies in Late Antiquity. Having taught at Cornell University, St. Norbert College, and McGill University before joining the UC family, Digeser’s research interests focus on Mediterranean religious and political changes in the late third and early fourth centuries CE, together with the legacy of these developments.

Digeser’s experience and her passion for thinking about the interconnectedness of the Mediterranean with other parts of the late ancient world make her the perfect founding editor of Studies in Late Antiquity, a journal that seeks to foster multi- and interdisciplinary research.

We sat down with Digeser to talk about her research, her vision for Studies in Late Antiquity, and what excites her most about the new journal.

Can you tell us about your research interests and area(s) of expertise?

My research interests have consistently tried to contextualize ideas traditionally seen as philosophical or religious. At first, this effort sought to understand the political, social, and intellectual currents that gave rise to the expression of these ideas in texts and the ramifications that reading these texts might have had. More recently, I’ve also tried to understand how we might broaden our notion of “context” to include the testimony to traditions and practices conveyed by material culture, especially evidence of cultic practice that may elude our textual sources. Increasingly, I’ve also turned for inspiration to anthropological and sociological models of human interactions in borderlands regions in order to ask questions about how and why people define themselves as belonging to particular groups.

elizabeth_depalma_digeser
Elizabeth DePalma Digeser, UC Santa Barbara

What drew you to editorship of the journal?

I was drawn to edit Studies in Late Antiquity after many conversations with colleagues at a number of different conferences. We enjoy the methodological diversity of our field, which has long embraced scholars from Archaeology, History, Classics, Philosophy, Religious Studies, and Art History. But because of that very diversity we never find ourselves all assembled in one place. A notable exception, of course, are the biennial “Shifting Frontiers” meetings, but as these are themed, they tend not to foster broad conversations (especially as academic travel budgets are increasingly limited to those giving papers). So there has for some years been an expressed need for a forum to which we might all contribute.

At the same time, many of us—in part, perhaps as a result of teaching World History—feel a need to carry forward the call first voiced in Peter Brown’s World of Late Antiquity; that is, to connect the Mediterranean world with the broader late ancient world. Yet, this is something that requires deliberate outreach, even as anecdotally we know that our colleagues working in this chronological period in China, India, or Africa, for example, are also looking to make contact with other regions. It seemed to me, then, that this particular journal was a way to begin to constitute such a group of scholars, to foster the necessary conversations, and thus to stimulate further multi- and interdisciplinary research along the trajectories we all were looking for. If we can start to influence this kind of collaborative research, I’d be very happy.

What sets Studies in Late Antiquity apart from other journals in the field, and what excites you most about the journal?

SLA stands out for several reasons, both of which I find truly exciting: First, it is a unique effort to put in conversation scholarship engaged with “global late antiquity.” Second, its online format will allow us a freedom to do what no other late ancient English language journal does, from publishing high-quality images, to maps, to 3-D projections, to datasets, to video and more.


Want to get more involved in SLA? Here are just a few ways:

  • Submit your papers to SLA. Visit sla.ucpress.edu for more information.
  • Recommend SLA to your institution. Give this Library Recommendation Form to your campus librarian to request that your library pre-order a subscription.
  • Sign up for SLA launch updates! For future updates on the inaugural issue, free sample content, and more, sign up for email alerts at sla.ucpress.edu.