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 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.

National Cookbook Month: Moroccan Vegetable Tagine

by Joyce Goldstein, author of The New Mediterranean Jewish Table: Old World Recipes for the Modern Home

October is National Cookbook Month! Come back for a new recipe from The New Mediterranean Jewish Table each Wednesday, and click here to save 30% on some of our award-winning cookbooks.

New Mediterranean Jewish Table Joyce Goldstein

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine (Mehalet)

This recipe, which is sometimes called tajine del sabana, is a cross between two tagine recipes in La cuisine juive du Maroc de mère en fille by Maguy Kakon. Similar dishes are found on the Rosh Hashanah table in Fez, Meknes, and Tangier. Almost any combination of vegetables will work for this fragrant stew, which is typically served with cous-cous. It includes both potatoes and sweet potatoes and the classic addition of preserved lemon and olives, which add salt and tang. If you like, 1 to 1/2 pounds butternut squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3-inch chunks, can be used in place of the sweet potatoes. Although not authentic, I sometimes add 1/2 cup plumped raisins for a note of sweetness. Continue reading “National Cookbook Month: Moroccan Vegetable Tagine”


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.