Andrew W. Mellon Penn Faculty Fellow in the Humanities
2009—2010 Forum on Connections
Asst Professor of Classical Studies
Social Networks Within and Between Rural Communities in the Late Roman World
To what extent does our modern preoccupation with interconnection shape our analysis of social networks in ancient contexts? And what methodological problems attend the application of tools developed in an early twenty first century context to the communities of antiquity? I engage with these questions by focusing particular attention upon the networks of relationships that, we may assume, existed between the inhabitants of the countrysides of the Mediterranean world in Late Antiquity (c. 280 CE – c. 480 CE). The aims of this project are, first, to explore the social structures of rural communities in the late Roman world; and second, to reflect upon the validity of a methodology that explicitly draws upon and exploits present concerns and problems in its approach to ancient societies.