Change and Resilience in Antiquity

Irene Salvo's picture
Call for Papers
January 15, 2021
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Ancient History, Classical Studies, Humanities

This (online) seminar series intends to explore change and resilience in ancient individuals and societies. Transitions, transformations and mutations can be detected in all spheres of activity and thought, including political systems, social structures, religious beliefs, philosophical thought, economic patterns, and cultural trends. But change often creates discomfort and resistance, more often than not, increases suffering. For an individual or society to emerge successfully from transformation, the ability to rebound, absorb, and adapt is key. In this seminar series, we are interested, therefore, in not only exploring how change was perceived and rationalised by ancient individuals and societies, but also how these individuals and societies understood and cultivated resilience in the face of transformation, distress, and adversity.

Possible questions include, but are not limited to:

How did ancient individuals perceive and rationalise change? (e.g. What kinds of changes were observed and spoken about? What models of change did they construct? What was thought to cause or prevent change?) 
What were the effects of change on human behaviour and society? Was change viewed positively, negatively, or neutrally? 
How can researchers measure real and long-lasting change in antiquity, if sometimes even big political shifts did not have an immediate effect on society? 
How did ancient individuals attempt (or not) to handle and adapt to change, offset negative consequences of transformation, and plan for the future?
What created/creates a resilient individual or society? How do we cultivate resilience? To what extent can ancient responses to change and strategies of resilience help us answer these questions and promote resilience in the modern world?

We encourage responses from a diverse range of methodological perspectives and historical periods, from pre-history to late antiquity, from historiography, philosophy and literature to documentary and material evidence, and across a wide cultural and geographical scope.

The planned format of this seminar series is to divide the contributions into three or four pairs of papers (each paper will be c. 25 minutes in length). Each pair will be given back-to-back in one online seminar session (via Zoom) with an opportunity for discussion at the end. The seminars will begin in April 2021, run monthly throughout the course of the spring and summer, and will conclude with a Roundtable. Dates and times tbc.

We invite abstracts of max. 300 words for papers of about 25 minutes in length from PhD students and researchers at any career stage. Please submit your abstract by Friday 15th January 2021 to either of the organisers by email (Emma Nicholson, or Irene Salvo,

All the best, 

Emma Nicholson
Irene Salvo

Contact Info: 

Emma Nicholson, and Irene Salvo,