The Sixth Biennial


"Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World"

University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign
17-20 March 2005

The Society for Late Antiquity announces that the Sixth biennial Conference on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity will be held at the University of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign, March 17-20, 2005 on the topic of "Romans, Barbarians, and the Transformation of the Roman World" [ca. 200 - 700 AD].

Recent years have seen an explosion of symposia, conferences, and scholarship dealing with new ways of looking at interactions between Romans and barbarians and at the fate of the “Roman World” during the fourth through the seventh centuries AD. Old, established views have been challenged by newer models of cultural interaction, ethnogenesis, and the creation, modification, and evolution of barbarian and Roman identity. All too often, however, methodological, disciplinary, and even political lines have been drawn that inhibit a true interchange of ideas that might lead to a reconciliation between some of the different schools of thought.    Adherents of this or that thesis sometimes do not even attend the same conferences.

This conference will provide a forum for the discussion of the most up-to-date research and thought on the fate of the Roman world in the context of Roman and barbarian interactions. As in the past, we will be particularly concerned to bring together scholars who represent different methodological, disciplinary, geographical, and chronological perspectives. Possible contributions might deal with topics related to (1) The creation/evolution of barbarian and/or Roman identity; (2) The nature of the interaction between the Roman and barbarian cultural worlds (e.g. language, literature, religion, costume, material culture); (3) The interpretation of the evidence of both literature and material culture; (4) Issues of continuity/change with regard to social, political, and religious institutions; (5) the historiography of perceptions of Romans and barbarians and its significance for the modern world; or (6) Theoretical models that help to interpret the nature of barbarian-Roman interactions. New approaches that perhaps are not subsumed under any of these topics, or that incorporate several of them at the same time, are most welcome. We would be particularly happy to receive proposals from persons working in fields such as linguistics, physical anthropology, and art history, which have not yet been heard from very much in the context of the current debates and discussions.

Proposals should be clearly related to the theme of the conference. Proposals should clearly state both the problem being discussed and the nature of the new discoveries, insights, or conclusions that will be presented. Proposals that are clearly analytical will be preferred over proposals that are primarily descriptive. It is expected that proposals will relate to new work or discoveries that have not been previously presented at any conference. Abstracts of not more than 500 words for 20-minute presentations may be submitted via e-mail to Prof. Ralph Mathisen, (Department of History, Univ. of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA). Deadline for submission of abstracts is November 1, 2004. Please note that there is no travel funding available for participants, and that the submission of an abstract carries with it a commitment to attend the conference should the abstract be accepted.


For other matters relating to the conference, contact Prof. Danuta Shanzer, (Department of Classics, Univ. of Illinois – Urbana/Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA).

Conference Schedule:
November 1, 2004         Abstracts due
November 15, 2004      Program set and presenters notified
January 15, 2005            Pre-registration begins
March 17-20, 2005       Conference assembles