Call for Papers

Romans in New Worlds: Considering “Global Late Antiquity”

September 21–24, 2023

University of California Santa Barbara and the Old Mission Santa Barbara

Late ancient Romans found themselves in an interconnected world, whether in an Italy traversed by steppe-land Huns, in exile among Iranians, or traveling the commercial highways of Central Asia. People in Mesopotamia, Sasanian Iran, the Umayyad Empire, and Tang China formed their own impressions of the people and culture that rimmed the Mediterranean Sea. Late ancient Roman things also surface in subsequent emerging global interconnections: Merchant communities in Kerala circulated Roman coins, for example, while Ethiopian bronzes changed hands in Palestine, and Roman Christian texts traveled the world–from Ireland to the Philippines. Long after Charlemagne the Frank was crowned “emperor of the Romans,” friars Christianizing what is now the US Southwest traveled with well-worn books by Augustine and Jerome.

For the 15th conference on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity, we invite you to propose papers and panels considering late Romans in these “interconnected, uncentered” worlds.

Specifically, what did it mean to engage with Rome, Romans, or Romanness either for people interacting within the late ancient Empire or for people outside the late ancient Empire’s center in space and/or in time?

The conference will be held on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara and at the Old Mission Santa Barbara. In addition to the traditional plenary panels focused on the Mediterranean and Mediterranean-adjacent worlds in Late Antiquity, we will provide fora and fodder for discussing the possibilities and challenges of “global Late Antiquity” as a paradigm, from plenary panels, to roundtable discussions, to a tour of the Santa Bárbara Mission Archive-Library, the repository for its sister institutions in the Southwest.

The deadline for the submission of panel proposals or paper abstracts (500 words) to is March 21, 2023. Presentations in languages other than English are welcome.