Alexandria Digital Research Library

Borderlands theory and cultural change in the time of Augustus

Wolpo, Peninah Dawn
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. History
Degree Supervisor:
Elizabeth DePalma Digeser
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Ancient history and Classical studies
Dissertations, Academic and Online resources
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016

This project reexamines the process of Romanization as a set of colonial practices within a borderland. As such, the theoretical motivation of the work is the set of questions asked by Borderlands theory: an interdisciplinary set of questions which provide a framework for dissecting the complicated interactions that proceed from the creation of a borderland, including (but not limited to) how individuals experiencing the creation of a borderland negotiate their new status and identity through the performance of hybridity, how discursivity influences changes in identity on both/all sides of any interaction, how affordances and limitations are created by the inscription of a border or boundary, and how boundary maintenance between groups and individuals leads to the creation of the monstrous, the "other," and a sense of communitas---simultaneously. Looking for those patterns within any borderland interaction provides a fluid conceptualization of cultural change and interaction, and one which helps untangle some of the more problematic facets of previous Romanization studies.

The chronological scope of this examination encompasses the Augustan period, and spatially this project focuses on the person of Augustus and two case-study-cities: Glanum in Gaul and Ephesus in Asia; each of these cities have rich archaeological and epigraphic records, as well as an enormous amount of scholarship for this study to utilize. Examining a city in both the East and the West allows the study to confront one of the more salient problems with former Romanization studies in that the application of Borderlands theory works throughout the empire, and can be used to examine both East and West without reinforcing previous assumptions about the complexity, or lack thereof, of previous cultures before the Roman conquest. Looking at each city, I begin by situating them within their respective borderlands, giving a big-picture for each, identifying the shape and constituents of the borderlands, populating them with fuzzy sets, and then examining what affordances and limitations were at play. Each city is then given an overview of before and after the Augustan period in order to lay out the types of overall change experienced in that span of time. I then turn to the inhabitants of each city, and examine the ways individuals were able to negotiate their identities among new statuses and new classifications (new affordances and limitations), how they performed their new Roman-ish identities at the local level, and how they were able to incorporate themselves and their communities into the coalescing Roman provincial administration.

Limiting the examination to the Augustan period, and taking Augustus, the first Princeps, as our third focal point provides a unique opportunity to examine how Romans dealt with their own conquest, as well as how ruling disparate peoples out in the frontiers and provinces forced the center to accommodate their new subjects to some degree---for ruling over people also changes the ruler. At the same time, using Augustus as representative of the center allows for a consideration of motivation and intention within the picture of cultural change, rather than obfuscating the nature of Roman imperium, in the provinces and in the center. Examining the career and performance of imperial identity by Augustus, I also show that the model of the cultural entrepreneur (a term and idea I am modifying from Frederik Barth's usage) can be a useful tool when thinking about the reintegration of cultural transactions within the processes of cultural change.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (418 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Peninah Wolpo
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