Ancient Roman houses were designed to suit both the private life of its occupants and the demands of public life. As a result, the division between public and private spaces inside the domus was a complicated topic even for the Romans themselves. Previous scholarship has tended to treat the domus in terms of a rigid division between public and private, with the same division acting as a gender marker for (male) political activities and (female) domestic activities respectively. This strict division within the household now seems outdated. The aim of this conference, then, is to take a fresh look at notions of public and private within the domus by exploring the public and private spheres of the Roman house from the first century BCE to the third century CE. The “Public and Private in the Roman House and Society” is an ongoing project organizing its third major event, building on the success of a workshop at NYU (October 2012) and a conference at University of Helsinki (April 2013).
We therefore invite papers that explore the complex relationship between public and private in Roman society from a variety of perspectives – historical, archaeological, philological, architectural and anthropological – in order to further the understanding of the domus as a place for social, cultural, political and administrative action.
Potential themes include but are not limited to: - Painting the line between private and public spheres. Wall paintings and decorative art in the debate of public and private. - Private houses in Ostia and the city of Rome. - Parks and recreation. Nature and garden between public and private space. - Private nights? Night life in the Roman house. - Terminology of public and private in the ancient context. - Infrastructure, water and sanitation. A public or private task?
The conference is organized by the project Public and Private in the Roman House (http:// romanhouse.org/), which seeks to contribute to the ongoing debate on privacy in the ancient world as well as the issues of how the limits between public and private spaces were drawn. In an attempt to gain new perspectives on these questions, the project seeks to utilize comparative anthropological theories concerning the conceptualization of the public/private interface.
Please submit your abstract (300 words) as a [word/pdf] file to Mr Samuli Simelius at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your name, academic affiliation and address in your email.
The deadline for submission of abstracts is May 1, 2014