Department Colloquium: Felipe Rojas (Brown) "Dance as History in the Roman Provinces"

Thursday, February 16, 2023 - 4:45pm to 6:15pm

402 Cohen Hall, 249 South 36th St.

*4:15-4:45 pm: Coffee and cookies in Cohen Hall 2nd Floor Lounge. All are welcome.

Speaker: Felipe Rojas, Associate Professor of Archaeology, Brown University

Title: "Dance as History in the Roman Provinces"

Abstract: In this talk, I discuss various ancient dances from across the Roman Mediterranean as expressions of local historical consciousness. Using a combination of epigraphic and archaeological sources, I concentrate on cases in which choreographed dances were re-performed, for example, after a period of neglect, or in sites that were distant from their places of origin. In each case, I explain the historical and political motivations for specific re-performances and reflect on how people knew how to dance dances that could be hundreds of years old. I discuss the dynamics of dances danced to strengthen community bonds, but also those that were danced to emphasize divisions within existing communities. Throughout, I adduce comparanda from contemporary traditions from beyond the Mediterranean to illuminate Roman examples, but also because thinking about dance as history needs comparative investigation. That need is the result of the fact that dance has not regularly been treated as a historical practice by modern classical historians, even if it has and still is so in other cultural and academic traditions.