Center leader Rubina Raja founds new Cambridge University Press book series: Mediterranean Studies in Antiquity

Professor Rubina Raja is founder and editor of the series, which will come out eight times during the next three years. The series will have a strong foundation in being connected to the new Danish National Research Foundation’s Center of Excellence on Urban Network Evolutions (UrbNet) headed by Rubina Raja. This center will for the next ten years have the Mediterranean as one of its core focal areas of research. It and its network will form a platform from which to develop publications for the series. The series will view the Mediterranean not just as coast regions, but also as surrounding regions and more. Can deserts e.g. be compared to oceans? Yes, Raja says, when transcending the concept of “the Mediterranean” by viewing it from a broader perspective as well as not tying it into a single theoretical framework such as network analysis or cultural development.The key word is network and exchance of both the material and the immaterial (objects (trade) and ideas).

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Rubina Raja about the series: “‘Mediterranean Studies in Antiquity’ is the first series which covers the disciplines embraced by Classics through a Mediterranean perspective using the Mediterranean as an analytical category in itself. In recent years the Mediterranean has been conceptualized in the context of area studies and it is therefore important to examine its reciprocal relations with areas lying beyond the Mediterranean. Classics has begun to open up to such perspectives, and a series in its own right could expand and become a fruitful place for dialogue across its constituent disciplines.”

The two first editions are planned to come out during 2016. The first edition will be entitled ‘Mediterranean studies in antiquity’. This volume is intended to set out the agenda of the series through on the one hand highlighting themes and case studies and on the other hand opening up discussions about material groups, time-frames and regions which should be considered as belonging to and informing disciplines within Classics much more than has been done until now.

The second volume will be about ‘Palmyra and the Mediterranean’. This volume originates in an international conference “Palmyra and the Mediterranean” hosted at the Royal Academy of Sciences and Letters in Copenhagen, Denmark in January 2015. The scope of the conference was to explore Palmyra’s connections westward, namely towards the Mediterranean region, in the broadest sense. Topics explored included Palmyrenes abroad, western foreigners in Palmyra, comparative studies on Palmyrene religion in Palmyra and the West, transmission and transferral of ideas through art and architecture, Palmyrene presence in the region between Palmyra and the Mediterranean coast as well as cultural backflows between Palmyra and the West and vice versa.