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In Search of Ancient Travel Writers Studies on Sources, Identities and Social Locations  

A Workshop at Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies, 14 June 2024 

Stemming from the ERC-funded research project ‘An Intersectional Analysis of Ancient Jewish Travel Narratives’ (ANINAN: https://projects.au.dk/aninan), this workshop contributes to the growing discussion of travel and human mobility in the ancient world by exploring the connections between the study of sources, identities and social locations of travel writers. In short, we seek to address research questions, such as: Who is a travel writer, and how do they become one? What are the sources of travel writing? How does travel affect the production of literature or the intellectual disposition of individual writers? In what ways do ‘travel writers’ thematise and represent stories concerning human mobility, and what are the cultural conceptions of mobility that underlie these narratives?

Answers to these questions will shed new light on the sources, literatures, texts, and contexts that contributed to the production of ancient travel literature from Hellenistic to Imperial periods, and examine the use of different theoretical categories (such as exile, diaspora, migrant and migration literature, intersectionality) for understanding the identity of authors of travel writing, or the literary representation of travel and identity in their works.

In addition to borrowing modern analytical models, we intend to ask how case studies from antiquity complicate and challenge the application of modern theoretical frameworks, and how the study of antiquity can contribute to the shaping and sharpening of contemporary models and theoretical approaches involving the study of textual production in contexts involving human mobility, transcultural contact, and the transcultural transmission of ideas.


09.00-09.10    Opening Remarks and Welcome

09.10-10.10    Thomas Biggs (University of St. Andrews): Travel Writing and the Construction
                          of 'Home' in Latin Litterature
                          - response by Christian Djurslev

10.10-10.30    Break

10.30-11.30    Catherine Hezser (SOAS, University of London): Cultural Hybridity, Identity,
                          and Foreignness: The Perception of Space in Jewish Hellenistic and Rabbinic
                          Travel Narratives  
                          - response by René Bloch

11.30-12.30    Eelco Glas (Aarhus University): Imagine No Diaspora: The Impact of
                          Migration on the Jewish Literary Culture from the Early Roman Empire
                           - respone by Casper de Jonger

12.30-13.50    Lunch

13.50-14.50    Casper de Jonge (Leiden University): Sailing between Greece and Rome:
                          Greek Epigrams (50 BCE - CE) as Travel Writing
                          - response by Catherine Hezser

14.50-15.50    René Bloch (University on Bern): Philo's Theory of Traveling
                           - response by Thomas Biggs

15.50-16.10    Break

16.10-17.10    Christian Djurslev (Aarhus University) [and Miriam DeCock
                          (Dublin City University)]: 
Origen on the Move: Between History,
                           Autobiography, and Eusebius of Caesarea
                           - response by Eelco Glas

17.10-17.30    Closing Discussion

18.00                Dinner for the speaker


To register for this event, please contact Gillian Glass (rgglass@cas.au.dk). Upon registration, please let us know if you’d like to join for lunch and if you have any dietary requirements or allergies. Please note that the workshop papers are pre-circulated and should be read in advance by all participants.