Workshop 'Anchoring Ancient Colonization' - Day 1

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Workshop 'Anchoring Ancient Colonization'

It is well known that colonization was a crucial and formative component of the ancient world. From the Early Iron Age onwards, a period of an unprecedented intensity of colonial migrations started that reshaped the geo-political and ethnic organization of the Mediterranean region drastically. The influence of this phenomenon on classical culture in general, and political theory specifically is well known and these topics have a long history of study. Recently, especially under the influence of post-colonial theory, more attention has been devoted to the negative effects of ancient colonization, highlighting the devastating impact of ancient colonization on indigenous societies and cultures and on the natural environment. Arguably, ancient settler colonization was one of the most disrupting phenomena of the ancient world that fundamentally changed cultural and societal mentalities and practices of both colonizers and colonized.

This workshop proposes to analyse the impact and organization of ancient settler colonization from the theoretical lens of the anchoring innovation concept. If all innovation needs to be anchored somehow, what kinds of anchors were available for the various groups of people that were involved in these radically new colonial realities? In particular, we aim to focus on socio-economic and territorial anchoring strategies that were employed by the new colonial as well as indigenous communities that had to deal with the new socio-political reality that followed after the colonization of an area.

Join Us!

We welcome contributions dealing with all regions of the Mediterranean in the period between 1000 BC-500 AD, and we warmly invite senior and junior scholars from all disciplines focussing on the ancient world to participate. We hope this workshop will contribute to the creation of a network of scholars working on ancient colonization both within and beyond OIKOS.

Submit your proposal to and before June 30th 2022. Please provide a title and a short (max 300 word) abstract and indicate in what session you would like to partake:

Session 1: Territorial Anchoring Strategies

The arrival of new settlers required a reorganization of a colonized territory. Existing property arrangements, territorial structures and settlement systems had to be adapted to incorporate the new colonial community. The degree to which this process impacted on existing territorial arrangements, however, depended on a variety of factors, including the size of the colonial population, the demographic and socio-cultural background of the settlers, colonial administrative practices and ideologies, and of course on the agency and negotiating skills of the colonized people. This session aims to explore the impact of colonization on territorial structures and settlement organization with a specific focus on how colonial and indigenous communities anchored the new reality in settlement organization, legal arrangements, land division and property systems and in cult practices.

Session 2: Socio-Economic Anchoring Strategies

Colonial migration caused challenges at a social and economic level. Settlers first of all had to survive and establish their (new) position in the local and Mediterranean economy. Colonial communities developed, which often included not only the newly arrived settlers, but also local people. This must have disrupted existing economic and social networks at least to a certain extent, but colonial communities could potentially also connect to existing social and economic infrastructure. At the same time, newly arrived colonists brought with them non-local practices, contacts and ideologies. This session aims to explore various anchoring strategies that could be employed under these circumstances for the creation and acceptation of new colonial realities.

This workshop is organized by Jeremia Pelgrom (Groningen University) and Marleen Termeer (Radboud University) in the context of the Anchoring Innovation Gravitation Grant research agenda of OIKOS.