(Re)Imagining Empire-Part I

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Union South
@ 8:45 am - 5:00 pm

Event poster for the workshop listing all of the speakersWorkshop:

Multiple Speakers (see below)


Few themes are subject to as much cross-disciplinary inquiry as empire. From critical international relations theory on empire’s ideological dimensions to historians’ examination of the motivations and effects of imperialist states, from comparative diachronic studies of empire to analyses of empires’ continuing legacy through the lenses of post-colonialism or critical race theory, empire exerts a strong pull on the contemporary humanities and humanistic social sciences. The Borghesi-Mellon Workshop, “(Re)Imagining Empire,” will bring together a cross-disciplinary group of scholars and graduate students with a focus on the diverse ways that empire has been (re)imagined in antiquity, early modernity, the 18th and 19th centuries, and the contemporary world. “(Re)Imagining Empire” will center on three day-long conferences; each conference will feature a keynote speaker and a mix of graduate student and faculty paper presentations. The first conference, to be held on November 2, 2018, will focus on Mediterranean antiquity, with particular attention on the Roman Empire. The second conference, to be held on December 7, will center on early modern, 18th, and 19th century Europe and the Americas, and will focus in part on how Rome itself was imaginatively reinvented in that period. Harnessing the insights of transnational history and post-colonial scholarship, the third and final conference will also explore imaginings of empire from a comparative perspective, e.g. Han Dynasty China and the Ottoman Empire. A key concern for all three conferences is to explore the place of empire in shaping our own perspectives on today’s globalizing world.



Opening Remarks (8:45-9:00am)

Daniel Kapust, Professor of Political Science

Sue Zaeske, Associate Dean for Advancement, Arts and Humanities, UW–Madison

Panel 1 (9:00-10:15am)

Nandini Pandey, CANES: “Theater of Transience: Comparative Empires in the Roman Moral Imagination”

Olivia Baquerizo, CANES: “Trespassers in a Land of Serpents: Imperial Expansion and Boundaries in Lucan’s Bellum Civile”

Panel 2 (10:30-11:45am)

Joe Holwell, History: “The Problem of ‘Empire’: Combating Rome’s Imperial Legacy, Understanding Native Assimilation”

Daniel Kapust, Political Science: “The Tragedy of the Imperial Republic: The Case of Rome”

Lunch Break (11:45am-1:30pm; a limited number of lunches will be provided)

Panel 3 (1:30-2:45pm)

Grant Nelsestuen, CANES: “From Household to Cosmopolis: Conceptualizing Empire in Ancient Greek Political Thought”

Chance McMahon, CLFS: “Jewish and Christian Counter-empires in the Apocalyptic Imagination”

Afternoon Coffee and Refreshments Break (2:45-3:45pm)

Keynote Speaker (4:00-5:00pm)

Michèle Lowrie, Andrew W. Mellon Professor, Classics and the College, The University of Chicago: “An Empire of Security and Care”


This program is a part of the Borghesi Mellon Interdisciplinary Workshops in the Humanities, sponsored by the Center for the Humanities at UW-Madison, with support from Nancy and David Borghesi and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The “(Re)Imagining Empire” Workshop series is sponsored by the African Cultural Studies, American Democracy Forum, Art History, Center for Early Modern Studies, CANES, Center for European Studies, Center for the Study of Liberal Democracy, English, History, History and Politics Workshop, Institute for Research in the Humanities, Integrated Liberal Studies, Philosophy, and Political Science.



This event is co-sponsored by the Institute for Research in the Humanities and the Center for the Humanities.