Who am I – and if so how many? Identity research and research identity


  • Sarah Scheffler (University of Leicester) ss908@leicester.ac.uk
  • Dominik Maschek (University of Oxford) d.maschek@bham.ac.uk
  • Henry Clarke (University of Leeds) h.h.b.clarke@leeds.ac.uk
  • Daniel Van Helden (University of Leicester) dpv2@leicester.ac.uk

The 21st century is obsessed with issues of ‘identity’ as highlighted by the rise of social media. Questions of ‘identity’ and ‘self-identification’ feature prominently in political, socio-cultural and academic discussions. Within Roman archaeology, investigating identity opened an approach to studying the impact of the Roman conquest on indigenous communities while avoiding the pitfalls of ‘Romanisation’.
However, despite our acknowledgement of the flaws of the Romanisation concept, and in particular its roots in a modern socio-political perception of ancient societies, we seemingly tend to ignore the contemporaneous influence of our own identities; the impact of our own cultural and academic background on our research is still rarely acknowledged. Therefore, we want to open the discussion of the relationship between our own identities as researchers and our understanding of ancient identities and raise questions such as:

  • To what extent is our cognitive bias guided by our own individual identities, especially with regard to questions of gender, age and social status or concepts of mobility and migration?
  • How does our own national, cultural and/or academic origin impact the way we view an ancient landscape, particularly if these differ?
  • What are the implications of such interference for our study of ancient identities?

In an aim to include as many speakers and their perspectives as possible, we appeal for both presentations of 20-minutes and 5-minute lightning papers that highlight a prominent aspect of the relationship between the presenter’s identities and their research.

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