Anna Kouremenos,Jody Michael Gordon

Mediterranean Archaeologies of Insularity in an Age of Globalization

Recently, complex interpretations of socio-cultural change in the ancientMediterranean world have emerged that challenge earlier models. Influenced bytoday’s hyper-connected age, scholars no longer perceive the Mediterranean as astatic place where “Greco-Roman” culture was dominant, but rather see it as adynamic and connected sea where fragmentation and uncertainty, along with mobilityand networking, were the norm. Hence, a current theoretical approach to studyingancient culture has been that of globalization. Certain eras of Mediterranean history (e.g., the Roman empire) known for their increased connectivity have thus beenanalyzed from a globalized perspective that examines rhizomal networking, culturaldiversity, and multiple processes of social change. Archaeology has proven a usefuldiscipline for investigating ancient “globalization” because of its recent focus on howidentity is expressed through material culture negotiated between both local andglobal influences when levels of connectivity are altered. One form of identity that has been inadequately explored in relation to globalizationtheory is insularity. Insularity, or the socially recognized differences expressed bypeople living on islands, is a form of self-identification created within a particularspace and time. Insularity, as a unique social identity affected by “global” forces,should be viewed as an important research paradigm for archaeologies concerned with re-examining cultural change.
The purpose of this volume is to explore how comparative archaeologies of insularitycan contribute to discourse on ancient Mediterranean “globalization.” The volume’s theme stems from a colloquium session that was chaired by the volume’s co-editors atthe Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America in January 2017. Given the current state of the field for globalization studies in Mediterranean archaeology,this volume aims to bring together for the first time archaeologists working ondifferent islands and a range of material culture types to examine diachronically how Mediterranean insularities changed during eras when connectivity increased, such asthe Late Bronze Age, the era of Greek and Phoenician colonization, the Classicalperiod, and during the High and Late Roman imperial eras. Each chapter aims tosituate a specific island or island group within the context of the globalizing forces and networks that conditioned a particular period, and utilizes archaeological material toreveal how islanders shaped their insular identities, or notions of insularity, at thenexus of local and global influences.
590 printed pages
Original publication
Publication year
Oxbow Books
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