Urban Dimensions: Materiality, Society, and Discourses of the Ancient City
International Early Career Workshop (University of Tübingen, 24 – 25 June 2024)
A city – what is it basically? What makes a city a city? Is it its settlement size and number of inhabitants? Its building density and architecture? Its legal status? Its administration and infrastructure? Its political, economic, cultural, or religious significance for the surrounding area?
The ancient city in particular is a multifaceted and elusive phenomenon which can only be appropriately considered in an interdisciplinary dialogue. This workshop aims to grasp the phenomenon in its complexity and develop an interdisciplinary definition of the ancient city taking all its facets into account.
To this end, three dimensions of the ancient city will be examined in more detail, encircling its essential characteristics: first, materiality, the built environment of urban settlements, creates the urban space through its texture and reflects social structures as well as cultural patterns. Second, human actors associating in urban communities shape the urban space through their actions and institutionalised practices. Third, the city in antiquity becomes the subject of contemporary reflections, which are expressed in literary discourses on its characteristics and symbolic meaning. The workshop will focus on Classical Antiquity in time and space, namely the period from around 800 BCE to 700 CE in the wider Mediterranean area.
The workshop is aimed at doctoral students / PhD candidates and early career researchers in the field of Classical Studies (Ancient History, Classical Archaeology, Classical Philology). Contributions from neighbouring disciplines (e.g. Bauforschung, Architecture, Urban Geography, Sociology, Literary Studies) which discuss methodological or theoretical issues are also welcome.
The workshop will be divided into several thematic panels. Each participant will be allocated 40 minutes (20 minutes presentation and 20 minutes discussion). Papers should present current research projects and address at least one of the following questions:
- Which architectural design processes and building forms underlay the emergence and development of the ancient city? (Materiality)
- Which principles and structures organised the ancient urban community? (Society)
- How did contemporaries perceive the ancient city and which linguistic images were drawn of it? (Discourses)
Several renowned experts will attend the workshop: the ancient historian Prof Greg Woolf (University of California, Los Angeles) will be the keynote speaker. In addition, the Classical archaeologist Prof Richard Posamentir (University of Tübingen), the ancient historian Prof Mischa Meier (University of Tübingen), and the Classical philologist Prof Robert Kirstein (University of Tübingen) will moderate the panels.
In addition to the presentation and discussion of current research projects, the workshop aims to be a forum for interdisciplinary exchange and international networking among early career researchers.
Please send an abstract (max. 300 words) of your proposed paper with a working title and a short CV to
The workshop will take place in presence at the University of Tübingen on 24 – 25 June 2024. The conference language is English. Accommodation costs will be covered and we endeavour to reimburse travel expenses. As a family-friendly institution, the University of Tübingen also supports the participation of researchers with childcare responsibilities.
If you have any questions about the workshop, please contact one of the organisers by e-mail.
This workshop is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Science as part of the Excellence Strategy of the German Federal and State Governments.
We look forward to receiving your proposals!
Maximiliane Gindele, M. A.
University of Tübingen
Institute of Ancient History
Samuel Oer de Almeida, M. A.
University of Tübingen
Institute of Classical Archaeology