Call For Papers: Roman Emperors and Western Political Culture (Brisbane, Australia, 5-7 July 2017)

Due date for abstracts: 20 January 2017

The international conference, “The Once and Future Kings: Roman Emperors and Western Political Culture from Antiquity to the Present”, will be held at the University of Queensland (Brisbane, Australia), from Wednesday July 5 – Friday July 7, 2017. The conference will be held at the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry and convened by Dr Caillan Davenport and Dr Shushma Malik.

Roman emperors play a significant role in contemporary political discourse, with rulers such as Augustus, Caligula, Nero, and Marcus Aurelius regularly cited as positive or negative models in newspaper editorials, stump speeches, and Twitter. Our understanding of these emperors as paradigms of power has been shaped by centuries of intellectual debate from Tacitus and Seneca to Erasmus and Machiavelli.

The conference aims to answer the question: ‘How have literary and artistic representations of Roman emperors been manipulated for political purposes throughout history?’ This overall question is divided into two areas:

  1. Roman emperors within a specifically Roman political context, from Augustus to the fall of Constantinople in A.D. 1453;
  2. Roman emperors in the western medieval world and beyond.

The conference aims to connect these two aspects as part of a larger study of the process of reception, which occurred across temporal, spatial, and social boundaries in antiquity and continues to take place up to the present day.

The conference will feature as keynote speakers Professor Rhiannon Ash (Oxford), who will be the 2017 RD Milns Visiting Professor at the University of Queensland, Professor David Scourfield (NUI Maynooth), and Dr Penelope Goodman (Leeds).

The conference will run from Wednesday 5 July to Friday 7 July 2017 at the University of Queensland’s extensive and beautiful St Lucia Campus in Brisbane. The conference will open on 5 July with a public lecture by Professor Ash, followed by two full days of papers, including lectures by Professor Scourfield and Dr Goodman, and a conference dinner on the evening of 6 July.

We invite 300-word abstracts for 30 minute papers on the topic of Roman emperors and political culture. We are particularly interested in paper proposals dealing with novel aspects of imperial political culture during the principate, the western late antique and medieval world, and the Renaissance. In selecting papers for the conference, we will be looking to ensure a balance between different time periods. We already have sufficient papers on the emperor Augustus and his legacy.

Please send abstracts to both Dr Davenport and Dr Malik by 20 January 2017. We are committed to providing decisions about acceptance of abstracts by the end of January to enable speakers to make travel arrangements. We look forward to welcoming delegates to Brisbane in July 2017.

We are grateful for the RD Milns Perpetual Endowment Fund, the Australasian Society for Classical Studies, and the School of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry at the University of Queensland for their financial and administrative support of this conference.

The preliminary conference web site can be found online at: