‘Social Science Ancient History’ is an open, inclusive approach to the study of the history of classical antiquity – more of a temperament or an attitude than a clearly-defined field or methodology. It is founded on a conviction that historical research on classical antiquity must be analytical rather than descriptive, that it must be deductive rather than inductive, and that the historian’s questions, concepts and assumptions should always be discussed explicitly rather than taken for granted or ignored. It encompasses the use of theories, models and concepts drawn from the social sciences in order to make sense of the ancient world, but without any prejudice for or against economics, sociology, anthropology, cultural studies or any other field of scholarship.
This blog is particularly but not exclusively associated with the Antiquity Network of the biennial European Social Science History Conference, where we first had the idea. It aims to serve as a point of contact and information hub for past and potential contributors to the Antiquity sessions at that conference, and a means for advertising the Network’s activities. However, it also seeks to promote social scientific approaches to ancient history more generally: by organising ‘book events’ several times a year, where a number of contributors offer their personal views of a key work as a starting-point for discussion, and by publishing relevant posts on research topics from established scholars, early career researchers and postgraduate students.
If you are interested in contributing to this blog, please contact the current organiser, Neville Morley (neville.morley(at)bristol.ac.uk) to discuss your ideas. If you’re not familiar with this sort of writing, you can consult a brief introductory guide, Introduction to Blogging, written with academics in mind (n.b. if you are familiar with this sort of writing, you will find this absurdly basic), as well as some notes on Organising a Book Event.
Neville Morley is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Bristol, UK, and author of various books and articles on ancient economic and social history, historical theory, and the modern reception of antiquity. His personal blog is at http://thesphinxblog.com, and he can be found in Twitter @NevilleMorley. He has been co-chair of the Antiquity Network of the ESSHC since 2010.