What is a frontier? Does it serve to separate or to link countries, peoples, classes, ideas? Frontiers have become increasingly significant in the study of Late Antiquity, the fastest growing historical discipline, as scholars recognized the fundamental importance of shifting barriers in the process of transformation that led from the classical to the post-classical world. People living in the Roman world between the second and the sixth century tore down many walls demarcating cultures, religions, ethnicities. Frontiers once firmly separating empires, ethnic groups, religions, friends and even the sexes have been intensely crossed in late antiquity – a phenomenon comparable only to the recent transition from modernity to post-modernity — a comparison that we intend to exploit in our methodology.
The “Bright Frontier” summer course explores the dynamic transformation of classical frontiers between the second and the sixth century from a multidisciplinary perspective: archaeology, medieval studies, social and cultural history, art, theology, and literature. Offering a groundbreaking approach to the field of border studies including social, gender, ethnic and religious categories with the participation of outstanding scholars in the field, this course will provide students with a solid knowledge of up-to-date international scholarship on frontiers: a strong theoretical background as well as hands-on acquaintance with physical borders and material artifacts excavated along the Danube River (the ripa Pannonica) as well as in the late antique cemetery of Pécs in Hungary.
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