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Posts Tagged ‘ancient history’

Recent end-of-year discussions of the experience of online teaching, combined with contemplation of what next year might be like, reminded me that I meant to post a summary of the best of autocaptioning. Maybe this can be a permanent replacement for the annual festival of exam errors that some academics are so fond of celebrating; these are so much stupider, and create far more work… (more…)

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About twenty years ago, I would guess, I started writing Theories, Models and Concepts in Ancient History. I had two main motives – or three, if you count the fact that I was supposed to be writing a book about ancient trade and had absolutely no idea what to say about it. Firstly, I wanted to write it for my students; I’d by now been teaching an ‘Approaches to Ancient History’ course for five years, which I’d stealthily reorientated in directions that suited my interests and intellectual commitments, and I was somewhat conscious of the lack of accessible introductory reading. Writing a suitable book myself seemed preferable to changing the module topics back to the previous version – and it offered the possibility of a kind of primitive flipped classroom, insofar as if everyone read the relevant sections of the book we could focus on debates, issues and freeform discussion, rather than having to devote lots of class time to covering the basics of the topic. (more…)

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There’s nothing like an enforced lockdown in the middle of a global pandemic to force someone like me – not antisocial, exactly, but inclined to assume that others are happy to get on with their lives without me imposing on their precious time – to start making contact and reinforcing connections. Longer emails for family and close friends, regular social media contact for everyone else – with a powerful sense of how far I’m already a member of a couple of really important online communities, consisting mainly of people I’ve never met in person, that are now even more important.

One of the things this has brought home is how downright weird some of the algorithms have become. (more…)

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Very many years ago, when I was writing up my PhD, I was hired by an eminent ancient historian to do some preparatory work for the publication of a volume of their selected articles, including making recommendations on which of their numerous important contributions should be included. The utterly rubbish nature of my performance in this task can be deduced from the fact that said volume didn’t appear until years later, thanks to someone else’s work, with no trace at all of my efforts, and generally I try not to think about it too much because of the embarrassment. But reflecting on the experience does raise some interesting questions today. (more…)

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I’m just back from a weekend break in Croatia, a trip that was partly about the glorious food and excellent Zagreb craft beer scene, partly about the history and architecture, and mostly about giving a seminar and lecture at the University of Zagreb, hosted by Jelena Marohnic, and also being interviewed by the history students’ journal. The latter was especially nerve-wracking, with a strong sense of the risks of putting my foot in it inadvertently through sheer ignorance of local circumstances, without having had the opportunity to think about any of the questions in advance. Why are they so concerned about the chronological boundaries of ‘ancient history’? How does the ‘ethnicity in Roman Britain’ debate look from here – and was it a good or bad thing that I didn’t until afterwards think to chuck in a remark to the effect that Roman Pannonia and Dalmatia must have been equally multicultural? (more…)

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