UTMACS: Sailakshmi Ramgopal, Columbia University

When and Where

Friday, October 20, 2023 1:10 pm to 4:00 pm
Live via Zoom and CDRS (MN3230)
Maanjiwe nendamowinan
1535 Outer Circle, University of Toronto Mississauga


Sailakshmi Ramgopal, Columbia University


2023-24 University of Toronto Mississauga Annual Classics Seminar Series: "Centre and Periphery"

Romans as Others: Mobility, Status, and Power Abroad
Sailakshmi Ramgopal, Assistant Professor, Columbia University

The expansion of Rome's power during the third and second centuries BCE presented both the Republic and ordinary Roman citizens with a problem: the growing presence of Romans and Italians beyond Italy. This paper attends to a single dimension of this change. Spanning the third through first centuries BCE, it explores the use of collective action by Romans and Italians who lived as minorities provincial cities in order to impose control over locals and manage relationships with Roman authorities. By forming private associations that literary and epigraphic sources described with phrases like “the Romans who do business [here]” (cives Romani qui negotiantur) and “the Romans who live [here]” (Rhomaioi hoi katoikountes), communities of emigrants from Italy exerted their will and thereby became a locus for making and remaking Roman identity, the development of provincial administration, and a foundation of the empire itself.

Focus Item
Professor Ramgopal's talk derives from her in-progress book, Romans Abroad: Identity, Place, and Empire, which explores associations of Roman citizens over the longue durée. To accompany the book, she is developing an open-access database and online map with all records for associations of Roman citizens. The map will represent the location of these groups according to criteria like time period and terminology. She is interested in receiving feedback from attendees about how the map (which is still under development) represents the geographic distribution of these associations, whether it should include literary references, and any other issues that attendees deem worthy of discussion. She will pre-circulate specific inscriptions that present difficulties with regard to geographic representation in a resource such as this.

Speaker Bio
Professor Ramgopal is a Roman historian whose work explores mobilities and identities in the Roman world. Romans Abroad: Citizenship, Place, and Empire, her current book project, identifies the particular logics and changing modalities by which associations of Roman traders interacted with non-Romans outside the Italian peninsula, and traces the long-term, recursive effects of those dynamic interactions on the sociopolitical structures and cultural frameworks of the Roman empire. Other interests include the comparative study of diasporas, resistance, and the reception of classics in colonial and postcolonial India and North Africa. Professor Ramgopal was a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome (2014).

The theme for this year's UTM Annual Classics Seminar (UTMACS) is centre and periphery. The speakers will challenge and explore this topic from various perspectives. For those who have not yet attended a UTMACS seminar, the sessions are in two parts, consisting of (1) a lecture (1:10–approx. 2:40 pm) followed, after a short break, by (2) a seminar-style discussion (3–4 pm) that is centred on the ‘focus item’ specified by the lecturer.

Professor Ramgopal's talk will take place on Friday, October 20th, 1:10PM to 4:00PM, at UTM in CDRS, Maanjiwe nendamowinan 3230, and broadcast live via Zoom.

Contact Martin Revermann (m.revermann@utoronto.ca) for the meeting link


1535 Outer Circle, University of Toronto Mississauga