Spring 2019

“Gods at War: A Roman Imperial Strategy,” Lisa Mignone, NYU/University of Cincinnati
April 1, Dulles Hall 168, 3.30-5pm

Lisa Mignone is a specialist in Roman religion, social history, and archaeology. She has taught at New York University and Brown University and holds degrees in Classical Studies from Radcliffe College of Harvard University (AB), the University of Virginia (MA), and Columbia University (MPhil, PhD). She has also won the Rome Prize at the American Academy in Rome. Currently, she is a Research Affiliate at NYU’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World and will hold a Margo Tytus Visiting Fellowship at the University of Cincinnati in Spring 2019.

Abstract: The Romans cultivated both their own gods and the gods of their enemies in order to secure Rome’s preservation and imperial triumph.  While at war with their bitterest enemies, the Romans turned to Juno with extraordinary acts of collective worship.  This talk draws from my current book, Rome’s Juno: religious imperialism and self-preservation (under contract with University of Michigan Press), which examines the role of the foremost goddess in Roman religious culture and practice. Three major military engagements come into focus: the conquest of Veii (396 BCE), the co-management of the cult at Lanuvium (338 BCE), and the destruction of Carthage (146 BCE).  In each of these encounters, the protection of the pantheon’s supreme patroness was thought to be at stake on both sides: Etruscan Uni, Latin Juno, and Carthaginian Tinit. Contrary to literary productions, which render the mythical character Juno as forever angry with Rome, and contrary to much historical scholarship, which consistently marks Juno’s worship at Rome as an attempt to woo a distinctly foreign/non-Roman goddess, Rome’s Juno recognizes these ritual interactions as the propitiation of their own (Roman) tutelary deity. The first major monograph on the Roman goddess, this book also re-examines the evidence for the identification of the tutelary deities at Veii and Carthage, and thus contributes to the study of central Mediterranean religions, inter-cultural history, and ancient imperialism.  “Gods at War: A Roman Imperial Strategy” will present case studies related to the fall of Veii and Roman worship at Rome during the second Punic War.

Sponsored by: The Premodernist Group; The Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean

Spring 2017
January 26 (TH, 4-5:30pm, Dulles Hall 168): “Post-Truth” Moments in History: a panel by John Brooke (History), Melissa Curley (Comparative Studies), Albert Harrill (History), and Lynn Itagaki (English & Women’s Studies)
February: “After the Death of God: Modernist Fragmentation and Unification in Nietzsche, Joyce, Freud, Lawrence, Gide, Heidegger, and Woolf,” a presentation by Prof. Stephen Kern, cosponsored by the Women, Gender, and Sexuality History Workshop.
March 31 (F, 1:00-2:30pm, McPherson 2017): Talk by Professor Patricia Turning (Albright College) on women, prison, and medieval France
April: The Premodernist Graduate Annual Conference

Fall 2016 

Oct 20 (TH) 1-2.30 pm, 235 Dulles Hall

“Europe and the Space of the Colonies: Kant’s Anti-Colonialism and his Philosophy of History”

By Inés Valdez (Political Science)

This paper offers a new interpretation of Kant’s cosmopolitanism, centering on the anti-colonial arguments in Toward Perpetual Peace. Kant’s changing position on colonialism has been the subject of extensive debates that have not, however, considered the central place of colonialism in the political, economic, and military context of Europe. I suggest that Kant’s main concern in 1795 is the negative effect of European expansionism and intra-European rivalry over colonial possessions on the possibility of peace in Europe. Kant’s turn against colonialism thus does not require a shift away from his hierarchical view of race and may instead be based on the lack of affinity between the character of colonial conflict in his time and his philosophy of history. I conclude by discussing the need to correct/complement Kant in our contemporary thinking on Cosmopolitanism.

A draft of this paper will be pre-circulated. Please contact Ying Zhang ( for it.


Nov. 10 (TH) 4-5:30pm, 0020 Dulles Hall

“Historical Imagination and Imaginary History

By David Staley (History)

There are two connotations of the word imagination:  1) the capacity to conjure images of absent things in the mind’s eye, 2) the mental creation of new images, without reference to an actual object, or to unreal or inactual objects.  It is in this later sense of the term that we call something “imaginary,” meaning make-believe.  This presentation asks  How much imagination are historians permitted?  Is there a point at which the historian is “too imaginative?” How do historians form mental images of the past? What is the composition of those mental images?   How are these images translated into historical representations?  Importantly, I will explore the relationship between the “ontologically real” parts of those mental images and the “ontologically irreal” parts.   The presentation will be hands on, asking the audience to think about their mental images of the past.


Dec. 9 (F) afternoon, 168 Dulles Hall

Pedagogical session: Teaching the Premodern 

Led by Sara Butler (History) and Meow Hui Goh (DEALL)