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Title: Assertive mimesis : a comparative analysis of religious sculptures from the Roman provinces
Author: Moat, Stephanie Marie
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 9631
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2017
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The religious statues and reliefs of the Roman provinces are diverse, existing on a spectrum of those which wholly conform to Classical ideals of representation to those which radically diverge from it. Previously any statuary or reliefs that diverged from the Classical norms of representation were denigrated as the work of a poor artist ‐ a failed attempt to emulate a Roman avatar. Following the postcolonial turn in Roman archaeology however, it came to be argued that these divergences were deliberate and intentional, that some of these so called ‘low quality’ sculptures looked exactly as they were intended; that is, to do something other than to be bound to and conform to the Roman ideals of representation. Whilst a large body of work has subsequently been undertaken on the reception and transformation of Classical art and religion in the Roman provinces, little of this work has considered the role of mimesis, and specifically the body of work on assertive mimesis in colonial contexts undertaken by anthropologists such as Taussig (1993), Stoller (1995) and Howey (2011). Mimesis in this capacity is taken as ‘the faculty to copy, to imitate’ whereby ‘the making and existence of the artefact that portrays something gives one power over that which is portrayed’ (Taussig 1993: 13). Although some work on provincial mimesis is now appearing in the research of scholars such as Alicia Jimenez (2010), there is very little in the way of sustained case studies. Drawing upon the body of anthropological work on (assertive) mimesis, this thesis provides a new framework through which to analyse provincial religious sculptures, using Roman Britain and North Africa as case studies. This analysis of how assertive mimesis operated in the production of provincial statuary provides a unique insight into the ways in which the divine world was drawn into the complex processes of adoption and adaptation that typified colonial interactions, and how power and identity were negotiated in the provinces1.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available