Humboldt Fellowship for Classical Archaeologist

31 Jul 2014 - 17:00

Dr. Roman Roth has been awarded a prestigious Humboldt Research Fellowship for study in Germany. Each year, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation grants 600 fellowships to highly qualified scientists and scholars from around the world. Dr. Roth is the Head of Classics in the School of Languages and Literatures and is one of few recipients of the award at the University of Cape Town.

The Humboldt Research Fellowship enables academics from a variety of academic disciplines to conduct long-term studies (6 – 24 months) in their chosen area of interest. Recipients are selected on the basis of scholarly merit and the research must be conducted in cooperation with an academic host who is based at a German institution. Humboldt Fellows access an international network of top researchers, potential funding beyond the tenure of the award and are able to host future fellows at their own institutions. Dr. Roth will conduct a one-year study at the University of Cologne.  His research project, entitled: Mobile Regions: a Cultural History of Central Italy, c. 350-100 BC, examines the impact of Roman expansion on Italy’s cultural transformation, with a particular focus on colonization, identity formation and human mobility.

“Coming originally from an archaeological background, I am particularly interested in the ways in which material culture can be understood as a historical source. As a South-African based scholar, my thinking is very much informed by the work of historians and archaeologists of Africa, such as that of Igor Kopytoff and of my colleagues Nigel Penn and Simon Hall. In this way, both the trans-disciplinary approach, and the theoretical embeddedness of my work in an African context make a significant contribution to the study of Roman cultural history” says Dr. Roth.

The busy UCT academic will conduct his study in collaboration with Professor Dr. Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp, one of the foremost living historians of the Roman Republic. The partnership was established thanks to a chance encounter at a conference in 2004. This initial meeting led to further correspondence and a refinement of ideas around Roman’s current research topic. The University of Cologne is an internationally renowned site of archaeological research, which according to Roman compliments the trans-disciplinary nature of his work. He will take up his residency at the institution from 1 February 2015.

“I am pleased that this fellowship will provide the opportunity to complete my second monograph, in addition, of course, to immersing myself in an academic culture of which I have had very little first-hand experience and which cannot but broaden my horizons. I expect that my postgraduate students, in particular, will benefit from the links which I will be able to establish during the year, with colleagues both in Germany and internationally” said Dr. Roth.

Between 2009 and 2013, the Humboldt Foundation has awarded 41 Humboldt Research Fellowships and 106 Georg Forster Research Fellowships to scientists from Africa. The selection of research fellows takes place three times a year.