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“Include Me Out”: Imperial Rome and the Peoples of the World at the End of Antiquity

Michael Maas, Rice University, Fellow 2014–2015

My year at Dumbarton Oaks has been very productive, with most goals achieved. I have completed all but one and a half chapters of a monograph, tentatively titled Ethnography and Empire at the End of Antiquity ca. 250–750 A.D. The book offers a new approach to the creation of a “medieval” worldview across the Mediterranean by examining how Roman views of foreigners developed, particularly under the influence of Christianity. I anticipate finishing the manuscript this summer. I warmly thank the director of Dumbarton Oaks, Jan Ziolkowski, and his entire staff, for making the year possible. Deb Stewart and the library staff kept the collection the world’s best. Most of all I wish to express my gratitude to Margaret Mullett, the director of Byzantine Studies, for creating a sense of collegiality and shared enterprise among this year’s Byzantine cadre. Margaret and her able assistant Seh-Hee Koh sustained the atmosphere of friendship and intellectual exchange for which the Byzantine Studies program has long been famed, and from which I have benefited enormously. One additional pleasure was working closely with the junior fellows on projects ranging from dissertations to job applications. I also enjoyed discussions with Harvard anthropologist Gary Urton, who was a visiting scholar this year. We hosted two highly successful evenings of informal discussion at Acorn Cottage for the members of all three academic programs and staff, on the topics of “ethnography” and “ancestors.”