The Routledge Handbook of Identity and the Environment in the Classical and Medieval Worlds explores how environment was thought to shape ethnicity and identity, discussing developments in early natural philosophy and historical ethnographies. Defining `environment' broadly to include not only physical but also cultural environments, natural and constructed, the volume considers the multifarious ways in which environment was understood to shape the culture and physical characteristics of peoples, as well as how the ancients manipulated their environments to achieve a desired identity. This diverse collection includes studies not only of the Greco-Roman world, but also ancient China and the European, Jewish and Arab inheritors and transmitters of classical thought.
In recent years, work in this subject has been confined mostly to the discussion of texts that reflect an approach to the barbarian as `other'. The Routledge Handbook of Identity and the Environment in the Classical and Medieval Worlds takes the discussion of ethnicity on a fresh course, contextualising the concept of the barbarian within rational discourses such as cartography, medicine, and mathematical sciences, an approach that allows us to more clearly discern the varied and nuanced approaches to ethnic identity which abounded in antiquity. The innovative and thought-provoking material in this volume realises new directions in the study of identity in the Classical and Medieval worlds.
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd
Number of pages: 458
Weight: 930 g
Dimensions: 248 x 171 x 30 mm
"Unique not only for its broad geographical and temporal scope, the handbook is also notable for transcending the common understanding of the "barbarian" as "the Other." It advocates movement away from the dichotomous classification of "us vs. them" (or Greek/Roman vs. barbarian), and likewise discourages the application of modern concepts of race and ethnicity to historical cultures that operated within different contextual frameworks. As such, the essays in this book represent the new directions of current scholarship concerning issues of identity and ethnicity in the ancient and medieval worlds. Thus, this collection of engaging and provocative scholarship challenges readers to shed generalizations and over simplifications and to focus instead on the subtle differences in the ways in which ethnic identities were conceived in past."
- Carrie L. Sulosky Weaver, University of Pittsburgh, in The Classical Journal, published by The Classical Association of the Middle West and South, USA
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