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Durham University

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Staff Profile

Ms Emily Hanscam

(email at e.r.hanscam@durham.ac.uk)

Education

MA in Social Archaeology with Distinction, University of Southampton, 2014

BA in Anthropology and History, Whitman College, 2012

Research Topic

Archaeological Possibilities for Envisioning a Postnational Romania

Abstract

Archaeologists have long recognised the deep connection between archaeology and nationalism. The momentous changes in the political landscape of the past decade demand renewed scrutiny of this persistent relationship. A postnational critique offers the potential to understand how the study of the past intersects with national narratives and articulates new ways of acting against it. In contrast to recent archaeological research that has focused on postcolonialism, this thesis argues for an urgent return to, and critical analysis of, the fundamental relationship that lies at the heart of the nation-state project.

 

The postnational critique advanced here identifies and questions the use of material and textual evidence from the past in support of methodological nationalism. It argues against the perpetuation of exclusive categories of identity and dualities such as ‘civilisation versus barbarism’. These issues are explored in modern-day Romania, which is a valuable example due to its physical and conceptual ‘marginality’ in relation to Western Europe and its strong and regionally distinct appeal to the past. This thesis examines how Romanian nationalism developed in relation to the archaeological evidence found within its territory. The history of modern Romania is examined through a postnationalist lens over the longue durée. This demonstrates that, although the narratives can be written as constrained by the interests and limitations of previous research traditions, it is possible to identify themes that advance a postnationalist perspective. Even pasts which have been deployed in support of nationalism can be re-imagined to advance more inclusive accounts. While archaeological research continues to be used, deliberately or subconsciously, to support nationalism, the postnational critique suggests possible alternatives. This approach potentially can transform narratives of the past in support of a new and more inclusive future. As such, this thesis advocates for greater politicisation of archaeology, and archaeologists, as a force for positive change.

Conference Highlights

Lead session organizer for 'The Politics of the Roman Past in the 21st Century', European Association of Archaeologists Conference, Bern, 4-7 September, 2019.

Digging Politics: The Ancient Past and the Political Present in East-Central Europe, University College, Durham 12-13 June, 2019. Workshop organised with James Koranyi from the Dept. of History, funded by the Arts and Humanities Faculty of Durham University.

Lead session organizer for '(Not) The Final Frontier: Charting New Courses for Frontiers Theory,' Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG), Chester, 17-19 December, 2018. 

Guest Editor for the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal, 2017-2018. Journal founded in 2017 to replace the TRAC Proceedings Series. 

Beyond the Trench: A Workshop in Archaeological Pedagogy - 8th Dec, 2017 with funding from Dept. of Archaeology's Research Dialogues initiative, https://www.dur.ac.uk/archaeology/postgraduate/research_dialogues/beyondthetrench/

TRAC Workshop on the Iron Age and Roman Heritages, with Richard Hingley and Chiara Bonacchi, 28-31 March, 2017.

Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference, 28-31 March 2017: Member of the local organizing committee for TRAC 2017, presented Durham bid at TRAC 2016. Local representative on the TRAC standing committee 2016-2017.

Lead session organizer for 'Political Agendas and Sponsorship in Archaeology,' Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG), Bradford, 14-16 December, 2015. 

Seminars

2019: 'Nationalism and archaeology: excavating Romania's Roman past,' Architectural & Archaeological Society of Durham & Northumberland, 23 Feb.

2017: 'Beyond the frontier: Excavating the Romans in Romania,' Archaeology Seminar Series, University of Edinburgh, 9 Nov. 

2017: 'Beyond the Frontier: Excavating the Romans in Romania,' Roman Discussion Forum, Oxford University, 24 May.

2016: 'Conceptualizing Space in Eastern Europe,' Excavations at Halmyris Lecture Series, Murighiol, 2 August.

2016: 'Theory, Politics, and Romans: Marxist thought in Eastern European Archaeology,' Durham University Postgraduate Research Seminar Series, 29 April.

2016: 'Social Impact of Archaeology,' Student Archaeological Workshop, Durham University, 28 April.

2015: 'The Social Context of Archaeology in Romania,' Durham University Postgraduate Research Seminar Series, 8 May.

2015: 'Politics and Archaeology,' Student Archaeological Workshop, Durham University, 23 February. 

Fieldwork

Project Coordinator and Site Manager for Excavations at Halmyris, Romania.

www.halmyris.org

Publications

Edited book

  • Zahariade, M., Avram, A., Hanscam, E.R., Rogers, G. & Durant, N. (2015). Lexicon of the Greek and Roman Cities and Place Names in Antiquity: Caesarodunum-Cannabiaca. Amsterdam: Adolf M. Hakkert.

Chapter in book

  • Hanscam, Emily (2018). The Social Context of Archaeology in Romania: Teaching Field Methodology on an Orthodox Holy Site. In Archaeological Sites as Space for Modern Spiritual Practice. Leskovar, Jutta & Karl, Raimund Cambridge Scholars. 72-89.

Journal Article

  • Hanscam, Emily & Quiery, Jonathan (2018). From TRAC to TRAJ: Widening Debates in Roman Archaeology. Theoretical Roman Archaeology Journal 1(1): 9.
  • Hanscam, E.R. (2017). Frontiers of Romania: Nationalism and the Ideological Space of the Roman Limes. Ex Novo Journal of Archaeology 2: 63-83.

Book review

  • Hanscam, E.R. (2017). Review of Interconnectivity in the Mediterranean and Pontic World during the Hellenistic and Roman Periods. Mouseion 14(1): 161-164.

Conference Paper

  • Hanscam, Emily (2018), Frontiers of Romania: Nationalism and the Use of the Roman Past, European Association of Archaeologists, 5-8 Sept. Barcelona, Spain.
  • Hanscam, Emily & Karavas, John (2018), Presenting Halmyris: Challenging Perspectives on the Romanian Lower Danube Frontier, European Association of Archaeologists, 5-8 Sept. Barcelona, Spain.
  • Hanscam, Emily (2018), Romanian frontiers: nationalism and the ideological space of the Roman limes, Society for Romanian Studies, 26-29 July. Bucharest, Romania.
  • Hanscam, Emily (2018), To Infinity and Beyond! A Social History of Frontier Theory, Theoretical Archaeology Group Conference, 17-19 Dec. Chester, England.
  • Hanscam, Emily (2017), Division on the Danube, the deep history of boundaries in Romania, The 27th Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Durham.
  • Karavas, John & Hanscam, Emily (2017), Excavations at Halmyris: beyond the frontier, The 27th Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Durham.
  • Hanscam, Emily & Hingley, Richard (2017), National Space and the 'Age of Migrations': Finding Rome's Barbarians in Modern Romania, 23rd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. Maastricht, The European Association of Archaeologists.
  • Hanscam, Emily (2016), Archaeological border studies: the impact of the Roman Frontier on the present immigration crisis, European Association of Archaeologists. Vilnius.
  • Hanscam, Emily (2016), Divorcing theory from Politics: Marxist thought in Eastern European Roman Archaeology, Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference. Rome.
  • Hanscam, Emily (2016), From the ground up: Experiencing Romania through excavations at Halmyris in the Danube Delta, 22nd Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. Vilnius.
  • Hanscam, Emily (2015), Excavations at Halmyris: the socialization of young archaeologists in Romania, Theoretical Archaeology Group USA. New York.
  • Hanscam, Emily (2015), The Social Context of Archaeology in Romania: teaching field methodology alongside an Orthodox holy site, 21st Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists. Glasgow, University of Glasgow.

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • Hanscam, Emily (2017). What we're finding as we excavate Halmyris, a frontier fort of the Roman Empire. The Conversation (25 July).