13.06.2013 // 8.00 p.m.
Monks as Hippies – Tuning in and Dropping out of the Fourth Century Imperial System
Prof. Dr. Edward WattsThe generation of Romans who came of age after the tetrarchic and Constantinian administrative reforms entered a world in which governmental positions were far more numerous and lucrative than ever before. The Roman educational system opened the doors to these opportunities and socialized students to take best advantage of them by developing social networks. In the 360s, 370s, and early 380s, however, we begin to see a movement (catalyzed by texts like Athanasius’ Life of Antony) in which educated elites turn against both their education and the careers for which it prepared them. Intriguingly, part of what makes their rejection of elite social norms and aspirations possible are the networks of friends their education helped them to develop. Edward Watts is the Alkviadis Vassiliadis Chair and Professor of History at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of two monographs, City and School in Late Antique Athens and Alexandria (University of California Press, 2006), and Riot in Alexandria: Historical Debate in Pagan and Christian Communities (University of California Press, 2010), has co-edited two other volumes, and has authored 30 articles in journals and edited collections. He is currently working on two monographs, The Last Pagan Generation and The Social History of Platonism. Before coming to UCSD, Professor Watts taught for ten years at Indiana University.