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date: 17 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article examines some of the ways the concept of culture has been deployed in Roman Studies, and in classical scholarship more generally. In so doing, it hopes to show what kinds of critical work this concept can be made to do; to make explicit some of the intellectual commitments that accompany the various uses of this term; to illustrate how these commitments are manifested in scholarly works which seem (to the author) to represent useful points of reference in our ever-shifting understandings of what ‘Roman culture’ is; and to relate these manifestations in Roman Studies to those found in other disciplines of the humanities and social sciences. The article begins with a usage of ‘culture’ as a category that encompasses various kinds of aesthetic activity. This usage derives ultimately from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century aesthetic theory. The article also explores a semiotic approach to culture.

Keywords: Roman Studies, Roman culture, aesthetic theory, semiotic approach, humanities, social sciences

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