UWICAH Conference 2019- Narratives of Power.

This week’s blog post is by Thomas Husøy on the conference ‘Narratives of Power’ that took place on 16th November in Singleton Abbey. A huge congratulations to the committee for coordinating this event! Full details of the programme and speakers can be found here.

The conference organisers (front centre: William Clayton, Thomas Husøy and Urška Furlan) with conference delegates outside Singleton Abbey.

On behalf of the UWICAH 2019 committee, Thomas writes:

For the third time since the beginning in 2013, Swansea University was responsible for the organization of the Universities of Wales Institute of Classics and Ancient History Postgraduate Conference. Over the last eight months or so I have worked with two other PhD students in the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology (William Clayton; PhD in Classics and Urška Furlan; PhD in Egyptology) to organise this event. The UWICAH Postgraduate Conference is an annual event organized at one of the three UWICAH Universities and we are already looking forward to the next conference which will be hosted at the University of Wales Trinity St. David in Lampeter.

The theme for this year’s conference was Narratives of Power. The call for papers was sent out in June and attracted a wide number of speakers from all the UWICAH Universities, the rest of the UK and the wider world. Traditionally, the UWICAH conference has been hosted in one room throughout the day with three panels following one another. However, owing to the success of the call for papers, we had to book extra space to accommodate the papers that were submitted and we utilised both the Council Chamber and Committee Room 2 in Singleton Abbey. All together we had six panels, running parallel in the two rooms.

The speakers at the conference came from across the world, including the United States, Egypt, Italy, Greece, the Netherlands and France and the topic was interpreted in a variety of ways. We had talks in topics representing narratives of power in linguistics, mythology, politics, symbology and reception studies. The majority of the speakers were able to attend in person with the exception of four Egyptologists who delivered their talks via Skype. All of the papers were of high quality, prompting much discussion and the conference was a resounding success. As organisers, we were encouraged by the response and reach of this event as we had requests from scholars in both Europe and America to live stream the conference. While we were unable to facilitate this, the event was live tweeted by @suancientworld and @uwicah2019 to capture the day as it unfolded.

Everyone in the Council Chamber for the discussion of the day.

After the conference was over, several of the delegate and organizers headed down to Pub on the Pond for dinner, a few drinks and a post-conference chat. We are now looking into the possibility of publishing papers from the conference in an edited volume and look forward to working more on this.

We extend our gratitude to everyone who aided in making the UWICAH 2019 a successful international conference, including but not limited to Singleton Abbey reception, the College of Arts and Humanities at Swansea University and the Department of Classics, Ancient History and Egyptology. Particular thanks go to Professor Mark Humphries (the Head of Department) for opening the conference and Dr. Maria Pretzler for providing fantastic baked goods and finally, UWICAH itself.

Thomas Alexander Husøy (PhD in Ancient History).


Thomas Husøy giving his talk about identities and Thessaly.


Departmental Social Events: Mummies on Halloween

This year the Department of Classics, Ancient History & Egyptology decided to start a series of social events for staff and students, with the aim to celebrate and strengthen our sense of community. This week’s post is by Dr Maria Pretzer who has been co-ordinating these events. Maria reports:

As it happened, the first event was scheduled for 31st October, so a Halloween theme was a given. We decided to start with frightening our Egyptologists particularly by putting on The Mummy (1999) with its highly accurate depiction of ancient Egypt and Egyptian archaeology.

Film still: It’s Egypt. There have to be cats!

After the end of the movie, Troy Sagrillo offered some comments about some of the details. Astonishingly, the production did have an Egyptologist as adviser, and with some effort and expertise, one can actually spot their impact, in places where details are somewhat more Egyptologically inaccurate than throughout the rest of the movie.

One crucial take-away from the story is certainly that speed-reading hieroglyphs is a necessary survival skill: the ancient historian struggling with the hieroglyphics on the DVD menu could have done with some of that, too. It is clear that may more people should take our modules in Ancient Egyptian language! The film also features spoken ancient Egyptian, using a pronunciation that’s a few thousand years out of date.

Prizes were handed out for the best costume (a carrot, as it happens) and to the winner and runners-up in the move bingo, which featured, among other questions, the identification of various things Christian Knoblauch wouldn’t do on his excavation in Sudan. Christian will be relieved to hear that the accumulated answers pretty much encompass everything anybody does with ancient artefacts in this film.

Cup cakes by Maria… Bake Off eat your heart out!

This was a lot of fun, and we had a good turn-out, too: thanks to everybody for coming! The ‘Departmental Social Event’ experiment continues on 21st November, when we’ll be putting Socrates on trial all over again.