Networks and Neighbours (N&N) is an independent,
international post-national, extra-institutional, non-profit interdisciplinary research project, with a diverse collections of scholars and teachers creating, communicating and disseminating radical new theses about and critical alternative directions in the study of the global world of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Our collaborative network includes students, junior researchers and leading faculty whose work complements each others in various ways, providing emulative models of historical interrogation, narration and representation of 'the' past. We are a mix pragmatic analytic folks, theoretical Foucault-lovers, hands-in-the-dirt archaeology-types, manuscript-philes (and the occasional -phobes) and plenty of junior scholars who are constantly thinking about what on Earth our study of the past can mean for society today? Come join us!
We plan, convene, organise and co-ordinate symposia, conferences, masterclasses, panels, and other events in many places. We have also published journal volumes, articles, reviews, and are currently developing a new imprint, a new series and two edited volumes. On the principle of democratic intellectual exchange, all of our events are free and open to all, and all of our publishing is no-fees (creative commons) open-access, oh, and double-blind peer-reviewed. If you are interested in publishing with us, don't be shy, our reviewers won't bite...but they may just crush your dreams of being an academic, just kidding, really. We are very friendly.
We have been in close dialogue with other previous and current related academic projects, such as the Transformation of the Roman World, Texts and Identities, and HERA: Cultural Memory and Resources of the Past.
Networks and Neighbours sets out with the view that if texts present directed meaning because they are sets of signifiers, and our minds are developed so as to expect, anticipate and subsequently comprehend complex information through sets, or networks, of ideas, than we can argue that it is the respective, local topology of a past situation, its functional and malleable discourses, that can provide the modern ‘reader’, or historian, with the framework through which s/he can write a story of the past (what's life without a run-on sentence every now and then). We maintain that identity and meaning were not determined by fixed sets and integers, but by a complex network of interrelated signs. In practice, this suggests that a single person within their personal world could have travelled within various worlds and realities, identifying with various neighbours at even single overlapping points of identity; one did not encounter another as a fixed category, either of ‘self’ or ‘other’. Thus, by ‘network’ we do not mean a fixed identifier, a singularizing category, but refer to the complex ways that individuals, groups, institutions, etc. constructed self-considered, coherent and singular existences from the multiplicity of mental activity, perceptions, ideas, and the varying confrontation with images, physical and non-human being, languages, sounds, senses, ‘discourses’ and all else that was life in the period. This, then, is how we would like to make sense of the concepts of ‘continuity’ and ‘change’, particularly as they happened ‘on the ground’. These are foundational thoughts for us. We welcome those interested in them, but also anyone generally interested in the serious reconsideration, revisiting and re-presenting (via text, image, sound or other material) of the historical sources, patterns, inventions, representations and historiographies about late antique and early medieval worlds.