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Study information

Rome: Globalisation, Materiality

Module titleRome: Globalisation, Materiality
Module codeCLAM108
Academic year2024/5
Module staff

Professor Martin Pitts (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Through the lens of globalisation, this module provides a framework for the critical analysis of material culture in the Roman world. As well as considering the applicability of globalisation theory to the orbis terrarum, the module explores how new interpretations of material culture may be fostered by addressing concepts such as connectivity, entanglement and objectscapes, and the implications for understanding traditional aspects of Roman history (e.g. Rome’s expansion, economy and impact on conquered societies). Prior knowledge of Roman archaeology would help; the module is recommended for students with an interdisciplinary interest in the historical and anthropological dimensions of globalisation and materiality.


Module aims - intentions of the module

  • The module aims to provide critical engagement with the tools to access cultural histories and ideologies which appear unattainable through literary sources, allowing for the expansion and elaboration of existing explanations of the Roman world and challenging the underlying models which inform our understanding of key historical and cultural processes and constructs.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Develop an understanding and appreciation of appropriate theories and methodolgies for studying material and visual culture
  • 2. Work critically with different types of material/archaeological evidence and to use them in effective combination as a tool of historical and socio-cultural analysis and reconstruction

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Collate and analyse widely different types of material evidence from the Roman world, much of which is incomplete and ambiguous in its significance
  • 4. Draw independent inferences on wide ranging scholarship concerning the role of material culture in debates on imperialism, Romanisation, and globalisation processes in antiquity.
  • 5. Reflect critically on the roles of globalisation and objects-in-motion in contemporary cultures.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 6. Apply key bibliographical skills, the latest forms of information retrieval, as well as word-processing skills
  • 7. Think autonomously and analytically on the basis of material and visual sources and secondary literature
  • 8. Construct and defend a sustained argument (both in written form and orally)
  • 9. Work with instructor and peers in an independent, constructive and responsive way

Syllabus plan

Examples of possible seminar topics include: the Roman world-empire, visual culture as globalising koine, urban change and connectivity, economic integration, roads and time-space compression, globalising institutions: the army, mass consumption and objectscapes, food and regionality, social and economic inequality.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching15Intensive seminar and reading group teaching
Guided independent study135Working independently and in groups in preparation for seminars and essays

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Essay804000 words1-9Mark; written and oral feedback
Oral presentation (Powerpoint file with recorded voiceover, shared with class on ELE, with handout)2020 minutes1-9Mark; written and oral feedback

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
EssayEssay1-9Referral/Deferral period
Oral presentationOral presentation (Powerpoint file with recorded voiceover, with handout)1-9Referral/Deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 50%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of referral will be capped at 50%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

  • Appadurai, A (ed.). 1986. The social life of things. Commodities in cultural perspective. Cambridge.
  • Hodos, T, with P. Lane, A. Geurds, I. Lilley, G. Shelach-Lavi, M. Pitts, M. Stark & M. Versluys (eds.). 2017. The Routledge Handbook of Archaeology and Globalization, London, Routledge.
  • Jennings, J. 2011.  Globalizations and the ancient world. Cambridge.
  • Pitts, M and Versluys, M.J. (eds.) 2015. Globalisation and the Roman world. World history, connectivity and material culture. Cambridge.
  • Thomas, N. 1991. Entangled objects. Harvard.
  • Woolf, G. 1998. Becoming Roman. The origins of provincial civilization in Gaul. Cambridge.
  • Van Oyen A, & Pitts, M. (eds.) 2017. Materialising Roman Histories. Oxford, Oxbow

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Globalisation, Rome, Material Culture

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date

Feb 2013

Last revision date