Defining Empire is the first of three interdisciplinary talks starting Thursday

What is empire? That’s what three York University departments plan to explore this week in the jointly hosted interdisciplinary seminar series Empire: Definitions, Subjectivities and Fragments.

“Defining Empire”, the first in the series of three seminars, happens on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 12:30 to 2pm in the History Common Room, 2183 Vari Hall, Keele campus. This session will examine the ways in which three different academic disciplines – anthropology, history and sociology – define and approach empire. It will highlight points of commonality and difference between these different disciplines and examine and discuss different models of empire, as well as seek to highlight key problems in the study of empire.

History Professor Thabit Abdullah will chair the discussion, while speakers from each of the three disciplines will present separate talks with commentary by Nicholas Rogers, chair of York’s Department of History.

Right: David Lumsden

David Lumsden, chair of the Department of Anthropology, will discuss “China, an Empire Again?”; sociology Professor Philip Walsh will examine “Empires, Tyrannies and Totalitarianism: Hannah Arendt on the Idea of the Predatory Regime”; and history Professor Benjamin Kelly will look at “Imagining the Ruling Power in Roman Egypt.”

The first goal of the seminar series is to help build intellectual bridges among professors and graduate students in history, anthropology and sociology and to enrich conversation between their disciplines. All of York, however, is welcome.

The second session, “Empires and their Subjects,” will run Wednesday, Nov. 19, from 12:30 to 2:30pm in the Sociology Common Room, 2101 Vari Hall, Keele campus.

The third seminar, "Empires and their Fragments," will run Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009, from 12:30 to 2:30pm in the Anthropology Multi-purpose Room, 2043 Vari Hall.

Lunch will be served.