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VICI Award for Miguel John Versluys

Dr. Miguel John Versluys (Archaeology) has been awarded a prestigious Vici grant for his project: "Innovating objects. The agency of global connections in the Roman world (200-30 BC)." Seven researchers from Leiden University received Vici grants in 2016. The funding will allow the scholars to carry out research for a period of five years and to build their own research group.

Innovating objects. The agency of global connections in the Roman world (200-30 BC). 

Congratulations to Miguel John Versluys (Archaeology) on his Vici award. The development of this proposal was in part supported by a GI Breed grant. He is also the recipient of a Seed Grant, Globalisation, Materiality and the Transference of Cultures, that initiated the Material Agency Forum (MAF), which Global Interactions continues to support.


Innovating objects. The agency of global connections in the Roman world (200-30 BC). 

What happens to societies when they get caught up in the dynamics of Globalisation? How do they deal with the new networks they become part of? How do they balance the need for identity with the opportunities for innovation? These questions matter greatly to our present-day world but have been equally crucial to the development of many, if not all, societies in world history. Providing an understanding of the long-term, historical impact and agency of global connections is therefore essential.

This project will do so by studying one of the principal examples of Globalisation in history: the Roman world. Focussing on the formative phase of ca. 200-30 BC, it will investigate how "Rome" was constructed through and from its global connections.

It will approach this question from the innovative perspective of investigating objects as instigators of change. The influx of new objects leads to new practices and configurations. New material flows shrink geographies and expand imaginations. Objects, therefore, are crucial to understand how Globalisation works as a process for people.

Using a globalising and object-centered approach towards the second and first century BC Mediterranean will redefine the Roman world as a place where various (Eurasian and African) networks came together with the Mediterranean in a period that is characterised by an unprecedented acceleration of globalisation processes. In applying a bottom-up approach, the project will study the material repertoire of two widely influential Hellenistic-Romanhubs (Samosata and Alexandria) in an interdisciplinary manner and starting from Artefact Studies. It will identify and analyse the changes moulded by objects and their innovating effects, as well as consequences for other parts of Outer Eurasia.

The project works from "small places to large issues". Its objectives are:

- to conduct an interdisciplinary, in-depth study of two key archaeological sites in order to investigate how, in those hubs, new objects function as possibilities for change and innovation,

- to rewrite the formative, second-first century BC phase of the Mediterranean world and to redefine the formation of the Roman world and Roman identity against that background,

- to better understand the (historical) relations between innovation, object-possibilities and Globalisation.

The project will result in safeguarding two unique, historically important and endangered cultural heritage top-sites in present-day Turkey and Egypt for future generations; providing fresh perspectives on the formation of the Roman world; and generating new insights on Globalisation and people by studying objects as channeling change and innovation.

About the Vici Grant

Vici is part of the NWO incentive scheme, that comprises Veni, Vidi and Vici grants. With this scheme NWO encourages scientific talent by offering scientists in various stages of their career the opportunity to do groundbreaking research. The Vici grant is a boost for the laureates and it also creates opportunities for a large number of young researchers who will work in the laureates’ research groups. Vici is one of the largest grants for individual scientists in the Netherlands and is part of NWO's Talent Scheme. The Vici grants are awarded each year by NWO.

GI Breed Grants

These grants for Leiden faculty offer a flexible scheme that focuses on supporting mini ‘sabbaticals’ tailored to support one or more researchers who situate the study of global interactions as a primary component in their research. For more information about this grant program please see: GI Breed grants 

GI Seed Grants

These grants are intended to support and stimulate new collaborative or crossdisciplinary research. Proposals must demonstrate a cross-regional and/or multi-disciplinary nature. For more information, please see: Seed Grants

For more information about the research profile Global Interactions, please visit our website

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