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Name: Amy Wale

PhD: Ancient History and Archaeology

Thesis Title: Dress and Identity in the Roman and Late Antique World: the Case of North Africa (c. AD 200-700)


Thesis Description:

Dress (i.e. all aspects of appearance, clothing, and body language) acts a powerful non-verbal marker of identity. As such, it communicates a variety of messages to its audience and through this process constructs, manipulates, and negotiates identities. My research examines these issues in the context of Roman and Late Antique North Africa using a variety of media: textual, documentary, material, and visual culture. Fundamental questions in this research focus on establishing how dress was used to construct cultural identities and the affect Christian discourses had on the rhetoric and reality of dress in North Africa. Dress facilitates markers of inclusion and exclusion and this research will also investigate the significance of understanding the experiential nature of dress and how this might impact its potential as a marker of status, religion, ethnicity, cultural affiliation etc. Additionally, this study examines how far modern theories such as post-colonialism, code-switching, and discrepant identities, have produced fragmentary views of the North African evidence. My research contributes to three important areas of study: the growing appreciation of the social importance of ancient textiles and dress in the past as material and physical markers of identity; to the study of cultural identity more widely; and better contextualising the transformation of North Africa (c. AD 200-700).


Supervisors and Institution(s): 

Dr Mary Harlow (University of Leicester)

Dr Andrew Merrills (University of Leicester)

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