Friday Bulletin January 13, 2017

Published: January 17th, 2017

Category: Department Updates, Friday Bulletin, News


The first Fulbright event of the Spring with guest speaker Dr. Carol Weissert, Director of the LeRoy Collins Institute at the College of Social Sciences and Public Policy at Florida State University will take place on January 18 at 3PM at MUB 101.

This timely lecture will be most informative as healthcare policy and access to affordable healthcare is under discussion nationwide, and expected to experience major changes.

This event is free and open to the public.

Whodunit? The Role of the Rural Population in Post-Roman Economic Development (AD 450-750)

Frans Theuws (Leiden University)

Thursday, 26 January 2017, 5:00 pm, Marston Visualization Lab (L136)

  — sponsored by the Center for Humanities and the Public Interest

Abstract: The question of how Europe overcame the collapse of the Roman state in the West has been the subject of popular and academic debate for more than a century. The ‘fall of Rome’ and its societal consequences in the West are often perceived as one of the continent’s most severe crises. Academic interest in the collapse and recovery of ‘the West’ has been remarkably ‘top-down’. Debates are often still conducted in terms of dichotomies such as ‘transformation vs collapse’ and ‘self-sufficiency vs an open economy’. Often the focus is on perceived ‘prime movers’ for growth (e.g. trade, agrarian production or crafts) or the nature of the social organisation of production (slavery vs tenancy, the nature of the estate, the role of free peasants). However, there is one thing that most modern authors (both historians and archaeologists) do agree on: that the post-Roman economic development was the result of initiatives and demand from the king, aristocrats and the church.

The role of the rural population in the transformation from ‘Late Roman’ to ‘Medieval Europe’ has been given little consideration, however. Were the rural inhabitants of 5th- to 7th-century northwestern Europe merely passive economic agents, or did they have an active and important role in economic development, not only as producers but also as consumers? This question is especially relevant in view of the vast quantities of exquisitely worked objects, often imported from the eastern Mediterranean or regions even further afield, that have been recovered from graves of the rural population in the 5th to 7th centuries. The presence of these precious and often exotic objects in the cemeteries of even the smallest local communities seems to be at odds with the established paradigm of elite control of agricultural production and (long-distance) trade. Instead, it appears that in the so-called Dark Ages, objects circulating in global exchange networks were available to ordinary rural dwellers far from the established centres of elite control.  Thousands of these richly furnished local cemeteries have been discovered in northwestern Europe, suggesting that the rural population may have had a far more conspicuous role in the economic development of post-Roman Europe than has hitherto been thought.

In my paper I will present my ideas about the role of the rural population in the economic recovery of Northwestern Europe (Northern France, Belgium, Luxemburg, the Netherlands and the western part of Germany). I will also explain why life-cycle rituals were of great importance in this and why the existing models of historians obscured the view on the role of rural dwellers in a process of economic growth.

Biography: Professor Frans Theuws studied History and Provincial Roman Archaeology at the University of Nijmegen and Medieval Archaeology at the University of Amsterdam (1983 cum laude). His PhD research dealt with the characteristics of early medieval society in the southern Netherlands and northern Belgium (1988 cum laude). As an initiator and a team leader he was involved in the organization of the European Science Foundation project ‘The Transformation of the Roman world’. He has directed several projects financed by the National Science foundation on the archaeology of the Late Roman and Early medieval period of Northern Gaul. He is author of numerous books, book chapters, and journal articles including Rituals of power : from late antiquity to the early Middle Ages (2000)  and “Grave goods, ethnicity, and the rhetoric of burial rites in Late Antique Northern Gaul” in Ethnic Constructs in Antiquity. He is currently professor of medieval archaeology at the University of Leiden.

2017/2018 TCD Assistantships 


The Tropical Conservation and Development (TCD) Program in the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Florida (UF) announces a competition for Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships to support Master’s and Doctoral level study in various disciplines. Awards cover tuition and typically provide a $18,000 stipend for one academic year of study at UF, usually matched by a second year of support from the student’s department. The TCD Graduate Assistantship is provided to allow students to pursue a graduate degree at the University of Florida. TCD Graduate Fellowships and Assistantships are made possible by an endowment from the Ford Foundation and the State of Florida.



  • Recipients must be admitted to a graduate degree program at UF or be a current student in the TCD graduate certificate program.
  • For new students, if admission results are not available by the deadline, the award will be contingent upon acceptance by UF.
  • Recipients are required to participate in TCD sponsored activities and to complete the 12-15 credit TCD interdisciplinary graduate certificate.
  • TCD Graduate Assistantships do not support off-campus field research.


Applicants will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

  •  Research/academic interests and approach:
    Strong applicants will be those that demonstrate: A) a commitment to multidisciplinary approaches that integrate biological conservation, local peoples, and/or natural resource management; and B) a good match with TCD goals and community
  • Plans and potential for career and leadership in conservation and development, especially in tropical or developing world contexts:
    Strong applicants will be perceived to: A) have potential to multiply impact of the TCD mission by applying and sharing knowledge and approach in new realms; B) potential contribution to tropical countries (or regions of interest to TCD including southern cone in South America, southern Africa, Greater Himalayan region), communities, ecosystems.
  • Experience relevant to conservation and development, especially in tropical or developing world contexts, including regions of interest to TCD such as southern cone in South America, southern Africa, Greater Himalayan region:
    Experience that strengthens a student’s application might include: A) volunteer, life or work experiences (private, government, NGO, Peace Corps, etc.); and/or B) partnerships and collaborations, such as with TCD alumni or partners, local organizations, NGOs.
  • Academic record and qualifications (i.e., GRE, TOEFL, grades, coursework that demonstrates interest and experience in TCD program related areas).
  • For current UF/TCD students: Emphasis will be placed on the degree and quality of participation in TCD related activities, current enrollment in TCD certificate, intellectual growth and progress in program, and demonstration of student leadership in TCD.
  • For students applying from UF/MDP program who are not completing thesis/dissertation research, special emphasis will be placed on career and leadership potential in conservation and development arena.


Application Deadline:  February 6, 2017




To apply for a TCD Graduate Fellowship or Assistantship, submit the following materials:

  1. TCD Fellowship/Assistantship application form 


  1. A letter of support from your current or future faculty adviser or department Graduate Coordinator stating: the reasons why you should be considered for a TCD Graduate Fellowship/Assistantship; your status at UF (e.g. incoming student, second year student, etc.); and, if possible, an agreement to provide a year of departmental support for every year of TCD Graduate Fellowship support awarded.  Incoming students are encouraged to begin contact with potential advisors early in the process (e.g., 4-6 months prior to February application) in order to secure a letter of support.
  2. One letter of recommendation, accompanied by the release form. 
  3. A two page statement of purpose explaining what you plan to do during your graduate training at UF and why you should be considered for a TCD Graduate Fellowship/Assistantship. Include details about your research interests, career goals, leadership potential, and related work experience (see ‘criteria for selection’ section above).  Current students should also highlight past involvement in TCD activities.
  4. A copy of your curriculum vitae.
  5. Originals or photocopies of academic transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  6. Graduate Record Exam (GRE) scores
  7. Test of English as Foreign Language (TOEFL) scores, if applicable.
  8. If you are applying for support during the last year or semester of your graduate program, please include the following docs to your application: A) Identity other sources of funding that you have applied for and B) Status of these applications (i.e. pending; approved; denied)


Please send documents as single PDF in the same order as listed above. The recommendation and support letters should be sent directly by email to Patricia Sampaio ( If you have any questions email TCD (


Priorities & Funding Opportunities for 2018-2020

Call for Statements of Interest for Proposed New Applied Research Projects

Deadline: February 13, 2017 (3:00 PM Eastern Standard Time)

This document is in three sections: 

A. Funding and Proposal Information, B. Priorities for Applied Research Projects, C. Statement of Interest Guidelines

This document is available online from:  January 4 to February 13, 2017 at



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