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Grant number like: HR-50032-04

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Margaret Irene Malamud
New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM 88003-8002)

Faculty Research Awards
Research Programs

$40,000 (approved)
$40,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2005 – 5/31/2006

The Uses and the Abuses of Roman Antiquity in American Culture

My proposed book investigates the utility and mutability of images of classical Rome for American attitudes and culture from the revolutionary era to the present; in it I will analyze how the legacy of Rome has been rediscovered and appropriated by diverse groups through different eras in American history. Most studies of the reception of Rome in American culture have focused on its uses in the domain of political theory and "high" culture, but my work analyzes how and why references to classical Rome have taken popular and commercial shape. The key questions I address are: when, how, and by whom have the cultural resonances of Roman antiquity been manipulated and exploited? What images of classical Rome they used and for what purpose? I am particularly interested in the ways in which representations of Rome have responded to a diversity of voices in the construction of America's metaphorical relationship to Rome and indeed for articulating and questioning America's own political and cultural identities.