Professor Christopher Smith, Vice-Principal of the University of St Andrews, has been appointed the next Director of the British School at Rome.
Professor Smith (43), who takes up his appointment on October 1st 2009, succeeds Professor Andrew Wallace-Hadrill, who has been appointed Master of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.
Professor Christopher Smith is currently Proctor and Provost of St Leonard’s College, Dean of Graduate Studies and Vice-Principal at the University of St Andrews with responsibility for strategic policy in regards to postgraduate recruitment and resources, student services and the University Library.
An ancient history graduate of Keble College, Oxford, Professor Smith was Pro-Dean of Graduate Studies for the Faculties of Arts and Divinity at the University of St Andrews from 1998-2001, Dean of Arts from 2002-2006 and Provost of St Leonard’s College and Dean of Graduate Studies from 2006. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland, Royal Historical Society and the Society of Antiquaries of London.
His research interests include the social and economic development of early Rome and Latium, particularly as evidenced through archaeology and comparative developments in the southern and eastern Mediterranean. Within this, he has addressed general aspects of urbanization and state formation, and also the evolution and legal and symbolic significance of republican political institutions, particularly the gens, or clan, and how these were characterised by contemporary sources and interpreted in the modern historiography of the subject.
He is an editor of a major project on the fragmentary Roman historians, and has published on writers such as Plutarch, Pliny the Elder and Aulus Gellius, who are our sources for much fragmentary literature, as well as the periods of the late Republic which generated the most substantial historical accounts. This in turn has led to work on Cicero and fragmentary Roman orators.
Currently he is completing a general account of the place of history in Roman society, looking at the use of inscriptions, monuments and texts and using concepts such as lieux de memoire and social memory to understand more clearly the development of Roman historiography, and also a Very Short Introduction on the Etruscans.
Sir Ivor Roberts, Chairman of the Council of the British School at Rome, said: “Professor Smith brings an impressive range of talents to his new job, both as a distinguished historian with a particular interest in early Rome and Latium and a strategic manager at one of Britain’s leading universities.
“The Council welcomes Professor Smith to this important position which has been held with such distinction by Professor Wallace-Hadrill and looks forward to working with him in taking the School forward in the challenging times ahead.”
Issued by the Press Office, University of St Andrews
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