PeoplePast EventsPh.D. Emphasis ProgramContact us

Tom Sizgorich, who helped lay the foundations for the Ancient Borderlands RFG, passed away suddenly on January 27, 2011.
Tom received his Ph.D. (2005) from UCSB and was Associate Professor of History at UC Irvine. His path-breaking book, Violence and Belief in Late Antiquity, appeared in 2008. More than any scholar before him, Tom was able to straddle east and west in Late Antiquity, showing how the new Islamic world both followed and broke from the traditions of the ancient Mediterranean. Tom is survived by his wife Nancy, an Assistant Professor of History at UC Irvine. Tom was not only a brilliant scholar, but a man whose exterior gruffness and irreverent sense of humor veiled a very gentle soul. We will all miss him dearly.

Tom's family, friends, and colleagues have established a fund for the Tom Sizgorich Memorial Incoming Graduate Student Award. The award will go to economically disadvantaged or non-traditional incoming graduate students at UCSB for study in Ancient History, Late Antiquity or Early Islamic History. For more information please contact Elizabeth DePalma Digeser (edepalma(at) or Hal Drake (drake(at)

Checks should be made out to UCSB Foundation / Thomas Sizgorich Memorial Fund and mailed to:
Thomas Sizgorich Memorial Fund
Office of Community Relations
University of California
Santa Barbara, CA 93106-1136


For a list of all meetings and readings this year, click here.

For a complete schedule of Ancient Borderlands RFG events in 2010-2011, please visit

Upcoming Events

Wednesday, 6 April at 5 pm in HSSB 4041
Felipe Rojas (Getty Postdoctoral Fellow)
The Anatolian Past and the Roman Beholder

Monday, 11 April at 12pm in HSSB 6020
Ron Mellor (UCLA), Phi Beta Kappa lecturer
East and West: Encounters along the Silk Road

Friday, 15 April a 4:00 pm in HSSB 4041
Alessandro Barchiesi (University of Siena at Arezzo)
G.H. Spogli Professor of Italian Studies, Stanford University and 2011-12 Sather Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley
The Mountains: Representations of Italic landscapes in the Aeneid

Monday, 2 May from 9am-4:30pm in HSSB 6020
Barbarians, The Baltic, and Beyond: A Comparative Borderlands Conference
Click to download conference program

Friday, 6 May at time/place TBA
Kristina Milnor (Columbia)
J.P. Sullivan Lecture sponsored by the UCSB Classics Department
Topic TBA

Friday, 20 May at 4pm in HSSB 3041
Leslie Wallace (U. Pittsburgh)
Borderland Processes Along the Han Northern Frontier, 130 BCE-2 CE

Friday, May 27 at 4pm in HSSB 4041
Stuart Gray (Political Science, UCSB)
Ancient India & Early Greece: A Historical-Comparative Approach to Political Thought and the Concept of Ruling

Registering for the Core Seminar for Credit
Interested graduate students can receive 2 credits per quarter for attending the meetings by registering for the seminar under INT 594AB - ANCIENT BORDERLANDS. They should register for 2 credits, and for a non-letter grade option. Completion of one year of the Core Seminar is a requirement for the Ph.D. emphasis. Contact the instructor John W I. Lee for more information.

Past Events

Contact Information and List of Participants

Elizabeth Digeser (Associate Professor, History), co-convener,
Christine Thomas (Associate Professor, Religious Studies), co-convener,

Participation is open to all interested scholars. Please contact Prof. Digeser or Prof. Thomas if you wish to be included and receive mailings about our events, or sign up online.

Statement of Purpose

The Ancient Borderlands Research Focus Group unites UCSB faculty and graduate students with common research interests in the history of Mediterranean antiquity, broadly conceived. We are investigating the process by which groups define, create and maintain their identities over time. The creation of boundaries, among ethnic, political, or religious groups, is a dynamic activity that can be reflected, not only by changes in material culture, but also in the rhetorical strategies adopted by ancient authors and the political tactics pursued by those seeking power. As members of several departments, including Classics, History and Religious Studies, we are also interested in challenging the disciplinary boundaries between us, believing that we have much to learn from one another.
more info

Other Resources and Links

UC Multicampus Research Group in Late Antiquity

Bibliography of Related Materials

Go back