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Thu, Feb 15

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Spokane

Dr. Rhodora G. Vennarucci, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies and Art History at the University of Arkansas

Socii and Sociability: Shopping for Status in a Roman Shop

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Dr. Rhodora G. Vennarucci, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies and Art History at the University of Arkansas
Dr. Rhodora G. Vennarucci, Assistant Professor of Classical Studies and Art History at the University of Arkansas

Time & Location

Feb 15, 2024, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

Spokane, 2316 W 1st Ave, Spokane, WA 99201, USA

About the event

Work in Consumer Culture Theory (CCT) has underscored that shopping is meaningful behavior. It is sti ll new, however, to ask how shoppingbehavior was meaningful for people in the Roman world in part because consumpti on studies in archaeology have overlooked consumeragency and the social act of consumpti on. This talk applies a CCT and phenomenological approach to The Felt Shop of Verecundus (IX.7.5-7)from Pompeii, which sold fi ne footwear (e.g. socci, soft -soled felted slippers) and high-status texti le products (e.g. toga praetexta) to explorehow ancient consumers self-fashioned through public acts of consumpti on in the shop. An interacti ve 3D model of the shop in VR,reconstructed using the architectural remains and archival data from the shop’s excavati on, facilitated this investi gati on, which contributes tothe Virtual Roman Retail project.

Socci were a luxury item worn indoors and at dinner parti es that only the more affl uent in society could aff ord. Shopping for slippers then onthe via dell’Abondanza, Pompeii’s most heavily traffi cked thoroughfare, was a social act that involved the public performance of (aspirati onal?)power and status displayed for a larger and more diverse street audience than a private triclinium, where the slippers were ulti mately meantto be worn, could off er. This lecture discusses how shopping behavior, traditi onally viewed as a component of modern retailing, conveyedsociocultural meaning in Roman society and highlights the social and communicati ve functi ons of the Roman shop, alongside its commercialand distributi ve functi ons.

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