By Eric C. Smith (auth.)
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Extra resources for Foucault’s Heterotopia in Christian Catacombs: Constructing Spaces and Symbols in Ancient Rome
45 This principle describes the catacombs well. ”46 They were not utterly private spaces. Neither were they utterly public spaces, though; like all cemeteries, they were primarily meant for those who had loved ones interred there, or whose work it was to effect the upkeep and decoration of the space. In the third and fourth centuries, the church began to assert control over many of the catacombs, adding a layer of bureaucratic oversight, and consequently insulation from the general public. 47 They were hardly out of the way.
The urban landscape, then, can be a kind of cipher for the relationships between and among various groups and communities, defining themselves in terms of and against one another. 6 Defining Center and Periphery In order to work our way from center to periphery, walking with our traveler Callistus we must first establish what constitutes a center and a periphery, and what boundaries or marking structures might delineate the space. As our itinerant Callistus stood in the center of the city of Rome, he stood in the space most readily identified with the idea and presence of the urbs and Empire.
32 Stavrides’ commentary on thresholds provides another view into the physical location of the catacombs generally and the Callistus Catacomb specifically. The catacombs were located along roads for practical reasons, but their locations were also a critical part of their meaning and function. ” For the Callistus Catacomb, this meant that the heterotopian catacomb was linked to the hegemonic space of the city by thresholds—spaces of connection, mediation, and liminality. 34 This neglect is unfortunate, since the interplay between spaces, heterotopian and not, has much to tell us about the natures of those spaces and the ways they function in relation to one another.
Foucault’s Heterotopia in Christian Catacombs: Constructing Spaces and Symbols in Ancient Rome by Eric C. Smith (auth.)