James Hua

My research focuses on population displacements and refugee crises in the Classical and Hellenistic Greek world. In particular, it reappraises the new identity that expelled poleis and citizens forged during exile and how they applied this identity in their political interactions. It gauges this by focusing especially on evidence produced by these expelled populations themselves, including epigraphic, numismatic, and archaeological, whilst also analysing the historians. I aim to not only provide a new, complete characterisation of this understudied but highly common phenomenon, but also re-evaluate ancient Greek social and political culture through this topical lens.

My research questions interrogate the implications of total expulsion on a settlement’s population: how did the shared experience of dislocation affect the identities of displaced peoples? How widespread was this; how did it interact with other identities? What political leverage did it provide displaced communities? How does this re-orient our interpretation of historical events and trends? To enrich my research and converse with current issues, I am also engaging with modern refugee studies and more recent Greek migrations in the same regions (e.g. 1922, the past half-century). I also aim to use my research to help think on today’s refugee policy, and am helping with refugee aid in Oxford. My project is supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council DTP, the Oxford Clarendon Fund, and Merton College.

My other research interests include Greek epigraphy (particularly graffiti), numismatics, and historiography, but also Greek-non Greek cross-cultural interactions, subaltern studies (especially ancient slavery), transhistorical comparisons with modern Greece, and the modern politics of ancient heritage. I participate in archaeological excavations as often as possible, to mark my commitment to interdisciplinarity in ancient history, and I am learning modern Greek.