• 2014 panel at the APA/AIA meeting (Chicago) - DEADLINE: Feb. 15, 2012


Many studies of ancient religion have recently turned to household and private cult in order to redress a longstanding preference for the study of state-level religiosity. At the same time, these studies make clear that neither household nor state cult can be adequately understood without reference to the other. This panel explores one facet of this relationship, asking how the boundaries between private or household religion and ethnic or state cult might have been manipulated for various reasons in the ancient Mediterranean world, including the Near East and Egypt in addition to Greece and Rome. We invite papers that draw upon events, texts, and/or material evidence to discuss how the concept of “dwelling with the gods” was employed in the ancient world, whether as a norm or a
form of transgression. Specific instantiations might include household shrines for family and community deities; houses attached to sanctuaries; parts of houses consecrated as state shrines; images of private individuals set up in sanctuaries of the gods; or even individuals allowed to take up residence in a god’s temple. Panelists might focus upon these or similar practices that may have been used strategically to draw together the fortunes of one individual/household and an ethnic group or the state, to promote an individual or family to a position of state leadership, or even negatively to identify an individual as a threat to the community. By examining particular examples or shifts in practice, wherein the boundaries between household or private cult and ethnic or state cult
may have been redefined, the papers in this session should help us better understand developments in the religious practice of both the household and the state and the role that manipulating the boundaries between them played in constructing and representing personal power and charisma within the community.

Abstracts of 500-600 words for a paper to last between 15 to 20 minutes should be submitted by email attachment as .doc or .rtf files to socamr@gmail.com. Abstracts should contain a title and a word count, but no identifying information so that abstracts can be judged anonymously by our Program Committee. For further information about abstract format and requirements, please see the instructions on the APA's web site. The deadline for submission of abstracts is February 15, 2013.

For further information, contact Eric Orlin at eorlin@pugetsound.edu.

Tracking Hermes/MercuryAn interdisciplinary conference at the University of Virginia, March 27–29, 2014DEADLINE: Feb. 1, 2013
Keynote speakers: Henk Versnel (Leiden), H. Alan Shapiro (Johns Hopkins), Joseph Farrell (Penn), and Deborah Boedeker (Brown).

Of all the divinities of classical antiquity, the Greek Hermes (= Roman Mercury) is the most versatile, complex, and ambiguous. His functions embrace both the marking of boundaries and their transgression, commerce and theft, rhetoric and practical jokes; he also plays the role of mediator between all realms of human and divine
activity, embracing heaven, earth and the netherworld. This conference at the University of Virginia aims to bring together scholars of Greek and Roman religion, art, literature, and history to assess this wide-ranging figure. We hope also to include attention to early reception of the god and his myths outside of Greece and Rome proper—for instance, Hermes as the Egyptian Thoth, the worship of Mercury in syncretistic forms in Rome’s imperial provinces, and allegorical interpretations of the god in late ancient and early medieval times.

If you are interested in presenting a paper (20 minutes), please send an abstract of approximately 500 words by February 1, 2013 at the latest.
Abstracts or requests for information may be sent to one of the organizers: John F. Miller (jfm4j@virginia.edu) or Jenny Strauss Clay (jsc2t@virginia.edu)

Spatialising Practices: Landscapes - Mindscapes - Socioscapes

Towards a Redescriptive Companion to Graeco-Roman Antiquity

23-27 June, 2013 - Loutraki, Greece

Organised by the Department of Biblical & Ancient Studies, Unisa

(with the affiliation of the Greek Society for the Study of Religion & Culture)

Keynote Speakers:
  • • Prof Veikko Anttonen, University of Turku, Finland
  • • Prof Robert A. Segal, University of Aberdeen, UK
  • • Prof Jeanne H. Kilde, University of Minnesota, USA
  • • Prof Gerhard van den Heever, University of South Africa, RSA
Keynote lecture and chaired by Prof Panayotis Pachis, Aristotle University, Greece
There will be a special session on Religion & Space in Antiquity. For the call and relevant documents (conference brochure, registration form), please visit the conference website: www.unisa.ac.za/spatialising_practices_2013.

The Center for the Study of Ancient Religionsof the University of Chicagopresents
Ancient Amulets: Words, Images and Social Contexts
a conference at the Franke Institute of Humanities and the Oriental InstituteFriday, February 15th – Sunday, February 17th, 2013

An amulet is quintessentially an object hung about the neck, suspended over a house door or hidden in the heart of a city that is especially empowered by its medium, history, text or image to protect people and real estate or to heal sick bodies. In the ancient world, at least, it seems to be a universal constant, which lends itself nicely to comparative inquiry. Ancient amulets have, however, been underappreciated in academia, perhaps because of their small size, often rough workmanship or even their gross ubiquity. They also sit uncomfortably at the intersection of many traditional disciplines – archaeology, philology and the histories of art and religion -- and are thus a central focus to none of them. There is also a lasting misperception that amulets are typical of “eastern” cultures, both ancient and modern, but not “western” ones. The goals of the conference are to bring together scholars of the ancient and early medieval worlds, both east and west, from different disciplines and ask them to interrogate amulets from three interlocked perspectives: words, images and social contexts.

For a list of scholars who have agreed to give papers, or for further information, please contact Professor Chris Faraone at cf12@uchicago.edu.