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AIA/SCS 2023: Remodeling the Motel of Mysteries (CFP)

AIA/SCS 2023: Remodeling the Motel of Mysteries (CFP)

SAMR announces a call for papers for the upcoming Archaeological Institute of America (AIA) and Society for Classical Studies (SCS) joint annual meeting.

REMODELING THE MOTEL OF THE MYSTERIES: innovations in the study of secret cults

A rich range of new approaches has reinvigorated the study of Greek and Roman mystery cults. This consideration can include rituals associated with such divinities as Isis, Cybele, Mithras, Asclepius, Dionysus, Bona Dea, Demeter, as well as cults centered at specific locations such as Eleusis, Andania, and Samothrace. Fresh perspectives on textual evidence, from the Homeric Hymns to Euripides, Apuleius, and Plutarch, suggest that mysteries were ‘good to think with’ for genres from performance to satire and philosophy. Epigraphic evidence on votives, lamellae, and gems suggest intersections between embodied experience and divine interventions. New technologies for reconstructing the affective, interactive experience of these rituals cast light on the complex processes of social, personal, gendered, other-abled identities the rites fostered. Digital technologies enable consideration of soundscapes and social networks; comparative studies draw on ethnographic studies of secrecy; contextual approaches explore intersections with magic, and more granular analyses of how differently Greeks and Romans made use of such rites.

This panel invites papers focused on innovations in theory and method, framing an emerging analytical horizon for rites sealed by secrecy.

Abstracts should be submitted by email attachment as .doc or .docx files to socamr@gmail.com and should be from 500-600 words in length for a paper to last between 15 to 20 minutes.  All abstracts will undergo blind review; abstracts should contain a title and a word count, but should not have any information regarding the identity of the submitter. All abstracts for papers will be reviewed anonymously. The deadline for submission of abstracts is April 8, 2022.

Please direct all queries to SAMR at socamr@gmail.com.


Belayche, N., F. Massa, and P. Hoffman (ed.s) (2021). Les mystères au IIe siècle de notre ère: un tournant. Brepols.

Faraone. C.A. (2013). “The amuletic design of the Mithraic bull-wounding scene”. JRS 103: 96–116.

Panagiotidou, O. (2018). “Secrecy in the Mithras Cult: Concealment, Cognition and Social Cohesion.” Acta Ant. Hung. 58: 667-679.

Petridou, G. (2018)   “Resounding mysteries: sound and silence in the Eleusinian soundscape.” Body and Religion 2.1: 68-87 doi: https://doi.org/10.1558/bar.36485

Romero Mayorga, C. (2021). “Music in mystery cults: towards a comprehensive catalogue.” Telestes: an international journal of archaeomusicology and archaeology of sound 1: 87-101

Schlapbach, K. (2021).  “Making Sense: Dance in Ancient Greek Mystery Cults and in Acts of John,” in L. Gianvittorio-Ungar and K. Schlapbach (ed.s), Choreonarratives: Dancing Stories in Greek and Roman Antiquity and Beyond. Leiden: Brill, 82-107

Wescoat, B.D. et al. (2020) “Interstitial Space in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on Samothrace,” in A. Haug, A. Müller (ed.s),  Hellenistic Architecture and Human Action: A  Case of Reciprocal Influence.  Leiden: Sidestone Press, 41-62.

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This call for papers has expired.