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Godscapes Conference Announcement

Godscapes Conference Announcement

GODSCAPES: Ritual, Belief and the Natural World in the Ancient Mediterranean and Beyond (June 27 – 30, 2023)

Sponsored by the Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions and the School of Classics, the University of St. Andrews

Registration for the Godscapes conference is now live

How did ecological realities inform ritual practice, belief, and religiously focused interactions in the ancient world? Responses to the natural world shape practices in a broad range of spaces - from urban settings to rural traditions – and divine principles, from the indwelling spirits of rocks, trees and topographic features to the places rendered sacred by human habitus.  Studies of the triangulation of humankind, ecosystems, and the divine appear in theoretical paradigms including mobility, memory, space and place, materiality, geology and geography, ecocriticism, aesthetics, phenomenological and cognitive approaches; they underwrite analyses of the monstrous as a tool for thinking about environment, cultural memory, ethnicity and risk. Ecological frameworks are of particular interest for studies of late antiquity and the emergence of the category of ‘pagani’, as well as studies seeking to bridge ancient studies with pressing contemporary concerns.  How did ritual, performance, and belief systems rooted in the landscape mediate or complicate the relationship between indigenous/original and colonizing/imperial powers? How do such beliefs impact arguments for change and continuity for the perspective of the longue-durée? How distinctive are landscapes from seascapes as foci for ritual performance and group identity, and what are the challenges and affordances of each for method and theory in the study of religion? What is the potential for studies of the ancient world to cast light on questions of sustainability?

Conference papers will address these questions in the ancient and traditional worlds of the Mediterranean and beyond, including Greece, Anatolia, the Near East, Egypt, and Northern Europe. The conference will begin with a keynote talk by Prof. Jason König of St. Andrews University. The full conference program will be circulated after March 15.

If you have any questions, contact Dan Schowalter (schowa@carthage.edu)