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SBL/AAR 2022: Remodeling the Motel of Mysteries - Schedule Announced

In response to our call for papers, we are happy to announce the schedule for our session at the SBL/AAR 2022 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. We will have two panels at the meeting; please see below for details.
SBL/AAR 2022: Remodeling the Motel of Mysteries  - Schedule Announced
Sanctuary of the Great Gods, Palaiopolis, Samothrace Island, Thrace, Greece. Image via wikimedia.

In response to our call for papers, we are happy to announce the schedule for our session at the SBL/AAR 2022 Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado. We will have two panels at the meeting; please see below for details.


Remodeling the Motel of the Mysteries

A rich range of new approaches has reinvigorated the study of Greek and Roman mystery cults. New technologies for reconstructing the affective, embodied, interactive experience of these rituals open previously inaccessible frameworks for a phenomenology of the mysteries. Fresh lenses on the Christian fathers read them less as the voice of Christianity triumphant than as interlocutors in the complex processes of social, personal, and gender identities the rites enabled. Digital humanities approaches enable consideration of soundscapes and social networks; comparative studies draw on ethnographic models of secrecy; contextual approaches explore intersections with magic. More detailed historical-philological studies on specific cult sites and activities have shown the different ways in which Greeks and Romans made use of such rites. This panel invites papers focused on innovations in theory and method in relation to Greek and Roman mystery cults, framing an emerging analytical horizon for rites sealed by secrecy.

Sandra Blakely, Emory University, Presiding (5 min)

Chris Atkins, Yale University
Sacred Rites, Cult Poetry, and Curse Tablets at Selinous (20 min)

Discussion (5 min)

M. David Litwa, Australian Catholic University
The Naassene Preacher and the Mysteries: A Historical Analysis (20 min)

Discussion (5 min)

Bijan Omrani, University of Exeter
Touchstones of the Mystery Cults (20 min)

Discussion (5 min)

Ryan Abromowitz, University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Art and Sensory Experience in the Ancient World: Reanimating the Sanctuary of the Great Gods on the Island of Samothrace (20 min)

Discussion (5 min)

Gerhard van den Heever, University of South Africa
Having a Blast in the Motel of the Mysteries: A Redescriptive Archaeology (20 min)

Discussion (5 min)

Jennifer Larson, Kent State University - Main Campus, Respondent (10 min)

Discussion (10 min)


Mixed Reality Experience: Samothrace

This panel presents initial results of a collaboration involving archaeologists, art historians, geographers, and mixed reality specialists including software developers and digital artists. They will demonstrate how a mixed reality application allows users to re-experience how ancient visitors might have moved through the Samothrace: stopping and starting, conversing, and interacting physically with other individuals, and moving around as the architecture and terrain allow.

Maggie Popkin, Case Western Reserve University
Embodying Sacred Experience in the Sanctuary of the Great Gods at Samothrace Using Mixed Reality (30 min)

Bonna D. Westcoat and Ian Burr, Emory University, on the making of the 3D model.

Mark Griswold and co-authors Tianxiang Gao, Henry Eastman, and Erin Henninger, Case Western Reserve University, on the making of the mixed reality HoloLens model.

Other (60 min)


We look forward to seeing you there!