News and Events




The Autumn 2017 meeting of GISRAM will be held at the home of Sarah Iles Johnston and Fritz Graf at 3:00 on September 10.  Our topic will be  Heidi Wendt’s book, At the Temple Gates: The Religion of Freelance Experts in the Roman Empire (Oxford 2016).  Please contact Professor Johnston for more information or to RSVP

Saturday, September 30: We will be hosting a conference in response to Heidi Wendt’s At the Temple Gates: The Religion of Freelance Experts in the Roman Empire (Oxford 2016).  Further information can be found here.  All are welcome.

Carolina López-Ruiz will deliver her inaugural lecture, ‘Orientalism: My Way,’ at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, February 14, 2018 at the Faculty Club.  All are welcome!

Sean Anthony will deliver a lecture that same evening as part of CSR’s Community Lecture series, at 7 p.m. in Page Hall, Room, 020.  His title is "Has the Islamic 'Reformation' Already Happened?: Reformist Thought and the Beginning of Islamic Modernity."  All are welcome!

The Spring 2018 meeting of GISRAM will take place at the home of Tina Sessa on Sunday, March 4 starting at 3:30.  Please RSVP to Tina (sessa.3) if you plan to attend.  
Our topic will be the question of whether—or how—one compares myths from cultures that have no geographic or historical connection.  That is: we all know about the usefulness of comparing, say, Greek myths to those of Mesopotamia or India, but how do we compare Greek myths to those of, say, Japan?  Some older modes of interpreting myths offered ways forward: Levi-Strauss’ structuralism, Mircea Eliade’s phenomenological approach, Freud and Jung’s psychological approaches.  (And then there is Joseph Campbell, who drew a bit on all of these….).  
     More recent scholars have tended to reject the theoretical stances and methodologies that underlay those approaches.  So what?  Do we just not compare?
     In preparation, please read the Japanese story of Izanami and Izanagi as told here.  Please come prepared to discuss any ancient Mediterranean myths that you think usefully can be compared to it, but also think particularly about the story of Demeter and Persephone as told in the Homeric Hymn to Demeter (Nagy’s translation) and the story of Inanna and Dumuzi.

On Monday, April 16, Daniel Barbu of the Centre National de la Recrche Scientifique, Paris, will offer a seminar on the comparative study of myth, at 3:30 in Room 448 University Hall.
    Dr. Barbu will compare the myth of Perseus [pdf] to the myth of Asdiwal, a mythological figure of a north Pacific-coast Native American tribe.   The Asdiwal piece is long; you can read a summary at:
    Dr. Barbu also suggests that we read two pieces by J.Z. Smith.  One of them is ‘In Comparison a Magic Dwells [pdf],’ and ‘A Pearl of Great Price [pdf].’




Graduate student Marcus Ziemann with his dog

Marcus Ziemann has won this year's Iles Award for the Study of Myth from the Center for the Study of Religion.  The Award will fund Marcus' work on the connection between Assyrian literature and the Iliad, and in particular will enable him to travel and meet with Assyriologists.  Congratulatons, Marcus!

Michael Biggerstaff presented a paper at the Midwest Society of Biblical Literature conference in South Bend, Indiana on  February 3, 2018 entitled "Prophetic Uncertainty as a Source of Religious Diversity in the Hebrew Bible."

Katie Caliva  attended the Spring School on the Material Dimension of Religion at Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, where she presented a paper entitled "Pythian 8: Prayers in a Material Context". Katie received funding from both the Graf Fund and the ASC Small Research Grants program to support her travel to the Spring School.

Colleen Kron has presented, or is about to present, several papers:
    “Myth on the Wall: Perceptions of Antiquity in Contemporary Street Art,” Celtic Conference in Classics "Democratizing Classics" Panel, University of St. Andrews, July 11-14, 2018.
    “Children at the Mysteries? The Gold Tablets from Pelinna in Context,” at the International Spring School “The Material Dimension of Religions,” Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, March 5-9, 2018.
    “Prometheus Bound in a Sicilian Performance Context,” on the "Committee on Ancient & Modern Performance" panel 149th Annual Meeting of the Society for Classical Studies, January 6, 2018, Boston, MA.

Carman Romano received a grant from the Virginia Brown Fund to travel to Italy to study a manuscript of a humanist commentary on Plautus.

This page will be updated with further events as the year goes on—keep checking back!


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