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Religion in Premodern Europe and the Mediterranean Unit

Call for Proposals for November Meeting

We welcome proposals on all topics related to the Unit's subject matter, broadly conceived. Proposals that are themselves comparative in nature or that present novel approaches to the study of premodern religion are particularly welcome. We encourage the submission of preformed panel proposals suitable for 90-minute time slots. We also encourage the submission of individual paper proposals for panels on the following subjects:

  • Teach this object: This session is intended to focus on use of material objects in pedagogy. How can objects increase student engagement and effectively convey understanding of premodern religious history or religious studies concepts? For each paper, contributors should pick a material artifact or crafted object of some kind and aim to show the value of such pieces in teaching.
  • Travelling objects and objects as mediators (co-sponsored by SBL Art and Religions of Antiquity Unit): Inspired by Georgia Frank’s 2023 book Unfinished Christians (UPenn Press), esp. ch. 3, we invite papers that discuss portable and shifting objects in lived religion: e.g., that mediate between religious cultures or act as portable signifiers of religious identity, diversity, continuity, and / or transformation. Examples of portable mediating objects might include relics, reliquaries, amulets, icons, talismans, monstrances, elaborate vestments, jewelry such as episcopal rings, scrolls and codices, holy people, pilgrimage badges, lamps and censors, votive objects, spolia, and other “portabilia.”.
  • Interreligious sharing, borrowing and accommodation: Papers will explore modes of interaction among religious traditions, with particular emphasis on accommodation of two or more religious groups sharing the same space. How do they accommodate their different needs? How is contestation (over resources, rights, use of sacred space) resolved?  Emphasis should be on non-violent engagement.
  • Co-produced magics: Jewish, Christian and Islamic exchange This session invites papers on interreligious collaboration and co-production of magic texts, books, and magical artifacts. We invite papers on topics such as translations of magical or sacred texts into other languages for use in other religious contexts; borrowing of alphabets or symbols from one to another religious or cultural context; cross cultural use of magicians, charms or spells; and collaboration in production of magical texts or artifacts.

Statement of Purpose

This Unit aims to bring together scholars working on premodern Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in order to create a venue in which religious phenomena can be considered comparatively. Individual papers may be embedded in a single tradition, but presenters should be interested in engaging this material comparatively during the discussion period.


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

Proposer names are visible to chairs but anonymous to steering committee members

Review Process Comments