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Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity Unit

Call for Proposals

Environments and Landscapes

For this session, we invite paper proposals that address how late ancient eastern traditions address the environment and landscapes, broadly conceived. Proposals might explore how texts or artifacts depict natural environments, human interactions with nature, and representations of landscapes, animals, and/or archeological sites. We encourage papers that employ diverse methodological frameworks such as insights from eco-criticism and/or environmental humanities. 


Contending with Scholarly Legacies: Orientalism in the study of the ancient eastern Mediterranean (co-sponsored by the SBL Syriac Studies program)

For this joint session, we invite proposals that critically assess/evaluate the ways that our fields (broadly defined) have been shaped by agendas and assumptions of significant orientalist scholars of the previous centuries.


Open Call

An open session for which papers on any topic germane to the subject area of the Program Unit may be proposed. We particularly encourage papers from graduate students, new AAR members, and minoritized scholars.

Statement of Purpose

This program unit focused on Late Antiquity in the East aims to provide a home for the study of religious traditions that are rooted in Mesopotamia, Persia, and western Asia, particularly those parts that were outside the Roman cultural reach such as Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Mandaeism. While the unit will focus on late antiquity, many of these traditions, and particularly their extant texts come to us from much later periods, and this scholarly issue will be part of our discussions. In addition, many of the traditions that were born in this time and place also spread to other parts of the world, and the study of them in those forms and contexts also has a place within this program unit, as does investigation of their response to the rise of Islam in the region. In addition, this unit’s focus is not exclusively on those traditions that developed uniquely in this region, but also those which, when transplanted there, had significant evolutions in that milieu that differ from their counterparts in other times and places (e.g. Christianity, Judaism). We likewise encourage research which focuses on the interaction between the various communities and traditions of this place and time.


Steering Committee Members


Review Process

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