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Meeting Program Units

2019 Annual Meeting

San Diego, CA

Meeting Begins11/23/2019
Meeting Ends11/26/2019

Call for Papers Opens: 12/19/2018
Call for Papers Closes: 3/6/2019

Requirements for Participation

Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions


Program Unit Type: Affiliate
Accepting Papers? Yes

Call For Papers: SAMR invites abstracts for 2 sessions. 1. MAGIC The term “religion” has come under close scrutiny recently (Nongbri, Barton/Boyarin). Brill’s forthcoming Guide to the Study of Ancient Magic, ed. David Frankfurter, similarly challenges the term magic. Is the term/category of magic useful in the study of ancient ritual practices? Can it be “re-claimed” or re-defined so that it more adequately describes ancient practice? Or, is it simply too normative, too biased? SAMR seeks papers that: explore other terms for supposedly ambiguous or illegitimate ritual, or that propose additional definitions of “magic” that uncouple the magic-religion dichotomy, or that argue that such attempts are impossible; challenge the premise that the rituals and specialists that scholars have labelled ‘magic’ were indeed those imagined as ambiguous or illegitimate in their historical/cultural worlds; investigate the validity of the category of “magic” through an analysis of the modern corpora of so-called “magical” texts. 2. DEDICATIONS (votives) can be seen in contexts that stretch from antiquity to today, inviting generations of scholars to consider how these offerings reflected relationships between the human and the divine and shaped the experiences of visitors in sacred spaces. SAMR invites papers that investigate ancient dedicatory practices. What new methodological approaches benefit our treatments of votives? What does it mean to consider an object a dedication/votive? Are there boundaries to what we consider a dedication, and if so how are these boundaries constructed in different times and places? How do the placement and organization of dedications at cult sites transform their meaning? Does the proper manufacture of dedication ensure their efficacy? How do dedications exert agency? In what ways do dedications offer insight into "lived religion" in antiquity? How can tracing a dedication’s cultural biography offer insights for the study of dedications more generally?

Program Unit Chairs

Nancy A. Evans

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