2017 Meeting of ReLACS (Regional Late Antiquity Consortium Southeast)

October 19-20 2017, Vanderbilt University

ReLACS, now in its fifth year, is a regional workshop of scholars of Late Antiquity held on a rotating basis at Vanderbilt University, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Kentucky.

The 2017 meeting will be hosted by the Program in Classical and Mediterranean Studies and the Divinity School at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Participation is open to all scholars interested in Late Antiquity broadly defined. Participation by graduate students is particularly encouraged.

The workshop kicks off with a public lecture on the evening of Thursday, October 19th given by Stephen J. Davis, Professor of Religious Studies and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at Yale University, on “The Archaeology of Early Christian Monasticism: Evidentiary Problems and Criteria.” This lecture presents a reassessment of what we know (and how we know what we know) about the archaeological evidence for Christian monasticism in the first millennium CE. Assessing the current state of the field, Prof. Davis will first address problems we face in both the identification and the dating of “monastic” sites and then discuss criteria by which we can engage more critically with the material evidence available to us.

On Friday, October 20th, the workshop will host several sessions. Phillip I. Lieberman, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies and Law at Vanderbilt University, will lead a pro-seminar on “Introduction to the Cairo Geniza” designed to introduce non-specialists to resources for using the Geniza in teaching and research. The Cairo Geniza comprises the largest collection of documentary materials from the premodern Islamic world and is a critical resource for the social, economic, legal, and political history of the reception of antiquity into the medieval Mediterranean.

In addition we invite proposals from regional participants for work-in-progress papers on any topic broadly related to Late Antiquity or the early middle ages in any geographic region. Papers will be given 30-minute sessions and may be read aloud or pre-circulated to allow more time for discussion.

Please send a short description of the paper (approximately 200 words) including mention of its context (conference paper, part of a book manuscript, etc.) to David Michelson (david.a.michelson@vanderbilt.edu). Paper proposals will be considered by a steering committee (faculty from UT, VU, and UK) and selections will be made on the basis of maximizing regional participation from a diverse group of presenters. Proposals are due by August 1 2017.

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