The quest to determine the contours and contents of ancient religion has always been a largely constructivist endeavor, subject to the exigencies of preservation. How do we, in our respective fields, approach the problem of fragmentary evidence? How do we construct such elusive categories as “belief” or “ritual” or “praxis” from an insufficient, scattered, or occasionally inscrutable base of primary source materials?
The Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions seeks papers for a conference to be held at Brown University, April 27-29th 2012, on the topic, “Religion in Pieces.” In keeping with the society’s broad interests in religions of the Mediterranean basin over the great chronological expanse from prehistory to late antiquity, we seek contributions from scholars in the fields of Classics, Ancient History, Religious Studies, Archaeology, Near Eastern Studies, Egyptology, and Art History. We are particularly interested in papers that present case studies in reconstructing religious practice from fragmentary evidence, or which problematize or lay out the methodological challenges inherent in constructing religion from a paucity of sources. Relevant subfields include (but are not limited to) papyrology, codicology, archaeology, and textual studies of fragmentary or poorly attested sources; especially welcome are transdisciplinary papers which synthesize a variety of textual, archaeological, and art historical and/or material culture sources to reach new insights into ancient Mediterranean religions.
We invite abstracts from 250-500 words, accompanied by a Curriculum Vitae, to email@example.com. Deadline for submission is midnight of January 28thth, 2012. Participants will be contacted with an invitation to participate by the beginning of March, 2012.