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Late Antiquity

This interdisciplinary seminar brings together faculty and advanced graduate students whose research lies in the Mediterranean world of late antiquity. The range of the seminar includes the Mediterranean world of the third century C.E., defined primarily by the dominant Roman Empire; the fundamental transformations that characterized the fourth and fifth centuries, from the development of Christianity as a political power, to the collapse of the western empire and its division into various barbarian kingdoms, to the establishment of a single imperial power in Constantinople; and the new religion of Islam and further momentous transformations that ended the fundamentally Roman unity of the late antique period. The participants in this seminar are not only based in different departments, but also come from different disciplinary backgrounds. Each possesses specialist knowledge, language skills, and methodological approaches to textual and material evidence that can help inform the research of the others.

For more information about this seminar, CLICK HERE.

Spring 2021

All meetings will be held via Zoom.

  • Friday, January 22, 2021, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Participant Presentation: Felege Yirga, Department of History
    Title: “Strange Bedfellows: Memory, Forgetting, and Sectarianism in John of Nikiu's Accounts of the Patriarch Apollinarios (551-570 CE)” 
  • Friday, February 26, 2021, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Participant Presentation: Laura Roesch, Department of History
    Title: “Conceptualizing Christianization: A Late Ancient Poetics of Landscapes, Martyrdom, and Violence"
  • Friday, March 19, 2021, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Visiting Scholar Presentation: Stephen Shoemaker (University of Oregon)
    Title: “A New Arabic Apocryphon from Late Antiquity: The Qur’an”
  • Friday, April 9, 2021, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Participant Presentation: Tina Shepardson, Department of Religious Studies
    Title: “Monumental Lives: Sixth-Century Memorials of a Community in Exile"
  • Tuesday, May 4, 2021, 3:00-4:30 P.M.
    Current Scholarship Workshop:
    Maijastina Kahlos, Religious Dissent in Late Antiquity, 350-450 (Oxford University Press, 2019)

Fall 2020

All meetings will be held via Zoom.

  • Friday, August 28, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Jacob A. Latham
    Title: “Claiming Romanitas: Christian Verse Invective, Aristocratic Distinction, and Magna Mater in Late Antique Rome”
  • Friday, September 11, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Sarah Bond, University of Iowa
    Discussion on her book Trade and Taboo and her recent work on work and workers
  • Friday, October 16, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Mira Balberg, University of California, San Diego
    Title: "The Subject Supposed to Forget: Rabbinic Formations of the Legal Self"
  • Friday, November 6, 2020, 5:00 P.M. (EST)
    Ellen Muehlberger, University of Michigan
    Title: "Suspicion, Projection, Conviction: Making Enemies in Early Christianity”
    Part of ReLACS (Regional Late Antiquity Consortium Southeast) – in collaboration with the University of Missouri and Missouri State University
    To register or receive more information, please email Kirstin Harper at
  • Friday, November 13, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Kraemer, Mediterranean Diaspora — contemporary scholarship discussion
  • Friday, December 4, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Gregor Kalas
    Title: "Social Services and Architectural Reuse"

Spring 2020

  • Friday, January 17, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Stephen Collins-Elliott
    Title: “Transitional Political Identities in Late Antique and Early Medieval Mauretania Tingitana
    UT Humanities Center Seminar Room 2229 Dunford Hall, 2nd floor
  • Friday, February 7, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Jacob Latham
    Title: “The New Year in the Late Antique Latin West"
    UT Humanities Center Seminar Room 2229 Dunford Hall, 2nd floor
  • Friday, February 28, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Kathryn Langenfeld, Clemson University
    Title: “The Historia Augusta & Fabricated Documents”
    UT Humanities Center Room 2229 Dunford Hall, 2nd Floor
  • Monday, March 9, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Book Discussion: Shoemaker, The Apocalypse of Empire
    UT Humanities Center Room 2229 Dunford Hall, 2nd Floor
  • Thursday, April 2, 2020, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Stephen Shoemaker, University of Oregon Canceled
    UT Humanities Center Room 2229 Dunford Hall, 2nd Floor
  • Wednesday, April 29, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Laura Roesch Canceled
    UT Humanities Center Room 2229 Dunford Hall, 2nd Floor

Fall 2019

  • Friday, August 30, 2019, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Tina Shepardson
    Title: "Remembering the Future: Prophecy and the Final Judgment"
    UT Humanities Center Dunford Hall 2nd floor
  • Friday, September 27, 2019, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Gregor Kalas
    Title: "Charity and Authority in Early Medieval Rome: Santa Maria Antiqua and the Reuse of Ancient Infrastructure"
    UT Humanities Center Dunford Hall 2nd floor
  • Friday, October 25, 2019, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Book discussion of Sarah Bond
    Trade and Taboo: Disreputable Professions in the Late Antique Mediterranean
    Marco Seminar Room Greve Hall #615
  • Friday, December 6, 2019, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Dennis Trout, University of Missouri
    Title: "Poets and Readers in Seventh-Century Rome: Pope Honorius, Lucretius, and the Doors of St. Peter's"
    UT Humanities Center Seminar Room 2229 Dunford Hall, 2nd floor

Spring 2019

  • Friday, January 18, 2019, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Current Scholarship Workshop: Steven Ellis, The Roman Retail Revolution: The Socio-Economic World of the Taberna (Oxford University Press, 2018)
  • Monday, February 4, 2019, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Visiting Scholar Presentation: Steven Ellis, University of Cincinnati
  • Monday, February 18, 2019, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Visiting Scholar Presentation: Laura Nasrallah, Harvard University

    “The worshipping self, the self in light”

  • Thursday, February 28, 2019, 2:30-4:00 P.M.
    Visiting Scholar Presentation: Gregory Aldrete, UW-Green Bay
  • Friday, March 8, 2019, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Participant Presentation: Jacob Latham
    “Sacred Spaces and Sacred Places: Classical Antiquity”
  • Monday, April 15, 2019, 1:00-2:30 P.M.
    Participant Presentation: Mira Balberg
    "The Subject Supposed to Forget: Rabbinic Formations of the Legal Self."

Fall 2018

  • Friday, September 7, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Gregor Kalas
    “Reusing Ancient Buildings as Charity Centers in Eighth-Century Rome”
  • Friday, September 21, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Tina Shepardson
    “Teach Your Children Well: Mothers, Martyrs, and Monks in Severus of Antioch”
  • October 25-26, 2018
    Regional Late Antiquity Consortium Symposium (ReLACS) VI
    • Thursday, October 25, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
      Keynote: Kim Bowes, University of Pennsylvania
      “The Roman 90%:The Rural Poor in the Roman World
      Lindsay Young Auditorium – UT Hodges Library, first floor
    • Friday, October 26, 2018, 8:45 A.M.-5:00 P.M.
      Workshops and Discussions
      West Wing – Haslam Business Building
  • Friday, November 9, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Participant Presentation: Clint Burnett, PhD Boston College
    “Temple Sharing and Throne Sharing: A Reconsideration of Σύνναος and Σύνθρονος in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods”
  • Friday, November 30, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Current Scholarship Workshop: Heidi Wendt, At the Temple Gates: The Religion of Freelance Experts in the Early Roman Empire (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016)

Spring 2018

  • Friday, January 12, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Carrie Schroeder, University of the Pacific
    "Monastic Genealogies" 
  • Friday, February 9, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M
    Gregor Kalas
    “Portraits of Late Antique Poets in the Forum of Trajan"
  • Monday, March 26, 2018, 1:00-2:30 P.M.
    David Potter, University of Michigan
    Discussion of Dexippus and the Gothic Invasions: Interpreting the New Vienna Fragment lead by David Potter
  • Monday, March 26, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    David Potter, University of Michigan
    Public Lecture: “The Empress Theodora and the Management of Empire”
    Lindsay Young Auditorium, Hodges Library
  • Friday, April 13, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Jacob Latham
    "Public Performance in Classical Antiquity”
  • Friday, May 4, 2018, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Yuliya Minets, University of Alabama
    “Languages of Holy Men and Demons Speaking in Tongues”
  • Thursday, May 10, 2018, 1:30-3:30 P.M.

    Discussion of City of Demons by Dayna Kalleres

Fall 2017

  • Friday, August 25, 2017 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Alison Vacca
    “A CONQUEST KOINE: The Oral and Written Transmission of Reports on the Islamic Conquest of Duin”
  • Friday, September 15, 2017, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Discussion of a work-in-progress by Tina Shepardson
    “Spinning Violence: Narrating the Persecution of Early Anti-Chalcedonian Saints”
  • Friday, October 20, 2017
    ReLACs at Vanderbilt
  • Friday, November 10, 2017, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Benjamin Graham, University of Memphis
    Discussion of paper, "Modeling Wood Fuel in Ancient Rome," co-written with Ray Van Dam
  • Friday, December 8, 2017, 12:30-2:00 P.M.
    Discussion of What’s Divine about Divine Law? by Christine Hayes

Fall 2016

  • Friday, August 26, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Jacob Latham
    "Ritual and the Christianization of Urban Space"
  • Friday, September 16, 3:30-5:00 P.M
    Book: Noel Lenksi, Constantine and the Cities, Penn Press, 2016
  • Friday, October 21
    ReLACs@UKY (Tina Shepardson)
  • Monday, October 24, 3:00-4:30 P.M.
    Susanna Elm, University of California, Berkeley
    Humanities Center Seminar Room E102 Melrose Hall
    5:30 P.M.
    Susanna Elm, University of California, Berkeley
    Public Talk:  "New Romes:  Salvian of Marseilles and the Government of God"
    Art and Architecture, Room 109
  • Friday, December 2
    Gregor Kalas

Spring 2016

  • Friday, January 22, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Stefan Hodges-Kluck
    "Imposter Syndrome in Late Antiquity: The Emperor Julian, Basil of Caesarea, and Gregory of Nazianzus on Unmasking False Intellectuals"
  • Friday, February 19, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    George Demacopoulos
    The Invention of Peter: Apostolic Discourse and Papal Authority in Late Antiquity (UPenn, 2013)
  • Wednesday, March 9, 3:30-5:00 P.M., Melrose F-203 (*note room)
    Tom Heffernan
    "Gender and the Sources of Authority in St. Augustine's Sermons on Perpetua and Felicity"
  • Wednesday, April 20, 3:30-5:00 P.M., Melrose F-203 (*note room)
    George Demacopoulos
    Fordham University
    "War, Violence and the Feast of the Holy Cross in Byzantium"
  • Friday, May 6, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Gregor Kalas
    "Institutional Charity at Santa Maria Antiqua and the Diaconiae of Rome."

Fall 2015

  • Friday, September 4, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Jacob Latham

    "Rolling out the Red Carpet, Roman-Style: Adventus, occursus and the Christianization of Rome"

  • Friday, October 2, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Tina Shepardson

    "Representing the Saints: John of Ephesus's Lives and the Polarization of the Chalcedonian Conflict"

  • October 22-23, 2015 The Third Regional Late Antiquity Consortium (ReLACs)
  • October 22,  3:30 P.M. 
    Michel R. Salzman
    University of California, Riverside
    "The 'Falls' of Rome: The Transformations of Rome in Late Antiquity"
    (Lindsay Young Auditorium, Hodges Library), followed by a reception
  • October 23, 10:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
    Late Antiquity symposium
    West Room, Haslam Business Building
    presenters include (in alphabetical order):
    • Adam Bursi, Jimmy and Dee Haslam Postdoctoral Fellow, the Marco Institute, University of Tennessee: "Muhammad's Body and Sacred Space"
    • David Hunter, Cottrill-Rolfes Chair of Catholic Studies, University of Kentucky: "Priesthood and Purity: Rethinking the Origins of Clerical Sexual Continence"
    • David Michelson, Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University: "Diligent and Angelic Readers: The Material Role of Texts in the Syriac Monastic Tradition"
    • Michele Salzman, Professor of History, University of California, Riverside: "Vandalizing Rome: The Sack of 455 and Roman Responses to Crisis"
  • Friday, November 13, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Book discussion, Between Empires: Arabs, Romans and Sasanians in Late Antiquity by Greg Fisher (OUP, 2011)
  • Friday, December 4, 3:30-5:00 P.M.
    Douglas Boin
    Assistant Professor, St. Louis University
    Work in progress

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