Workshop on Religion and Late Antique Culture October 23-24

cohen-1A workshop on religion and culture in late antiquity will be held at Vanderbilt this Friday, October 24, with a Thursday evening keynote at the Nashville Parthenon. The workshop, Religion in Late Antique Culture and Society (RELACS), is sponsored by the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities and the Department of History of Art. Participants will meet all day Friday in Cohen Memorial Hall, with a late afternoon field trip to the Nashville Parthenon.

Gregor Kalas, associate professor of the history and theory of architecture, School of Architecture, University of Tennessee, will deliver an Archaeological Institute of America lecture on Thursday, October 23, at 6 pm at the Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park. In his lecture, titled “Visualizing Statues in the Late Antique Roman Forum,” Kalas will explore using high-tech digital techniques to visualize the appearance of sculpture in the late antique Roman Forum. This lecture is sponsored by the Archaeological Institute of America, the Conservancy for the Parthenon and Centennial Park, and the departments of history of art and classical studies at Vanderbilt.

Kalas will welcome participants to the Friday morning session, which begins at 9:30 a.m. in Cohen 308 with a follow-up Q & A regarding the AIA lecture. Jacob Latham, assistant professor of history, University of Tennessee, will present a paper entitled “The pompa circensis in Late Antiquity: Christianization, transformation, restoration” at 10:30 a.m. followed by Tina Shepardson, associate professor of religious studies, University of Tennessee, “Give it up for God: Wealth and the cost of religious resistance in John of Ephesus’ Church History,” 11:30 a.m.

The afternoon session commences at 2:00 p.m. in Cohen 324 with Barbara Tsakirgis, associate professor of classics and history of art, “Omega House in Athens: An early Christian residence?” followed by a plenary session at 3:00 p.m. led by Robin Jensen, Luce Chancellor’s Professor of the History of Christian Art and Worship, and David Michelson, assistant professor of the history of Christianity. Betsey Robinson, associate professor of history of art, will lead a field trip, “The Parthenon after antiquity,” at the Nashville Parthenon in Centennial Park.

Late antiquity is a term used by scholars to describe a historical period that includes both the end of classical civilizations and the first centuries of medieval societies in the Mediterranean, Africa, Europe and the Near East. The Religion and Culture in Late Antiquity seminar, which meets once a month at the Warren Center for the Humanities, describes the geographic definition of “late antiquity” as focusing primarily on the cultures and societies of the Mediterranean world. Seminar coordinators are Jensen, Michelson, and Mark Ellison, graduate student in religion.

For more information on the workshop, contact Ellison, workshop convener, at

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