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MAY 27-28
The Religion, Culture and Social Movements Research Cluster presents:

Susan Ashbrook Harvey, Religious Studies, Brown University

Gender and Performance in Ancient Christian Ritual
WEDNESDAY, May 27 / 3-5 PM / Humanities 210

Professor Harvey recommends completing two readings in advance of this workshop:

Click here to download the first reading.

Click here to download the second reading.

This workshop explores the intersections of gender, performance, and voice in ancient Christian ritual. Professor Harvey's work on Greek and Syriac choirs in the Christian Middle East examines the production of gendered voices and rhetorical subjectivities through ritual song. This work provokes a number of productive questions about methods and approaches to the study of non-secular religious forms and experiences. This workshop should be of interest to historians, anthropologists, and inter-disciplinary scholars of Christianity, the early Mediterranean, and gender, performance, and religious subjectivity.

Making Sense of Scents in Ancient Christianity
THURSDAY, May 28 / 4 PM / Humanities 210

Professor Harvey's work on the olfactory imagination in the ancient Mediterranean explores the role of bodily, sensory experience in constituting a knowledge of the divine. Heavenly smells, holy stenches, and physical disease each play their part in the revelatory experiences of religious knowledge in the ancient world. The ancient understanding of smell emerges in religious rituals and liturgical practices; literary imagery; scientific, medical, and cosmological models; and ascetic disciplines, theological discourse, and eschatological expectations.

Susan Ashbrook Harvey is Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University. She specializes in late antique and Byzantine Christianity, particularly Syriac studies. She is the author of Scenting Salvation: Ancient Christianity and the Olfactory Imagination (California, 2006); Asceticism and Society in Crisis: John of Ephesus and the Lives of the Eastern Saints (California, 1990); co-author of Holy Women in the Syrian Orient (California, 1998); and co-editor of the Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies (Oxford, 2008). She has published widely on topics relating to asceticism, hagiography, women and gender, hymnography, homiletics, and piety in late antique Christianity.

For more information, contact Sarah Bakker,

Co-sponsored by the Anthropology Department.

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Last modified: December 11, 2008
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