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For the 2021 annual conference, Traditions of Eastern Late Antiquity is organizing two sessions.

1) One will be an open session for which papers on any topic germane to the subject area of the Program Unit may be proposed. We particularly encourage papers from graduate students, new AAR members, and minoritized scholars.

2) For the second session, we will be inviting scholars to present papers on “The Uses and Misuses of Eastern Late Antiquity.” How do museums, politicians, and religious thinkers use the concept of the Late Antique east? What are the aims of such uses? What do these uses highlight? What do they elide? What are the broader implications of these uses for popular knowledge, academic specialization, and the world in general?

TELA is committed to diversity and inclusivity in the study of the late antique East. Pre-arranged panels must reflect gender and racial/ethnic diversity as well as diversity of field, method, and scholarly rank as appropriate.

Mission Statement:

This program unit focused on Late Antiquity in the East aims to provide a home for the study of religious traditions that are rooted in Mesopotamia, Persia, and western Asia, particularly those parts that were outside the Roman cultural reach such as Zoroastrianism, Manichaeism, and Mandaeism. While the unit will focus on late antiquity, many of these traditions, and particularly their extant texts come to us from much later periods, and this scholarly issue will be part of our discussions. In addition, many of the traditions that were born in this time and place also spread to other parts of the world, and the study of them in those forms and contexts also has a place within this program unit, as does investigation of their response to the rise of Islam in the region. In addition, this unit’s focus is not exclusively on those traditions that developed uniquely in this region, but also those which, when transplanted there, had significant evolutions in that milieu that differ from their counterparts in other times and places (e.g. Christianity, Judaism). We likewise encourage research which focuses on the interaction between the various communities and traditions of this place and time.

Method of Submission:

INSPIRE, E-mail without Attachment (proposal appears in body of e-mail), E-mail with Attachment (proposal is in attachment, not in body of e-mail)



Jason Mokhtarian, jmokhtar@indiana.edu

Sara Ronis, sara.ronis@gmail.com


Steering Committee:

Reyhan Durmaz, rdurmaz@upenn.edu

Zsuzsanna Gulcsi, Zsuzsanna.Gulacsi@nau.edu

Jae Han, jae_han@brown.edu 

Sigrid Kjaer, s.k.kjaer@utexas.edu

Abby Kulisz, alkulisz@iu.edu

Laura Locke Estes, lblestes@gmail.com

James McGrath, jfmcgrat@butler.edu

James Walters, jwalters@rc.edu


Session Allotment: Tier 1 – Two 90-minute sessions

Next Review: 2024