Sensory and cognitive approaches to Roman religious ritual(s)


  • Blanka Misic (Champlain College)
  • Abigail Graham (University of Warwick)

In the last two decades, spurred by scientific advancements in neuroscience, a growing number of scholars have begun to apply cognitive and sensory theoretical approaches to the study of archaeological evidence, especially with respect to ancient religions and rituals. These approaches offer us novel avenues for re-examination of established views on ritual, as well as fresh interpretations of archaeological evidence. This session aims to encourage scholars to critically (re)examine established views and material finds relating to Roman religious rituals within cognitive and sensory theoretical frameworks, in order to push disciplinary boundaries and offer novel interpretations.
We invite submissions of papers relating, but not limited, to addressing the following questions:

• What role do the senses play in the performance/understanding/remembering of ritual?
• How does the organization of physical space (religious space, urban space etc.) inform ritual movement?
• What role do emotions play in religious ritual/performance?
• How does material culture reflect/inform ritual understanding?
• How are religious rituals learned/remembered/transferred?

The present session envisages 6 papers of approximately 20-25 minutes, with 5-10 minutes of discussion after each paper.

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