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Acoustic Encounters in the Late Ancient Desert

Desert buildings
Date and Time: 
Friday, March 13, 2015. 04:00 PM - 06:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Humanities Center, Board Room
Workshop: 
The Material Imagination: Sound, Space, and Human Consciousness
Meeting Description: 

How do acoustic landscapes animate and engage the religious imagination? This talk by Kim Haines-Eitzen (Cornell) will take up this question by focusing on the desert monastic literature of late ancient Egypt and Palestine. A rereading of ancient texts alongside modern environmental recordings suggests that aurality and the experience of sonic landscapes helped to shape religious ideology, practice, and experience.

About the speaker:

Kim Haines-Eitzen (Ph.D., University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1997) is a Professor of Ancient Mediterranean Religions with a specialty in Early Christianity and Early Judaism in the Department of Near Eastern Studies. Her first book Guardians of Letters: Literacy, Power and the Transmitters of Early Christian Literature (Oxford University Press, 2000) is a social history of the scribes who copied Christian texts during the second and third centuries. She holds joint appointments in the Religious Studies Program and the Department of Classics. Her most recent book, The Gendered Palimpsest: Women, Writing, and Representation in Early Christianity, deals with the intersection of gender and text transmission (Oxford University Press, 2012). Currently, she is working on a new project, entitled Acoustic Encounters in the Late Ancient Desert, which focuses on the desert monastic literature of late antiquity and its attention to sensory landscapes, especially the acoustic dimensions of the desert environment.

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