In addition to teaching, RELS faculty are renowned researchers!  Here's an overview of their recent scholarly accomplishments:

Medicine, Health, & Healing in the Anscient Mediterranean

Prof. Upson-Saia is excited to announce that her book, Medicine, Health, and Healing in the Ancient Mediterranean will be published this summer! The book introduces readers to ancient Mediterranean approaches to health and healing, with an emphasis on epidemiological conditions, the perspectives of sick and suffering people, and the array of theories and techniques employed by various healers. The book provides readers with approximately 50 fresh translations of ancient sources, alongside material, archaeological, visual, and scientific evidence. You can order your copy by clicking on the link here!

Prof. Upson-Saia also continues to serve as Director of ReMeDHe (pronounced “remedy”), an international working group on medicine, health, and healing.  And she is a member of the editorial board for the Routledge Press book series, Religion, Medicine, and Health in Late Antiquity

In the fall, Prof. Amoruso and his partner, Giovana, welcomed their baby son, Francisco (Chico), into the world. While learning how to be a parent, Prof. Amoruso has been finalizing his book manuscript, Moved by the Dead: Haunting and Devotion in Urban Brazil, which is under advance contract with UNC Press. An ethnography of the devotion to souls (devoção às almas or culto das almas) in São Paulo, the book locates the practice of praying to the suffering dead within the city’s shifting cultural geography to explore the intersection of religion and race in public struggles over memory and representation. 

While on leave, Prof. Amoruso spent time this spring working with activists at the Chapel of the Afflicted in São Paulo. When illegal construction revealed centuries-old remains from a pauper’s cemetery in the lot adjacent to the chapel, a coalition of devotees and activists mobilized to turn the space into a memorial site. As of Spring 2023, the memorial exists as a legal entity, but deliberations about its future design are underway. Big questions hang in the balance; as Black Studies scholar Cristina Sharpe writes, “[I]f museums and memorials materialize a kind of reparation (repair) and enact their own pedagogies as they position visitors to have a particular experience or set of experiences about an event that is seen to be past, how does one memorialize chattel slavery and its afterlives, which are unfolding still?” While participating in the movement, Prof. Amoruso is also documenting it, tracing how certain narratives about São Paulo history are becoming crystallized in the complicated, contingent interactions between devotees, activists, and public officials. 

Conch painting from a table, Pelling, Sikkim 400x284

Prof. Holmes-Tagchungdarpa has continued her research on Himalayan Buddhist material culture in the anthropocene. In a new article, "Flying Conches in the High-Altitude Oceans of the Himalayas: Displaced Objects and Multiscalar Relations in the Mountains of Sikkim," she and co-author Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia examine the significance of the frequent appearance of conch shells in Himalayan material, musical, and artistic culture. Drawing on textual, ritual, and ethnographic evidence, they found that stories about flying conch shells have been historically significant in local Indigenous histories and remain so into the present as harbingers of environmental change and interdimensional imbalance, when the impact of climate change is central to daily life in the mountains and around the world.

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