CAS Graduate Student Conference 2018


February 23–24, 2018

This event is free and open to the public.

Conference Location: Penn Museum
Host: Center for Ancient Studies, University of Pennsylvania
Co-sponsors: Penn Museum, GAPSA

Friday, Feb. 23 (Widener Lecture Hall)

Please enter through the Warden Garden.

6:00-7:00 Keynote Lecture: David P. Silverman (University of Pennsylvania),"The Other Book of the Dead, an Essential Item for the Afterlife of Ancient Egyptian Kings"
The Book of the Dead (the modern term for the ancient Egyptian Book of Going Forth in the Day) is usually described as a roll of papyri with inscribed funerary texts that often included illustrated vignettes. From the New Kingdom on, it became part of the equipment Egyptians wanted for their Afterlife. The spells, however, were not limited to papyri and appear on coffins, figurines, jewelry, amulets, chests, shrines, wrappings, shrouds, tomb walls, etc. The lecture focuses on this latter group and its use of these magical texts.

David P. Silverman is the Eckley B. Coxe, Jr. Professor of Egyptology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania and Curator in Charge of the Egyptian Collection at the Penn Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.

7:00–8:00 Reception (Lower Egyptian Gallery)

Cash Bar

Saturday, Feb. 24 (Widener Lecture Hall)

Speaker Abstracts

Welcome and Introduction
10:00–10:10 Katherine Burge (Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)
Session 1 (10:10–12:00): The afterlives of objects

Chair: Holly Pittman (Art History)
10:10–10:30 (Replaceing Andrew King) Sheridan Small (University of Pennsylvania), “The Afterlife of an Atypical Collection: The Collection of Robert Henry Lamborn”
10:30–10:50 Martin Uildriks (Brown University), “All fake? Unusual Egyptian Decorated Ceramics in Context”
10:50–11:10 Chelsi Slotten (American University), “The Unintended Afterlife of Female Vikings”
11:10–11:30 Gavin Blasdel (University of Pennsylvania), “Viewing, reading, and reperforming an Athenian document relief for Samos (IG I3 127, IG II2 1)”
11:30–11:50 Shaashi Ahlawat (University of Pennsylvania), “Afterlife of a Narrative of Ransacking: Nalanda and Beyond”
11:50–12:00 Response: Justin Reamer (Anthropology)

12:00–1:30 Lunch

Session 2 (1:30–3:00): The afterlives of texts and narratives

Chair: Tom Tartaron (Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)
1:30–1:50 Cindy Susalla (University of Pennsylvania), “What’s in a Name? Views of (Re)Inscription in Ancient Rome”
1:50–2:10 Caralie Focht (Emory University), “Creation through Destruction: Constructing Trauma in the Aftermath of Exile”
2:10–2:30 Jialu Guo (Bryn Mawr College), “The Afterlives of Yue 越: Cultural Interactions and Culture Identities within the Han Empire”
2:30–2:50 Ryan Franklin (Johns Hopkins University), “The Infidelity of Imperial Memorialization and the Afterlife of a Royal Daughter in Khariton' Kallirhoe and Khaireas
2:50–3:00 Response: Jordan Rogers (Ancient History)

3:00–3:30 Coffee Break

Session 3 (3:30–4:50): Death rituals and burial practices

Chair: Julia Wilker (Classics)
3:30–3:50 Michael Chen (UCLA), “Commemorating Elites within a First Millennium B.C.E. Egyptian Temple Context”
3:50–4:10 Caleb Chow (Trinity International University), “A Missing Link in the Relationship between Ritual and Retainer Sacrifice in Early Egypt: Another Look at the Iconographical and Archaeological Evidence”
4:10–4:30 Petra Creamer (University of Pennsylvania), “Providing Context to Tell Billa: Revisiting the Assyrian Burials"
4:30–4:40 Response: Emily French (Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean World)

4:40–4:50 Break

Session 4 (4:50–6:30): Afterlife Beliefs

Chair: Grant Frame (NELC)
4:50–5:10 Cory Louie (University of Notre Dame), “To be Cast into Gehenna: Recovering the Damned Body in Mark 9:43-48”
5:10–5:30 Evan Basset (Emory University), “Garden of the West: Images of Gardens in Eighteenth Dynasty Non-Royal Theban Tombs”
5:30–-5:50 Aviya Fraenkel (Bar Ilan University), “The 'Refa'im' in the Hebrew Bible and in Ugarit”
5:50–6:10 Yitzhaq Feder (University of Haifa), “Death Impurity and Afterlife in Ancient Israel”
6:10–6:20 Response: Cody Castillo (Art History)
6:20-6:30 Closing Remarks

CAS Graduate Student Conference 2018 Call For Papers


February 23–24, 2018

Deadline for Submissions: Friday, December 22, 2017
Conference Location: Penn Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Keynote Speaker: Dr. David P. Silverman (Eckley Brinton Coxe, Jr. Professor of Egyptology)

The Center for Ancient Studies invites proposals of papers from graduate students in any discipline relating to the study of the ancient and medieval worlds. The topic of this year’s conference is “afterlives.”

The concept of an afterlife was widespread in the ancient and medieval worlds, with different cultures developing a range of beliefs, rituals, and practices in response to the fundamental questions of human existence and mortality.

In its most literal sense, the term “afterlife” refers to some form of continued existence after the death of a physical body. Considered more broadly, the term “afterlife” may be extended to the material world, referring to the continued or renewed use of an object beyond what may be considered its lifetime. The intangible aspects of culture can also persist in this sense.

The plural “afterlives” connotes multiple ways of interpreting the term, making it a productive locus for research on a wide range of topics. Possible subjects include:

  • The concept of life after death expressed in texts, objects, burial practices, and rituals
  • The afterlives of texts, reconsidered and repurposed through allusion, intertext, translation, interpretation, and other forms of reception
  • The afterlives of objects, monuments, buildings, and archaeological sites
  • Reuse, recycling, appropriation, spoliation, subversion
  • Memory, tradition, and legacy

Research on cultural heritage designation and preservation, as well as on museums and collecting is also encouraged.

Proposals should include a title and an abstract of no more than 250 words that summarizes the work, identifies the methodology, and states the primary conclusions. CAS encourages interdisciplinary research that utilizes multiple sources of evidence, including material culture, texts, iconography, experimental and ethnographic studies, and archaeological sciences.

Send all materials to with the subject heading CAS Abstract: APPLICANT NAME. Please include your affiliation in the body of the email. Deadline for abstracts is December 22, 2017. Applicants will be notified of the status of their paper by the beginning of January.

The Center for Ancient Studies strives to bring together scholars from different disciplines engaged in the study of pre-modern cultures. Our Center aims to model an expansive and global vision of the study of the ancient world, spanning Greco-Roman cultures, the Near East, Asia, Africa, and the Americas.