Sacro-Creative Action and the Making of Gods in and beyond Rome: a John Hopkins lecture at ISAW in NY

NEW YORK, AUGUST 29 – On September 13 in New York, John Hopkins, Associate Professor of the art and archaeology of ancient Mediterranean peoples in the Department of Art History and the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University, will share his ongoing work on sacro-creative action, ancient and modern imperialisms, and some ways he thinks we can look for and center other ancient worlds. The lecture will take place in person at the NYU Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. Registration is required at this link.

This is ISAW presentation of the talk

It is well known that Roman life was steeped in religious practice. Historians also generally understand that the predation of an imperializing, centrally administered government in Rome began to deploy religion as a syncretizing, assimilationist and appropriative measure in Italic and Mediterranean occupation from the third century BCE, at least. This is probably true, and the violent and insidious epistemicide that followed is increasingly well documented. Still, the idea of Roman religion as a kind of imperial weapon imagines in some ways a world where, before and during conquest, there had been such a thing as Roman religion and that those who organized its institutions and oversaw its influences were elite sociopolitical figures. This talk will contend with both suppositions by considering the creative intelligence of itinerant, often non-Roman maker communities, the constitutive ecologies of sacred materials, and the effective roles of sacro-material creation in ritual encounters and religious institutions before and during the early years of Roman expansion.

Coming up: a book on art and craft in a fluid landscape

Hopkins’s research treats visual, spatial and physical experience; processes of making and maker communities; and the composition of sociocultural practices through the crafting of goods. He is author of The Genesis of Roman Architecture (2016, Yale UP), a study of art and architecture in Rome up to the mid fifth century BCE. It focuses on two aspects of object-oriented connections: first, those tying buildings/builders in Rome with communities across the Mediterranean, and, second, the reciprocal relationship of spatial production and social activity in the generation of an urban landscape. His second book, Unbound from Rome: Art and Craft in a Fluid Landscape, 650-250 BCE (January 2024, Yale UP), is an investigation of makers, materials and the role that craft communities play in the fabrication of sociocultural practices. It also takes as a central tenet the dismantling of imperialist culture-conglomerates, including the historically structuring notion of a Roman world or Roman period as well as the multiplicity and fragmentariness of material lifeworlds. He is author of over twenty articles, book chapters and reviews and is co-editor of two volumes on approaches to object biography and forgery studies. (@EtruscanTimes)

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