Imperial Interstices: Religious Elites

Friday, April 21
2:00 pm - 7:15 pm

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

In the first millennium CE, regions in the interstices of the Mediterranean, the Near East, and East and South Asia gave rise to merchants, political elites, and religious specialists who stimulated social change across Eurasia. The Neubauer Collegium project Imperial Interstices aims to shift our historical perspective away from the Roman, Chinese, Iranian/Islamic, and Indian civilizational centers toward the places in between, such as the Central Eurasian steppes, Indian Ocean ports, and the passes of the Caucasus and Hindu Kush, as centers of economic, political, and religious innovation. This workshop, the third in a series of three, will focus on religious actors and institutions between empires in the first millennium. 


1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. 
Jason BeDuhn, Northern Arizona University 
“‘Its Good Tidings Reach Every Land’: The Manichaean Mission as a Catalyst of Cultural Exchange” 

2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. 
Pénélope Riboud, Institute national des langues et civilisations orientales 
“Beyond Appearances: The Ambiguous Elements of Chinese Zoroastrianism” 

3:00 p.m. - 3:15 p.m. 

3:15 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. 
Max Deeg, Cardiff University 
“Reconciling Empire and Religion: Buddhist Agents between China and India” 

4:15 p.m. - 5:15 p.m. 
Jason Neelis, Wilfrid Laurier University 
“The Buddha’s Birth: Stories and Their Transmitters across Cultural Frontiers” 

5:15 p.m. - 6:15 p.m. 
Open conversation
Discussants: Persis Berlekamp (University of Chicago), Jamie Kreiner (University of Georgia), and Christian Wedemeyer (University of Chicago)

6:15 p.m. 


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