Duncan MacRae and Lisa Pieraccini join AHMA

Monday, February 29, 2016

AHMA is very pleased to announce two new members: Duncan MacRae and Lisa Pieraccini.

Duncan MacRae is a Roman historian with particular interests in Roman religion, intellectual history, and politics.  He is currently completing a book on textual production and religious experience in the Roman world.  It provides a bold new account of how the fluid category that we call “Roman religion” actually came into being and cohered conceptually.  Reacting against the standard view that Roman religion was structured almost entirely by the correct performance of public rituals (religion as “orthopraxy”), and that in the absence of sacred scriptures Roman religion was never a religion of “the book,” MacRae mobilizes the evidence from a series of Roman authors, ranging from Varro and Cicero in the 1st century BCE to Augustine in late 4th/early 5th century CE, to show that written texts were in fact critical in the authoritative consolidation of what had been a scattered and disjointed set of beliefs, practices, and objects, giving rise, in the process, to a particular form of what we might call “religious consciousness” in ancient Rome: centralized, elite, and, above all, text-based.  As such, the book will make a fundamental intervention in the study of Roman religion in particular and ancient Mediterranean belief systems (including early Christianity) in general, and will also be a must-read for scholars of ancient Roman social, cultural, and intellectual history.

MacRae will take up his appointment at UC Berkeley on July 1, 2016, in the Department of Classics.  We are very eager to welcome him to AHMA!

Lisa Pieraccini is an Etruscologist who works on Roman and Etruscan material culture, wall painting, reception studies, foodways, ritual, and funerary archaeology.  She is the author of Around the HearthCaeretan Cylinder-Stamped Braziers (Rome, 2003) and Cities of the Etruscans: Caere (forthcoming); editor of Pithoi Stampigliati Ceretani: Una classe originale di ceramica etrusca (Rome, 2010) and co-editor (with Nancy de Grummond) of the Cities of the Etruscans series; and the author of many articles in Etruscan and Roman visual and material culture.  She is also the project director of the new Ancient Italy Center at UC Berkeley.  Important upcoming events sponsored by the Center include the 5th Annual Mario Del Chiaro Lecture (April 28, 2016), and a major international conference to be held at the Villa Giulia Museum in Rome, "Material Connections and Artistic Exchange: The Case of Etruria and Anatolia" (May 19-21, 2016).

Pieraccini has already been very hard at work at Berkeley, and AHMA is happy to welcome her to the team.