Professional and Biographical Information
Ph.D., Brown University (2015)
M.A., The University of Notre Dame (2005)
B.A., Creighton University (2002)
My teaching focuses on religion in the ancient Roman world and especially on the development of Christianity, examining religious groups with an eye towards systems of power, social conflict, and performance. Among the courses I have offered are introductory surveys on New Testament and early Christianity, as well as upper-level seminars on religious violence in antiquity and women in ancient Mediterranean religions. I also enjoy teaching courses that explore the historical development of particular ideas, such as Hell, or religious practices, like pilgrimage, which allow students to consider larger questions about how religious groups reinterpret their intellectual heritage and how rhetoric and embodied practices shape social groups.
As a historian of the religion and culture of the late antique Mediterranean, I am interested in the ways that ritual practices and rhetoric contributed to the formation of religious groups and inter-group conflict in the late Roman East. How did individuals negotiate their past? How did communal rituals, rhetoric, and violence help Christians gain control over the religious frameworks of the Roman Empire? And how do late antique efforts to rewrite the religious landscape continue to affect our own understanding of the past and constructions of religious difference?
My publications include articles and volume contributions on late antique pilgrimage, intra-Christian violence, and ritual habits, as well as translations from Greek and Syriac. My recent book examines how traditional Roman cultural structures were used to transform Nicene Christianity into the imperial religion in Constantinople during the fourth and fifth centuries C.E.
At present, my research focuses largely on the reception of narratives about religious violence and on the dynamics of shared ritual spaces. My current book project, Writing the Christian Past: Ecclesiastical History and the Culture of Violence, explores late antique church histories as contributors to cultures of violence and the reception of their narratives from antiquity through the modern period. Alongside this book, I am preparing a new translation of Socrates of Constantinople's Ecclesiastical History.
Awards and Honors
Joukowsky Family Foundation Outstanding Dissertation in the Humanities (Brown University, 2015)
Journal of Early Christian Studies, Best First Article Award (2017)
Scholarly and Professional Activities
Co-Chair, Religious Competition in Late Antiquity Program Unit, Society of Biblical Literature (2018–present)
- Constantinople: Ritual, Violence, and Memory in the Making of a Christian Imperial Capital (University of California Press, 2020).
- “A School for the Soul: John Chrysostom on Mimesis and the Force of Ritual Habit” in The Garb of Being: Embodiment and Other Pursuits of Holiness in Late Ancient Christianity, edited by Georgia Frank, Andrew S. Jacobs, and Susan R. Holman (Fordham University Press, 2020), 101–23.
- “The City a Palimpsest: Fifth-century Historiography and the Rewriting of Arian Violence,” in Heirs of Roman Persecution: Studies on a Christian and Para-Christian Discourse in Late Antiquity, edited by Eric Fournier and Wendy Mayer (Routledge Press, 2019), 237–54.
- “Wandering Wombs, Inspired Intellects: Christian Religious Travel in Late Antiquity,” Journal of Early Christian Studies 25.1 (Spring 2017): 89–117.