Tina Shepardson, associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies is a scholar of early Christianity. She recently published her second book: Controlling Contested Places: Late Antique Antioch and the Spatial Politics of Religious Controversy (University of California Press, 2014). This book uses cultural geography and memory studies to reveal the role that physical and rhetorical contests over places played in the religious and political controversies of the fourth century.
Shepardson argues that similar manipulations continue to shape perceptions of identity and religious truth today. One reviewer notes “By addressing the elite control of place, both physical and conceptual…Shepardson puts a new spin on the process of ‘Christianization.’… This is an exciting new addition to the study of Antioch, late antiquity, and more broadly, religious controversy.”
Research for this book was supported by a 2009-2010 ACLS Fellowship, a 2009-10 American Academy of Religion Individual Research Grant, a 2008 NEH Summer Stipend, and a 2008 Franklin Research Grant from the American Philosophical Society.
Shepardson presented this research in Finland in November 2013, and accepted invitations to speak in Switzerland and South Africa in 2014. She recently joined an international research team on a project entitled “Religious Conflict and the Stages of Radicalisation” based in the Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry at the Australian Catholic University, and was elected to serve a term on the Board of the North American Patristics Society, the leading organization in her field.