Maria Doerfler, assistant professor of the history of Christianity in Late Antiquity, has been named the director of the Duke/UNC Center for Late Ancient Studies (CLAS).
CLAS seeks to promote the interdisciplinary study of late antiquity from the second to the eighth century C.E. and was formally established as a collaboration between Duke and UNC in 2000. It acts as a focal point for graduate students and faculty from a variety of departments at both institutions, including Classics, Religious Studies, Art History & Archaeology, and Duke Divinity School. The center sponsors public lectures by leading scholars of late antiquity throughout the year, as well as an annual symposium and the Late Ancient Studies Reading Group, a monthly gathering attended by faculty and graduate students from a variety of fields and backgrounds.
“As director of CLAS, I am excited to bring to Duke a line-up of terrific scholars whose insights will benefit the Divinity population and encourage continuing efforts to collaborate with our colleagues in other parts of Duke University and at UNC,” Doerfler said. “Speakers already confirmed for the coming academic year include Professors Ellen Muehlberger (University of Michigan), Scott Johnson (Georgetown University/Dumbarton Oaks), Ben Dunning (Fordham University), and Heidi Marx-Wolf (University of Manitoba).”
Doerfler’s academic research focuses on the development of Christianity in its social and political context during the first six centuries of the Common Era. Her work has appeared in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Le Muséon, Church History, and the Journal of Early Christian Studies. Currently awaiting publication, her first book is a study of the intersection of Roman law and monastic and clerical formation in the Latin West at the turn of the fifth century. She has begun work on a second major project examining Christian responses to infant and childhood mortality in late antiquity.