Kristina Sessa F'16

Kristina  Sessa
Associate Professor
History
The Ohio State University

ACLS Fellowship Program 2016
Associate Professor
History
The Ohio State University
The Church at War in Late Antiquity, 350-700 CE

This project explores the relationship among war, environmental crisis, and the formation of Christian institutions in late antiquity from 350-700 CE. Focusing on the western regions of the late Roman Empire (Italy, North Africa, Spain, Gaul, and Britain), the project examines how a series of catastrophic events and periods of instability shaped the development of churches and monasteries both culturally and materially. It argues that war and other crises, such as famine, epidemic, and population displacement, created new cultural and physical conditions in which Christian leaders and laypeople developed some of the Western church's most important practices, institutions, and spaces, from rules governing monastic hospitality to the exercise of episcopal authority and the establishment of hospitals. The project thus offers a new narrative of Christianization by approaching it as a process driven not only by emerging discourses of power and identity, but also by events and developments in the material world.