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Research Centre for Religious Studies Research Centres CRASIS

Network Initiative: 'Mortuary Rituals- Textuality and (Im)Materiality'

When:We 22-03-2023 13:00 - 17:00
Where:Collaboratory A, Harmony Building

In the afternoon of the 22nd of March, 2023 , Dr Tamara Dijkstra (GIA), Caroline van Toor (Ancient History), and Paula Kalkman (GIA) organised a network event on Mortuary Ritual: Textuality and (Im)Materiality , funded by CRASIS.

Aims of the network event

The network initiative was born from the idea that there must be people within other disciplines at the UG and the PThU working on the ways in which people deal and dealt with the loss of a loved one. As such, the goal of the workshop was to bring together students and scholars working on various aspects of mortuary ritual across disciplinary boundaries, with a broad range of methodologies and data, from different perspectives and from cultures that cross space and time. Bringing these people together would foster interdisciplinary discussion, allow the exchange of ideas and the exploration of collaborations. Moreover, the event was aimed at gauging the possibilities and needs for a continuation of such a network on mortuary ritual in the future.

The event

Around 30 people showed an interest in the network, 22 of whom were able to attend the event. ReMA and PhD students, postdocs, lecturers and professors from the departments of Archaeology, Ancient History, Art History, and Arts, Culture and Media from Groningen and two guests from Nijmegen and Münster attended.

The programme consisted of two sessions of pitches in which all attendees presented how their work related to the textuality and/or materiality of mortuary ritual. The time reserved for questions and discussion after each pitch was put to good use. The meeting ended with a discussion on how to shape this research network in the future and some concrete ideas were formulated (see below). The interaction between attendants actively continued in the coffee break between the sessions, as well as during the drinks and dinner afterwards.

The future

Various attendees expressed their interest in future sessions of the research network. It was proposed to organise meetings on a regular basis (for example three times per semester). These meetings could take varying forms, including structured discussion on key themes surrounding death and mortuary ritual (e.g. ‘the good death’, self-representation and identity, personhood, bereavement and meaning making, etc), the presentation of ongoing research or research ideas, as well as meetings (perhaps in smaller groups) on specific topics (e.g. inequality in death) or around specific materials (e.g. textual strategies of commemoration or Greco-Roman epitaphs).

The network would ideally be broadened to include scholars in the fields of post-antique history, philosophy, and religious studies (who were approached, but unfortunately did not join the event). It is also worth reaching out to colleagues in the social sciences, specializing in such disciplines as psychology, sociology and anthropology.

A mailing list will be maintained in order to communicate future meetings, to share other relevant events, and to serve as a platform for the announcement of list members’ requests.

A web-presence needs to be created in order to formalize the network. Here, the aims of the network will be stated, past and planned events are announced, and interested parties can find a link to sign up to join the network.

The organisers of the first network meeting will take up the task to shape the network in the coming months and to organise the upcoming meetings. From the next semester onwards (Sept 2023) the organisation should start to rotate between members of different institutes and from different disciplines.


  • Dr Tamara M. Dijkstra (
  • Caroline van Toor (
  • Paula Kalkman (