Sabrina Higgins

Assistant Professor, Hellenic Studies Professor in Aegean and Mediterranean Societies and Cultures

 shiggins@sfu.ca

 AQ 6201

 

 

Profile

Research interests

  • Late Antique Studies
  • Archaeology
  • Art History
  • Marian Studies
  • Religious Transformation
  • Sacred Landscapes
  • Church History
  • Early Christianity
  • Gender and Agency Theory
  • Late Antique Monasticism
  • Eastern Christianity
  • Material Culture of Religion

Education

  • PhD, Religious Studies, University of Ottawa
  • MA, Classical and Near Eastern Archaeology, University of British Columbia
  • BA (honours), Classics and Relgious Studies, Univeristy of Ottawa

Biography

I am field archaeologist and art historian cross appointed between the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies and the Department of Archaeology. My work is inherently multidisciplinary, intersecting the fields of Late Antique Studies, Archaeology, Religious Studies, Art History, Papyrology, and Gender Studies. At present, my research is largely situated in the field of Marian studies, specifically the ways in which we can use material culture to understand the development and spread of the early cult of the Virgin Mary. More broadly, I am also interested in the ways in which art and space interact within Late-Antique Christianity religious structures and the manner in which art is used by socially-marginalized populations to exert agency. 

Publications

Journal articles and book chapters

  • ‘St. Thecla and the Art of her Pilgrims: Towards an Autonomous Feminine Aesthetic Praxis’, Journal of the Canadian Society for Coptic Studies 11 (2019) 65-80.
  • and M. Daniels, ‘Alternate Academics: Moving beyond the Academy’, Journal of Eastern Mediterranean Archaeology and Heritage Studies 3 (2015) 238-46.
  • ‘Riding into Late Antiquity: A Thracian Rider Relief from Golemo Gradište, Konjuh’, in M. Rakocija (ed.), Niš and Byzantium: The Collection of Scientific Works 11 (Niš, 2013) 173-86.
  • ‘Divine Mothers: The Influence of Isis on the Virgin Mary in Egyptian Lactans-Iconography’, Journal of the Canadian Society for Coptic Studies 3-4 (2012) 71-90.

Conference presentations

  • “Mary, the Apocrypha and the Construction of a Visual Identity in Late Antique Egypt.” Presented at the 17th Annual International Congress of Christian Archaeology, Utrecht University and Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, July 2-6, 2018.
  • “St. Thecla and the Art of Her Pilgrims: Towards a Feminist Aesthetic Praxis.” Presented at the 11th Annual Coptic Studies Symposium, University of Toronto, Toronto, April 28th, 2018.
  • “Academic Jobs and Hiring Processes.” Invited speaker at the SFU Graduate Student Professional Seminar, SFU, Burnaby, BC, March 15th, 2018.

Older

  • “To the Virgin We Pray: The Spatial and Historical Contexts of Marian Art in Egyptian Monasticism.” Invited lecturer, Greek and Roman Studies Departmental Lecture, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, November 3rd, 2017.
  • “Sanctuary and Survival at Golemo Gradiste: The Use and Re-Use of a Late Antique Church in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” Invited Lecturer, Classical Association of Vancouver Island, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, November 2nd, 2017.
  • “Unearthing the Virgin Mary: The Physical Evidence of Cult.” Invited Lecturer, Archaeological Institute of America, Vancouver Chapter, University of British Columbia, April 4th, 2017.
  • “Private Devotion - Public Veneration: The Proliferation of Marian Iconography in Late Antique Egypt.” Presented at the Byzantine Collectivities Conference, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, February 3-4, 2017.
  • “Rural Christianity in the Eastern Roman Empire: An Overview of the Excavations at Golemo Gradiste, Konjuh in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” Presented at the Archaeology Departmental Seminar Series, Simon Fraser University, British Columbia, December 1, 2016.
  • “Strange Things in Stranger Places: A Preliminary Report of the 2016 Excavation Season at Golemo Gradiste, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia” Presented at the Atlantic Classical Association, Mount Allison University, Sackville, New Brunswick, October 21-22, 2016.
  • “The Materiality of Mary: The Development and Profusion of the Cult of Mary in Late Antique Egypt (Fifth – Ninth Centuries).” Presented at The Material World of the Early Middle Ages, Forest Grove University, Oregon, October 7-8, 2016.
  • “A Preliminary Report of the 2015 Excavation Season at Golemo Gradište, Konjuh, FYROM.” Invited Lecturer, Departmental Lecture, St. Mary”s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, March 31st, 2016.
  • “Painting the Town with the Virgin: The Development and Profusion of Marian Iconography in Late Antique Egypt.” Presented at the Atlantic Classical Association, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, October 23-24, 2015.
  • “Thinking Outside the Box: Alternate Careers in Academia.” Session Chair and Organizer, Annual Meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 8-11, 2015.
  • “Rendering the Mother of Jesus as Theotokos: A Look at the Iconography of the Virgin in Fifth- to Ninth-Century Egypt.” Presented at the Annual Meeting of the Eastern International Region of the American Academy of Religion, University of Syracuse, Syracuse, New York, May 3-4, 2014.
  • « Cultures, rencontres et le divin ». Session Chair, Colloque Pierre Savard, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, April 24, 2014.
  • “Picturing the Virgin: A Thematic Study of Marian Wall Paintings in the Fifth to Ninth Centuries.” Presenter, The Seventh Annual Coptic Studies Symposium “Coptic Heritage: Monasticism – Consistency and Change”, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, March 1, 2014.
  • “The Materialization of Mary: References to Churches and Monasteries of the Virgin Mary in Inscriptions and Papyri.” Presenter, Mitarbeiterbesprechungen, Kommission für Alte Geschichte und Epigraphik des Deutschen Archäologischen Instituts, Munich, Germany, January 23, 2013.
  • “Finding Mary: The Utilization of the Documentary Evidence to Uncover Marian Churches in Egypt.” Presented at the Ottawa Early Christianity Group, Saint Paul”s University, Ottawa, Ontario, December 7, 2012.
  • “Riding in Late Antiquity: A Thracian Rider at the Late Antique Site of Konjuh, FYROM.” Presented at the Niš and Byzantium Conference “St. Emperor Constantine and the Heritage of Europe”, University of Niš, Niš, Serbia, June 3-5, 2012.
  • “Wherefore art thou Mary? The Reconstruction the Cult of the Virgin Mary from the Documentary Papyri.” Presented at The Fifth Annual Coptic Studies Symposium “Coptic Literature”, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, March 24, 2012.
  • “Digging Christianity in the Balkans: A Report of the 2011 Excavation Season at Golemo Gradiste, Konjuh, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.” Presented at the Archaeological Institute of America: Ottawa Chapter, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, March 21, 2012.
  • “Greek History and Archaeology in the Classroom.” Keynote Lecture, Greek Language Education Symposium in Ontario, Greek Community Center of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, January 14, 2012.
  • “Divine Mothers: The Influence of Isis on the Virgin Mary in Egyptian Monastic Iconographic Programs.” Presented at The Fourth Annual Coptic Studies Symposium “Coptic Heritage – Dynamics and Diversity”, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, February 26, 2011.
  • “Divine Mothers: The Influence of Isis on the Virgin Mary in Egyptian Monastic Iconographic Programs.” Presented at the Critical Inquiries in Classics and Religious Studies: Material Culture, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, January 2011.
  • “Archaeology and the Social Construction of the Cult of Mary.” Presented at the University of Ottawa, Graduate Mini-Conference, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, December 2009.
  • “In God’s House: The Innovation of the Roman Church: From Christ to Constantine.” Presented at the University of British Columbia Graduate Conference, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, May 2008.
  • “Presented Archaeological Excavation experience to members of the local archaeological community.” Presented at the American Institute of Archaeology: Ottawa Chapter, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, 2006.