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Shaking the Tree, Breaking the Bough: Frazer’s Golden Bough at 100

  • Start date: 10th Feb 2023
  • End date: 12th Feb 2023
  • online
  • Organiser: Drs Caroline Tully and Stephanie L. Budin, under the auspices of the University of Melbourne
  • Website


This conference hosted by Drs. Caroline Tully and Stephanie L. Budin, under the auspices of the University of Melbourne, from Friday, 10 February to Sunday, 12 February 2023, evaluates the continued influence of Sir James G. Frazer and his magnum opus The Golden Bough on the Humanities in modern academia.

Talks are 20 minutes/40 minutes (keynote speakers) each, with a short time for Q&A after. The conference takes place via Zoom. To request a Zoom link, please write to [email protected] Recordings of the presentations will be available to conference participants.

Programme (Times given are London/New York)
FRIDAY—10 February 2023
Setting the Scene
12:00–12:10 PM/7:00–7:10 AM
Tim Parkin: Welcome

12:15–1:00 PM/7:15–8:00 AM
Ronald Hutton: “Sir James Frazer”

1:05–1:30 PM/8:05–8:30 AM
Frederico Delgado Rosa: “Much as I owe to Mannhardt…”: Wald- und Feldkulte at the Roots of The Golden Bough’

1:35–2:00 PM/8:35–9:00 AM
Julia Phillips: “A Victorian Educated Gentleman”: Frazer and his Golden Bough in Context.

2:05–2:30 PM/9:05–9:30 AM
Alessandro Testa: ‘Popular Frazerism’ and ‘Re-enchantment’: what do these concepts mean and how are they associated?

SATURDAY—11 February 2023
ANE and Biblical Studies
1:00–1:45 PM/8:00–8:45 AM
Martti Nissinen: “The Sexual Agency of Ištar in Akkadian Love Literature”

1:50–2:15 PM/8:50–9:15 AM
Nadia Linder: The legacy of The Golden Bough in the interpretation of early Sumerian myth: the case of Ninsumun and Lugalbanda

2:20–2:45 PM/9:20–9:45 AM
Paola Corrente: The “resurrection” of Frazer’s dying gods in the ancient Mediterranean mythology. A fresh take on the divine death and resurrection through comparison: the case of Baal, Inanna/Ishtar and Dionysus

3:05–3:30 PM/10:05–10:30 AM
JoAnne Scurlock: The perils of othering and brothering: Some thoughts on Dying Gods in Ancient Mesopotamia

3:35–4:00 PM/10:35–11:00 AM
Caroline Smith: The Hebrew Bible scapegoat: complicating a Frazerian typology

4:05–4:30 PM/11:05–11:30 AM
Ryan Chester: Hypothesis as Theory: The Obstinate Nostrums in Biblical Studies and the Humanities

Aegean Implications
4:45–5:30 PM/11:45 AM–12:30 PM
Christine Morris: Rejecting the embrace of the Goddess? Minoan archaeology and the divine feminine

5:35–6:00 PM/12:35–1:00 PM
Bernice Jones: The Girl on the Myceanean Ivory Triad: Her Garment, Hairstyle and Identity

6:05–6:30 PM/1:05–1:30 PM
Laura Mazow: Narrative Myth in Bronze-Age Aegean Wall Paintings and the Function of the Rooms They Decorate

6:50–7:35 PM/1:50–2:35 PM
Cynthia Eller: How the Minoans Became Matriarchal

7:40–8:05 PM/2:40–3:05 PM
Stephen O’Brien: Guess Who’s Back? Graeber and Wengrow’s Resurrection of Matristic Minoans in “The Dawn of Everything

8:10–8:35 PM/3:10–3:35 PM
Isabel Koster: Reading about Nymphs and Roman Soldiers with and without Frazer

SUNDAY—12 February 2023
12:00–12:25 PM/7:00–7:25 AM
Larissa Tittl: Frazer’s Minoan Religion, by way of Mary Renault

12:30–12:55 PM/7:30–7:55 AM
Saskia Moorees: Same but Different: Frazer’s Sympathetic Law of Similarity and the Greco-Roman defixiones

Pagan Considerations
1:15–2:00 PM/8:15–9:00 AM
Helen Cornish: Frazerian survivals: contemporary witchcraft and The Golden Bough

2:00–2:30 PM/9:05–9:30 AM
Caroline Tully: Moon and Huntress: Frazer’s Arician Diana in Italian-American Witchcraft

2:35–3:00 PM/9:35–10:00 AM
Ive Brussman: Tree lore in the Anthropocene – The Order of Bards Ovates and Druids as Oak Seers in Times of Ecological Crisis

3:05–3:30 PM/10:05–10:30 AM
Vanessa Lavallé: The nude in iconography in contemporary cults: A study case of Lilith

Into the Present…
3:50–4:15 PM/10:50–11:15 AM
Laurel Zwissler: Gold is the New Black: Race, the Academic Study of Religion, and The Golden Bough

4:20–4:45 PM/11:20–11:45 AM
Fred Lampe: Frazer and the Magical Oath

4:50–5:35 PM/11:50–12:35 PM
Stephanie Budin: The Fads the Drive Us: From Frazer, Freud, and Foucault to Butler and Barad

5:40–6:00 PM/12:40–1:00 PM