Lion Sarah VealeSarah Veale is an award-winning MA student at the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion, where she researches Greco-Roman religion. She is particularly interested in practices which are unmediated by traditional religious authorities and structures. Her current work, a project on Roman-era Dionysiac cult which seeks to challenge existing models of religiosity in antiquity, was selected for a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canadian Graduate Scholarship, which is granted to “high-calibre scholars” by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC).

Prior to graduate work, Sarah graduated Summa Cum Laude from York University with an honours bachelor’s degree in Religious Studies and Classical Studies (double major). Her undergraduate work received numerous awards such as the Vanier Convocation Prize in Religious Studies and Classical Studies (awarded to the student with the highest GPA in each program), the York University Faculty Association Foundation Undergraduate Scholarship (given to the student with the highest GPA in their faculty), and the William R. Coleman Prize for the best essay written by an honours student in a humanities or religious studies course. This essay, on Orientalism in Iamblichus’ The Mysteries, was published by the peer-reviewed academic journal, The Pomegranate. Other awards she has won include the Israel Mida and Family Award for Excellence in Jewish Studies and the 2012-2013 Classics Award for being the most promising student in a classical language.

Sarah has presented at academic conferences on diverse topics such as early modern vampire literature and medieval Christian apocrypha. She is co-director (with Dylan M. Burns) of the Network for the Study of Esotericism in Antiquity, an ESSWE thematic network which connects scholars of ancient esotericism. Between 2010 and 2015, she maintained the popular blog Invocatio, and many of her Invocatio posts can be found here on the blog page. She also maintains a website on ancient curses (Ancient which acts as a resource for curses and cursing in the ancient world.

In her free time, Sarah likes to watch funny movies and listen to music. A proud native of Chicago, she roots for the White Sox and whoever is playing the Cubs.