Sarah Veale is an award-winning MA student at the University of Toronto’s Department for the Study of Religion, where she researches Roman religion. She is particularly interested in practices which are unmediated by institutional religious authorities and structures, especially phenomena like magic, mysticism, and mystery cult.
Her current project on Dionysiac cult challenges existing models of religion in the Roman world. This project 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). Most recently, her paper on religious alterity in the writings of the Roman historian Tacitus won the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion (CSSR) Graduate Essay Contest (master’s level).
A former journalist, 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.
Sarah has presented at academic conferences on diverse topics such as early modern vampire literature, medieval Christian apocrypha, and religious alterity in the Roman Empire. 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 Curses.com) which acts as a resource for curses and cursing in the ancient world.
A proud native of Chicago, Sarah roots for the White Sox and whoever is playing the Cubs.