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Religious & Classical Studies Professor Caroline Schroeder Wins Graves Award

Mar 1, 2010

Carrie Schroeder

For the second time in a row, a Pacific professor was awarded the distinguished Graves Award in the humanities. Religious & Classical Studies Professor Caroline T. Schroeder is a winner of the 2010-2011 awards. The grant money will support research toward a book she is writing about children in fourth- and fifth-century Christian ascetic and monastic environments.

The Graves Award, issued biennially, was established by Arnold L. and Lois S. Graves to reward "outstanding accomplishment in actual teaching in the humanities by younger faculty members." Modern Languages and Literature Professor Traci Roberts-Camps was one of 11 winners of the 2008-2009 Graves Award for her project on Latin American Film Directors.

Each qualifying institution may submit one nominee to be considered for the award. Dr. Schroeder was selected after her department chair, Dr. George Randels, and College of the Pacific Dean, Dr. Thomas Krise, reviewed her proposal and forwarded it to the Provost. Dr. Roberts-Camps assisted her with the proposal.

"George Randels has been very supportive of my research, and I am also grateful for the encouragement I received from Joanna Albala and Dean Krise," said Dr. Schroeder.  Dr. Albala is the new Director of Research Initiatives & Strategic Partnerships for the College of the Pacific.

Dr. Schroeder's book is underway, and she has published articles based on her research to date, which has focused on the social history of children in monasteries in Egypt. Her paper "Queer Eye for the Ascetic Guy? Homoeroticism, Children, and the Making of Monks in Late Antique Egypt" was published in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion in 2009. Now she will turn her attention to Latin sources of evidence primarily from France and Italy.

Family Values?

Children were deposited at the doorsteps of monasteries and nunneries for various reasons. They may have been orphaned or their parents sought medical care for them from the church hospitals. While it is well known that Medieval and Byzantine monasteries and convents were teeming with children, little work has examined children in earlier Christian ascetic movements. That's the period Dr. Schroeder is examining.

Late Antique Christian ascetic texts indicate that monastic men and women were encouraged to renounce their families, and pointed to the biblical example of Abraham, who was willing to sacrifice his child Isaac for God.  Yet documents such as letters, wills and contracts, hagiography and monastic rules, as well as archaeological remains, suggest that children frequently lived among adult monks and that children were raised in Christian ascetic households.

Dr. Schroeder will consult such sources during a two-week research trip to Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., which houses one of the most comprehensive libraries for late antique and Byzantine studies in the world.  The Graves Award is funding the cost of the trip and allowing Dr. Schroeder to devote the summer to writing.

Continuing Scholarship

Dr. Schroeder had her first book, Monastic Bodies, published in 2007. In addition to enabling her to finish the new book, she expects the research to support her development of a new seminar course on Sex, Marriage, and the Family in Early Christianity. 

Dr. Schroeder has received other funding for her research, including Pacific's Eberhardt Research Fellowship and a grant from the American Academy of Religion.


“A person who renounces material comforts and leads a life of austere self-discipline, especially as an act of religious devotion.”

“Leading a life of self-discipline and self-denial, especially for spiritual improvement.”

—American Heritage Dictionary

Related Links

Abstract of Dr. Schroeder's book in progress

Learn about her first book: Monastic Bodies 

Monastic Bodies 

Caroline T. Schroeder faculty web page

Please reference the Graves Award site for more information about this award.