54th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies

The 54th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies: Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond – 18-20 March 2022, Corpus Christus College & All Souls College, Oxford (deadline 10th December)
The 54th Annual Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies will be held in Oxford on the theme of Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond. The Symposium brings together Byzantine studies with a series of innovative approaches to the material nature and realities of religion – foregrounding the methodological, historical and archaeological problems of studying religion through visual and material culture. Taking a broad geographical and chronological view of the Byzantine world, the Symposium will range across Afro-Eurasia and from Antiquity to the period after the fall of Constantinople. Panels will be arranged around the themes of ‘Objects in motion’, ‘Religion in 3D’, ‘Religious landscapes’, ‘Things without context’, ‘Things and their context’ and ‘Spatial approaches to religion’.
In addition to the customary panel papers, an inaugural lecture and a closing lecture for a wider public, we now invite Communications of 10 minutes in duration on current research in fields linked to the theme of the Symposium. Please send your abstract (of not more than 300 words) to Ine Jacobs (Ine.Jacobs@univ.ox.ac.uk) by 10 December 2021.

CFP: Graduate Student Conference on Syriac Studies (June 9-10)

The Department of Theology at Fordham University and Dorushe invite proposals for the Eighth Dorushe Graduate Student Conference on Syriac Studies, to be held at Fordham University (NYC) on June 9-10, 2022.
Erin Galgay Walsh (The University of Chicago Divinity School) will deliver a keynote address.
We welcome graduate student proposals for papers in all subjects, disciplines, and methodologies related to Syriac studies. Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):
Early Syriac Christian Origins
Peshitta Studies; Syriac Theology and Christology
Jews, Muslims, and Syriac Christians
Early Syriac Encounters with the Far East
Syriac Liturgical Tradition and Hymnography
Syrian Ascetics and Martyrs
Women in Syriac Christianity
Syriac Iconography and Visual Culture
Syriac Studies and Digital Scholarship
To promote and diversify interaction at the conference, we invite proposals in two different categories:
(a) 20-minute conference papers and
(b) 8- to 15-page dissertation interim reports.
Dissertation interim reports will be circulated in advance to facilitate discussion at the conference, and should introduce, at minimum, the project’s argument, method, and primary source material.
Proposals of either kind should be emailed by January 31, 2022 to dorusheconference@gmail.com.
Please attach:
(1) an abstract of no more than 300 words, using a unicode font for non-Roman characters, and (for the purpose of anonymous judging) not including the author’s name or other identifications
(2) a separate cover sheet with the author’s name, academic affiliation, and e-mail address; paper title and type (20-minute paper or dissertation interim report); and indication of any technological support needed.
Both documents should be submitted in .rtf or .doc format. Applicants will be notified regarding acceptance by February 2022.
Support for the Eighth Dorushe Graduate Student Conference on Syriac Studies is generously provided by Fordham University’s Orthodox Christian Studies Center, Theology Department, Jewish Studies Center, Theology Graduate Student Association through GSAS Graduate Student Association, Women’s Studies Department and Medieval Studies as well as Gorgias Press.

Call for Papers, Historiography and Life Writing in the Late Antique World

Historiography and Life Writing in the Late Antique World
Call for Papers
Proposals for papers are sought for a hybrid conference (participation possible both in person and online) on June 16th–17th 2022 exploring the writing of historiography in context of the developments in biographical literature during late antiquity.
The relationship between historiography and biography in antiquity has always been an uneasy one. Despite their mutual interest in strong characters, the writing of history and the writing of lives were regarded by ancient authors as two distinct genres. This separation proved influential too among modern scholars, but there have long existed voices suggesting that the boundaries between the two were much more blurred in practice (Momigliano 1971; Geiger 1985; Kraus 2010). Such considerations are particularly important for the later period because of the dynamic literary transformations it catalysed. The changing literary landscape from the fourth century on, in East and West, was shaped not only by the rise of new genres but also by the shift, redefinition, and even breakdown of established generic boundaries (Greatrex/Elton 2015).
Recent scholarship has shown the fruitful interrelationships with contemporary literature of both later historiography (Blaudeau/van Nuffelen 2015; van Nuffelen 2019; Conterno/Mazzola 2020) and biography (Urbano 2013, Hägg/Rousseau 2000). But the link between the two remains largely unexplored. With the emergence of new biographical sub-genres – like hagiography or heresiology – and the blossoming of old ones – such as panegyric or philosophical biography – historians could draw on a hitherto unmatched spectrum of different models when incorporating the lives and deeds of individual characters into their historical narratives. This conference aims to investigate how historians adjusted to this increasing diversity of life-writing and what impact this development had on the evolution of historiography.
We invite scholars of varied specialisms and disciplinary backgrounds interested in the history and literature of the late antique world to submit 500-word abstracts for 30-minute papers. Papers might treat, for example:
  • the factors that influenced historians’ choice of a particular model of biographical presentation over another;
  • the incorporation and adaptation of biographical source material (including translations) into historiography;
  • how historians played with their readers’ expectations by both alluding to and breaking the generic conventions of different types of biographical literature;
  • the differences in the presentation of lives across the historiographical traditions of alternative writing cultures, like Syriac or Coptic;
  • how imagined audiences determined the stylistic and compositional choices of historians narrating the life of a historical character.
We are happy to announce Peter van Nuffelen (Ghent University) and Anne Alwis (University of Kent) as confirmed keynote speakers of the conference.
Applications from all scholars, including postgraduate students, are welcome. Abstracts of 500 words should be sent to karl.dahm@kcl.ac.uk by 5.00pm on 14th January 2022.

42nd Canadian Conference of Medieval Art Historians

The 42nd Canadian Conference of Medieval Art Historians will be co-hosted by University of Toronto Mississauga’s Department of Visual Studies and the Art Gallery of Ontario on March 25-26, 2022. We are planning to meet in person. Papers are invited on any topic relating to the art, architecture, and visual/material culture of the Middle Ages or its post-medieval revivals. Papers in English or French. Please submit a short abstract (250 words) and one-page c.v. to ccmah2022@gmail.com by December 17, 2021. Scholars at every stage of their careers are encouraged to submit proposals.

Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Ages VIII: Experiencing Space

Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Ages VIII

Experiencing Space

Tampere, August 17-19, 2022

The focus of the Passages conference series lies on society and the history of everyday life. This time we are concentrating on the social construction and experiences of space, aiming to understand how it affected social frameworks, built communities and shaped individual lives. The “Spatial Turn” has directed scholars’ interest towards the interconnection between communities, individuals and space, but larger comparisons between eras and cultures are still mainly missing. We aim to approach space as an analytical tool, “experience” offering a novel conceptual method for the study in this field.

We are interested in everyday interactions within and between communities, groups and individuals and their relations with the environment. How did people negotiate the borders between built and “wild” environments, urban and rural space, the public and the private, the secular and the sacred? How were ideas, ideologies and identities reflected in the built environment and how were they shaped by space and perceptions of it? How did bodily practices and emotions create spaces, and how did space shape rituals and produce emotions? What was the role of sensory perceptions when living in and moving through space? How was space imagined and how did spaces, landscapes, buildings and monuments occupy a place in the private and public imagination? How were space and memories/narrations interconnected: how were spatial experiences inscribed in the preserved sources? In which ways did the political and legal, but equally religious spheres play a role in the formation of social spaces? We invite papers that focus on social topography, the lived experience of space, the normative and legal construction of space, the sensory perceptions of spatiality, and participation in constructing and regulating spaces.

We aim at a broad coverage not only chronologically but also geographically and disciplinarily (all branches of Classical, Byzantine and Medieval Studies). Most preferable are those contributions that have a comparative and/or interdisciplinary viewpoint or focusing on a longue durée perspective. We particularly welcome papers, which have a sensitive approach to social differences: gender, status, health, and ethnicity.

***

If interested, please submit an abstract of 300-400 words (setting out thesis and conclusions) and a short biography (50-100 words) for a twenty-minute paper together with your contact details (with academic affiliation, address and e-mail) via https://www.lyyti.fi/reg/passages2022cfp. The deadline for abstracts is January 31, 2022 and the notification of paper acceptance will be made in March 2022. Conference papers may be presented in major scientific languages, together with an English summary or translation, if the language of the presentation is not English. The sessions are formed on thematic coherence of the papers and on comparison between Antiquity and the Middle Ages, thus session proposals focusing on one period only will not be accepted. If the Covid-19 situation so requires, the conference has the option of participation via Zoom.

The registration fee is 130 € (post-graduate students: 60 €), online participation for presenters 50 €. For further information, please contact conference secretary saku.pihko@tuni.fi. The registration opens in April 2022.

The conference is organized by Trivium – Tampere Centre for Classical, Medieval, and Early Modern Studies (Faculty of Social Sciences/Tampere University) in collaboration with the ERC project Law, Governance and Space: Questioning the Foundations of the Republican Tradition (SpaceLaw.fi, University of Helsinki). This conference has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 771874).

Speculum Themed Issue: “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages” Call for Papers 

Speculum Themed Issue: “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages” Call for Papers

 

Editors:

François-Xavier Fauvelle, Collège de France

Nahir Otaño Gracia, University of New Mexico

Cord J. Whitaker, Wellesley College

For far too long, scholarly consensus held that race and racism were mainly Enlightenment innovations, datable to no earlier than the seventeenth century. As long ago as the early twentieth century, some scholars pushed race’s origins to the sixteenth or even fifteenth centuries, but these scholars were few and far between. The Middle Ages and, with them, medieval studies were set off as a time and discipline innocent of race and racism. This remained generally true until the advent of critical medieval race studies in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Now, in 2021, special issues in major journals and no less than six full-length scholarly monographs have treated the imbrications of race with medieval art, literature, religion, and even the periodizing concept of the Middle Ages itself. Many more studies in medieval literature, history, art, religion, and culture have been conceptually informed by race, as have many studies in the modern perceptions and deployments of the Middle Ages. Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies calls for proposals for a themed issue, to be published as one of Speculum’s four quarterly issues, to recognize the intellectual value of the study of race to a comprehensive understanding of the Middle Ages.

We invite proposals for full-length essays (8,000-11,000 words) that interrogate race, race-thinking, and identity in the Middle Ages. For example, essays might consider the roles of race-making and racialization in the Islamic world; how race and identity, together with religion, was negotiated and navigated in border regions such as al-Andalus, Sicily or the Levant (between Latin Christendom and Islam), the Sahara and the Sahel region (between the Islamic world and Subsaharan Africa); how the dynamics of race-thinking informed relations between Latin and Greek Christendom and Islam or the Mongol Empire, or between the Muslim/Islamicate world and Christian, Jewish, Hinduist, and traditional-religious societies within it or beyond its reaches; how race intersected with the dynamics of trade and connectivity, religious affiliation and conversion, slavery and emancipation, peace and war. Essays may also take on the roles of race, race-thinking, and identity in the geography and periodization of the Middle Ages: Are historical moments that are quintessential to the history of race also relevant to medieval-and-modern periodizations? Essays may also consider how and why race, race-thinking, and identity have shaped modern concepts, uses, and scholarship of the Middle Ages.

The editors are open to essays that interrogate race, race-thinking, and identity in the Middle Ages by asking these and other deeply probing questions. Additionally, we are especially interested in essays that consider the globality of the medieval world: those that examine the networked interrelations and interdependences of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. In addition to scholarship in history and literature, we invite proposals using the tools and methods of anthropology, archaeology, art history, book history, historical linguistics, religious studies, sociology, and other fields germane to the studies of race, identity, and the Middle Ages.

The themed issue on race, race-thinking, and identity and the articles selected for it will be in keeping with Speculum’s purview as stated in the Guidelines for Submission: “preference is ordinarily given to articles of interest to readers in more than one discipline and beyond the specialty in question. Articles taking a more global approach to medieval studies are also welcomed, particularly when the topic engages with one or more of the core areas of study outlined above. Submissions with appeal to a broad cross-section of medievalists are highly encouraged.”

Proposals should be no more than 500 words in length and should be submitted by email to cord.whitaker@wellesley.edu with SPECULUM PROPOSAL in the subject line by 31 January 2022. The authors of selected proposals will be notified by 28 February 2022. Completed essays will be expected by 1 December 2022.

CFP: 38th Annual Florida State University Art History Graduate Symposium

CALL FOR PAPERS
38th Annual Florida State University Art History Graduate Symposium
April 8–9, 2022
Keynote Speaker: Roland Betancourt
Professor of Art History and Chancellor’s Fellow, University of California, Irvine

The Florida State University Art History faculty and graduate students invite students currently working toward an MA or a PhD to submit abstracts of papers for presentation at our 38th Annual Art History Graduate Student Symposium, which will be held remotely over Zoom Webinar on April 8 & 9, 2022.

We welcome papers that represent an advanced stage of research from any area of the history of art, architecture, and cultural heritage studies. Paper sessions will take place on Friday afternoon and Saturday, with each paper followed by critical discussion. Papers will then be considered for inclusion in Athanor, our internationally-distributed journal.

The deadline for submitting abstracts (maximum 350 words) is December 31, 2021. Please include your university affiliation and the title of the talk.

Send abstracts and this information to: fsusymposium@gmail.com

CFP – Kinesis: Movement and Mobility

Call for Papers
Kinesis: Movement and Mobility
Keynote Speaker: Professor Emerita Eva Hoffman, Tufts University
The Thirteenth Biennial Bryn Mawr College Graduate Group Symposium
March 25th-26th, 2022
New Deadline for Abstract Submission: Monday, November 15th, 2021.

Medieval Art, Modern Politics (CFP)

Medieval Art, Modern Politics
Volume editors: Brigitte Buettner and William Diebold
Deadline for submitting proposals (500-word abstract and a CV):  December 15, 2021
Anticipated submission of final texts: End of 2022
Historians of medieval art know that the buildings, objects, and images they study were often created for purposes that were overtly political. They have devoted less scholarly attention to a corollary: the political uses and misuses of medieval art after the Middle Ages. In some cases,  the same objects and sites that accrued ideological meanings during the Middle Ages did so again, if differently, in modern times (better known examples include the Bayeux Embroidery, the Horses of San Marco, the Bamberg Rider, the insignia of the Holy Roman Empire, the Crown of St. Stephen, and  Dome of the Rock).
This is a call for papers for a volume of essays that seeks to complicate our understanding of the afterlives of medieval art by concentrating on the politics of its reception. While the ideological instrumentalization of the Greco-Roman artistic legacy has been recounted many times and stories of the rediscovery of national antiquities in eighteenth-century Europe and the revival of Gothic art in the subsequent century are familiar, the use of the medieval legacy has tended to be framed as either an affair of taste or of intellectual and cultural histories. The way in which post-medieval regimes (whether monarchic, imperial, totalitarian, or progressive) or individuals have reframed specific medieval sites, artefacts, and iconographies still await detailed examination.
We invite papers that unpack instances of the uses and misuses of medieval art in various post-medieval contexts and directed towards different political goals. We encourage submissions that represent the full geographic and temporal scope of the medieval period. Possible questions to be addressed include: What messages were extracted from “Gothic” and “barbarian” antiquities that differed from the discourses retrojected into ancient or early modern art?  How were medieval visual creations literally and figuratively repositioned to serve modern political ends? What were  the impulses—aesthetic and ideological—that explain why modern regimes have found it useful, even necessary, to reinvest in the visual legacy of the Middle Ages?
Please direct all inquiries and submissions to Brigitte Buettner (bbuettne@smith.edu) and William Diebold (wdiebold@reed.edu). We will notify authors of the status of their proposal by January 15, 2022. We anticipate c. 8000-word essays and peer review. We are also planning a workshop-type gathering to comment on the papers before publication.

Oxford University Byzantine Society – Call for Papers

Reshaping the World: Utopias, Ideals and Aspirations in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

24th International Graduate Conference of the Oxford University Byzantine Society

 25th—26th February 2022, in Oxford and Online

 

There is nothing better than imagining other worlds – he said – to forget the

painful one we live in. At least so I thought then. I hadn’t yet realized

that, imagining other worlds, you end up changing this one’.

– Umberto Eco, Baudolino

It is the creative power of imagination that Baudolino described to a fictionalised Niketas Choniates in this dialogue from Eco’s homonymous novel (2000). The creation of idealised imaginary worlds has the power to change the past, the present and the future. When imagination is directed towards more worldly goals, it becomes aspiration and such aspiration can influence policies of reform. When imagination is unrestrained, utopias are born.

The Oxford University Byzantine Society’s twenty-fourth International Graduate Conference seeks to explore the impact utopias, ideals and aspirations had in changing the course of history and, therefore, how imagined or alternative realities shaped the Late Antique and Byzantine world(s), broadly understood.

Our conference provides a forum for postgraduate and early-career scholars to reflect on this theme through a variety of cultural media and (inter)disciplinary approaches. In doing so, we hope to facilitate the interaction and engagement of historians, philologists, archaeologists, art historians, theologians and specialists in material culture. To that end, we encourage submissions encompassing, but not limited to, the following themes:

 

  • Theological and/or philosophical usage of utopias in the depictions of the ideal society, of the afterlife, or to serve a particular worldview;
  • Political, administrative, martial, economic and religious reforms as embodiments of aspirations or ideals;
  • Allegory as both a literary and philosophical tool that endowed texts with new and original meanings;
  • The ‘Byzantine novel’ and utopias: sceneries, characters and endings;
  • ‘Chivalry’ in Byzantium as a form of utopia, for example in works such as Digenis Akritis;
  • Language purism as a form of utopia;
  • Encomia, hagiography and historiography used to cater to and curate idealised images;
  • Numismatics, for example the depiction of harmonious imperial families on coinage in defiance of ‘reality’;
  • Gift-giving and exchange of luxury goods to communicate ideals or aspirations;
  • The performance of ceremony and ritual to suggest the continuity, legitimacy and permanence of imperial power;
  • The ideal city in various artistic media, for example frescos and manuscript illuminations;
  • Utopian ideas conveyed through material objects like seals or epigraphs;
  • Utopia and manuscript culture, for example the ‘perfect book’, illuminations of utopia/dystopia, and ‘idealised’ writing styles; and,
  • Byzantium as a utopia in the post-1453 imagination.

 

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a short academic biography in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society by Friday 19th November 2021 at byzantine.society@gmail.com. Papers should be twenty minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French. As with previous conferences, selected papers will be published in an edited volume, chosen and reviewed by specialists from the University of Oxford. Speakers wishing to have their papers considered for publication should aim to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.

To read the full text of the call for papers, please visit the OUBS website here: https://oxfordbyzantinesociety.wordpress.com/24th-oubs-international-graduate-conference-2022/

The conference will have a hybrid format, taking place both in Oxford and online. Accepted speakers are strongly encouraged to participate in person, but livestreamed papers are also warmly welcomed.

Alberto Ravani

James Cogbill

Arie Neuhauser

Tom Alexander

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