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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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://
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.
This Special Issue aims to bring a wide range of scholars who work on passion subjects in different time periods and geographical regions together to examine representations and interpretations of Christ’s passion and death from a global perspective, and across all Christian denominations, on a large canvas. Possible topics for articles include: patristic imagery for Christ’s passion; relics of Christ’s passion and their legends; artistic representations of Christ’s passion; the influence of apocryphal writings on Christ’s passion on vernacular religious literature; pilgrimages, shrines and devotional practices associated with Christ’s passion; the passion of Christ in medieval preaching exempla; the passion of Christ in hymnody; the passion of Christ in sermons; the passion of Christ in devotional treatises; the passion of Christ in prayer books; the material culture of Christ’s passion—relics, paintings, crucifixes, medals, religious prints, holy cards, etc; the passion of Christ in mystical literature; the passion of Christ in religious folklore; passion plays, medieval to modern; the passion of Christ in warfare; the passion of Christ in world literature and film, and its reception, and so on.
Given that a vast body of literature exists relating to the study of representations of Christ’s passion and death, this Special Issue particularly welcomes articles which highlight lesser-known or localized manifestations of passion devotion, especially those which have not yet appeared in scholarly literature in English.
In order to facilitate the gathering of the richest collection of material, this issue welcomes articles of various lengths, from c. 5,000 words to c. 15,000 words.
Please send all expressions of interest to Prof. Dr. Salvador Ryan, Faculty of Theology, St Patrick’s College Maynooth, Salvador.email@example.com.
The 21st Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies will take place at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio from March 24th–26th, 2022. Vagantes is an interdisciplinary community of junior scholars that offers an excellent opportunity for sharing new research. Submissions on non-Eurocentric topics or medievalism are also encouraged! Conference activities will include an opening recital, banquet, and various workshops. A keynote lecture will be given by Dr. Elina Gertsman (CWRU). Abstracts of 300 words with paper title and a 1–2 page CV (including applicant’s preferred name and pronouns) in one PDF are due Monday, November 29th, 2021.
5th “Parekbolai” Symposium on Byzantine Literature and Philology
December 10, 2021
“Self-Portrait in Byzantine Literature”
The e-journal Parekbolai invites paper proposals on “Self-Portrait in Byzantine Literature” for a virtual symposium to be held on December 10, 2021.
This call is open to and aimed at scholars in all stages of their career. Ph.D. candidates and postgraduate students are especially encouraged to apply.
Presentations (preferably in Greek or English) should last 20 minutes and abstracts (max. one page) should be submitted to: Ioannis Vassis (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Sofia Kotzabassi (email@example.com) by October 30, 2021.
Online: May 9, – May 14, 2022
Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI, USA
BYZANTIUM BIZARRE: STORYTELLING THROUGH SACRED SPACES
Invitation: Submission of Abstracts
Deadline: 15 September 2021
We cordially invite the submission of abstracts for our session “Byzantium Bizarre: Storytelling through sacred spaces” at the 2022 International Congress on Medieval Studies, taking place online from May 9-14, 2022.
Church architecture, sacred locations and legend can produce a bizarre interplay in the late antique and Byzantine Mediterranean. Particularly interesting are extraordinary churches that tell a story or have a legend, tradition, or mythology attached to them, revealing the human fascination toward the bizarre. In our panel, we look forward to discussing these sociocultural aspects of Byzantine churches, particularly those linking material to the sacred spaces, architecture, and archaeology.
The role of storytelling is manifest in creating or reframing tradition and mythology, for example the Church of St. Symeon Stylites, or the repurposing of natural formations (e.g., Constantinian- period caves in Jerusalem). The attitudes and understandings of the monuments, both contemporary and modern, inform the knowledge of what makes their setting and architecture important. Through an archaeological and architectural analysis, we can understand sociocultural aspects of such monuments and their meanings. Our panel will examine examples of this relationship between legend and monument and their influences on each other to create a holy place throughout the Byzantine empire. Following the themes of mythology, legend, and storytelling, we invite papers discussing archaeological and architectural materiality and art historical objects, but also historical perspectives and liturgical specialties.
Please submit the abstract for your paper (300 words abstract plus a short description of 50 words) by September 15, 2021, through the conference portal at wmich.edu/medievalcongress/
The Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, are pleased to invite abstracts for the next Studying East of Byzantium workshop: Studying East of Byzantium VIII: Material Culture.
The three-part workshop intends to bring together doctoral students studying the Christian East to reflect on how to study the material world of the Christian East, to share methodologies, and to discuss their research with workshop respondents, Marica Cassis, University of Calgary, and Kate Franklin, Birkbeck, University of London. The workshop will meet on November 19, 2021, February 18, 2022, and June 6–7, 2022, on Zoom. The timing of the workshop meetings will be determined when the participant list is finalized.
We invite doctoral students working in any discipline of East Christian studies to discuss the role of material culture—monuments, archaeological sites, artifacts, images—in their research and to consider questions such as how the tools of the study of material culture can assist in understanding the realities of the Christian East? What is the difference between material culture and art-historical and archaeological approaches? How does attention to the non-verbal world harmonize with or challenge historical narratives based on textual study?
Participation is limited to 10 students. The full workshop description is available on the East of Byzantium website (https://eastofbyzantium.org/
For questions, please contact East of Byzantium organizers, Christina Maranci, Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art, Tufts University, and Brandie Ratliff, Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at firstname.lastname@example.org
EAST OF BYZANTIUM is a partnership between the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA. It explores the cultures of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire in the late antique and medieval periods.
Papers are sought for two sessions: Armenian Studies: Literature and Art I and II to be proposed for the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, ONLINE: May 9-14, 2022), organized by Dr. Michail Kitsos (University of Toronto)
Classical and medieval Armenian literature and material culture offer a plethora of information about Armenian history, culture, theology, and politics during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Despite the importance of classical and medieval Armenian sources, these remain understudied. Armenian Studies I & II: Literature and Art aim to demonstrate the importance of the study of classical and medieval Armenian literary sources and material culture and to highlight the role of Byzantine and Medieval Armenia by exploring literary contacts, interactions, the perception and the impact of Byzantine cultural tradition on the Armenian life, and exchanges between Armenia and its neighbors.
These two sessions aim to demonstrate the importance of classical and medieval Armenian sources and material culture for the study of Byzantium and beyond in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. We welcome papers that study different literary genres such as chronicles, theological treatises, narratives, letters, legal texts, as well as various forms of artistic expression in order to explore points of interaction, cultural exchange, literary contacts, and polemics between Armenia and its neighbors. Through these sessions, we aim to provide a multifaceted perspective of the role of medieval Armenia between Byzantium and Islam.
To submit a paper proposal, you are kindly requested to do so no later than September 15, 2021 using the conference portal: wmich.edu/medievalcongress/call.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the organizer: Dr. Michail Kitsos at email@example.com
Recent work on subjecthood and patronage in Byzantine studies has shown the import of formulas and models, especially in light of liturgical and literary ones, for understanding and presenting the self. At the same time, theories of queerness and intersectionality have been used to bring greater awareness to previously overlooked medieval identities. Drawing on these discourses, this panel revisits traditional sites of self-presentation, such as seals, donation images, and objects of commemoration to ask how these issues were visualized. How did patrons with marginal or liminal identities represent themselves? Or why would a patron choose to represent themselves via a figure whose identity did not fit neatly into societally defined categories? For example, why would a man choose an angel as his emblem? At stake is how we recognize and interpret medieval self-identification. Speakers are encouraged to address de-centered subjects, either patrons or iconographies, and ask how the arena of self-presentation can aid our understanding of what liminal and marginal meant to medieval patrons and viewers. Deadline for Submissions: Wednesday, September 15, 2021.
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