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)
This is the blog of The Heroic Age, http://www.heroicage.org, an online journal dedicated to the study of European Northwest from 400-1100 AD. This space will be used to make announcements about news items, books, and other related medieval news of interest to The Heroic Age readers.
Call for Papers: Institutions and Institutionality in Late Antiquity
Conference at Göttingen University, Germany, 22-24 March 2023
Adolf von Harnack famously termed institutions “the skeleton of history.” While for many decades institutions continued to play some role in the writing of the history of the church, in recent decades they seem to have taken a back seat. While this is an understandable corrective to the enduring focus on “illustrious men” and prominent institutions in the study of early Christianity, this conference once again takes up the question of the value and meaning of institutions in late antiquity. However, it also operates with a wider notion of institutionality which comprises not only the church as an organization with buildings and bishops but also more fluid forms of institutionality, for example, circles of philosophers or ascetics, monastic communities, or literate networks. In the light of larger trends in the humanities and social sciences, we seek more robust theorizing about late antique institutions.
Though centering on late antique Christianity, this conference intentionally adopts a wider purview—a “long” late antiquity which is geographically, socio-politically, and religiously diverse. Therefore, we solicit papers across the Mediterranean, Europe, North Africa, and the Near/Middle East, as well as papers which address the topic of institutionality in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (and their interactions/overlaps), as well as on institutions of traditional/indigenous (“pagan”) religions and philosophical “religion”—as well as on “secular” institutions. We understand that many of these terms require methodological and theoretical reflection—and in large part this is the purpose of the conference, even while exploring such questions in relation to more localized case studies.
At this conference, we hope to address a broad range of questions, including but not limited to the following:
In order to bring together leading scholars in the field with junior researchers, we invite papers which touch directly on the conference theme, particularly case studies, and we strongly encourage submissions from early career researchers. The papers should take up one or more of the above-mentioned questions and thus contribute to the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas which is the aim of the conference. The costs of travel and accommodation will be fully covered. We plan to publish the papers from the conference as a sort of compendium to late antique institutions.
We are pleased to announce that among our confirmed speakers are Maria Doerfler, Catherine Hezser, Christian Hornung, Conrad Leyser, Christoph Markschies, and Jens Scheiner.
To be considered for the conference, pleased send an abstract of ca. 200 words (for a 30-minute paper) and a short CV, both in English, to Robert Edwards at email@example.com-
Peter Gemeinhardt and Robert Edwards
Via Carol Anderson, Assistant Editor, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Call for Applications: MAA Summer Research Program
We are excited to announce the call for content for Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal's fifth volume, “Sensing Place” Could you please share this opportunity with the graduate students and professors in your department? The CFC is copied below and attached as a PDF. Information is also available on our website and social media accounts, which are posted below. Please note that the deadline for submissions is Monday, February 28, 2022. Thank you!
Via James Cogbill, Oxford University
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 byzantin...@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.