Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Shifting Frontiers

The Eighth Biennial
" Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity "
Indiana University

Bloomington, Indiana
April 2-5, 2009

The Society for Late Antiquity announces that the Eighth Biennial
Conference on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity will be held at
Indiana University and will explore the theme "Shifting Cultural
Frontiers in Late Antiquity" [ca. 200 - 700 AD]. The confirmed
plenary speakers will be Professors Jas Elsner (Corpus Christi,
Oxford) and Seth Schwartz (Jewish Theological Seminary).

Beneath the familiar political and religious narrative of late
antiquity lies a cultural history both more complicated and more
fascinating. Late antiquity was a time of intense cultural
negotiation in which new religious communities and new populations
sifted through existing modes of cultural expression, adopting many
elements for themselves and turning others aside. This conference
seeks to understand how cultural transformation occurred amidst the
political and religious disruption that can seem characteristic of
late antiquity. To this end, we seek contributions that explore
three distinct areas of late antique cultural history: 1) the
interaction of "high" and "low" culture, 2) the impact of changing
and collapsing political centers on their peripheries, and 3) the
emergence of hybrid literary, artistic, and religious modes of
expression. Possible contributions to these areas may highlight the
permeable division between elite and vernacular culture, the ease
with which cultural memes were transmitted across geographic and
linguistic boundaries, the adaptability of established cultures to
new political and social realities, and the degree to which newcomers
were integrated into existing cultural communities.

As in the past, the conference will provide an interdisciplinary
forum for ancient historians, philologists, Orientalists, art
historians, archeologists, and specialists in the early Christian,
Jewish, and Muslim worlds to discuss a wide range of European,
Middle-Eastern, and African evidence for cultural transformation in
late antiquity. Proposals should be clearly related to the conference
theme. They should state both the problem being discussed and the
nature of the new insights or conclusions that will be presented.

Abstracts of not more than 500 words for 20-minute presentations
may be submitted via e-mail to Prof. Edward Watts, (Department of History, Indiana
University, Ballantine Hall, Rm. 828, 1020 East Kirkwood Avenue,
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103, USA). The deadline for submission of
abstracts is October 15, 2008. The submission of an abstract carries
with it a commitment to attend the conference should the abstract be

Distributed with the usual apologies for multiple postings.

-- Edward Watts
Associate Professor
Department of History
Indiana University
Ballantine Hall, Rm. 828
1020 East Kirkwood Avenue
Bloomington, IN 47405-7103
phone: 812-855-6882

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