Monday, October 6, 2008

Reminder: Shifting Frontiers Conference CFP

A reminder that the deadline for proposals is October 15, 2008

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, shifting.frontiers. (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 accepted.

Additonal information about the conference can be found at the

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