Sunday, January 29, 2012

Late Antiquity Newsletter -- Call for Papers, APA 2013 Seattle

Letters in Late Antiquity

Organizer:  Noel Lenski, University of Colorado at Boulder
Sponsored by the Society for Late Antiquity

We are fortunate to have more letters and letter collections from Late Antiquity than from the rest of Greco-Roman antiquity combined. These offer a wealth of information on personal relations, social history, the history of the family, political alliances, religious concerns, and daily life. Additionally, late antique letters open a broad window onto the literary concerns of authors and their world, reflecting as they do the power this genre exerted over the formation of literary personae and their performance on the cultural stage. Despite this vast wealth of material, it has only begun to receive the attention it deserves in the last decade, which has seen an burgeoning of new studies on epistolography.

The 2013 panel of the Society for Late Antiquity will be devoted to the subject of epistles in all of their manifestations, Latin and Greek (as well as Coptic and Syriac), prose and verse, religious and secular, literary and bureaucratic, textual and epigraphic. It seeks to explore why this form of expression suited the late antique world so well and to explore the research avenues opened up by the letters we have. Questions might include: What constituted a literary epistle? To what earlier traditions of epistolography do Late Antique authors appeal? Why do late antique authors choose so often to express themselves in this genre? In what way do late antique letters differ from those of earlier periods? How were letters transported and exchanged? To what extent did the collapse of territorial integrity in the Roman world affect the transmission of letters? What do letters reflect about social relations and patronage networks? How were letters used as instruments of power by their authors, be they estate holders, bishops, sophists, or emperors? How was the composition, transmission, receipt and collection of letters used as a method for self-expression and self-assertion?

We invite the submission of abstracts offering new approaches to these problems. One-page abstracts (ca. 500 words) for papers requiring a maximum of 20 minutes to deliver should be sent no later than February 1, 2012 by email attachment as .doc or .rtf files to Noel Lenski Please follow the APA's instructions for the format of individual abstracts. All submissions will be judged anonymously by two referees. Those whose papers are accepted must be members of the APA by March 1, 2012 and must attend the 2013 meeting in Seattle. For further information, please contact Noel Lenski, Department of Classics, University of Colorado at Boulder at the email address above.

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