Monday, August 29, 2011

Diet, Dining, and Everyday Life: The Uses of Ceramics in the Third- to Ninth-Century World

Call For Papers: 47th International Congress on Medieval Studies in
Kalamazoo, Michigan, May 10-13, 2012

"Diet, Dining, and Everyday Life: The Uses of Ceramics in the Third- to
Ninth-Century World"

Potsherds are the most ubiquitous archaeological evidence present from
the Late Antique and early medieval periods. From the complete amphora,
preserved intact through the passing centuries, to the smallest
fragments of a cooking pot’s rim, nearly unidentifiable to all but the
trained eye, pottery has provided generations of historians and
archaeologists with information about the date of a site, the trade
networks on which it relied, and the general economic status of its

The focus of this sessions is on a different aspect of what ceramics are
capable of illuminating: the culture of a site’s inhabitants. Pottery
was among the most prevalent man-made item in the lives of most people,
and the meals cooked and eaten with pottery were among the most
important aspects of day-to-day existence. The common medium for
transactions of processed agricultural goods, pottery also speaks to the
range of individual economic exchanges and social structures that
underpinned relations between buyers and sellers. As the scholarship of
Paul Arthur, Nicholas Hudson, and Joanita Vroom has shown, these
ceramics are essential for the study of what is usually the most
inaccessible part of the lives of the ancients: the quotidian, ordinary
activities that make up such an important part of culture, economy, and
identity. These scholars use ceramics to explain, respectively, the
relationship between diet and cultural boundaries, the impact of
Christianity on dining practice, and cultural change over the longue
durée in Boeotia.

For this session we invite scholars working on ceramics from the eastern
and western Mediterranean –- and beyond –- to come together to discuss
the various ways pottery can be used to enhance modern understanding of
the cultures which produced it.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Andrew Donnelly at along with a participant information form (available
by September 15, 2011. Any papers not included in this session will be
forwarded to the Congress Committee for possible inclusion in the
General Sessions.

Andrew Donnelly
Department of History
Loyola University Chicago

No comments: