Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Shifting Frontiers

 *This event will take place virtually via Zoom.

For the Fourteenth Meeting of the Society for Late Antiquity, we
invite papers that investigate scale, which can be defined as a
graduated range of values or measurements, whether, for example, of
time, space, social organization, cosmology, or agency. Participants
are encouraged to explore scale either as a methodological framework
used by modern historians to interpret the past and/or as a type of
late Roman analytic category, developed and employed by late ancient
persons for their own heuristic purposes. Questions papers might ask
include: To what extent does the world of Late Antiquity look
different if we approach its events, institutions, and processes
(whether political, economic, social, or religious) from a micro scale
rather than a macro scale, and vice versa? How can we better
understand the late Roman Empire through the examination of macro- and
micro-scalar environmental phenomena, such as volcanic eruptions and
mutating plague DNA, which were only partially (if at all) perceptible
to the late Romans themselves? Alternatively, what graduated
categories of measurement and values did late ancient thinkers deploy
in their philosophical, scientific (including astrological), and
religious works to make sense of metaphysical, ethical, or even
physical quandaries? And what did scale mean to individuals on an
everyday level, for agriculturalists or merchants whose livelihoods
were embedded within multi-scalar economic, environmental, legal,
social, and religious networks? Other papers might consider the
fractal replication of structures and relationships across the Empire,
for example in conciliar operations (Senate, local curia, church
councils), patterns of deference across the social scale, or in the
provincial extensions of imperial authority. Comparativists are
encouraged to consider how problems of scale inflect transhistorical
arguments that encompass both late antiquity and other periods of

Featured Keynote Speakers:

C. Michael Chin, Department of Classics, UC Davis
Ann Marie Yasin, Department of Art History and Classics, University of
Southern California

Special Directions for Virtual Format

The program committee recognizes that online conferencing opens
opportunities for scholarly presentations and discussions that deviate
from the traditional model of “present a paper and then take
questions.” The past few months have been a time of experimentation
for all of us. Rather than define (and thereby limit) those
alternative modes in advance, we encourage you to propose them to us,
and so our task will be to decide not only which papers will be
included, but which formats too. Options include thematically linked
papers that are posted before the conference so that attendees can
read them before their authors hold a panel discussion at the
conference; or scholars who wish to pre-post textual, visual, video,
or audio material and then take only five minutes to present their
argument, leaving more time for discussion. Each submission will still
need to have a regular abstract, but please indicate whether you would
like to experiment with an alternative mode of presentation.

To apply to present at Shifting Frontiers XIV, please fill out the
application/abstract form
. Please provide all the requested information, but do not include
your name anywhere on the form.  All completed application/abstract
forms should be emailed to
Applications must be received by December 4, 2020 in order to be
considered for participation at the conference.

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