Tuesday, November 30, 2021

 Historiography and Life Writing in the Late Antique World

Call for Papers

Proposals for papers are sought for a hybrid conference (participation possible both in person and online) on June 16th–17th 2022 exploring the writing of historiography in context of the developments in biographical literature during late antiquity.

The relationship between historiography and biography in antiquity has always been an uneasy one. Despite their mutual interest in strong characters, the writing of history and the writing of lives were regarded by ancient authors as two distinct genres. This separation proved influential too among modern scholars, but there have long existed voices suggesting that the boundaries between the two were much more blurred in practice (Momigliano 1971; Geiger 1985; Kraus 2010). Such considerations are particularly important for the later period because of the dynamic literary transformations it catalysed. The changing literary landscape from the fourth century on, in East and West, was shaped not only by the rise of new genres but also by the shift, redefinition, and even breakdown of established generic boundaries (Greatrex/Elton 2015).  

Recent scholarship has shown the fruitful interrelationships with contemporary literature of both later historiography (Blaudeau/van Nuffelen 2015; van Nuffelen 2019; Conterno/Mazzola 2020) and biography (Urbano 2013, Hägg/Rousseau 2000). But the link between the two remains largely unexplored. With the emergence of new biographical sub-genres – like hagiography or heresiology – and the blossoming of old ones – such as panegyric or philosophical biography – historians could draw on a hitherto unmatched spectrum of different models when incorporating the lives and deeds of individual characters into their historical narratives. This conference aims to investigate how historians adjusted to this increasing diversity of life-writing and what impact this development had on the evolution of historiography. 

We invite scholars of varied specialisms and disciplinary backgrounds interested in the history and literature of the late antique world to submit 500-word abstracts for 30-minute papers. Papers might treat, for example: 

  • the factors that influenced historians’ choice of a particular model of biographical presentation over another; 
  • the incorporation and adaptation of biographical source material (including translations) into historiography; 
  • how historians played with their readers’ expectations by both alluding to and breaking the generic conventions of different types of biographical literature; 
  • the differences in the presentation of lives across the historiographical traditions of alternative writing cultures, like Syriac or Coptic; 
  • how imagined audiences determined the stylistic and compositional choices of historians narrating the life of a historical character.
We are happy to announce Peter van Nuffelen (Ghent University) and Anne Alwis (University of Kent) as confirmed keynote speakers of the conference.

Applications from all scholars, including postgraduate students, are welcome. Abstracts of 500 words should be sent to karl.dahm@kcl.ac.uk by 5.00pm on 14th January 2022.

Very best to all,

James Corke-Webster
Karl Heiner Dahm

Monday, November 29, 2021


The 54th Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies: Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond – 18-20 March 2022, Corpus Christus College & All Souls College, Oxford (deadline 10th December)

The 54th Annual Spring Symposium in Byzantine Studies will be held in Oxford on the theme of Material Religion in Byzantium and Beyond. The Symposium brings together Byzantine studies with a series of innovative approaches to the material nature and realities of religion – foregrounding the methodological, historical and archaeological problems of studying religion through visual and material culture. Taking a broad geographical and chronological view of the Byzantine world, the Symposium will range across Afro-Eurasia and from Antiquity to the period after the fall of Constantinople. Panels will be arranged around the themes of ‘Objects in motion’, ‘Religion in 3D’, ‘Religious landscapes’, ‘Things without context’, ‘Things and their context’ and ‘Spatial approaches to religion’. 

In addition to the customary panel papers, an inaugural lecture and a closing lecture for a wider public, we now invite Communications of 10 minutes in duration on current research in fields linked to the theme of the Symposium. Please send your abstract (of not more than 300 words) to Ine Jacobs (Ine.Jacobs@univ.ox.ac.uk) by 10 December 2021. 

Friday, November 26, 2021

Soc for Late Antiquity


Call for Papers: Institutions and Institutionality in Late Antiquity  

Conference at Göttingen University, Germany, 22-24 March 2023 


Adolf von Harnack famously termed institutions “the skeleton of history.” While for many decades institutions continued to play some role in the writing of the history of the church, in recent decades they seem to have taken a back seat. While this is an understandable corrective to the enduring focus on “illustrious men” and prominent institutions in the study of early Christianity, this conference once again takes up the question of the value and meaning of institutions in late antiquity. However, it also operates with a wider notion of institutionality which comprises not only the church as an organization with buildings and bishops but also more fluid forms of institutionality, for example, circles of philosophers or ascetics, monastic communities, or literate networks. In the light of larger trends in the humanities and social sciences, we seek more robust theorizing about late antique institutions. 


Though centering on late antique Christianity, this conference intentionally adopts a wider purview—a “long” late antiquity which is geographically, socio-politically, and religiously diverse. Therefore, we solicit papers across the Mediterranean, Europe, North Africa, and the Near/Middle East, as well as papers which address the topic of institutionality in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (and their interactions/overlaps), as well as on institutions of traditional/indigenous (“pagan”) religions and philosophical “religion”—as well as on “secular” institutions. We understand that many of these terms require methodological and theoretical reflection—and in large part this is the purpose of the conference, even while exploring such questions in relation to more localized case studies. 


At this conference, we hope to address a broad range of questions, including but not limited to the following: 

  • What is the historiographical value of thinking with institutions? 
  • How do institutions help us to map thought and/or practice? 
  • What social-political power do institutions hold? 
  • What exactly constitutes an institution (or should constitute an institution)—for example, are churches institutions, and how would such substantial institutions relate to much smaller, localized institutions such as libraries, schools, or monasteries? 
  • How would (and did) institutions, which overlapped with one another, relate to one another? To what extent was there competition among contemporary institutions? 


In order to bring together leading scholars in the field with junior researchers, we invite papers which touch directly on the conference theme, particularly case studies, and we strongly encourage submissions from early career researchers. The papers should take up one or more of the above-mentioned questions and thus contribute to the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas which is the aim of the conference. The costs of travel and accommodation will be fully covered. We plan to publish the papers from the conference as a sort of compendium to late antique institutions. 


We are pleased to announce that among our confirmed speakers are Maria Doerfler, Catherine Hezser, Christian Hornung, Conrad Leyser, Christoph Markschies, and Jens Scheiner. 


To be considered for the conference, pleased send an abstract of ca. 200 words (for a 30-minute paper) and a short CV, both in English, to Robert Edwards at robert.edwards@theologie.uni-goettingen.de by 18 December 2021. Please also direct any questions to the same. 


Peter Gemeinhardt and Robert Edwards

Monday, November 22, 2021

Speculum Themed Issue: “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages"

 Via Carol Anderson, Assistant Editor, Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies

Speculum Themed Issue: “Race, Race-Thinking, and Identity in the Global Middle Ages” Call for Papers 


François-Xavier Fauvelle, Collège de France

Nahir Otaño Gracia, University of New Mexico

Cord J. Whitaker, Wellesley College

For far too long, scholarly consensus held that race and racism were mainly Enlightenment innovations, datable to no earlier than the seventeenth century. As long ago as the early twentieth century, some scholars pushed race’s origins to the sixteenth or even fifteenth centuries, but these scholars were few and far between. The Middle Ages and, with them, medieval studies were set off as a time and discipline innocent of race and racism. This remained generally true until the advent of critical medieval race studies in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Now, in 2021, special issues in major journals and no less than six full-length scholarly monographs have treated the imbrications of race with medieval art, literature, religion, and even the periodizing concept of the Middle Ages itself. Many more studies in medieval literature, history, art, religion, and culture have been conceptually informed by race, as have many studies in the modern perceptions and deployments of the Middle Ages. Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies calls for proposals for a themed issue, to be published as one of Speculum’s four quarterly issues, to recognize the intellectual value of the study of race to a comprehensive understanding of the Middle Ages.

We invite proposals for full-length essays (8,000-11,000 words) that interrogate race, race-thinking, and identity in the Middle Ages. For example, essays might consider the roles of race-making and racialization in the Islamic world; how race and identity, together with religion, was negotiated and navigated in border regions such as al-Andalus, Sicily or the Levant (between Latin Christendom and Islam), the Sahara and the Sahel region (between the Islamic world and Subsaharan Africa); how the dynamics of race-thinking informed relations between Latin and Greek Christendom and Islam or the Mongol Empire, or between the Muslim/Islamicate world and Christian, Jewish, Hinduist, and traditional-religious societies within it or beyond its reaches; how race intersected with the dynamics of trade and connectivity, religious affiliation and conversion, slavery and emancipation, peace and war. Essays may also take on the roles of race, race-thinking, and identity in the geography and periodization of the Middle Ages: Are historical moments that are quintessential to the history of race also relevant to medieval-and-modern periodizations? Essays may also consider how and why race, race-thinking, and identity have shaped modern concepts, uses, and scholarship of the Middle Ages.

The editors are open to essays that interrogate race, race-thinking, and identity in the Middle Ages by asking these and other deeply probing questions. Additionally, we are especially interested in essays that consider the globality of the medieval world: those that examine the networked interrelations and interdependences of Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe. In addition to scholarship in history and literature, we invite proposals using the tools and methods of anthropology, archaeology, art history, book history, historical linguistics, religious studies, sociology, and other fields germane to the studies of race, identity, and the Middle Ages.

The themed issue on race, race-thinking, and identity and the articles selected for it will be in keeping with Speculum’s purview as stated in the Guidelines for Submission: “preference is ordinarily given to articles of interest to readers in more than one discipline and beyond the specialty in question. Articles taking a more global approach to medieval studies are also welcomed, particularly when the topic engages with one or more of the core areas of study outlined above. Submissions with appeal to a broad cross-section of medievalists are highly encouraged.”

Proposals should be no more than 500 words in length and should be submitted by email to cord.whitaker@wellesley.edu with SPECULUM PROPOSAL in the subject line by 31 January 2022. The authors of selected proposals will be notified by 28 February 2022. Completed essays will be expected by 1 December 2022.

Friday, November 19, 2021

 Call for Applications: MAA Summer Research Program

About: The Medieval Academy of America (MAA) is excited to announce the launch of a new Summer Research Program for early PhD or early PhD-track students. Organized by the Mentoring Program Committee, the Summer Research Program is designed to mentor early graduate students in fields intersecting with medieval studies by providing sustained mentorship to better help graduate students succeed in their doctoral programs and establish promising careers.

Format: The 2022 Summer Research Program will convene over Zoom, with a hybrid culminating event. Over the course of six weeks in July and August, students will attend a series of skills development panels that will showcase the various careers available to medievalists (e.g. academic research, publishing, museums, libraries, auction houses), as well as the skills necessary to succeed in these different careers. Students will also participate in specific workshops designed to teach about and support the development of specific types of academic work: 1) the conference paper or presentation; 2) the dissertation proposal; and, 3) the grant proposal. Based on their stage in their doctoral program, students will work closely with mentors to craft one of these academic texts. The Summer Research Program will culminate with an in-person event, at which students will present the work they have been developing in their workshops.

Eligibility: We seek graduate students who are in the pre-dissertation phases of their PhD or PhD-track program (typically the 1st-3rd years), with an expressed interest in researching a topic that intersects with medieval studies. Eligible students may be pursuing degrees in any discipline (e.g. Art History, Comparative Literature, Music, Education), and focusing in any geographic region of the world. Preference will be given to students who do not already have access to the resources this program provides. We especially encourage students to apply who are from communities and backgrounds that have been traditionally underrepresented or marginalized within medieval studies. Students do not need to be current MAA members or U.S. citizens to apply.

Funding: Students will receive a stipend of $1000, and round-trip travel costs up to $500 (with more funds available for longer distances) to attend the in-person culminating event (those unable to attend in-person will be able to participate virtually via Zoom). Students will also receive a one-year free membership to the MAA.

Application: Applications are due January 15, 2022, and can be accessed and submitted via the following LINK: https://www.medievalacademy.org/page/summerresearchprogram. Applicants will be notified of decisions via email by March 15, 2022. For any questions, please email ananunez@stanford.edu.


Thursday, November 18, 2021

 We are excited to announce the call for content for Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal's fifth volume, “Sensing Place” Could you please share this opportunity with the graduate students and professors in your department? The CFC is copied below and attached as a PDF. Information is also available on our website and social media accounts, which are posted below. Please note that the deadline for submissions is Monday, February 28, 2022. Thank you!

Call for Content: “Sensing Place”

Deadline: February 28, 2022

This volume of Refract invites articles and other media that explore, expand on, and trouble the intersections of ritual, place, and the sensorium. We ask: What constitutes ritual and how does it relate to time, place, and the senses? How do rituals help organize our world(s) and define our senses of place? In what ways do rituals reify power, resist structures of oppression, or construct senses of identity? In this volume we seek to expand the boundaries of the historic interpretation of ritual to consider topics such as: the visual and sensory aspects of daily life that are exalted through routine; how we mark time through repeated celebrations; or the quotidian experiences of sitting together in classrooms or sharing meals. An expansive definition of ritual in terms of place-making and the sensorium includes everyday practices like religious ceremonies, rites of passage, modes of governance and policy-making, and so much more. Although Refract is a visual studies journal, we welcome proposals that go beyond the visual to discuss holistic sensory experiences such as odors, acoustics, tastes, and light. Submissions could also discuss community participation, processions, parties, social gatherings, holidays—–anything that looks at our connections to specific places and the somatic experiences that mark them.

Topics can include but are not limited to:

Violence, trauma, pain, protest, erasure
Performed rituals and their afterlives
Ephemerality, temporality, chronology
The alimentary and nourishment
Pilgrimage, procession, ceremony
Medicinal practice
“Witchcraft” or brujería
Selfcare, burnout culture, maintenance
Renovation, repair
Museums, display, spectacle
Fertility practices, kinship
Colonization, empire, resistance

We welcome contributions from graduate students, artists, faculty, and independent scholars across the humanities, including but not limited to visual studies, art history, anthropology, literature, and history. Although Refract primarily publishes in English, we invite submissions in other languages. In addition, we encourage media submissions such as film, photography, and audio, as well as collaborations that address the theme.

Please complete this submission form with full-length submissions (up to 10,000 words), an abstract, a bio, and 5 keywords by Monday, February 28, 2022. For submission guidelines, please visit our website. For additional questions, please contact refractjournal@ucsc.edu.

Wednesday, November 17, 2021


Via James Cogbill, Oxford University

Reminder that abstracts are due Friday 19th November 2021.

Reshaping the World: Utopias, Ideals and Aspirations in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

24th International Graduate Conference of the Oxford University Byzantine Society

 25th—26th February 2022, in Oxford and Online


There is nothing better than imagining other worlds – he said – to forget the

painful one we live in. At least so I thought then. I hadn’t yet realized

that, imagining other worlds, you end up changing this one’.

– Umberto Eco, Baudolino

It is the creative power of imagination that Baudolino described to a fictionalised Niketas Choniates in this dialogue from Eco’s homonymous novel (2000). The creation of idealised imaginary worlds has the power to change the past, the present and the future. When imagination is directed towards more worldly goals, it becomes aspiration and such aspiration can influence policies of reform. When imagination is unrestrained, utopias are born.

The Oxford University Byzantine Society’s twenty-fourth International Graduate Conference seeks to explore the impact utopias, ideals and aspirations had in changing the course of history and, therefore, how imagined or alternative realities shaped the Late Antique and Byzantine world(s), broadly understood.  

Our conference provides a forum for postgraduate and early-career scholars to reflect on this theme through a variety of cultural media and (inter)disciplinary approaches. In doing so, we hope to facilitate the interaction and engagement of historians, philologists, archaeologists, art historians, theologians and specialists in material culture. To that end, we encourage submissions encompassing, but not limited to, the following themes: 

  • Theological and/or philosophical usage of utopias in the depictions of the ideal society, of the afterlife, or to serve a particular worldview; 
  • Political, administrative, martial, economic and religious reforms as embodiments of aspirations or ideals;  
  • Allegory as both a literary and philosophical tool that endowed texts with new and original meanings; 
  • The ‘Byzantine novel’ and utopias: sceneries, characters and endings; 
  • ‘Chivalry’ in Byzantium as a form of utopia, for example in works such as Digenis Akritis
  • Language purism as a form of utopia; 
  • Encomia, hagiography and historiography used to cater to and curate idealised images; 
  • Numismatics, for example the depiction of harmonious imperial families on coinage in defiance of ‘reality’; 
  • Gift-giving and exchange of luxury goods to communicate ideals or aspirations; 
  • The performance of ceremony and ritual to suggest the continuity, legitimacy and permanence of imperial power; 
  • The ideal city in various artistic media, for example frescos and manuscript illuminations; 
  • Utopian ideas conveyed through material objects like seals or epigraphs; 
  • Utopia and manuscript culture, for example the ‘perfect book’, illuminations of utopia/dystopia, and ‘idealised’ writing styles; and, 
  • Byzantium as a utopia in the post-1453 imagination.  

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a short academic biography in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society by Friday 19th November 2021 at byzantin...@gmail.com. Papers should be twenty minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French. As with previous conferences, selected papers will be published in an edited volume, chosen and reviewed by specialists from the University of Oxford. Speakers wishing to have their papers considered for publication should aim to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.  

To read the full text of the call for papers, please visit the OUBS website here: https://oxfordbyzantinesociety.wordpress.com/24th-oubs-international-graduate-conference-2022/

The conference will have a hybrid format, taking place both in Oxford and online. Accepted speakers are strongly encouraged to participate in person, but livestreamed papers are also warmly welcomed. 

Alberto Ravani 

James Cogbill 

Arie Neuhauser 

Tom Alexander 

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Art History Grad Symposium


38th Annual Florida State University Art History Graduate Symposium
April 8–9, 2022

Keynote Speaker: Roland Betancourt
Professor of Art History and Chancellor's Fellow, University of California, Irvine

The Florida State University Art History faculty and graduate students invite students currently working toward an MA or a PhD to submit abstracts of papers for presentation at our 38th Annual Art History Graduate Student Symposium, which will be held remotely over Zoom Webinar on April 8 & 9, 2022.

We welcome papers that represent an advanced stage of research from any area of the history of art, architecture, and cultural heritage studies. Paper sessions will take place on Friday afternoon and Saturday, with each paper followed by critical discussion. Papers will then be considered for inclusion in Athanor, our internationally-distributed journal.

The deadline for submitting abstracts (maximum 350 words) is December 31, 2021. Please include your university affiliation and the title of the talk.

Send abstracts and this information to: fsusymposium@gmail.com

For updates visit: arthistory.fsu.edu/symposium

Monday, November 8, 2021


 Call for Papers – 21st Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies

The 21st Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies invites abstracts from current graduate students and recently graduated Masters students from all disciplines on any topic that is related to the long Middle Ages, including those focusing on non-Eurocentric geographies and medievalism(s). We encourage proposals for papers (20 minutes) as well as lecture-performances (25 minutes).

Keynote lectures will be given by Elina Gertsman (CWRU) and Daniel Smail (Harvard University). The conference will also offer attendees an exciting array of activities including a medieval music concert, tours of the Cleveland Museum of Art’s collection, and a guided augmented-reality visit to the Red Monastery Church in Upper Egypt.

An award(s) will be given for the best paper(s)! Papers must be submitted in advance to be considered for the prize. For more information see: vagantesconference.org/conference-information-2021/paper-prize. 

Submission Requirements
Vagantes is a multidisciplinary conference. Therefore, please provide a clear summary of your proposed paper using language that is accessible to non-specialists. Anonymized submissions will be reviewed by a panel of graduate students.

Abstracts of 300 words with paper title and a 1–2 page CV (including applicant’s preferred name and pronouns) in one PDF are due Monday, November 29th, 2021 to vagantesboard@gmail.com.

The conference will take place in-person at the Cleveland Museum of Art and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio from March 24th–26th, 2022. The event will be moved online pending Covid-19 pandemic conditions.

ADA Accommodations
Vagantes is committed to providing equal access to all conference activities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and CWRU policy. Please contact us if you require specific accommodations.

For more information, please click here.