Conference: Mapping the Sacred in Byzantium: Construction, Experience and Representation

Newcastle University, 20-21 September 2019

Registration Deadline: 8 September 2019

The “spatial turn” of the past decades has not only revived interest in space as an object of academic inquiry, but also contributed to new ways of understanding it. Notions of space as a territorially fixed and clearly delimited and confined container or background for human action have been challenged by the works of scholars such as Lefebvre or Bakhtin. Anthropological and sociological frameworks have emphasised the production and organisation of space as social processes through which meanings and narratives (sometimes conflicting) are created and ascribed. Spaces are thus permeated by, and shape, beliefs, ideas and meaning, which reflect on their configuration, as well as the use and symbolic value they are socially given. Novel approaches have focused on the experience and expression of emotional responses engendered by spaces, such as spiritual empowerment, as the social has given way to the personal experience of constructing, perceiving and perpetuating space. For the particular case of creating sacred space, Lidov’s hierotopic vision has brought to the fore the performative spatial aspect of iconic imagery. Likewise, in literary texts, spatial representation is not only understood as an indispensable canvas for the plot, but as a vehicle for cultural meaning, norms and hierarchies of values. Consequently, space sheds light on cultural environment and lived experience. This conference brings together scholars of Byzantium to explore new ways to think of, and assess, the construction, experience and representation of sacred space in Byzantium, aiming to contribute to the research on spatial paradigms and practices. It addresses spatial themes, both theoretically and empirically, from the perspective of literary studies, with insights from archaeology, art history and theology.

Further information and a full programme can be found at: https://research.ncl.ac.uk/sacredbyzantium/

Registration is online here.

Call for Papers: Inspiration and Institution in Christian History

Ecclesiastical History Society Winter Meeting, Carr’s Lane Chapel, Birmingham, 18 January 2020

Deadline: 31 October 2019

The Winter Meeting continues with the 58th Summer Conference theme of Inspiration and Institution. As ever, the intention is to attract a broad spectrum of papers from across the history of Christianity.

Since the apostolic age, the history of Christianity and Christian churches has seen a constant dialectic between inspiration and institution: how the ungoverned spontaneity of Spirit-led religion negotiates its way through laws, structures and communities. If institutional frameworks are absent or insufficient, new, creative and dynamic expressions of Christianity can disappear or collapse into disorder almost as quickly as they have flared up. If those frameworks are excessively rigid or punitive, they can often quench the spirit of any new movements. Without dynamic movements of this kind, even well-functioning church institutions struggle to avoid sclerosis. And once institutionalised, inspirational movements can change their nature remarkably quickly, whether by calcifying or by settling down from sectarian unruliness into denominational respectability.

The deadline for proposals of 20-minute papers on the theme is 31 October 2019. For full details, see https://ecclesiasticalhistorysociety.com/winter-meeting-2/

Call for Papers: Crusading in the Fifteenth and Sixteenth Centuries: Encounters & Representations

Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East 9th International Conference: Crusading Encounters (Royal Holloway, University of London, 29 June–3 July 2020)

Deadline: 1 October 2019

Organisers: Charlotte Gauthier, Katherine J. Lewis, Francesca Petrizzo. Sponsored by the Northern Network for the Study of the Crusades.

In the prologue to his Godeffroy of Boloyne, published in 1481, William Caxton explains that when reading of Godfrey’s exploits during the First Crusade he discerned striking similarities between Godfrey’s time and his own. Just as Godfrey had fought the enemies of Christendom, so modern men needed to do the same; Caxton warns that, even as was writing, the Ottoman Turks were occupying Otranto in Southern Italy and from there threatening the whole of Western Europe. These dangerous circumstances compelled him to make Godfrey’s life available in English to offer inspiration and encouragement for a crusade. Caxton’s prologue is often cited as evidence of the continuing currency of crusading in the later Middle Ages. Crusading continued to be an actual experience for many men in this period, and for others it was an influential pious and/or chivalric aspiration. Yet in comparison to the wealth of scholarship considering the ‘classic’ era of crusading, there continues to be rather less investigation of crusading in the later medieval and early modern periods. We therefore invite papers which consider any aspect of crusading in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, relating to the SSCLE conference theme of ‘Crusading Encounters’. We welcome offers of papers from scholars working in the areas of history, literature, art, archaeology, musicology or any other relevant discipline.

Paper topics might include, but are not limited to:

· Crusading enterprises and encounters in specific geographic areas
· Crusade-related diplomatic encounters
· Encounters with the ‘Other’ and representations of alterity: Turks, heretics, and other crusade antagonists
· Memorialisation of crusading: national/familial/individual
· Artistic, literary and fictional responses to crusading
· Appropriations and representations of earlier crusades and crusaders as part of the contemporary rhetoric of holy war
· Intersections between crusading, chivalry and lordship
· Crusading and gender – in relation to women and/or men
· Medievalism: modern depictions of fifteenth and sixteenth century crusades and crusaders

Please send abstracts of c. 300 words to k.lewis@hud.ac.uk by 1 October 2019.

Exhibition: Languages of God: Sacred Scripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea

Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Oxford, 27 July-13 October 2019

The collection of Ethiopic manuscripts in the Bodleian Library in Oxford is one of the most significant in Europe. Members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities from Oxford, London, and Milton Keynes have worked with the Bodleian to co-curate this display which will help us to find out more about these precious books and manuscripts and share them with the public.

The exhibition is part of an ongoing Bodleian Libraries project in partnership with the Faculty of Classics and the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, and is supported by the John Fell Fund and The Helen Hamlyn Trust.

For further details about the exhibition, https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson/whats-on/upcoming-events/2019/july/sacred-scripts-of-ethiopia-and-eritrea.

For more information about this collaborative project, or to join the mailing list, please email ethiopia-eritrea@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

Call for Papers: Acts of Excommunication in the Late Antique and Early Islamicate Middle East

Leiden University, Netherlands, 12-13 March 2020

Deadline: 1 October 2019

As part of the ERC-funded project, “Embedding Conquest, Naturalising Muslim Rule (600-1000)”, at Leiden University, this conference aims to bring together both senior and junior scholars to present research which illuminates the dynamics implicit in the act of excommunication and associated practices: ostracism, anathema, and other forms of religio-social exclusion, among the major religious communities of the Islamicate world, 600-1200 CE: including various Christian and Jewish denominations, Sunni, Shiʿi, ‘Khārijī’ and other groups within Islam; Zoroastrians and other relevant groups.

The workshop will focus on “acts of excommunication”, meaning that its primary focus will be specific cases, whether real or imagined, which display the dynamics and implications of excommunicatory practices. The discussion of specifc (pseudo-) documents is particularly encouraged. While participants will be asked to focus on specific cases, they should show how these examples illuminate the larger frameworks within which their cases occurred.

Topics to be covered might include the following:

· Excommunicatory statements in contracts and oaths
· Excommunication as a tool in managing institutional hierarchies and hierocracies
· Maximal and minimalist excommunication
· Exclusions from ritual, social activities, trade, place and space
· Political rebels
· Overlapping or contested jurisdictions
· Enforcement issues
· Excommunication at centre and periphery
· Conversion and apostasy

Scholars of Judaism, Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Islam often study excommunication in separate silos, developing separate vocabularies and models. However, during the early Islamic period, these communities shared space and ideas. When compared, various contexts (theology, ritual, eschatology, social mores) indicate isomorphisms which suggest that different religious communities were as connected as they were divided.

Excommunication is a tool of coercion, and as such, it deserves to be studied in comparative context which might highlight the operation of intersecting power dynamics in society.

This workshop aims to move beyond the idea that acts of excommunication were purely the result of theological issues. Instead, this workshop aims to explore acts of excommunication as social and political as well as religious practice, with important implications for activities in local communities, but also for interactions with wider society and with governing authorities within the early Islamic empire.

While the theological, doctrinal and legal backdrop are important, an act of excommunication does not simply flow from the conceptual force of a doctrinal transgression, but rather it is situated within a set of overlapping fields which may include economic, institutional, familial, political, ethnic, linguistic and generational aspects. These fields, in turn, contributed to how an act of excommunication came to be interpreted and positioned within evolving systems of law, theology and doctrine.

The output of this workshop will be an open-access special issue on the topic of excommunication in and around the early Islamicate empire, to be published in Al-ʿUsur al-Wusta: The Journal of Middle East Medievalists.

Contributions to this workshop will be understood to be works in progress, with final versions to be submitted for the special issue. Please send an abstract of around 300 words to e.p.hayes@hum.leidenuniv.nl by October 1st, 2019. Pre-circulation of papers will not be necessary, but final versions of papers for publication will be requested by September 2020. If you are unable to attend the workshop, but would be interested in submitting to the special issue, please indicate this.

Conference: Women and Violence in the Late Medieval Mediterranean, ca. 1100-1500

Maison Française d’Oxford, 27-28 September 2019

The last decades have witnessed an increased interest in research on the relationship between women and violence in the Middle Ages, with new works both on female criminality and on women as victims of violence. The contributions of gender theory and feminist criminology have renewed the approached used in this type of research. Nevertheless, many facets of the complex relationship between women and violence in medieval times still await to be explored in depth. This conference aims to understand how far the roots of modern assumptions concerning women and violence may be found in the late medieval Mediterranean, a context of intense cultural elaboration and exchange which many scholars have indicated as the cradle of modern judicial culture. While dialogue across the Mediterranean was constant in the late Middle Ages, occasions for comparative discussion remain rare for modern-day scholars, to the detriment of a deeper understanding of the complexity of many issues. Thus, we encourage specialists of different areas across the Mediterranean (Western Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic world) to contribute to the discussion. What were the main differences and similarities? How did these change through time? What were the causes for change? Were coexisting assumptions linking femininity and violence conflicting or collaborating?

The conference will take place over two days thanks to the generous contributions of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, the Maison Française d’Oxford, and the UMR Orient- Mediterranée Monde Byzantin.

Keynote speakers:
Professor Carol Lansing (UC Santa Barbara)
Professor Élisabeth Malamut (Université de Provence)
Conclusion by Professor Annick Peters-Custot (Université de Nantes)

Attendance is free of charge and open to all. To secure your place to attend this conference, please register here.

Full programme available here.

Tsiter-Kontopoulou Short-Term Research Stipends

Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, University of Vienna, Austria

Deadline: 31 October 2019

The Department of Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies of the University of Vienna, thanks to the generosity of the Tsiter-Kontopoulou Fund, invites applications for a Short-Term Research Stipend to enable pre- and post-doctoral scholars to pursue research on Byzantine and early modern Greek culture, with particular emphasis on cultural and intellectual history in the widest sense, including the history of Orthodox Christianity.

Terms: The duration of the research stay is usually two weeks. During this time, the recipients of the stipend are expected to give an informal lunch-time presentation of their current research.

Eligibility: This stipend is intended to support young and early career scholars, i.e. from the final year of doctoral study to no more than eight years after the completion of the Ph.D.

Amount: The stipend offers the reimbursement of travel expenses plus a daily allowance, for a maximum of 2.500 Euros total (to be reimbursed after the completion of the stay). You are expected to make your own arrangements.

Appointment period: Any two weeks between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020, except 1 July to 15 September.

Application: Please send a description of the proposed research including a statement as to why you wish to conduct this research in Vienna, a provisional budget and an indication of preferred dates (max. 300 words), curriculum vitae (max. 3 pages), and list of publications, to Mrs. Petra Greger at the address below.

Doctoral students should also include a short letter of endorsement (max. 1 page) from their adviser. Submissions will be accepted by e-mail only.

Further Inquiries: Mrs. Petra Greger petra.greger@univie.ac.at

For more information about the Department, its Library, and the Tsiter-Kontopoulou Trust see
https://www.byzneo.univie.ac.at
https://bibliothek.univie.ac.at/fb-byzantinistik/
https://tsiter-kontopoulou-schenkung.univie.ac.at

Call for Papers: Mike Clover and the World of Late Antiquity

Deadline: 21 September 2019

Sponsored by the Mike Clover Memorial Consortium.

Following the untimely death of Mike Clover, a much beloved and admired scholar of Late Antiquity in general and the Vandals in particular, his students, colleagues, and friends are proposing a series of conference sessions in his honor for the Leeds International Medieval Conference, 6-9 July 2020. Given Mike’s interests, the theme for next year’s conference, “Borders,” makes this initiative even more appropriate. We would welcome submissions on the kinds of topics that Mike liked to work on, things like barbarians/Vandals, prosopography, the Historia augusta, Ammianus, hagiography, coinage, and late Roman history in general.

Submissions (title and brief abstract) can be sent to Ralph Mathisen, ralphwm@illinois.edu. The deadline for submissions in September 21. Subsequently, the wheels at the IMC will grind slow but fine, and the IMC states, “we anticipate being able to notify paper/session proposers whether their proposal has been accepted into the programme by the December prior to the IMC.”