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.

Call for Papers: Women and Artistic Production Beyond the Borders of Byzantium

27th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, 6-9 July 2020

Deadline: 10 September 2019

The ever-shifting borders of the Byzantine Empire and the spiritual power of Eastern Orthodoxy contributed to the development of new visual forms in regions of the Balkan Peninsula and the Carpathian Mountains between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries. The rich art, architecture, and visual culture of these eastern European regions remain to be fully explored, as do the key roles women played in the transfer of artistic and cultural knowledge, the development of local artistic styles, as well as in the establishment of diplomatic relations and the transformation of identities and ideologies. Women have been frequently overshadowed by powerful husbands, sons, and communities, and too often relegated to the margins of scholarly inquiry.

This session explores women and female agency beyond the borders of Byzantium, in light of their roles within marital and inter-dynastic relations, as well as in religious and spiritual dynamics. In efforts to gain new perspectives on the nature of cultural contact and transfer, as well as on visual production in late medieval Eastern Europe as a result of the direct involvement of women, either as patrons, artists, mediators, and/or recipients, this session aims to focus on case studies that examine individual female figures from all walks of life (royal courts, noble families, monastic communities, etc.). Moreover, the session seeks to highlight the significance of prosopography, gender, and network studies in historical and art historical research.

Papers could address topics that include, but are not limited to:

· The role of women as key agents of cultural contact, transfer, and adaptation of knowledge

· Women as patrons, artists, and recipients of art beyond geographical, socio-political, and religious boundaries

· Instances of art (icons, embroideries, manuscripts, metalwork) and architecture that speak to women, allow for self-identification, and/or established gender roles and norms

Proposals for 20-minute papers in English should include an abstract (300 words max.) and a brief CV (2 pages max.) and should be sent to Alice Isabella Sullivan (aisulli@umich.edu) and Maria Alessia Rossi (marossi@princeton.edu) by September 10, 2019.

This session is organized under the larger initiative North of Byzantium, which explores the rich history, art, and culture of the northern frontiers of the Byzantine Empire in Eastern Europe between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries.

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.

Call for Papers: Frontiers of Late Antiquity

International Medieval Congress, Leeds, July 6-9, 2020

Deadline: 16 September 2019

Since the 1980s, scholars have largely abandoned traditional Limesforschungen in favour of a more nuanced approach to the study of Rome’s frontiers. Although many remain interested in imperial strategy and defense, limites are now commonly viewed as a permeable zone of influence and an area of economic and cultural exchange. Yet, these physical limites are just one possible way of thinking about frontiers in the Roman Empire and during Late Antiquity. Indeed, frontiers were also conceptual, about controlling access to power and privilege, and highlighting or minimizing difference, be it geographic or topographical (regional and supra-regional), political, legal, ethnic, economic, cultural, religious, or gender. Frontiers could also be imagined and constructed through rhetoric. Thus, the question of frontiers is intimately bound up with questions of liminality, of insiders and outsiders.

In keeping with IMC 2020 theme of “borders,” papers are being sought for a series of panels on frontiers in Late Antiquity (roughly 250 – 750 CE). We are hoping to include a diverse range of scholars representing as many approaches as possible. We especially encourage late-stage graduate students and early career scholars to apply.

Possible topics might include (but are not limited to):
· Urban-suburban frontiers (city centre vs. periphery)
· The frontiers of religious identity and authority (This might include liturgical frontiers; missionary activity; the construction of religious identity vis-à-vis borders)
· Imagined/imaginary frontiers (perceptions of difference and distinction; spatial frontiers; the rhetoric of the frontier; polemic; perception of insiders and outsiders)
· Communication, diplomacy, and political integration across the frontiers of the late antique Mediterranean and beyond (Local/regional and geographic frontiers such as rovers, mountains, plains or agriculture zones; the reception of Roman territorial divisions)
· Gender as a frontier (and its transgression)
· Physical frontiers in late antiquity
· Movement of people across frontiers and their reception

Those wishing to have their paper considered for inclusion are asked to submit a title and short abstract (no more than ~250 words) to lateantiquefrontiers@gmail.com by Monday, September 16, 2019. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the organizers collectively at the above email address or any of the individual organizers, listed below.

Samuel Cohen (Sonoma State University) samuel.cohen@sonoma.edu
Jonathan J. Arnold (University of Tulsa) jon-arnold@utulsa.edu
Rebecca Usherwood (Trinity College Dublin) usherwor@tcd.ie
Adrastos Omissi (University of Glasgow) adrastos.Omissi@glasgow.ac.uk

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: Dumbarton Oaks Sponsored Sessions at Kalamazoo

Deadline: 15 September 2019

Dumbarton Oaks is sponsoring five sessions at the 2020 International Congress on Medieval Studies. For more information, including the topics of each Dumbarton Oaks sponsored session, please visit the DO website. Proposals are due to Dr. Nicole Eddy by September 15, 2019.

A few important notes:
• Any proposals or questions can be directed to Nicole Eddy (eddyn01@doaks.org). Please indicate which session you are interested in.
• All proposals should include an abstract of no more than one page and a completed participant information form (find it here: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions).
• Any proposals not chosen for inclusion by our session organizers will be forwarded to the congress organizers for consideration for the General Sessions.

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.”