Call for Papers: Catastrophes and Memory (500-1500 CE)

4th Edinburgh International Graduate Conference in Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies, University of Edinburgh, 19-20 November 2020

Deadline: 15 June 2020

Disasters (natural, manmade or “supernatural”) shape historical memory and our understanding of the past. This conference focuses on the problematic relations between catastrophes and memory in Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine societies. Memory plays a crucial role in the way events are perceived, understood and narrated by different groups and elites: locals might see the conquest of their city as a catastrophe, while the conquerors portray the same as glorious or divinely inspired. We invite papers and posters that address issues and questions including, but not limited to:

· Natural/environmental: Plagues, earthquakes, famines/droughts, floods, fires, climate change
· Socio-cultural/linguistic: Iconoclasm, artistic and urban disruption/renewal, cultural vandalism, translation movements, language death and breaks in literary tradition
· Political/military: Conquests, coups, sieges, wars, revolts, revolutions, civil wars, usurpations, succession crises and religious/ “holy” wars (Crusade/Jihad)
· Religious: Heresies, schisms, theological or dogmatic conflict, new religions, apocalyptic traditions and eschatology
· Memory “devices” and strategies: How do memories of catastrophes manifest themselves in material culture, texts, images and other different sources? Where do we see evidence of intentional forgetting?
· Comparative/Interdisciplinary: Elites versus non-elite memory of catastrophes; geographical (Mediterranean and Eurasia); temporal (500-1500CE)
· The role of the 21st century cultural historian: What is and should be modern scholars’ role in situating catastrophe?

This conference will be hosted by the Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Society of the University of Edinburgh on November 19-20, 2020 in Edinburgh. We welcome papers and posters from postgraduate students and early career researchers from all disciplines with an interest in Late Antique, Islamic or Byzantine studies. Confirmed speakers include Dr. Leslie Brubaker and Dr. Foteini Spingou.

Papers: Presentation is 20 minutes in length, delivered in English.

Posters: Participants will present their research at a poster session. Dimensions should not exceed 70cm (width) x 100cm (height) and posters must be printed and brought by the author. We strongly encourage undergraduate, masters and first-year PhD students to summit posters of their dissertations or research.

To apply, please respond with an e-mail including whether you hope to present a paper or poster, an abstract of no more than 300 words, and a small academic biography of no more than 120 words to edibyzpg@ed.ac.uk. The deadline for submitting papers and posters is June 15, 2020.

Registration Fees (fee includes lunch both days):
· Students speakers: £15 before September 15, 2020; £20 after
· Non-Students speakers: £35 before September 15, 2020; £40 after

We will publish a selection of the papers in a peer-reviewed volume that will bring together the strongest contributions in each area to produce an edited volume of high-quality, deep coherence and rich variety.

Any questions please address to edibyzpg@ed.ac.uk.