Call for Papers: Securing Power in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire

Online Workshop, University of Cambridge, 7 December 2021

Imperial power in the sixth-century Roman empire could be fragile. ‘Every emperor had to perform a delicate balancing act to remain in power’ by responding to and accommodating the shifting demands of public opinion and various interest groups: senators, bureaucrats, bishops, soldiers and generals, urban factions, and more (Greatrex 2020; Meier 2016; Kaldellis 2015; Bell 2013; Pfeilschifter 2013). Each of these groups have individually assumed increasingly important roles in political narratives of the period, but comparatively little attention has been paid to how those in power – emperors, patriarchs, governors, magistrates, and others – were subjected to pressures and attempted to build power bases across these interest groups.

In particular, modern scholarship has established a boundary between “secular” and “ecclesiastical” politics which sixth-century century political actors neither experienced nor refrained from crossing as they tried to secure or challenge power. The purpose of this workshop is to close these artificial divides and to explore how power was contested and secured “without limits”, in order to take better account of the interconnectedness of the sixth-century world, the flexible array of political pressures to which those in power were subjected, and the sometimes unexpected consequences of responding to these pressures. The goal of this approach is to produce a more holistic, comprehensive understanding of sixth-century power struggles.

We invite PhD candidates and early career researchers to read the full call for papers and a list of suggested topics in the PDF attached below.

CfP – Securing Power in the Sixth-Century Roman Empire

The deadline for submitting abstracts is 31 August 2021 and the workshop will take place online on 7 December 2021. We envisage the publication of a volume based on the papers delivered at the conference, dependent upon a peer-review process.

Conference: Days of Justinian I

9th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM IN BYZANTINE AND MEDIEVAL STUDIES “DAYS OF JUSTINIAN I”, Skopje, 12-14 November 2021

Special Thematic Strand for 2021: Ideology

Keynote speaker: Professor JOHN HALDON

Organized by the Institute of National History, Skopje, Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Skopje and University of Bologna, in partnership with Faculty of Theology “St. Clement of Ohrid”, Skopje and AHRM, with the financial support of the Ministry of Culture.

The International symposium in Byzantine and Medieval Studies “Days of Justinian I” is an annual interdisciplinary scholarly forum aimed at the presentation of the latest research followed by discussions on various aspects of Byzantine and Medieval Studies before 1500; this includes the treatment and interpretation of cultural, historical and spiritual heritage in contemporary modern Europe. The Symposium is dedicated to Emperor Justinian I with the aim to bring together scholars from around the world to address a broad range of issues related to Byzantium and the European Middle Ages, comprising the exploration of the cultural and historical legacy as an integrative component of the diversities and commonalities of Europe and wider.

This year the special thematic strand Ideology will instigate scholarly debate about the different aspects of ideology in Byzantium and in Medieval Western Europe. Ranging from the general belief of the people about their world, to the particular sets of ideas and notions, the ideology operated at different levels in the Middle Ages, articulating the power and impacting the societies. Various questions will be raised in exploring the ideology as a function of propaganda that legitimized a political order and justified influence. This will encompass an ideological framework of imperial action, competition over status and identity, rival ideological claims to the Roman Empire, relationship with nationalism.

The Symposium will embrace broader geographical areas and chronological scope, addressing wide range of conceptual issues in examining the ways of which ideology functioned in different political, social, economic, cultural, religious conditions in the Eastern Roman Empire and in Medieval Western Europe, generating specific sets of ideas, values and beliefs that changed with time.

Please note that the Organizing Committee will be closely following the Covid-19 situation and will organize blended sessions with physical presence and online presentations for remote participation for those participants who will be prevented from traveling to Skopje due to the pandemic.

Papers are welcomed on various topics that may include, but are not limited to the following areas of discussion:

⊕ Ideology and Identity
⊕ Imperial ideology and political thought
⊕ Ideology and social practices
⊕ Religion and Ideology
⊕ Ideology and the political order
⊕ Ideology and rhetoric
⊕ Ideology and propaganda
⊕ War Ideology
⊕ Iconography and Ideology
⊕ Ideology and the Romanness
⊕ Ideological claims to the Roman Empire
⊕ Ideology and ethnicity
⊕ Ideology and assimilation
⊕ Historiography and Ideology
⊕ Ideology and diplomacy
⊕ Ideology and education
⊕ Ideological content of law
⊕ Ideology and literary practice
⊕ Art and architecture as an expression of ideology
⊕ Ideology and gender
⊕ Ideology and music
⊕ Ideology, customs and traditions
⊕ Ideology, Heresy and violence
⊕ Ideology and Cultural heritage: Interpretation, restoration, protection
⊕ Ideological claims and nationalism

First Deadline for submitting the abstract of the papers: 15 August, 2021
Second Deadline for submitting the abstract of the papers: 15 October, 2021

Notification of acceptance for early applicants: 20 August, 2021
Notification of acceptance for other applicants: 20 October, 2021
Deadline for submitting the full papers for publication: 1 March, 2022.
Please send the application form to the following address: days.justinian@gmail.com

Presentation of the papers will be limited to 10 minutes.
Working languages: Macedonian and English.
No participation fee is required.
Travel and accommodation expenses are covered by the participants themselves.
The full papers will be peer-reviewed.
Papers delivered at the Symposium will be published in the Proceedings of the Symposium.
For further inquiries you can contact the Secretary of the Symposium, Prof. Dragan Gjalevski: days.justinian@gmail.com

You can download the Call for papers at:
https://bit.ly/3uEume0

Application form at:
https://bit.ly/3dbBXLu

Please check the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/days.justinian and website www.ini.ukim.mk for news on the Symposium, the agenda, special events and the online application form.

Symposiarch: Professor Mitko B. Panov

Exhibition: ‘A Piece of Nature’ Arts & Crafts Perceptions of Nature and the Byzantine Monument

https://nature.bsa.ac.uk/

The relationship between nature and architecture was particularly emphasized by the Arts & Crafts members as an expression of man’s inner-relationship with his natural surroundings. Historical architecture, in particular, had a central role in this interaction between man and the physical world. Medieval architecture, primarily the Gothic cathedral, was admired for its natural forms and the close almost mystical connections that it managed to establish with nature.

Pioneer architects of the British Arts & Crafts movement, such as Robert Weir Schultz and Sidney Barnsley of the British School at Athens BRF Archive, following the example of John Ruskin, William Morris and their Arts & Crafts masters, were among the first to record, document and study surviving Byzantine monuments in the Eastern Mediterranean. Their attitude towards the remains of Byzantine heritage in the region, eloquently reflected in their recordings and, later, publications, demonstrates a pronounced concern, at the footsteps of their masters, for the multiple interconnections between a historic building and its natural surroundings. Byzantine architecture was considered an essential part of the landscape and, vice versa, nature, the physical world, its forms and qualities were reflected in the historic building both in the way it developed as well as in impressive or even minute details in its architecture and decoration.

This exhibition was created for Nature and the Environment: the 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, which was planned by the late Dr Ruth Macrides, and it is dedicated to her memory.

New Journal: Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS)

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new journal, Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS), https://www.euppublishing.com/loi/jlaibs, published by Edinburgh University Press. The JLAIBS as a hotspot for interdisciplinary dialogue aims to disseminate new approaches and methodologies that intend to transform our understanding of broader Late Antique and Medieval phenomena, such as knowledge transfer and cultural exchanges, by looking beyond single linguistic traditions or political boundaries. It provides a forum for high-quality articles on the interactions and cross-cultural exchange between different traditions and of the so-called Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world. Thematically, the journal also welcomes submissions dealing individually with Late Antique, Byzantine and Islamic literature, history, archaeology, and material culture from the fourth to the fifteenth century.

Articles should be written in English and can be up to 15,000 words in total length (i.e. including all footnotes, bibliography and any appendices). Submissions to Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies should be formatted in accordance with the full JLAIBS style guidelines (https://www.euppublishing.com/pb-assets/Notes_for_Contibutors/JLAIBS_Style_guide-1614190487.pdf), and sent as Word and PDF files to: jlaibs@ed.ac.uk

Editors:

Dr Petros Bouras-Vallianatos (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Marie Legendre (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Yannis Stouraitis (University of Edinburgh)

Editorial board:

Prof. Peter Adamson (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Prof. Gianfranco Agosti (Sapienza Università di Roma)
Assoc. Prof. Corisande Fenwick (University College London)
Prof. Robert Hoyland (New York University)
Prof. Marc Lauxtermann (University of Oxford)
Prof. Maria Mavroudi (University of California, Berkeley)
Prof. Annliese Nef (Université Paris 1 Panthéon)
Prof. Dr Johannes Pahlitzsch (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Assoc. Prof. Arietta Papaconstantinou (University of Reading)
Assoc. Prof. Maria Parani (University of Cyprus)
Prof. Samuel Rubenson (Lund University)
Assoc. Prof. Kostis Smyrlis (National Hellenic Research Foundation/Athens)
Assoc. Prof. Jack Tannous (Princeton University)
Assoc. Prof. Alicia Walker (Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania)

Online Resource: Syrian Architectural Heritage Released on Wikimedia Commons

Dumbarton Oaks

More than 9,700 photographs of Late Roman and Byzantine monuments in Syria are being uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, in keeping with our Access Initiative to make Dumbarton Oaks collections and scholarship more broadly available. In 2016, retired historian Frank Kidner donated photographs he had taken of Syrian sites in the 1980s and 1990s to Dumbarton Oaks. Emphasizing ancient villages in the modern-day province Idlib, west of Aleppo along the border with Turkey, the Frank Kidner Photographs collection documents sites of historical and archaeological significance while capturing scenes of daily life. His poignant photographs of children playing among the nearly 2,000-year-old ruins stand in stark contrast to familiar images of the ongoing refugee and displacement crisis stemming from the Syrian Civil War. Kidner created a comprehensive resource—drawing together topography, evidence of communities that once lived in the region, and architectural details—that is useful for researchers and scholars across a breadth of fields.

Online Resource: Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt Catalogue

Dumbarton Oaks

Experience the vibrant colors and array of textures that enlivened interior spaces in early medieval Egypt. Recent exhibition Woven Interiors—a collaboration with The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum—presented rare and fragile masterpieces from major American institutions, including many textiles that had never before been exhibited or had remained in storage for decades. Now, download the digital catalogue free of charge to explore some sixty remarkable pieces. Essays from curators Gudrun Bühl, Sumru Belger Krody, and Dumbarton Oaks Assistant Curator of the Byzantine Collection Elizabeth Dospěl Williams highlight major themes of the exhibition, including aesthetics, sacred imagery, comfort at home, and continuity and change. To purchase a hard copy of the catalogue, contact our Museum Shop.

Online Resource: International Byzantinist Reading Group

A message from the organisers (note that, if you are too late for this session, the group will contiue to meet on subsequent Sundays):

Dear Colleagues,

In light of all the cancelled talks, conferences, etc. because of the current pandemic, we, Scott Kennedy and Ugo Mondini, have created the International Byzantinist Reading Group for graduate students, post-docs, and faculty as a digital space for discussion among scholars currently scattered around the world. We aim to build solidarity among academics interested in late antique and Byzantine culture as well as to lay the foundation for future exchanges and collaboration.

The Group is now in its fourth meeting. Meetings are held on Sundays at 8 pm (Rome time) via the video-conferencing platform Zoom. Based on the number of participants, we do two kinds of discussion groups during a meeting: (1) small group discussion and (2) large group discussion. Through Zoom, we can breakup meeting participants into groups of 5-6. For the first 30 minutes of the meeting, we break participants up into these small groups, so that everyone has the opportunity to speak and discuss the reading with their group. Then for the last 20-30 minutes of the meeting, we discuss the reading altogether. We use the raise your hand feature on Zoom to moderate discussion for the larger group.

For our next reading session (Sunday, 26th April 2020), we will be moving back to late antiquity with the following reading

A. Kaldellis, “How perilous was it to write political history in late antiquity?”, Studies in Late Antiquity 1 (2017) 38-64

You can find the paper on Kaldellis’ academia.edu account: https://bit.ly/3autKNO

If you are interested in participating in this week’s meeting or future meetings of the group, please email Ugo Mondini (ugo.mondini@unimi.it). All participants will be sent an invitation to join the meeting on Sunday via email.

See you next Sunday
Scott Kennedy (scott.kennedy@bilkent.edu.tr)
Ugo Mondini (ugo.mondini@unimi.it)

Fellowship: Short-Term Predoctoral Residencies

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C., USA

Dumbarton Oaks offers a limited number of Short-Term Predoctoral Residencies for advanced graduate students who are preparing for their PhD general exams, writing their doctoral dissertations, or expecting relevant final degrees in the field of Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, or Garden and Landscape studies. Students who plan to conduct research in the fieldwork and photo collections, the rare book collection, or the museum collections are particularly encouraged to apply. The general library collections at Dumbarton Oaks contain more than 210,000 items in a variety of formats, while our rare book collection holds more than 10,000 volumes, prints, drawings, photographs, and blueprints. We welcome and encourage you to peruse our holdings in advance via the HOLLIS catalogue found here. Due to the short-term nature of the award, we are unable to process inter-library loan requests. Each residency provides two to four weeks of single accommodations and lunches on weekdays (with the exception of scheduled refectory closures). In addition, a Reader badge for access to the Library will be issued for the period of the residency. Applicants who live 75 or more miles from Washington, DC, will receive preference.

Successful applicants for residencies will be eligible to apply a second time before they receive their PhD degrees. The award of a residency does not preclude a subsequent award of a junior or a regular fellowship or a One-Month Research Award. Upon completion of the residency, recipients are asked to submit a research report to the Program Director, and to provide future degree completion and subsequent position placement information to the program.

For application details see: https://www.doaks.org/research/fellowships-and-awards/short-term-predoctoral-residencies

Online Resource: North of Byzantium: Medieval Art, Architecture and Visual Culture in Eastern Europe

North of Byzantium (NoB) is a new initiative organized by Maria Alessia Rossi (The Index of Medieval Art) and Alice Isabella Sullivan (Getty/ACLS), and primarily sponsored by the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture. Through its annual events, NoB explores the rich history, art, and culture of the northern frontiers of the Byzantine Empire in Eastern Europe between the thirteenth and sixteenth centuries, and aims to connect students, scholars, teachers, artists, and curators to resources related to the medieval and early modern artistic production of Eastern Europe.

Visit the NoB website and subscribe to receive news and updates.

We are in the process of developing this platform and we would be grateful for any further details and relevant information that we could add under “Resources” and “Related Events” – send us a note at northofbyzantium@gmail.com.