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 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 ( and Maria Alessia Rossi ( 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.

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 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)
Jonathan J. Arnold (University of Tulsa)
Rebecca Usherwood (Trinity College Dublin)
Adrastos Omissi (University of Glasgow)

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 ( 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:
• 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, 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.”

Call for Papers: The COMELA 2020, The Conference on Mediterranean and European Linguistic Anthropology 2020

Deadline: 15 November 2019

Following the growth of The Global Network for Linguistic Anthropology, we announce The COMELA 2020, The Conference on Mediterranean and European Linguistic Anthropology 2020.

Purpose and Structure – Over 500 scholars globally will gather to present papers and engage in progressive discussion on the Linguistic Anthropology, Language and Society, and related fields, of The Mediterranean and Europe. The COMELA is fully Non-Profit, where all publishing with the JOMELA (its scholarly journal) is free, as the COMELA refuses to implement a pay to publish system. The COMELA sources funding/grants to assist people in impeded economic positions, who require funding to access the COMELA Conference, and display strong ability in their work. COMELA proceedings will be indexed with SCOPUS and will contribute to ranked and cited publications for all those accepted to present, as well as publishing papers in Top Tier Journal Publication Special Issues.

Location – American University of Greece, Athens, Greece
Date – September 2-5, 2020
Theme – Bounded languages … Unbounded, a theme highly pertinent to Mediterranean and European regions and countries in the current climate of transnationalism. The COMELA 2020 theme, “Bounded languages … Unbounded,” encapsulates the ongoing struggle throughout Mediterranean and European regions. The tension between demarcation and legitimization of languages, language ideologies, and language identities, is entering an era where new modes of interactivity require language communities with roles superordinate to the past. Flexible citizenship now operates within, and not only across, language communities, to unbind languages, yet to create new boundaries never seen throughout history. The COMELA 2020 invites work on shifting boundedness of Language Communities of the Mediterranean and Europe. Submissions should acknowledge and describe processes of language shape, change, and ideology, pertinent to social, cultural, and political histories and futures, of Mediterranean and European regions, or work by those working in Mediterranean and European regions.

Keynote and Plenary Speakers – Jan Blommaert and other prominent Keynote Speakers

Official Partners
• Taylor and Francis Global Publishers (Official Partners)
• SOAS, University of London
• University College London
• Over 120 academic institutions globally (University of Hawai’i, Temple University, University of Illinois University, Montclair State University, Ohio State University, University College Dublin, Stockholm University, and so forth)
• Scientific Committee of over 120 academics globally prominent in Linguistic Anthropology and related fields

Publications – Several Special (Top-Tier/Scopus/ISI/ACHI/SSCI) Journal issues and monographs are planned with well ranked publications and publishers only, from papers submitted to the COMELA 2020 that meet review requirements. Ample assistance is provided to revise papers.
Abstract Submissions – The Call for Abstracts is now open, at the following link, with all information.
Anthropological Excursion – Attica, Greece (final day) – Several options to select from.


Call for Papers: Jerusalem the Holy City

Deadline: 15 September 2019

The Stanford University Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS) is pleased to announce that we will sponsor three sessions at the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan (May 7-10, 2020). Among these are two linked panel sessions entitled “Jerusalem: The Holy City.” The first considers medieval imaginings of a distant Jerusalem across textual, visual, and material culture, while the second considers Jerusalem as an interreligious experience among Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

We invite proposals for each of these sessions, and will consider all those received by September 15th. Proposals should consist of a short abstract (300 words max) and a completed participant information form. General submissions guidelines are available here, but please get in touch if you have any questions. As per ICMS rules, any proposals not accepted for our sessions will be forwarded to the Congress committee to be considered for inclusion in the General Sessions.

Jerusalem (I): The Holy City in Textual, Visual, and Material Culture

Organizer: Mareike Elisa Reisch, Stanford University

This panel will focus on how Jerusalem was imagined from afar in textual, visual, and material culture. As recent scholarship has shown, Jerusalem existed not only as a geographical space entangled in local and transregional politics, but also as the subject of imaginations from afar because of its importance as a sacred space in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. People integrated, for example, images of Jerusalem into their personal devotional practices when they embarked on a virtual pilgrimage. As the place of Christian salvation, Jerusalem also inspired textual, visual, and material productions for public devotional practices. The city was imagined as the ultimate acquisition for religio-political expansion, as seen during the crusades. Material objects such as pilgrimage badges and gravesites show one’s personal connections and images of Jerusalem. The different ways in which Jerusalem was imagined from afar are still traceable in textual culture in the form of pilgrimage guidebooks, devotional texts, accounts of the crusades, and literary production, in architectural structures, in visual images such as altarpieces, epitaphs, and maps. This panel welcomes papers from all fields and aims for an interdisciplinary exchange.

Please send enquiries and submissions to

Jerusalem (II): The Holy City as Interreligious Experience.

Organizer: Ana C. Núñez, Stanford University

This panel will focus on the nature of Jerusalem as an interreligious space. As the home of Jews, Christians, and Muslims, as well as the destination of pilgrims, crusaders, and merchants, Jerusalem was a simultaneously shared, contested, and negotiated site. This panel will offer a forum to discuss how texts, architecture, and art reflect the centuries of contestation and negotiation from Late Antiquity to the Late Middle Ages. Pilgrimage texts from the ninth century, for example, detail the travel documents that the Christian pilgrim needed in order to visit Jerusalem under Muslim rule. The Tomb of David on Mount Zion witnessed competing claims between Jews and Christians in the fifteenth century, until in the first half of the sixteenth century Muslim control resulted in the conversion of the chapel into a mosque, and the banned entry of both Jews and Christians. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre is another example of interreligious experience, in which various Christian communities—Latins, Georgians, Greeks, Armenians, and Ethiopians—vied for control and supremacy. To explore the long and multi-faceted history of Jerusalem as an interreligious space, we welcome papers from across disciplines, from anytime between Late Antiquity and the Late Middle Ages.

Please send enquiries and submissions to

Call for Papers: IMC 2020

University of Leeds, 6-9 July 2020

Deadline: 31 August 2019 (papers), 30 September 2020 (sessions)

The International Medieval Congress (IMC) provides an interdisciplinary forum for the discussion of all aspects of Medieval Studies. Papers and session proposals on any topic related to the Middle Ages are welcome, and each year the IMC also chooses a special thematic focus. In 2020 this is ‘Borders’.

For further information, see

Please note that the SPBS offers a grant to support a Byzantine-themed panel at the IMC. The deadline for applications for SPBS sponsorship is 1 September 2019.

Call for Papers: The Borders of Religion

Call for Papers for the International Medieval Congress 2020, Leeds, 6-9 July 2020

Deadline: 24 August 2019

In the modern world people often take it for granted that something called ‘religion’ exists separate from other aspects of human behaviour, such as ‘politics’ or ‘economics’. Historians of pre-modernity, however, have often been wary of anachronistically importing the borders between the religious and the secular into earlier periods. A growing body of work rejects the existence of ‘religion’ before the modern period; scholars of antiquity and the Middle Ages are increasingly invited to write histories ‘without religion’.

Do such invitations necessarily present the Middle Ages as an Age of Faith, before ‘the fission of a primitive whole’ (John Bossy) into modernity’s religion and society? Since an influential strand of scholarship on secularity sees the distinction between religion and politics as itself a product of a distinctly Western history, in which the Christian Middle Ages plays an important role, can the delimitation of religion be both foreign to and the product of pre-modernity?

The proposed session(s) is intended to explore some of these issues by addressing the question of the borders of religion in the Middle Ages. Could medieval people conceive of religion as something distinct? Did they draw boundaries between it and other spheres, in practice or theory? Is the distinction between religion and the secular a purely Christian phenomenon or did non-Christian (pre-Christian, Islamic, Jewish, etc.) communities draw similar distinctions in the era before Christian global hegemony? How did the distinctions medieval people made, between human and divine affairs, religio and saeculum, relate to the modern religion/non-religion divide? How anachronistic is the study of medieval ‘religion’?

Abstracts of c.100 words are invited for papers of 20 minutes to be delivered at the International Medieval Congress 2020 in Leeds that address these or similar questions. Papers can deal with any period or place that would usually be accepted at the IMC. Abstracts (and questions) to be sent to conor.1.o’ by 24 August 2019.

Call for Papers: The Crusades and Nature

Deadline: 1 August 2019

An understanding of Anthropocene – the history of human interactions with natural environment – has never been more pressing than today. Several series of paper sessions exploring the intersection of crusader studies and environmental studies are being organized for conferences at Kalamazoo, Michigan (May, 2020), Leeds, UK (July, 2020) and the upcoming Society for the Study of the Crusades in the Latin East Conference, London, UK (June, 2020).

These sessions will address encounters with, responses to, and representations of a broad variety of natural phenomena having to do with crusades and the Latin States.

We encourage a wide variety of methods and discourses. Possible topics include:

– portents and marvels
– encounters with familiar and unfamiliar fauna, flora and natural phenomena
– natural disasters (earthquakes, floods, etc.)
– traveling across natural landscapes
– experiences of the elements
– domestic and domesticated animals or conversely animals characterized as “wild” or “exotic”
– animal or environmental metaphors
– cultivation, consumption and trade in crops, fruit, spices, etc.
– transformation of the natural landscape (for example, through deforestation or irrigation)
– introduced and invasive species
– natural topography (real or imaginary)

Please send your abstracts of about 200 words to the organizers, Elizabeth Lapina ( and Jessalynn Bird (, before August 1st. Make sure to specify which conference you are planning to attend.