Spring Symposium Call for Communications

University of Birmingham, 28-30 March 2020

Deadline: 3 January 2020

Abstracts are invited for proposals to deliver communications at the 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, to be held in Birmingham 28-30 March 2020 on the topic of Nature and the Environment. Communications are 12 minutes long, followed by 3 minutes of questions.

Abstracts should be 250 words in length (maximum), and are due by Friday 3 January 2020. Please send to either D.K.Reynolds@bham.ac.uk or L.Brubaker@bham.ac.uk. Successful applicants will be notified mid-January, in order to allow sufficient time to secure visas, if relevant.

Further information about travel and accommodation may be found here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/bomgs/events/2020/53rd-spring-symposium-of-byzantine-studies.aspx.

The Programme for the Symposium is also available to download (PDF).

Call for Papers: Theandrites: Byzantine Philosophy and Christian Platonism (284-1453)

International Society of Neoplatonic Studies Conference, Athens, Greece, 10-14 June 2020

Deadline: 1 February 2020

This panel focuses on the reception of Platonism in the Christian philosophy of the Byzantine era (4th-15th centuries), an era marking the creation of a unique dialogue between Hellenic Platonism and the theology of the Church Fathers and Byzantine Christians.

The panel is open to all issues relating to Byzantine Platonism. This includes: Christians in the Greek-speaking East and their relationship to the Latin tradition in the West, as well as the Christian Platonism found in contemporary church fathers, the Greek-speaking Christians in late antique Gaza, Athens, and Alexandria; the philosophical theology of Pseudo-Dionysius, Maximus, and John Damascene; the later reception of Platonic theories on the soul, time, and eternity, and metaphysics, as well as ritual among Greek Christians and Hellenes. We welcome papers that trace Platonic ideas, terminology, and methodology as they move throughout the Eastern Roman Empire and the Byzantine Orthodox world.

300 word abstract should be sent to Sarah Wear (swear@franciscan.edu) and Frederick Lauritzen (frederick.lauritzen@new.oxon.org). Papers presented in Athens will be published in the series Theandrites: Studies in Byzantine Philosophy and Christian Platonism (284-1453) (after peer review).

Merchants and Markets in Late Antiquity

Society for Classical Studies Annual Meeting, Chicago, USA, 7-10 January 2021

Deadline: 7 February 2020

We are inviting the submission of abstracts for the organizer-refereed panel ‘Merchants and Markets in Late Antiquity’ at the 2021 annual meeting of the Society for Classical Studies. This annual meeting will be held in Chicago from January 7-10, 2021. The deadline for submitting an abstract is February 7, 2020.

A social, cultural, and economic history of work and trade in the later Roman empire remains to be written. Recent years have seen a renewed interest in labour, professions, commerce, and their organization during the Imperial period, while the last two decades have been a remarkably productive time for the study of the Roman economy in general. The resultant scholarship has presented new approaches which have greatly advanced our understanding of both structural and specific characteristics of the economy. The most influential of these has been the adoption of New Institutional Economics (e.g. Scheidel, Morris, and Saller 2007), but there has also been a steady stream of microeconomic studies focusing on the social elements of economic activity (Terpstra 2013; Venticinque 2016; Hawkins 2016) and sociocultural histories of work and professions (e.g. Verboven and Laes 2016). Some of this scholarship has extended into Late Antiquity, though the most influential work remains Wickham’s magisterial Framing the Early Middle Ages (2006). Nevertheless, scholarship on the later Roman world has not yet sought to integrate the economic theories that have reconditioned the way of writing the socio-economic history of the early Roman Empire.

The future of late Roman social and economic history lies in utilizing and adapting innovative approaches to the Roman economy for the study of Late Antiquity. The institutional change for which this period is known offers plentiful opportunities to consider how individual economic actors were affected by structural, religious, and political changes, and the field is ripe for a re-evaluation of the intersection between social norms and the economy.

This panel hopes to bring together scholars from a wide range of subjects and backgrounds, and to solicit abstracts for papers considering a variety of issues and addressing such diverse questions as:

· What awareness did local merchants, craftsmen, and transporters have of wider economic change in Late Antiquity?
· What strategies did these individuals develop to mitigate risk and resolve economic challenges, and are the strategies of Late Antiquity fundamentally different in some way from those used in earlier or later periods?
· Can we speak of market integration or disintegration in Late Antiquity?
· What were the outcomes of state institutional and structural changes to the economy at local and regional levels?
· What effects did the development of new legal and fiscal systems have on the social and political lives of merchants and craftsmen?

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be submitted as email attachments to info@classicalstudies.org by February 7, 2020. The title of the email should be the title of the panel. Abstracts should contain a title of the paper, but should not have any information regarding the identity of the submitter. All abstracts for papers will be reviewed anonymously. For enquiries, please email Jane Sancinito (jsancini@oberlin.edu) or John Fabiano (john.fabiano@utoronto.ca).

Call for Papers: Cappadocia and Cappadocians in the Hellenistic, Roman and early Byzantine periods

Dokuz Eylül University, Izmir, Turkey, May 14-15, 2020

Deadline: 31 December 2019

In scholarly research Cappadocia is known more through Byzantine mural paintings in cave churches at Göreme and Ürgüp from the eighth-ninth centuries to the 13th-century A.D., but the number of studies on Hellenistic and Roman Cappadocia is rather limited. The aim of this symposium is therefore to report on the state of research concerning Cappadocia between the late-fourth century B.C. and mid-seventh century A.D. We warmly invite contributions by scholars and graduate students from a variety of disciplines related to this region. Intended to bring together scholars of archaeology, history, historical geography, epigraphy and other related disciplines in ancient Anatolian studies to discuss a range of issues concerning this region’s archaeology and history, this symposium should be an excellent opportunity to increase our knowledge about this region.

For full details, see the call for papers.

Call for Papers: Literary connections between the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and the Saints’ Lives

First International conference on Early Christian Literature, Late Antique and Byzantine Hagiography

Universitat de València, Valencia, Spain, 1-3 July 2020

Deadline: 31 January 2020

The similarities between Early Christian literature and Late Antique and Byzantine Hagiography are very clear, since both use identical literary models and motifs in their narrations and are created in a similar ideological and geographical framework.

This connection between the literature from the Early Christian Era (2nd-4th centuries) and Late Antique and Byzantine Hagiography (5th to 15th centuries) are much more significant, if two literary genres such as the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and the Saints’ Lives are studied and perceived as a whole. Thus, in the former one can observe a wide range of literary motifs that will be developed later by Late Antique or Byzantine hagiographers, especially in the Saints’ Lives. In fact, from a global perspective the Early Christian literature dealing with the apostles and their missions could be interpreted as a sort of protohagiography, a clear antecedent of the narrations found later in Hagiography in Late Antiquity or the Byzantine Era.

For these reasons, this conference is aimed at analyzing this literary phenomenon from a multidisciplinary point of view. The sessions of the conference will be focused on the study of the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostle –not only the so called “Major”, but also other texts related to this tradition, i.e. the Acts of Philip or the Acts of Xanthippe and Polixena– and the Eastern saints’ lives composed from the 5th century onwards. Among the papers on these topics, discussion on other tradition different than the Greek one, such as the Arabic, Syriac, Ethiopic, Coptic, Armenian, Georgian, Slavonic or Latin, will be very welcome.

For details, see the full call for papers.

Call for Papers: Generosity and Avarice in Medieval Europe

University of Nottingham, 23–24 April 2020

Deadline: 13 December 2019

The organising committee is pleased to invite proposals for papers, panels, workshops, and roundtables for Generosity and Avarice in Medieval Europe to be held at the University of Nottingham from 23rd – 24th April 2020.

From the depictions of generosity and avarice in art and literature, to the interactions amongst neighbours within local communities, to the diplomatic work undertaken within and between polities, the relationship between these distinct but intertwined themes have been grappled with by medieval contemporaries and modern scholars alike. This conference aims to bring together medievalists of all fields and disciplines interested in the understanding and practice and generosity, avarice, and the relationship between the two in Europe between c.400 and c.1550.

The committee welcomes suggestions for sessions beyond those outlined here and encourages as broad an interpretation of the theme as possible. Topics to be addressed may include, but are not limited to:
■ Patronage
■ Ideas of social responsibility
■ Materialities
■ Economy and finance
■ Diplomatic relations
■ Sexuality
■ Education
■ Gender roles- Spirituality
■ Morality
■ Family roles
■ Visual and literary depictions of generosity and avarice

We welcome contributions from scholars at any stage of study or career. For individual papers of twenty minutes in length, please submit a proposal of c.250-words. If you plan to submit a panel proposal, please include no more than three speakers and submit a c.300-word overview of the panel with proposed speakers/respondents and provisional paper titles.

Please submit all abstracts via email to ahxjlca@nottingham.ac.uk by Friday 13th December 2019.

Location: Humanities Building, University Park, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG7 2RD

Call for Papers: Shame and Virtue in Antiquity

Aix-Marseille University, France, 15-17 June 2020

Deadline: 20 December 2019

Moral philosophy is nowadays marked by an interest in questions of psychology and anthropology of behaviour, and in the ethics of virtues rather than in the ethics of duties. This context has brought to the forefront the issue of emotions. The dominant paradigm is no longer an opposition between reason and desires or passions, but a complex interaction between the normative and rational principles of action and the emotions of the moral agent. Emotions are understood not as obstacles or disturbances to the morality of behaviour, but as factors that play a positive and driving role in this respect.

In ancient philosophy, this turning point is reflected in the rise of studies devoted to emotions, feelings and passions in the ethical and social register. Major works in this area include those of Douglas Cairns (1993) and Bernard Williams (1994) on shame, William Harris (2004) on anger, and David Konstan on fear, pity or hate (2006). All these feelings have a clear moral dimension, which is developed within an anthropology whose central subject is a social individual, a member of a community constituted by a sharing of values and beliefs, source of both norms and expectations. As a result, these emotional states have an ambivalent relationship with morally right or virtuous behaviour.

The conference Shame and Virtue in Antiquity aims to question this ambivalence by focusing on shame, an emotion that is particularly rich in this respect. Shame is a fundamental social emotion in Mediterranean cultures, which (still nowadays) place a strong and structuring value on honour, and ancient literature bears its mark. From the outset, it is also an ambivalent emotion, with contrasting faces, as evidenced by the semantic differences and overlaps of the doublet αἰσχύνη/αἰδώς. The historical field targeted by the scientific committee of the colloquium is broad, where existing studies preferentially focus on archaic poetic texts (Homer, tragic poets) and on classical authors, Plato and especially Aristotle. The conference Shame and Virtue proposes, from and beyond this period, to extend the investigation to Hellenistic schools, the Roman world and ancient Christianity. In this field, which articulates various types of pluralism (historical, political, linguistic, religious), the papers presented will help to explore the ambivalent relationship between shame and virtue in antiquity.

Abstracts of no more than 500 words are to be submitted in English or French. Please send your proposal and a short bio-bibliography to isabelle.koch@univ-amu.fr and anne.balansard@univ-amu.fr no later than December 20th, 2019. Authors will be notified of acceptance by January 31st, 2020.

Call for Papers: The Distribution of Economic and Political Power in Ancient Empires

School of Classics, University of St Andrews, 10-11 June 2020

Deadline: 31 January 2020

While the distribution of wealth in modern societies has recently received considerable attention (notably following the recent work of Thomas Piketty), it remains a relatively poorly understood aspect of ancient empires. This is the more unfortunate as the economic top layers played a pivotal role in governing these empires. Administrative posts were generally assigned to wealthy men, while they simultaneously allowed these men to increase their wealth.

This conference aims to explore the distribution of wealth and its mutually constituting relationship with political power for different ancient empires. Modern scholars often assume a simple correlation between political power and wealth. This is illustrated by the pervasive use of social tables (which are based on the socio-political structure of society) to estimate the distribution of wealth. Although economic and political power networks were indeed strongly integrated in many ancient empires and this strong entanglement is further endorsed by our elitist-biased literary sources, detailed studies of premodern economies and administrations reveal a more nuanced relationship between wealth and political power.

Possible topics of papers include, but are not limited to:
· How were wealth and political power distributed?
· How different were these distributions? Did wealth and political power always coincide? Were there power dissonances, i.e. men with economic but no political power or vice versa?
· How and to what extent were economic and political power networks integrated? Were there institutionalised links?
· How could wealth be converted into political power and vice versa?
· How did the political structure influence the process of wealth concentration or vice versa? What role did the centralised government play in the concentration of economic and political power?

Papers can be comparative (comparing different empires/societies), synthetic (on developments in the longue durée) or focus on a particular case study. Papers on any preindustrial empire or society are welcome. The conference language is English. Two bursaries of £100 towards travel expenses and two nights’ accommodation are available for postgraduate speakers. Prospective speakers are invited to send a 300-word abstract to Bart Danon (bd43@st-andrews.ac.uk) by 31 January 2020.

Confirmed speakers: Mirko Canevaro (Edinburgh), Lisa Eberle (Tübingen), Michael Jursa (Vienna), John Weisweiler (Cambridge), Arjan Zuiderhoek (Ghent).

Call for Papers: The State Between: Liminality, Transition and Transformation in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

Oxford University Byzantine Society’s 22nd International Graduate Conference, History Faculty, Oxford, 28-29 February 2020

Deadline: 25 November 2019

For many centuries, Byzantium was characterised in historiographical narratives as a transitional state: a retrospective bridge between antiquity and modernity. However, while Byzantium undoubtedly acted as an intermediary between these worlds and eras, it is important to recognise the creativity, originality, and vitality which characterised this empire and its population. Much as Late Antiquity has been reframed recently as a period of evolution rather than decline, so too can the Byzantine world be viewed in a new light through the lens of liminality. This conference aims to explore the fluid and the unfixed, periods of transition and ambiguity; the state of being ‘betwixt and between’.

There are many cases in which liminality can be applied effectively as a historiographical tool to understand aspects of the Late Antique and Byzantine world. For instance, the lives of individuals were shaped by liminal experiences, in both secular and religious spheres. From the experience of widowhood to that of a novice entering monastic life, Byzantine lives were marked by the transition from one social status and identity to another: the middle phase in which liminal personae are simultaneously ‘no longer’ and ‘not yet’, existing between positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention and ceremonial. Liminal spaces permeated societies in the broader Byzantine world, from local landscapes, to religious buildings, to household interiors. As such, liminality provides a constructive framework with which to approach the transition and transformation of the Late Roman city to Medieval Islamic urbanism. On a larger scale, polities formerly on the periphery of the Byzantine world (the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula, the Steppe, the Slavic oecumene) often came suddenly to the foreground of the political landscape, resulting in the formation of new cultural networks and the shaping of identities.

Liminality is often defined in spatial terms, but it is also about process. For the cultural anthropologist Victor Turner, a ‘liminal phase’ can be an event or process which involves the disruption of existing hierarchies and power-structures. This definition of liminality as an inter-structural phase not only applies to political and economic change, but also may be extended to the subjective world of ideas and philosophical thought: the realm of what is possible and what may be.

Including contributions on political, social, literary, architectural and artistic history, and covering geographical areas throughout the central and eastern Mediterranean and beyond, this conference aims to provide an interdisciplinary and kaleidoscopic view of the Late Antique and Byzantine world. To that end, we encourage submissions from all graduate students and young researchers, encompassing, but not limited to, the following themes:
· Borders, Frontiers and Thresholds: cross-cultural engagement and identity formation; negotiation, hybridity and transition.
· States of Religious Identity and Practice: rituals, conversions, missionaries and pilgrimage.
· Political and Administrative Transformation: transition, social change and conflict.
· Gender and Sexuality: social norms, boundaries and transgression.
· Life on the Margins: mercenaries, merchants, outlaws and slaves.
· Liminal, Temporary and Transitional Identities: saints, soldiers, scholars and students.
· Liminal Spaces and Places: staging posts and sites of passage, the natural and the preternatural, the world of the living and of the dead.
· Conformity and Dissent: the space between dominant and minority discourses.
· Literary Works, Narratology and Liminality: histories, chronicles, hagiographies and martyrologies.
· Manuscripts: scribal habits, palimpsests, marginal comments, illustrations and other decorative elements.
· Architecture and Urbanism: liminal landscapes, changing land use, spolia and reappropriation.
· Epigraphy: textual content, form and style, interrelations between text and object.
· Numismatics and Sigillography: exchanges across boundaries, prosopography and social networks.
· Art, Material and Visual Culture: sensory perception and interactions with art objects, icons, mosaics, statues, altar screens and textiles.
· Religious Objects: relics, liturgical equipment and vestments.
· Legal Texts: overlapping legal cultures, boundaries and legal status, legislation related to the life course.
· Comparative approaches to liminality, in opposition or concordance with Late Antiquity and Byzantium.

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a short academic biography in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society at byzantine.society@gmail.com by Monday, 25th November 2019. Papers should be 20 minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French. As with previous conferences, there will be a publication of selected papers, chosen and reviewed by specialists from the University of Oxford in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies. Speakers wishing to have their papers considered for publication should try to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.

Call for Papers: Working Materials and Materials at Work in Medieval Art and Architecture

25th Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 7 February 2020

Deadline: 22 November 2019

Materials mattered in the Middle Ages. Only with the right materials could artists produce works of art of the highest quality, from jewel-encrusted crosses, gilded and enamelled chalices and ivory plaques to large-scale tapestries, wooden stave churches and stone cathedrals. This conference seeks to explore the qualities and properties of materials for the people who sourced, crafted and used them.

A critical examination of the physical aspect of materials, including stone, wood, metal, jewels, and textiles, can lead art historians to a deeper understanding of objects and their context. Medieval materials did not function as frictionless vehicles for immaterial meaning: materials, their sourcing, trade and manufacture all contributed to the reception and value of the object. In the vein of scholars like Michael Baxandall (The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany, 1980) and more recently Paul Binski (Gothic Sculpture, 2019), this conference asks participants to ground their papers in the messy realities of crafting materials, and to situate the object and its materials within a network of social, political and economic factors.

The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 25th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium invites speakers to build out from the object and consider the ways in which physical materials were used, manipulated and interpreted by craftspeople, patrons and audiences throughout the medieval world (understood in its broadest geographical and chronological terms). The colloquium encourages contributions from a range of backgrounds including but not limited to the art historical, technical, scientific and economic.

For full details, see the conference webpage: https://courtauld.ac.uk/event/working-materials-and-materials-at-work-in-medieval-art-and-architecture