Call for Papers: Moving Forms: The Transformations and Translocations of Medieval Literature

Athens, Greece 11-13 September 2019

Deadline: 1 March 2019

The movement of people and books across space and time – mobility and portability – were driving forces of medieval European literary and intellectual culture. Men and women, clerical and secular, constructed extensive social networks and communities through travel, written communication, and the exchange of texts. Shared literary practices and forms occurred at the regional and transregional levels, defining local identities and forging links between people separated by distance and time. Around the North Sea and Baltic littorals, legends from the Norse sagas, for instance, were taken up by writers. On a larger scale, people from north-western Europe to China exchanged stories of Barlaam and Josephat, while tales of Alexander are found from India to Ireland; in both cases, transmission was facilitated by the movement of people along the Silk Road. Rather than a full picture, often we are left with a set of trails, traces and clues that challenge us to create narratives out of the fragments.

This symposium aims to contribute to the understanding of medieval literature through the development of methodologies which examine the intersection of social networks and communities with literary forms. We welcome papers that attend to the agency of people (men and women), genres (literary, scientific, philosophical, legal etc.), modes (verse, poetry, prose), styles, texts and manuscripts (book types, layouts, images) in creating literary links across space and time. Building on the practices of both comparative literature and entangled history, the symposium will open up connections between literary cultures often considered to be separate. At the same time, and of equal importance, it will be alert to the absence of connections, to discontinuities, exposing the diversities and ruptures of medieval literature, as well as the commonalities.

By following the movement of forms and tracing social connections from Antiquity to the Renaissance, we will interrogate both geographies and chronologies of medieval European literature. Always keeping the intersection of the social and the formal in view, the symposium will move back and forth between small and large scales of time and place: the local, the transregional, the European, and the Afro-Eurasian. Issues of morphology, scale and periodization will be central to discussion, enabling conversations across a wide range of material to gain traction. The symposium will bring together methodological and theoretical contributions, addressing the intersection of people and forms; we welcome papers that work on large scale typological models as well as papers that address broader issues though closely-worked case studies.

Questions to consider include:
• How do we move from specific examples to writing/formulating larger narratives, from the micro to the macro, from the close up to the panoramic, without falling into generalizations?
• What are the advantages and disadvantages of existing methodologies that account for the movement of objects, texts and people through space (e.g. histoire croisée, actor network theory, global history, etc.)?
• How does medieval Europe fit into a wider Afro-Eurasian space? How does Europe divide into and participate in regional geographies?
• How conscious were medieval people of new forms as a dimension of cultural exchange?
• What role does the modern historical imagination have to play in recreating social networks and formal encounters?
• How do medieval theories of cultural movement (e.g. translatio imperii et studii, spoliation, etc.) enable us to explain the transmission of literary forms?

The symposium will meet over three days, with each day including 3 panels with three speakers. Papers will last 20 minutes and be followed by 45 minutes of discussion per panel. Since the substantial discussion following the papers is as important as the papers themselves, papers will not be allowed to overrun. Each session will have a respondent/moderator who will read papers in advance of the session and launch the discussion of their session through a short reflective invitation. For this reason, we ask that all papers be given in English. Speakers are asked to frame their research in ways which are simultaneously sophisticated and inviting of exchange with colleagues working across the literatures of medieval Europe (including Byzantium, and Islamic Spain and Sicily) and its neighbours. We welcome proposal for individual papers and for panels.

There will be a modest amount of preparatory theoretical reading in advance of the symposium.

We anticipate publishing extended versions of a selection of papers from the workshop in a special issue of Interfaces: A Journal of Medieval European Literatures.

Venue: The symposium will take place in the Danish Institute at Athens, conveniently located in the Plaka. There are many tavernas, cafes and restaurants nearby.

Cost: There will be no charge to attend the symposium. There will be a charge to cover the cost of the symposium dinner. Delegates are responsible for covering the cost of their travel and accommodation. A small number of bursaries will be available for PhD students and early career scholars, for further information contact Kristin Bourassa (

Abstracts: Please send short abstracts (250 words) and a brief CV (1/2 page) to George Younge ( by 1st March 2019. Panel proposals should include overview (100 words) and abstracts and CVs (as above) for all papers.

Call for papers: Ideological and cultural reception of Byzantium by other cultures (7th-15th centuries)

39th Symposium of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Archaeology and Art, ChAE, Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens, 31 May-2 June 2019

Deadline: 5 March 2019

The one-day special topic of the 39th Symposium of the ChAE Ideological and Cultural Reception of Byzantium by other cultures (7th-15th centuries) is the continuation of the special topic of the 38th Symposium Seeking the place of the “other” in Byzantium which explored the impact of other religious and ethnic groups on the material culture and the artistic production of Byzantium. The special topic of the 39th Symposium will attempt to complete the picture by investigating the image of Byzantium and its ideological and cultural reception by others, especially by its neighbors, Slavs, Russians, Georgians, Armenians, Seljuk and Ottoman Turks, Arabs, Normans, Scandinavians, Venetians, Genoese, Franks and other Crusaders etc.

Thanks to its military, diplomatic, and cultural supremacy, the Byzantine empire was diachronically a model for imitation and a reference point for foreign peoples. The great impact of this ecumenical uniqueness that characterized the period of the empire’s apogee (843-1071), was gradually reduced when the European states of the West shifted their attention toward the East (1071-1204), but this change was not entirely perceived by the ruling dynasty, state officials, economic elites and intellectuals during the difficult circumstances of the last period (1204-1453).

The purpose of the Symposium’s special topic, as a continuation of last year’s discussions, is to investigate the cultural and politico-economic image of the Byzantine empire its coreligionists, on heterodox peoples and followers of other religions with whom Byzantium came into contact from the 7th century to the Fall of 1453. More specifically, during the Symposium we will examine evidence of material culture and artistic expressions of these peoples with reference to Byzantium. The aim is to evaluate the image other peoples had of the Byzantine state, the Byzantine economy, Byzantine technology, Byzantine society, and the expression of Byzantine culture and civilization.

Apart from major papers, which the Organizing Committee will assign to specialists in the field, thematically relevant communications of 15 minutes’ duration will be presented on the same day.

Themes to be addressed during the Symposium may include:

· The reception of Byzantium by others, especially by neighboring cultures and its function as a model. The imaginary Byzantium from the point of view of others and especially of neighbors (presentation by period and region with reference to appropriate written sources and works, e.g. terms for offices and dignities, legislation, liturgy, coins, seals, hagiography etc.).
· Patrons (social strata, rulers, aristocrats, laymen, clergymen), appearance/attire, epigraphic evidence.
· Byzantine echoes in the typology and form of monuments in other, especially neighboring lands (urban planning, secular architecture, church architecture, funerary architecture, architectural sculpture).
· Byzantine traces in the artistic expression of other and especially neighboring lands (iconographic and decorative subjects, modes of painting, painters/ateliers and commissions).
· Byzantine models in material culture, in works of everyday life and luxury items, technological achievements of other and especially neighboring lands (pottery, tools, metalwork-vessels-jewelry-weaponry, etc.).

The language of the Symposium is Greek. Speakers from abroad may deliver their papers in English or French.

It is reminded that papers should be original and constitute a substantial contribution to scholarship. They must not exceed 15 minutes in length. The subjects of communications should fall within the framework of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Archaeology and Art. The Administrative Board has decided not to consider papers dealing with monuments that postdate 1830. Each participant can deliver only one paper, even if this is in collaboration with other speaker(s). Please indicate upon submission, whether proposed paper is intended for the special topic of the Symposium.

Due to the large number of papers submitted for the annual ChAE Symposium, the organizers encourage all those planning to present work involving excavations, restoration projects, and the conservation of art works and monuments to make use of the alternative method of presenting their contributions in the form of posters. Participants will assume the responsibility for creating and printing their posters (60×85 cm. [A1]), whereas their display in a specially-designed space will be the responsibility of the Organizing Committee. Posters should be submitted to the Organizing Committee on the morning preceding the opening of the Symposium. During the Symposium participants with posters will be allotted time to present their contribution to the audience. Please indicate upon submission whether proposed paper concerns a communication in poster form.

As in previous Symposia, the summaries of contributions will be published. The resulting publication has the character of a preliminary presentation. Those interested are requested to send by e-mail together with their application the summary of their contribution (major paper, communication, poster presentation) without footnotes or bibliography, in accordance with the following specifications (line drawings may be included):

· The speaker’s name (last name, first name), his title and affiliation, and title of their contribution in upper case letters should come first.
· The summary should include no fewer than 250 and in no case more than 400 words
· A short abstract of about 100 words.
· In cases where 1 or 2 drawings are included, the text should not be shorter than 350 words in length. The drawings should be submitted as TIFF files.
· Suggested font: Times New Roman, size 12, line spacing 1.5.
· At the end of the summary, speakers are requested to provide their e-mail and postal address, as well as a contact telephone number.

The Board of the Christian Archaeological Society and the Organizing Committee of the 39th Symposium of the ChAE reserves the right to propose changes or reject abstracts which:

· do not deal with the fields of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine archaeology and art,
· do not meet the standards of originality and contribution to scholarship,
· include personal attacks,
· are submitted after the deadline.

Applications along with abstracts should be sent by e-mail to

Applications accompanied by summaries will be accepted until Tuesday, 5 March 2019.