Seminar Series: KCL CHS Late Antique & Byzantine Seminar Series

Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London, Strand Campus, London, October 2019-March 2020

22 October 2019, 18:00 to 20:00
Dimitris Kountouras (Athens) – Music and poetry of the Troubadours at the Latin Kingdom of Thessalonica after 1204

12 November 2019, 18:00 to 20:00
Panayiotis Panayides (Oxford) – The life histories of statues in the public baths of Salamis, Cyprus

26 November 2019, 18:00 to 20:00
Corisande Fenwick (UCL) – Building God’s Empire: Archaeology, religion and the Byzantine conquest of Africa

21 January 2020, 17:30 to 19:00
Elisabeth R. O’Connell (British Museum) – ‘For the great agape now practiced towards the poor who come to the holy monastery …’: (P.KRU 106): Care for the poor in Late Antique Egypt

11 February 2020, 17:30 to 19:00
Dionysios Stathakopoulos (KCL) – How to get (and stay) rich in the late Byzantine world

3 March 2020, 17:30 to 19:00
Marija Vukovojac (SPBS) – Stefan Nemanja, holy ruler or ruthless warrior?

17 March 2020, 17:30 to 19:00
Petros Bouras-Vallianatos (Edinburgh) – Diagnosing and Treating Disease in Byzantine Hospitals

Call for Papers: New Approaches to Medieval Romance from the Eastern Mediterranean and Beyond c. 1100-1500

University of Birmingham, 5 December 2019

Deadline: 7 November 2019

In recent decades, the study of medieval romance literature has benefited from the application of new theoretical and methodological approaches, ranging from gender historical perspectives to global and ecocritical theory. However, in comparison with the still wider body of literature dedicated to western medieval romance, the Byzantine romances remain a relatively under-studied group of texts. Despite clear evidence of intertextuality between the romance literature of Byzantium and other parts of the medieval world, much work remains to be done in order to understand how the romances are situated within their historical, literary, and social contexts, on both the Byzantine and global medieval stage. This workshop aims to examine the value of new historical or literary approaches to these texts, and ultimately consider them from a multidisciplinary perspective. What can new perspectives on the Byzantine romance tell us about the world in which they were created? What can be learned from the theoretical approaches being applied to romance literature from other parts of the medieval world? What links exist between Byzantine romance and romantic texts from other medieval cultures, and what do these reveal about the broader literary and cultural networks of that time?

This workshop will focus on discussion of short papers. We welcome proposals for papers of ca. 15 minutes investigating the romance from any methodological perspective, and focusing on romances from any part of the medieval world. The romance, here, is defined broadly as encompassing the genres of love poetry and epic stories with romantic elements. The event will take place over one day on Thursday 5 December 2019 at the University of Birmingham.

The workshop will conclude with a keynote lecture from Elizabeth Jeffreys (Oxford), as part of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies’ annual lecture series. Please send abstracts of no more than 150 words to novasish@bham.ac.uk by 7 November 2019.

Potential topics for discussion might include, but are not limited to:
• Comparative/ intertextual approaches to medieval romance
• Rhetorical techniques in romance literature
• Global perspectives on medieval romance
• The romances in their political and religious contexts
• Social historical approaches to the romance, focusing on themes such as:
◦ Gender and sexuality
◦ Race/ethnic identities
◦ Marginalisation and (dis)ability

This workshop will take place at the University of Birmingham on Thursday 5th December 2019 and finish with a lecture from Elizabeth Jeffreys as part of the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies’ annual lecture series.

Job: Assistant Professor, University of Warwick

Department of Classics and Ancient History, University of Warwick

Deadline: 20 October 2019

Start Date: 1 January 2020, permanent position, 36.5 hours per week.

The Department of Classics and Ancient History is looking to appoint an experienced researcher with exceptional potential to the position of Assistant Professor. This is a new permanent post, subject to satisfactory completion of a five-year probationary period. The successful candidate will have a proven research track record in both publications and grant funding, with the ability to bring substantial external funding into the Department, as well as experience in teaching. We are seeking a colleague who can complement our existing research strengths and bring new expertise in the fields of ancient religion and magic, especially in the period of Late Antiquity, as well as ancient languages.

For details, see https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BVZ749/assistant-professor-102156-099

Conference: Historical Inertia: Continuity in the Face of Change 500-1500 CE

University of Edinburgh, 22-23 November 2019

Historical discourse has long concerned itself with patterns of change and discontinuity to demonstrate and validate models of periodisation and the compartmentalisation of the wider historical field. Building on these themes, this conference has chosen to focus on the opposing view by concentrating on inertia – how history, material culture, ideas and communities can be seen to maintain a stayed course or deviate if a significant force is exerted upon it. Inertia, a concept that has yet to be applied to mainstream Late Antique studies, introduces perspectives and frameworks that permit new approaches to traditional processes.

This conference will be hosted by the Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Society of the University of Edinburgh on the 22-23 November 2019 and will tackle the notion of inertia and the implications accompanying it for Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine history from 500-1500 CE. The two keynote lectures will be delivered by Dame Professor Averil Cameron (Oxford) and Professor Jack Tannous (Princeton).

For registration and programme, see https://www.ed.ac.uk/history-classics-archaeology/news-events/events/3rd-annual-edinburgh-laibs-conference.

Job: Assistant Professor in History c.950- c.1250

Department of History, Durham University

Deadline: midday, 31 October 2019

A globally outstanding centre of teaching and research excellence, a collegiate community of extraordinary people, a unique and historic setting – Durham is a university like no other.

We are looking for a scholar of exceptional ability to join our internationally-renowned Department of History. Durham University has an outstanding reputation in the field of medieval studies and the Department is closely involved in the multi-disciplinary Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, which brings together colleagues from across the University. We welcome applications from scholars with expertise in all fields and thematic areas, particularly those which complement and/or expand the Department’s existing coverage. Applicants with interests in Mediterranean, North African, Iberian, Islamicate, Byzantine and Eurasian Studies are all encouraged, as well those with expertise in European History.

For details, see https://www.jobs.ac.uk/job/BVR778/assistant-professor-in-history-c950-c1250-ce

Lecture: From the Founder of Constantinople to the Founder of Istanbul: Mehmed the Conqueror and the Church of the Holy Apostles’

Islamic Art Circle at SOAS Monthly Lecture, 9 October 2019, SOAS London

Julian Raby, the Director Emeritus of the Smithsonian Institution, will be delivering a lecture entitled ‘From the Founder of Constantinople to the Founder of Istanbul: Mehmed the Conqueror and the Church of the Holy Apostles’.

The lecture will take place at 7.00 p.m. on Wednesday 9 October 2019 and will be chaired by Professor Scott Redford.

The new venue of the lecture will be the Wolfson Lecture Theatres, Paul Webley Wing, Senate House (1st floor, room 108).

Enquiries should be directed to: rw51@soas.ac.uk.

The 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies

University of Birmingham, 28-30 March 2020

Nature and the environment underpinned Byzantine life but have been little studied. How the Byzantines responded to, interacted with and understood the landscape, however, enables crucial new insights into East Roman perceptions of the world. Modern interest in the environment and eco-history makes this theme pertinent and timely. Current research on climate change and how it affected the East Mediterranean creates new paradigms for our understanding of Byzantine interactions with the environment. The 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies draws together Byzantine literary and visual responses to nature and the environment as well as showcasing the most recent scientific research on historical climate change and environmental management in Byzantium.

This symposium was planned by Dr Ruth Macrides (University of Birmingham) and will be dedicated to her memory. The first two sessions of the symposium will consist of tributes to Ruth’s life and career by her former students and colleagues.

The Symposium will be followed, on Monday afternoon (30 March), by the second in what is planned as a regular series of professional development workshops targeted at Byzantine postgraduate students and sponsored by the SPBS. The workshop, Climate, environment and history, is intended to help early career academics in the humanities familiarize themselves with some of the key aspects of studying the way past human societies have interacted with their physical and climatic environments. Presenters will explain key methodological and interpretational issues and discuss how to avoid misunderstanding or misusing palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic research results.

Information about registration, accommodation and communications will be released in November 2019.

https://www.byzantium.ac.uk/the-53rd-spring-symposium-of-byzantine-studies/

Conference: Mapping the Sacred in Byzantium: Construction, Experience and Representation

Newcastle University, 20-21 September 2019

Registration Deadline: 8 September 2019

The “spatial turn” of the past decades has not only revived interest in space as an object of academic inquiry, but also contributed to new ways of understanding it. Notions of space as a territorially fixed and clearly delimited and confined container or background for human action have been challenged by the works of scholars such as Lefebvre or Bakhtin. Anthropological and sociological frameworks have emphasised the production and organisation of space as social processes through which meanings and narratives (sometimes conflicting) are created and ascribed. Spaces are thus permeated by, and shape, beliefs, ideas and meaning, which reflect on their configuration, as well as the use and symbolic value they are socially given. Novel approaches have focused on the experience and expression of emotional responses engendered by spaces, such as spiritual empowerment, as the social has given way to the personal experience of constructing, perceiving and perpetuating space. For the particular case of creating sacred space, Lidov’s hierotopic vision has brought to the fore the performative spatial aspect of iconic imagery. Likewise, in literary texts, spatial representation is not only understood as an indispensable canvas for the plot, but as a vehicle for cultural meaning, norms and hierarchies of values. Consequently, space sheds light on cultural environment and lived experience. This conference brings together scholars of Byzantium to explore new ways to think of, and assess, the construction, experience and representation of sacred space in Byzantium, aiming to contribute to the research on spatial paradigms and practices. It addresses spatial themes, both theoretically and empirically, from the perspective of literary studies, with insights from archaeology, art history and theology.

Further information and a full programme can be found at: https://research.ncl.ac.uk/sacredbyzantium/

Registration is online here.