Call for Papers: Reshaping the World: Utopias, Ideals and Aspirations in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

24th International Graduate Conference of the Oxford University Byzantine Society

25th—26th February 2022, in Oxford and Online

There is nothing better than imagining other worlds – he said – to forget the painful one we live in. At least so I thought then. I hadn’t yet realized that, imagining other worlds, you end up changing this one.
– Umberto Eco, Baudolino

It is the creative power of imagination that Baudolino described to a fictionalised Niketas Choniates in this dialogue from Eco’s homonymous novel (2000). The creation of idealised imaginary worlds has the power to change the past, the present and the future. When imagination is directed towards more worldly goals, it becomes aspiration and such aspiration can influence policies of reform. When imagination is unrestrained, utopias are born.

The Oxford University Byzantine Society’s twenty-fourth International Graduate Conference seeks to explore the impact utopias, ideals and aspirations had in changing the course of history and, therefore, how imagined or alternative realities shaped the Late Antique and Byzantine world(s), broadly understood.

Our conference provides a forum for postgraduate and early-career scholars to reflect on this theme through a variety of cultural media and (inter)disciplinary approaches. In doing so, we hope to facilitate the interaction and engagement of historians, philologists, archaeologists, art historians, theologians and specialists in material culture.

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 by Friday 19th November 2021 at byzantine.society@gmail.com. Papers should be twenty minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French. As with previous conferences, selected papers will be published in an edited volume, chosen and reviewed by specialists from the University of Oxford. Speakers wishing to have their papers considered for publication should aim to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.

To read the full text of the call for papers, please visit the OUBS website: https://oxfordbyzantinesociety.wordpress.com/24th-oubs-international-graduate-conference-2022/.

The conference will have a hybrid format, taking place both in Oxford and online. Accepted speakers are strongly encouraged to participate in person, but livestreamed papers are also warmly welcomed

SPBS Autumn Lecture

10th November 2021, 17:15 (GMT)

University of Birmingham, Teaching & Learning Building 202 (limited spaces) and online

Dr Rosemary Morris
Into The Labyrinth: a Journey into Stoudite ”Cancel Culture’

This year’s autumn lecture will be a hybrid event. We have some limited availability for attendance in person, but we ask that you reserve your ticket in advance. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we will be unable to accommodate additional visitors in the lecture theatre on the day. The lecture will also be streamed live via Zoom and questions from both the live and virtual audience will be taken by the chair.

To register your attendance (virtual or in person), please visit Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/into-the-labyrinth-a-journey-into-stoudite-cancel-culture-tickets-185873311077

Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar

Michelmas Term 2021

Mondays, 12:30-14:00 UK time, via Zoom.

Please note that there is no need to register if you have previously subscribed to the seminar mailing list.

To register, please contact the organiser at james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk or follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/oxford-byzantine-graduate-seminar-michaelmas-2021-tickets-181858984117.

25th October
Sofia Simões Coelho (Oxford)
Holy Fools in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Rus’

1st November
Thomas R. Langley (Cambridge)
Julian, Constantinople, and the Role of Civic Patriotism in the Fourth Century

8th November
Jessica Varsallona (Birmingham)
Michael VIII Palaiologos and the southern shore of Constantinople

15th November
Nicola Ernst (Exeter)
The Athanasian Emperors: Reconsidering Orthodox and Heretical Emperors in the 340s

22nd November
Callan Meynell (Oxford)
Roman? Greek? Byzantine? Some thoughts on the trial of Maximus the Confessor and Roman identity

29th November
John-Francis Martin (Oxford)
Byzantine Catholics (exact title TBC)

6th December
Kelly E. McClinton (Oxford)
The Case Romane del Celio: Living in Rome in Late Antiquity

13th December
Mark Huggins (Edinburgh)
The Many Byzantine Chrysostoms: A Look at Competing Sanctification Narratives at the Heart of Byzantine Spirituality

Edinburgh Byzantine Seminar Series

The newly established Centre of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (CLAIBS) invites you to attend the Byzantine Seminar Series at the University of Edinburgh.

The seminars take place at 17:15 and will be held via Zoom. You can register by following this link: https://ed-ac-uk.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEvcuGvqzouGd0c4_4sQrnlbFqiDBFdwYtF.

Monday, 20 September 2021, at 17:15, Stratis Papaioannou (University of Crete):
‘The philosopher’s tongue: or a short (hi)story of a Byzantine fiction’

Monday, 4 October 2021, at 17:15, Alicia Simpson (American College of Greece):
‘Philippopolis: a Byzantine metropolis in the northern Balkans’

Wednesday, 6 October 2021, at 17:10, Mary Whitby (University of Oxford):
‘An emperor and his poet: George of Pisidia on the Emperor Heraclius (610-641 CE)’
Co-hosted with the Classics Seminar

Monday, 18 October 2021
, at 17:15, Julian Baker (University of Oxford):
‘Monetary transformations in western Anatolia in the first decades of the fourteenth century: Byzantines, Turks, and Franks between the Propontis and Rhodes’

Monday, 1 November 2021, at 17:15, Nicole Paxton Sullo (Princeton University):
‘The visuality of memory in later Byzantium’

Monday, 15 November 2021, at 17:15, Tristan Schmidt (University of Silesia in Katowice):
‘Performing military leadership in Komnenian Byzantium’

Monday, 29 November 2021, at 17:15, Pantelis Golitsis (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki):
tbc

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.

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)

Update: SPBS Spring Lecture postponed

The SPBS is sorry to announce that its Spring Lecture – ‘The fortifications of Byzantine and Crusader Cyprus’, by Dr James Petre – will be postponed indefinitely owing to ongoing measures against the spread of COVID-19. The lecture was due to take place on 31 March in Senate House, London. We intend to reschedule the event at a later date when public gatherings become more practicable. In the meantime, please stay well!

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/