Exhibition: Languages of God: Sacred Scripts of Ethiopia and Eritrea

Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Oxford, 27 July-13 October 2019

The collection of Ethiopic manuscripts in the Bodleian Library in Oxford is one of the most significant in Europe. Members of the Ethiopian and Eritrean communities from Oxford, London, and Milton Keynes have worked with the Bodleian to co-curate this display which will help us to find out more about these precious books and manuscripts and share them with the public.

The exhibition is part of an ongoing Bodleian Libraries project in partnership with the Faculty of Classics and the Oxford Centre for Byzantine Research, and is supported by the John Fell Fund and The Helen Hamlyn Trust.

For further details about the exhibition, https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/whatson/whats-on/upcoming-events/2019/july/sacred-scripts-of-ethiopia-and-eritrea.

For more information about this collaborative project, or to join the mailing list, please email ethiopia-eritrea@bodleian.ox.ac.uk.

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 (aisulli@umich.edu) and Maria Alessia Rossi (marossi@princeton.edu) 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.

Conference: Women and Violence in the Late Medieval Mediterranean, ca. 1100-1500

Maison Française d’Oxford, 27-28 September 2019

The last decades have witnessed an increased interest in research on the relationship between women and violence in the Middle Ages, with new works both on female criminality and on women as victims of violence. The contributions of gender theory and feminist criminology have renewed the approached used in this type of research. Nevertheless, many facets of the complex relationship between women and violence in medieval times still await to be explored in depth. This conference aims to understand how far the roots of modern assumptions concerning women and violence may be found in the late medieval Mediterranean, a context of intense cultural elaboration and exchange which many scholars have indicated as the cradle of modern judicial culture. While dialogue across the Mediterranean was constant in the late Middle Ages, occasions for comparative discussion remain rare for modern-day scholars, to the detriment of a deeper understanding of the complexity of many issues. Thus, we encourage specialists of different areas across the Mediterranean (Western Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic world) to contribute to the discussion. What were the main differences and similarities? How did these change through time? What were the causes for change? Were coexisting assumptions linking femininity and violence conflicting or collaborating?

The conference will take place over two days thanks to the generous contributions of The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities, the Maison Française d’Oxford, and the UMR Orient- Mediterranée Monde Byzantin.

Keynote speakers:
Professor Carol Lansing (UC Santa Barbara)
Professor Élisabeth Malamut (Université de Provence)
Conclusion by Professor Annick Peters-Custot (Université de Nantes)

Attendance is free of charge and open to all. To secure your place to attend this conference, please register here.

Full programme available here.

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 lateantiquefrontiers@gmail.com 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) samuel.cohen@sonoma.edu
Jonathan J. Arnold (University of Tulsa) jon-arnold@utulsa.edu
Rebecca Usherwood (Trinity College Dublin) usherwor@tcd.ie
Adrastos Omissi (University of Glasgow) adrastos.Omissi@glasgow.ac.uk

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, ralphwm@illinois.edu. 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 Sessions: Mary Jaharis Center Sponsored Panel at Leeds 2020

Deadline: 3 September 2019

To encourage the integration of Byzantine studies within the scholarly community and medieval studies in particular, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture seeks proposals for a Mary Jaharis Center sponsored session at the 27th International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 6–9, 2020. We invite session proposals on any topic relevant to Byzantine studies.

The thematic strand for the 2029 IMC is “Borders.” See the IMC Call for Papers (https://www.imc.leeds.ac.uk/imc2020/) for additional information about the theme and suggested areas of discussion.

Session proposals must be submitted through the Mary Jaharis Center website (https://maryjahariscenter.org/sponsored-sessions/27th-international-medieval-congress). The deadline for submission is September 3, 2019. Proposals should include:
**100-word session abstract
**Session moderator and academic affiliation
**Information about the three papers to be presented in the session. For each paper: name of presenter and academic affiliation, proposed paper title, and 100-word abstract

Successful applicants will be notified by mid-September if their proposal has been selected for submission to the International Medieval Congress. Successful applicants will be notified by mid-September if their proposal has been selected for submission to the International Medieval Congress. The Mary Jaharis Center will submit the session proposal to the International Medieval Congress and will keep the potential organizer informed about the status of the proposal.

The session organizer may act as the moderator or present a paper. Participants may only present papers in one session.

If the proposed session is approved, the Mary Jaharis Center will reimburse a maximum of 4 session participants (presenters and moderator) up to $600 maximum for European residents and up to $1200 maximum for those coming from outside Europe. Funding is through reimbursement only; advance funding cannot be provided. Eligible expenses include conference registration, transportation, and food and lodging. Receipts are required for reimbursement.

Please contact Brandie Ratliff (mjcbac@hchc.edu), Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture with any questions.

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 https://ahc.leeds.ac.uk/medieval/news/article/1339/call-for-papers-imc-2020.

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’brien@kcl.ac.uk 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 (lapina@wisc.edu) and Jessalynn Bird (jessalynn.bird@gmail.com), before August 1st. Make sure to specify which conference you are planning to attend.

Call for Papers: Crusading Encounters

SSCLE 9th International Conference, Royal Holloway, University of London, 29 June-3 July 2020

Deadline: 1 November 2019

The Society for the Study of the Crusades and the Latin East is pleased to announce its 9th International Conference, Crusading Encounters, at Royal Holloway, University of London, 29 June – 3 July 2020.

​Applications for sessions of three 20-minute papers each on the theme ‘Crusading Encounters’, or for individual papers, are welcome. Themes could include, but are not limited to:

• Interactions (real or imagined) between crusaders and indigenous peoples
• Crusading archaeology
• Impact of crusading on the environment or natural world
• Intellectual influences of crusading on medicine, science, culture, language/literature
• Intermarriage, travel and/or communication between peoples, borders, languages
• Encounters with the crusading past

Please note that there will be a maximum of three sessions in any one strand.​

All applications for sessions and papers must be received at sscle2020@gmail.com by 1 November 2019.

For further details, see https://www.sscle2020.com/