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).

Summer School: Lincoln College Summer School of Greek Palaeography

Lincoln College, Oxford, 27 July-1 August 2020

Deadline: 15 January 2020

The eighth Lincoln College International Summer School in Greek Palaeography will be held on 27 July – 1 August 2020. The school offers a five-day introduction to the study of Greek manuscripts through ten reading classes, three library visits and five thematic lectures.

Costs: The school does not charge student fees. However, any faculty members admitted to the school may be charged a small fee to defray costs. Participants are individually responsible for their transportation and living expenses in Oxford. A few bursaries, covering housing (but no board), will be awarded to particularly deserving applicants.

The eighth Lincoln College International Summer School in Greek Palaeography will be held on 27 July – 1 August 2020. The school offers a five-day introduction to the study of Greek manuscripts through ten reading classes, three library visits and five thematic lectures.

Costs: The school does not charge student fees. However, any faculty members admitted to the school may be charged a small fee to defray costs. Participants are individually responsible for their transportation and living expenses in Oxford. A few bursaries, covering housing (but no board), will be awarded to particularly deserving applicants.

For full details, see https://www.lincoln.ox.ac.uk/Greek-Palaeography-About.

Fellowship: Bodleian Libraries Visiting Fellowships

University of Oxford

Deadline: 1 December 2019

The Bodleian Libraries are now accepting applications for Visiting Fellowships for the 2020-21 academic year. Proposals are invited from researchers who will benefit from an uninterrupted period of research in the Special Collections of the Bodleian Libraries. The deadline for applications is 1 December 2019.

· Humfrey Wanley Fellowships: supporting a short period of research in the Special Collections of the Bodleian Libraries. Up to 3 months.
· Sassoon Visiting Fellowships: supporting a short period of research in the Special Collections of the Bodleian Libraries. Up to 3 months.
· Sassoon Visiting Fellowships in South Asian and Black History: offered in collaboration with Somerville College, Oxford, for research into the histories of South Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean, as well as their diasporas broadly defined. Up to 2 months.
· Bahari Visiting Fellowships in the Persian Arts of the Book: up to 6 months.
· Byrne-Bussey Marconi Fellowships: for research into any aspect of the history of science, technology and business innovation using the archive, manuscript, object and rare book collections of the Bodleian Libraries and the History of Science of Museum, Oxford. Up to 6 months.
· David Walker Memorial Fellowships in Early Modern History: supporting research into any aspect of Early Modern History. Up to 3 months.
· Albi Rosenthal Visiting Fellowships in Music: providing for research in the Special Collections of Music in the Bodleian Libraries. Up to 3 months.

For more information, see https://www.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/csb/fellowships.

Lecture: Monks, Hermits and the Natural World, 300-650AD

Robin Lane Fox, ‘Monks, Hermits and the Natural World, 300-650AD’, Saint Catherine Foundation Lecture, Royal Geographical Society, London, 28 November 2019

The holy men and hermits of late antiquity are distinctive features of early Christianity, often linked to its monasteries, including St Catherine’s of Sinai. This lecture considers the realities and textual representations of their relations with animals, landscapes, birds and plants. It contrasts the use and presentation of such items in pagan history, literature and philosophy.

Robin Lane Fox is Emeritus Fellow of New College, Oxford. His books include Pagans and Christians and Augustine: Conversions to Confessions, the 2016 Wolfson History Prize winner. His new book, on early Greek medicine, will be published in 2020.

The lecture will take place from 19:00 – 20:15 at the Royal Geographical Society, 1 Kensington Gore, Kensington, London SW7 2AR.

To purchase tickets, see here.

Lecture: Byzantium and Scotland

University of Edinburgh, 20 November 2019

The Inaugural Lecture by Professor Niels Gaul (University of Edinburgh) on ‘Byzantium and Scotland’ will be held in Lecture Theatre G03, 50, George Street, Edinburgh. The date and time are unchanged: Wednesday, 20th November, 2019 at 1715 hrs, followed by a Reception. This is a Public Lecture; all are welcome.

Conference: PAIXUE Symposium: Classicising Learning, Performance and Power: Eurasian Perspectives From Antiquity to Early Modern Period

University of Edinburgh, 12-14 December 2019

The team of the PAIXUE project is delighted to announce that its international Symposium on ‘Classicising learning, performance and power: Eurasian perspectives from Antiquity to early modern Period’ will take place between the 12th and the 14th of December 2019 at the University of Edinburgh.

The symposium brings together scholars from across North America, Europe and Asia in order to explore how public performances of classicising learning (however defined in each culture) influenced and served imperial or state power in premodern political systems across Eurasia and North Africa. Aiming at encouraging scholarly exchanges among experts in different fields and cultures, the papers relate to the following three interconnected thematic strands:

· Classicising learning and the social order
· Classicising learning and the political order
· Classicising learning and the self

The full programme and the list of abstracts are available in our website. Places are limited, so early registration is strongly recommended.

Conference: Documenting Multiculturalism in Norman Sicily and the Islamicate East

University of Oxford, 29 November 2019

Deadlie: 22 November 2019

An all-day workshop on Documenting Multiculturalism in Norman Sicily and the Islamicate East. The workshop is being organised by the Khalili Research Centre (University of Oxford) and will be held on Friday 29 November at Wolfson College (Oxford OX2 6UD). The workshop will consist of a series of 30-minute talks concerning the administrative and legal documents of the Islamicate world (full programme here).

Those wishing to attend the workshop should complete the accompanying form and email to ruth.macdonald@humanities.ox.ac.uk by Friday 22 November. Places are strictly limited to 30 and in the event of oversubscription priority will be given to those who have particular research interests in the topics under discussion. Applicants will be informed by email whether they have been allocated a place by the end of Monday 25 November.

If you have any further queries about the event, please email ruth.macdonald@humanities.ox.ac.uk.

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: 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.