56th INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS ON MEDIEVAL STUDIES
The 56th International Congress on Medieval Studies takes place 13-16 May 2021 at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.
SHIFTING FRONTIERS XIV: SCALE AND THE STUDY OF LATE ANTIQUITY
3-5 June 2021, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH.
This event will take place virtually via Zoom.
For the Fourteenth Meeting of the Society for Late Antiquity, we invite papers that investigate scale, which can be defined as a graduated range of values or measurements, whether, for example, of time, space, social organization, cosmology, or agency. Participants are encouraged to explore scale either as a methodological framework used by modern historians to interpret the past and/or as a type of late Roman analytic category, developed and employed by late ancient persons for their own heuristic purposes. Questions papers might ask include: To what extent does the world of Late Antiquity look different if we approach its events, institutions, and processes (whether political, economic, social, or religious) from a micro scale rather than a macro scale, and vice versa? How can we better understand the late Roman Empire through the examination of macro- and micro-scalar environmental phenomena, such as volcanic eruptions and mutating plague DNA, which were only partially (if at all) perceptible to the late Romans themselves? Alternatively, what graduated categories of measurement and values did late ancient thinkers deploy in their philosophical, scientific (including astrological), and religious works to make sense of metaphysical, ethical, or even physical quandaries? And what did scale mean to individuals on an everyday level, for agriculturalists or merchants whose livelihoods were embedded within multi-scalar economic, environmental, legal, social, and religious networks? Other papers might consider the fractal replication of structures and relationships across the Empire, for example in conciliar operations (Senate, local curia, church councils), patterns of deference across the social scale, or in the provincial extensions of imperial authority. Comparativists are encouraged to consider how problems of scale inflect transhistorical arguments that encompass both late antiquity and other periods of history.
Featured Keynote Speakers
C. Michael Chin, Department of Classics, UC Davis
Ann Marie Yasin, Department of Art History and Classics, University of Southern California
Special Directions for Virtual Format
The program committee recognizes that online conferencing opens opportunities for scholarly presentations and discussions that deviate from the traditional model of “present a paper and then take questions.” The past few months have been a time of experimentation for all of us. Rather than define (and thereby limit) those alternative modes in advance, we encourage you to propose them to us, and so our task will be to decide not only which papers will be included, but which formats too. Options include thematically linked papers that are posted before the conference so that attendees can read them before their authors hold a panel discussion at the conference; or scholars who wish to pre-post textual, visual, video, or audio material and then take only five minutes to present their argument, leaving more time for discussion. Each submission will still need to have a regular abstract, but please indicate whether you would like to experiment with an alternative mode of presentation.
To apply to present at Shifting Frontiers XIV, please fill out the application/abstract form . Please provide all the requested information, but do not include your name anywhere on the form. All completed application/abstract forms should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications must be received by 4 December 2020 in order to be considered for participation at the conference.
SAILING WITH THE GODS: RELIGION AND MARITIME MOBILITY IN THE ANCIENT WORLD
Sponsored by The Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions
Location: Grand Hotel Excelsior, Floriana, Malta
Dates: June 16-20 2021
Ritual practices dedicated to maritime success appear across a wide span of human cultural history, from the Mediterranean to the North Sea, Southeast Asia across the Pacific to the west coast of the Americas. Culturally-constructed seafaring rituals could be seen as spiritual or superstitious, and respond to the combination of risk and profit endemic in even short voyages by water. Maritime religion infuses all water-borne contact across cultural boundaries; the crafts of those who build rafts, canoes, and sailing vessels; navigational skills which may reach back to ancestors who have faded into cultural legend; and myriad mnemonic and naming strategies extending to littoral markers and celestial patterns. Mythic and ritual responses are accordingly complex, ranging from apotropaia to the divine authorization of civic structures, shipboard shrines and functional epithets which could link divinities, heroes and nearly-deified rulers to the control of the waves and winds. Studies of religion and maritime mobility are often framed within individual cultural contexts, but this international conference seeks to bring together scholars from across a range of disciplines and historical periods, from prehistoric to the seventh century CE, to address critical questions in method and theory relevant to religion in the context of maritime mobility. Among these questions are:
- • What are the benefits and limitations of the types of data available for the investigation of ancient seafaring – myths, legends and histories, the excavations of harbors and shipwrecks, the iconography of sea gods, the analysis of artifacts?
- • What is the range of critical frameworks – from network analyses to iconography – appropriate for these data sets?
- • How do data from ports and land-based institutions complement or even contradict evidence from seagoing vessels?
- • How can we de-essentialize the question of ‘maritime ritual’; what might the role of cross-cultural or cross-chronological studies contribute to this end?
- • How might the studies of maritime ritual offer fresh questions for the analysis of Christianity vis-à-vis traditional Greco-Roman and Mediterranean religions?
- • How do Judaism, Christianity and/or Islam deploy maritime religion in different yet complementary ways to one another, or to polytheistic traditions such as Indian or Chinese religions?
- • How do the divine protections sought for religiously-motivated journeys such as pilgrimage compare with the day-to-day appeal to the gods on seafaring vessels?
Abstracts should be submitted by email attachment as .doc or .docx files to email@example.com and should be from 500-600 words in length for a paper to last between 25 to 30 minutes. Abstracts should contain a title and a word count, but should not have any information regarding the identity of the submitter. All abstracts for papers will be reviewed anonymously. Please direct all queries to SAMR at firstname.lastname@example.org. The organizers of the conference are Sandra Blakely (Emory) and Amelia Brown (UQ). To register for the conference and see schedules as they develop, please visit https://protect-au.mimecast.com/s/bVv0CmOxr6srlql5TG_KBe?domain=classics.emory.edu.
MARY JAHARIS CENTER SPONSORED PANEL, 6TH FORUM MEDIEVAL ART
The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture seeks proposals for a Mary Jaharis Center sponsored session at the 6th Forum Medieval Art, Kunstgeschichtlichen Instituts, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt, September 29–October 2, 2021. The biannual colloquium is organized by the Deutsche Verein für Kunstwissenschaft e.V.
The theme for the 6th Forum Medieval Art is Senses. The arts and the senses have always been reciprocally related to one another. In the Middle Ages, sensual encounters with art and architecture offered a variety of ways to perceive, comprehend and structure the world. Pledging to relics enclosed in precious reliquaries, incorporating color from Byzantine icons, distinguishing the holy space by swinging golden polished censers, wearing inwardly decorated jewelry on the body or ringing the church bells to make audible the presence of God – such actions leave no doubts about the significance of the senses in the Middle Ages, and furthermore bring to light the role of art within such operations.
Although the senses and their interplay are well defined in theoretical treatises, theories are of limited use when it comes to understanding the sensual perception of images, objects, and spaces. While, for instance, the knowledge of God is described as a dematerialized act, the senses were nevertheless used to obtain and mediate spiritual insight. Since antiquity, seeing has been the dominant sense, as the works of authors such as Aristotle, Plato, Augustine and Isidore of Seville suggest. This privileged position was further ascribed by cultural and art historical research over a long period of time. Nevertheless, in recent years, studies on materiality have argued that the dominance of this one singular sense misrepresents the multisensory nature of medieval art. The ‘close-up’ senses such as tasting and touching are as essential for the understanding of artefacts as the ‘distant’ senses of seeing, hearing and smelling. In particular, liturgical and courtly ceremonies offer convincing evidence that processes of production and reception are related to multisensory experiences. The role of the senses in the architecture and decoration of sacred space has been revaluated not only within Latin Europe and the Byzantine Empire, but also within Islamic dominated regions. Furthermore, in order to comprehend the codex, one of the leading media throughout the Middle Ages, questions of sensual perception through tasting and sometimes kissing of its different elements such as parchment and paper, as well as textiles, leather, metal and ivory have also proved to be essential.
For the 6th Forum Kunst des Mittelalters, the organizers anticipate discussions on the role of sensual perception and the interplay of senses in medieval image and object cultures as well as in architecture, including topics from interreligious and cross-cultural perspectives. Studies on individual senses and the ways in which they played, guided, deceived and disturbed sensual perception are welcome, as well as proposals which privilege a multisensory and synesthetic approach. Proposals that discuss the methodological challenges that arise from these perspectives are encouraged. Furthermore, which possibilities do digital methods offer for understanding historical contexts of perception, e.g. through virtual reality or the reconstruction of auditive and oratorical spaces? This includes studies on the increasing popularity of multimedia concepts in exhibitions that question how the historicity of sensual approaches could be represented and, beyond that, how it could help to reveal new interpretative frameworks.
The Mary Jaharis Center invites session proposals that fit within the Senses theme and are relevant to Byzantine studies. Additional information about the Forum Medieval Art is available at https://www.dvfk-berlin.de/.
Session proposals must be submitted through the Mary Jaharis Center website (https://maryjahariscenter.org/sponsored-sessions/6th-fma). The deadline for submission is May 10, 2020. Proposals should include:
**Session abstract (500 words)
**Proposed list of session participants (presenters and session chair)
Applicants will be notified of the status of their proposal by May 22, 2020. The organizer of the selected session is responsible for submitting the session proposal to the Forum by June 1, 2020.
If the proposed session is approved, the Mary Jaharis Center will reimburse will reimburse a maximum of 5 session participants (presenters and session chair) up to $300 maximum for residents of Germany, up to $600 maximum for EU 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 (email@example.com), Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture with any questions.
The Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies conference committee seeks proposals for its 2021 conference on the theme ‘Reception and Emotion’, to be held in Perth, Australia at The University of Western Australia on 7-11 February 2022.
The committee welcomes all approaches to topics related to ‘reception and emotion’ broadly conceived (and conceived either together or separately: i.e., on reception and emotion, or on either reception or emotion), including but not limited to: trans-cultural, trans-temporal, trans-disciplinary, translation, global studies, creative misreadings, theatrical and literary revivals, forgeries, homages, cultural counter-strikes, regimes of periodisation, etc. We welcome proposals considering the usefulness or otherwise of reception history as a methodology: is ‘transformation’ more helpful than ‘reception’, for example, for appreciating the active role of the audience of a text, play, or idea?
Work on emotions can be similarly broad, covering, e.g., what’s evidenced from the ‘receivers’ and from the ‘received’ (thinking of work, for example, on how Indigenous people have received missionaries and their doctrines; how medievalists have reacted and acted in relation to the worrying associations of their discipline; even how humanities scholars feel about their reception in contemporary political circles; Jan Plamper’s suggestion that historians should keep ‘field diaries’ about their personal response to work in the archives; are there ‘objective’ studies?). What’s been the value and downside of the ‘emotional turn’ in humanities studies? How do we as scholars of the past deal with presentist notions of ‘relevance’, and need we consider past scholarship as ‘outdated? How can we marry approaches from humanities and life sciences in ‘emotions history’?
The conference committee invites proposals for 20-minute papers, 90-minute themed panels (of no more than 4 speakers) or workshops. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to:
- The reception of ideas about emotion in medieval/early modern texts;
- Reception and transformation of ideologies across time and space;
- The emotions of an audience in the reception of a play or sermon;
- The emotional impact of a text on a reader;
- Rituals and practices of receiving guests and dignitaries (and their emotional effects?);
- The reception of the past: medievalism and early-modernism;
- The reception of bodies / emotions and bodies / embodiment;
- Reception / emotion and sexuality;
- Reception / emotion and race;
- Reception / emotion and gender;
- Reception / emotion and music / art.
Submitting a Proposal
Proposals for 20-minute conference papers should consist of:
- A title;
- An abstract (max. 200 words);
- A short biography (max. 50 words).
The conference committee welcomes themed panel or workshop session proposals for the conference. Proposals should consist of:
- Panel/Workshop Title;
- Proposed Chair (if available);
- Details of each presenter and paper as described above.
NB: Workshops will be allotted 90 minutes, 30 of which should be reserved for general discussion. We suggest a maximum of 6 speakers.
Submissions should be emailed (as a Word document attachment) by 31 July 2021 to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NB: Should you require early acceptance of your proposal please highlight this in your email and the committee will do our best to accommodate your request.
The conference will be preceded by an ANZAMEMS seminar. An invitation for expressions of interest will follow in a separate email.
For more information please see the conference website.