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OXFORD UNIVERSITY BYZANTINE SOCIETY
The Byzness, 16 July, 2013

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1. NEWS
2. CALL FOR PAPERS
3. EVENTS


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1. NEWS

As part of the Muslim Bookshelf portion of its Bridging Cultures initiative, the NEH asked D. Fairchild Ruggles, University of Illinois, to make a series of 7 short films on Islamic calligraphy, illustrated manuscripts, textiles, ornament, mosques, architecture of travel, and gardens. They are now available on line, gratis, and are designed for students and teachers in fields outside of Islamic art history. For a classroom in medieval art, where Islam may get only a lecture or two, they may be a good resource. See NEH Islamic Art Spots at http://bridgingcultures.neh.gov/muslimjourneys.

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2. CALL FOR PAPERS

CFP: BSANA-sponsored sessions at 2014 International Congress on Medieval Studies, 8-11 May 2014, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI

 
Session A: Contested Spaces and Byzantium
The landscape of the Roman world as it began fragmenting in late antiquity, as well as its proximity to Sassanid Persia (and later, the Caliphates, the Abbasids, the Seljuks, and then finally the Ottomans) meant that the Eastern half of the Empire was constantly having to solve the problem of contested spaces on several fronts. Militarily, the frontier of the Middle East was subject to much back-and-forth between Persia and Byzantium, as the early sixth century Sassanid siege of Amida demonstrates, as does the expedition of the Himyarites into northern Arabia. The Sassanid desire to restore Achaemenid-era borders in the Middle East and Asia Minor also made Jerusalem and Antioch the objects of struggle over occupation in the early seventh century. Of course, Muslim possession of formerly Roman territories fueled the Crusades during the Middle Ages, making Constantinople itself an object of siege and an occupied territory in the thirteenth century. In between the seventh and thirteenth centuries, the Bulgars, Khazars, Rus’, and Seljuk Turks turned eastern Europe and the Balkans into focal points of military struggle as well, such as with the Battle of Manzikert in the eleventh century.
 
From a religious point of view, central and eastern Europe became loci of conflict and negotiation between Byzantine and Frankish Christianity, such as the mission to Moravia of Cyril and Methodius, and the apparent jockeying of the Bulgars and the Rus’ between Constantinople and Rome for the most favorable terms on conversion.
 
On a civic scale, the Byzantine city itself has been a location of physical and religious strife; militarily, besides the 1204 sack of Constantinople by the Fourth Crusaders, there was the 626 attack by the Avars, and the tenth century sea attacks by the Rus’. In religious terms, the public spaces of cities in Byzantium have been subject to struggle, such as the competing choral street processions of the Arians and the Nicenes led by John Chrysostom in the late fourth/early fifth century, the East/West religious aspects of the Latin Empire of Constantinople in the thirteenth century, and into fourteenth century with the theological dimensions of the Zealot/Hesychast controversy in Thessaloniki. Even within the church building, there is discursive and liturgical struggle, such as Symeon of Thessaloniki’s pitting of the “sung service” of Hagia Sophia in Constantinople against the neo-Sabaïtic typikon that had become nearly universal by the time Symeon was writing in the fifteenth century.
 
This panel, then, will explore the theme of contested spaces in Byzantium. How can we better understand and interrogate issues of space and society in the Byzantine world? How do social forces in Byzantium construct these spaces, and how do these spaces, be they physical or ideological, subsequently influence society? What fresh theoretical approaches might be helpful?
 
Session B: Remaking the Empire: Socioeconomic Connectivity and Imperial Architecture under Justinian
Justinian’s empire saw Constantinople control the most extensive territory it would hold for the rest of its days.  These conquests also renewed networks of socioeconomic connectivity across the Mediterranean, bonds that held west and east together and facilitated the movement of not only goods and people, but ideas, styles, and even disease.  Within the artistic and architectural spheres, this connectivity–along with the emperor’s Mediterranean-wide ambitions–led to a period of building on a grand scale. Broadly Byzantine structures in part modeled on the cosmopolitan style of the imperial heartland appeared throughout the Mediterranean, and even the white marble quarried from the island of Marmara saw use in every corner of the restored Empire. Justinian’s building program itself has been well studied and its artistic uniformity is well known.  What is comparatively poorly understood are the networks of exchange and communication that facilitated the movement of these ideas and materials, and the situation of these new structures and styles within local settings. Under what directive was marble quarried and shipped?  How were building materials transported, and how was this transportation financed and organized by official or private mechanisms?  Who were the artisans? And how were these new structures understood by local communities far from the Byzantine core?  To what extent did they represent foreign dominance? How might their meanings have been transformed and renegotiated within different local contexts? This session brings together scholars exploring the role of renewed socioeconomic connectivity in the development of the vibrant artistic and architectural programs of late antiquity.
 
Please send abstracts of no more than a page to Richard Barrett at rrbarret@indiana.edu by 15 September 2013.
 
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Identity is one of the most significant and hotly-discussed topics in recent scholarship on medieval cultures. Yet how can we responsibly discuss identity in medieval art history? What role did visual and material culture play in expressing identities and how might we interpret these expressions? Many objects remain which may have communicated identities, including clothing, jewelry, seals, tableware, and other personal items, as well as larger-scale works of art like decorated living spaces. However, many factors complicate the study of medieval material identities. The experience of quotidian life in which identity was constructed and conveyed has largely disappeared. Burials and records of ceremonies provide evidence that can be used to understand the expression of certain identity groups, but both burials and ceremonies are exceptional social phenomena that lie outside the realm of everyday practice in which identity was customarily and regularly conveyed. Furthermore, identity is rarely discussed explicitly in medieval texts, and sources tend to acknowledge the role of objects and monuments in conveying identities in only oblique terms.

This session is open to submissions from Western medieval, Byzantine, Islamic, and other cultural areas. Identity may be understood in broad terms, for example, as cultural, ethnic, social, economic, or gender-based. Paper proposals should contain a response to the following question: How can we responsibly use visual evidence to understand medieval constructions of identity?

Panel organizers: Amanda Luyster (College of the Holy Cross) and Alicia Walker (Bryn Mawr College)

A paper proposal comprises a one-page abstract and a completed Participant Information Form, to be completed, saved, and submitted to Amanda Luyster ( aluyster@holycross.edu ) and Alicia Walker ( awalker01@brynmawr.edu ) by September 15. The Participant Information Form may be found here: http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/#PIF

 
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2014 International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo Michigan,

May 8 – 11, 2014
Deadline: Sep 15, 2013

Astrology and its Objects in the Middle Ages
Session to be held at the 2014 International Congress on Medieval
Studies, Kalamazoo Michigan, 8-11 May

Sponsored by the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA)

Organizers:
Ittai Weinryb (Bard Graduate Center, NYC)
Sarah Guérin (Université de Montréal, Montréal)

The objective of medieval astrology was to study the stars to determine
optimum moments for human action. Proof of the effect of celestial
bodies on the sublunary spheres was manifested everyday—tides, vegetal
growth, and the changing of the seasons. That these astral forces
determined human passions and personalities was taken for granted by
the most influential thinkers of the Middle Ages. The stars needed to
be consulted before undertaking any project, and the most important
actions to synchronize with the skies were ritual ones—executed at
opportune moments, physical rites gained energy and power from the
sympathy of planets. Within this conceptual framework, where the
movement of the celestial bodies impacts the physical world, the
production of material images, talismans and objects was also
determined by astral movements. Examples such as Gerbert of Aurillac’s
speaking brazen head, GudioBonatti’s wax ship model, or the
miracle-working crucifix from Meaux, are all but mere indicators of a
plethora of examples where the movement of the stars was an active
participant in the crafting and generation of material images.
Images and objects were central to the practice of astrology, but this
material world has suffered in modern historiography. Astrological
items have been labeled as marginal, pagan, or just plain fake. The
contemporary historian has experienced marked discomfort in integrating
a belief in astrology into a predominantly religious understanding of
the Middle Ages, but this unease is clearly one not felt by medieval
practitioners. Our session aims to overturn these misunderstandings and
to investigate the practice of astrology as a positive generator and a
formidable conceptualizer of images and their making. Not just God, but
also the celestial bodies were very much part of the way people thought
about and reacted to crafted images. The session thus seeks to explore
the material traces of charting and harnessing natural forces in the
Middle Ages. In sum, our session seeks to investigate how images and
objects operated within a world governed by astrology, and thus calls
for a new understanding of the place and function of medieval astrology.
Seasoned as well as early career scholars are invited to contribute
their perspectives on topics regarding astrology and its objects in the
Middle Ages. The session also seeks papers on issues of medium
specificity and materiality, as concerns that arise directly from
questions regarding astrology. Papers on issues of centrality or
marginality of image making within the practice of astrology, as well
as the reception of astrology as part of a sensory experience are also
welcomed.

DEADLINE FOR PAPER PROPOSALS: 15 September 2013
Paper proposals should consist of the following:
1. Abstract of proposed paper (300 words maximum)
2. Completed Participant Information Form. available at:
http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF
3. CV with home and office mailing addresses, e-mail address, and phone
number
4. Statement of ICMA membership status (note: all participants in ICMA
sponsored sessions are required to be members of the ICMA)
Funds may be available to defray travel costs of sponsored session
participants

ALL PROPOSALS AND INQUIRIES SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO:
Ittai Weinryb: Weinryb@bgc.bard.edu
Sarah Guérin: sarah.guerin@courtauld.ac.uk
For information about the ICMA: http://www.medievalart.org
For information about the International Medieval Congress:
http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/index.html

 
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49th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Kalamazoo, May 8-11, 2014

Call for Papers for a Panel Discussion:
Moving Image as a Means of Documenting and Promoting Byzantine and Medieval Culture

Deadline: September 15, 2013

This panel aims to engage in a discussion about the use of moving images in fieldwork projects and how the medium was used to document and promote Byzantine and Medieval art. By conducting a comparison between the moving image collection held by the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives (ICFA) of Dumbarton Oaks and other similar holdings in other institutions, we aim to explore their similarities and differences; understand the motivations of using this medium; and illustrate the cinematic style employed in these film collections.

As a case study, this panel discussion aims to introduce ICFA’s leading protagonist Thomas Whittemore and the unique collection of moving images by the Byzantine Institute, a non-profit organization established in 1930 by Whittemore to document their fieldwork activities, including restoration and conservation. To understand the Institute’s mission, we need to examine the stylistic differences between its first film documentation of the Red Sea Monasteries in Egypt, filmed in black-and-white, and the two most important monuments of Byzantine culture, Hagia Sophia and Kariye Camii in Istanbul, Turkey. The former illustrates a traditional style of film documentation for archaeological excavations with an anthropological interest, while the latter, filmed in color as early as 1936 to 1948, displays a more formal and intimate approach towards the monuments. They were instrumental for the promotion of the Institute’s goal to capture the quality and splendor of Byzantine mosaics and also illustrate the early techniques of restoration and conservation, leaving an indispensable document of the methods employed.

Our questions for this panel discussion include: What were the initial motivations to use moving images in the documentation of fieldwork activities? Was it solely a financial matter or can moving images of fieldwork projects transmit a different message than still photography? Are the decisions (e.g., color film vs. black-and-white film) dependent on the subject being captured or are they based on the cinematographer’s vision? And finally, what role did the films play for the reception of Medieval and Byzantine art?

We welcome proposals for 15-minute presentations from archivists, curators, conservators, historians, art historians, and archaeologists working with relevant material to discuss the topics related to the use of moving images as a means of documenting and promoting Byzantine and Medieval culture.

For consideration, please submit a one-page abstract, a CV, and the participant informaton form (found here: https://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF) to the panel organizers: ICFA Archivist Rona Razon (razonr@doaks.org<mailto:razonr@doaks.org>) and ICFA Byzantine Research Associate Fani Gargova (gargovaf@doaks.org<mailto:gargovaf@doaks.org>) by September 15, 2013.

 
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Call for Papers: The Seventh Century Across Cultures

Panel sponsored by the Seventh Century Studies Network
49th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 8-11, 2014

Drawing inspiration from the recent Edinburgh Seventh Century Colloquium, this session will attempt to bring together scholars from different disciplines studying the seventh century in order to promote discussion and the cross-fertilization of ideas.  We will explore how wider perspectives can be used to formulate new approaches to source material, drawing out fresh perspectives on both the familiar and unfamiliar.

The session will be an examination of whether the seventh century can be studied as a unit across regions or whether the period represents a break in the longue durée.  What was the level of discontinuity between the ‘long sixth’ and ‘long eighth’ centuries?

We invite those working in archaeology, art history, history, literature, numismatics, and religion, as well as in fields including Byzantine, Celtic, Classics, Islamic, and Late Antique studies to submit 100 word abstracts for papers of approximately 20 minutes that engage with aspects of continuity and/or discontinuity during the long seventh century.

We seek to have an interdisciplinary panel that reflects the various ways that questions of continuity and discontinuity can be addressed.

Please send proposals and a Participant Information Form (link below) to
edinburgh7th@gmail.com  by September 1.

The Participant Information Form can be downloaded in MS Word or pdf
format from
http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF

 
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*The Empire Never Ended?  Letting go of Roman identity in the post-Imperial world*

*Session at the International Medieval Congress (IMC), Leeds, 7-10 July 2014*

Dating the end of the Roman Empire has long been a popular parlour game.  Numerous years can be proposed as date of the ‘fall’ of the empire.  Yet all of these ignore the obvious question of when did the peoples of the Roman Empire themselves come to think of themselves as living in a post-imperial era?

The answer seems far from simple and varies from region to region but it is clear that, whenever people ceased to think of themselves as living within the Empire, it was long after the Empire had ceased to rule over them.

The strand *The Empire Never Ended?  Letting go of Roman identity in the post-Imperial world* proposes to examine when and how that rupture in thinking occurred within the framework of the IMC 2014.

The IMC, an annual conference running continuously since 1994, is the biggest humanities event in Europe, attracting over 1800 delegates in 2013, and provides a unique forum for sharing and comparing approaches across a wealth of disciplines.

Responding to the 2014 theme ‘Empire’, *The Empire Never Ended?  Letting go of Roman identity in the post-Imperial world* will offer further opportunities for fruitful exchange between scholars working on concepts of identity, community, and authority throughout the post-Roman world.

Proposals for papers are warmly invited from new and established researchers in the field, and topics may include:

• Being ‘Roman’ along the frontier: the formation of Roman ‘ethnic’ identities in post-Roman environments
• The Empire as a thing of the past: literary identification of the Roman Empire as a historical subject in the early middle ages
• Waiting for the Restoration?  Continuing Roman identity long after the legions have left

These are only a few possible ways of looking at the question.  Researchers looking at all aspects of it are strongly encouraged to join the discussion.

Organised by Thomas J. MacMaster (PhD student, University of Edinburgh)

If you are interested in offering a 20-minute paper within this session please send a title and a brief abstract of 100 words by 1 September 2013 to Thomas J. MacMaster atempireatleeds@gmail.com

Please note: Speakers invited cannot present a paper in another session at the IMC. All speakers will have to pay the appropriate IMC registration fee to attend.

For more information on the IMC see http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/, and for the call for papers for the 2014 Congress, see http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/imc2014_call.html

The twentieth International Medieval Congress will take place on the University of Leeds campus in Leeds from 7-10 July 2014.

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*Empire between Empires: Understanding Empire in the long seventh century*

*Session at the International Medieval Congress (IMC), Leeds, 7-10 July 2014*

Much of the history of the seventh century is dominated by struggles between empires; between the Sassanians and Byzantines in the earlier years and between those two and the rising power of the Islamic caliphate later on.  One of the great empires of antiquity, the Persian, ends in this period.    

 

How did seventh century peoples conceptualise empire in a period where it no longer had a clear meaning?  Did universal empire retain power as a political/ideological goal?  Was the meaning of empire transformed in the period?  Was empire an aspiration among peoples of the time?  Did visions of past and future empires colour understandings of the present?

 

*Empire between Empires: Understanding Empire in the long seventh century* proposes to examine the ways in which seventh century peoples conceptualized Empire across cultures and seeks to find meaningful common points as well as divergencies between the visions of Empire in the period.   This examination will take place within the context of the 2014 IMC.


The IMC, an annual conference running continuously since 1994, is the biggest humanities event in Europe, attracting over 1800 delegates in 2013, and provides a unique forum for sharing and comparing approaches across a wealth of disciplines.

Responding to the 2014 theme ‘Empire’, *Empire between Empires: Understanding Empire in the long seventh century* will offer further opportunities for fruitful exchange between scholars working on concepts of imperialism, ideology, apocalyptic and historiography across a broad range of languages and cultures but within a narrow chronological period.

Proposals for papers are warmly invited from new and established researchers in the field, and topics may include:

• Imagining empire: the idea of empire in the seventh century Latin west
• Islam and Empire: the early Islamic view of Roman and Persian empires
• Empires and the End: the idea of empire in seventh century apocalyptic
• Salvaging Empire: the idea of empire and Byzantine survival

• New Empires of the Mind? The idea of empire as ideology in previously non-imperial societies (Franks, Goths, Arabs, etc)

Organised by Thomas J. MacMaster (PhD student, University of Edinburgh) under the auspices of the Seventh Century Studies Network

If you are interested in offering a 20-minute paper within this session please send a title and a brief abstract of 100 words by 1 September 2013 to Thomas J. MacMaster atempireatleeds@gmail.com

Please note: Speakers invited cannot present a paper in another session at the IMC. All speakers will have to pay the appropriate IMC registration fee to attend.

For more information on the IMC see http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/, and for the call for papers for the 2014 Congress, see http://www.leeds.ac.uk/ims/imc/imc2014_call.html

The twentieth International Medieval Congress will take place on the University of Leeds campus in Leeds from 7-10 July 2014.

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3. EVENTS
 
London Medieval Graduate Network
Work in Progress Seminar
 

 

Friday 26th July

University of Oxford

Ioannou Centre for Classical and Byzantine Studies, 66 St Giles’, Oxford

 

The London Medieval Graduate Network was created to facilitate conversations and collaborations among medievalists from different disciplines in all University of London Colleges and the University of Oxford. For more information please see here.

 

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Mainz Conference: The Road to Hell: Sins and their after-life Punishments in the Mediterranean

4th-5th October 2013 – Landesmuseum, Mainz

Organised by Prof. Dr. Vasiliki Tsamakda

Attendance is free, but registration is required. Please follow instructions to register and print your ticket at:  http://roadtohell.eventbrite.co.uk/# 

 

Please see here for the conference poster.


This conference is part of the Leverhulme International Network Project Damned in Hell in the Frescoes of Venetian-Dominated Crete (13th- 17th centuries) managed by Dr Angeliki Lymberopoulou (Open University) and Prof. Vassiliki Tsamakda (University of Mainz).

For further information please contact Dr Diana Newall at Diana.Newall@open.ac.uk

or visit www.open.ac.uk/arts/damned-in-hell/conferences.shtml

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We are delighted to provide the Schedule of the VIth “Rencontres annuelles internationales des doctorants en Etudes byzantines”, which will be held October 4th & 5th 2013, at the “Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art”, Paris. Please see here.

 

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