Call for Papers: Illuminating the Dark Ages: Manuscript art and knowledge in the Early Medieval World (c. 600-1100), University of Edinburgh, 28-29/06/2018, Deadline 15/03/2018

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“Illuminating the Dark Ages” has been conceived as an international conference that aims to bring together researchers of all levels, including postgraduate students, working on the wider Early Middle Ages and the decorated manuscript as a cultural medium. From a variety of perspectives, this conference intends to shed light on how and why manuscripts were decorated in the early medieval period, from lavishly illuminated religious cycles to illustrations of works of Classical literature. Even though the geographical focus is put on the Latin West, comparative approaches to manuscript visual cultures and knowledge transmission in other cultural areas (roughly in the same chronological period), such as Byzantium or the Islamic world, are naturally welcomed.The keynote lectures will be delivered by Prof. Michele Bacci (Fribourg) and Dr. Felicity Harley-McGowan (Yale).

Papers, in either English or French, may address any of the following topics:

  • Iconographies, cults, and theological debates.
  • The performative book and ritualistic practices.
  • Manuscript patronage, donation, and authorship.
  • The early medieval manuscript and its material components.
  • Illustrations in musical manuscripts.
  • Decorated historical chronicles and law texts.
  • Medicinal texts, the human body, plants, and animals.
  • Illustrated maps and astronomical treatises.
  • The decoration of Classical works of literature.
  • Early medieval libraries, scriptoria, and manuscript collections.
  • Digitising and curating the medieval manuscript.

Papers should ideally be no more than 20 minutes long. Sections or summaries of current and recent PhD projects are particularly welcome. We would also be delighted to host any posters during the conference. Travel funding may be available.

Titles and abstracts, of no more than 300 words, should be received by March 15, 2018. Acceptance notifications will be delivered shortly afterwards. Submissions and any queries should be sent 

*Organised with the support of the University of Edinburgh’s Development Trust  (IIG) and the Edinburgh College of Art’s DRF Grants.



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