CFP: ‘Byzantium Bizarre: Storytelling through Sacred Spaces’, deadline 15 September 2021, International Congress on Medieval Studies 2022

Byzantium Bizarre: Storytelling through Sacred Spaces, sessions at 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University Online, May 9–14, 2022

We cordially invite the submission of abstracts for our session “Byzantium Bizarre: Storytelling through sacred spaces” at the 2022 International Congress on Medieval Studies, taking place online from May 9-14, 2022.

Church architecture, sacred locations and legend can produce a bizarre interplay in the late antique and Byzantine Mediterranean. Particularly interesting are extraordinary churches that tell a story or have a legend, tradition, or mythology attached to them, revealing the human fascination toward the bizarre. In our panel, the we look forward to discussing these sociocultural aspects of Byzantine churches, particularly those linking material to the sacred spaces, architecture, and archaeology.

The role of storytelling is manifest in creating or reframing tradition and mythology, for example the Church of St. Symeon Stylites, or the repurposing of natural formations (e.g., Constantinian-period caves in Jerusalem). The attitudes and understandings of the monuments, both contemporary and modern, inform the knowledge of what makes their setting and architecture important. Through an archaeological and architectural analysis, we can understand sociocultural aspects of such monuments and their meanings. Our panel will examine examples of this relationship between legend and monument and their influences on each other to create a holy place throughout the Byzantine empire. Following the themes of mythology, legend, and storytelling, we invite papers discussing archaeological and architectural materiality and art historical objects, but also historical perspectives and liturgical specialties.

Please submit the abstract for your paper (300 words abstract plus a short description of 50 words) by September 15, 2021, through the conference portal at wmich.edu/medievalcongress/call.

Session organizers
Dr. Catherine Keane
Dr. Katharina Palmberger 

Published by Roisin Astell

Roisin Astell received a First Class Honours in History of Art at the University of York (2014), under the supervision of Dr Emanuele Lugli. After spending a year learning French in Paris, Roisin then completed an MSt. in Medieval Studies at the University of Oxford (2016), where she was supervised by Professor Gervase Rosser and Professor Martin Kauffmann. In 2017, Roisin was awarded a CHASE AHRC studentship as a doctoral candidate at the University of Kent’s Centre for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, under the supervision of Dr Emily Guerry.

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