Tag Archives: exchange

CFP: Rethinking the Medieval Frontier, University of Leeds, 10 April 2018

avila-753643_1920Call for Papers: Rethinking the Medieval Frontier, University of Leeds, 10 April 2018
Deadline: 1 February 2018

Few topics in medieval studies have as much current relevance and activity as frontiers and borders. Yet approaches to their study in the Middle Ages are often untheorised, and
compare, if at all, only to often outdated studies of the ancient or modern world. Yet
medievalists are well placed, given the richness of their material and the complexity of
medieval politics and society, to challenge such ‘classical’ ideas of The Frontier, whose
weaknesses are now being exposed by current events. A fully comparative approach to the possibilities of what it meant to establish, live in or contest a frontier or border zone shown by the societies of late Antiquity and the Middle Ages can power the development of a new shared understanding of the processes at work where borders are laid down or transgressed.

The project Rethinking the Medieval Frontier has been exploring such ideas since 2015. Its first one-day conference, made possible by a British Academy/Leverhulme Trust Small Research Grant, will take place on 10th April 2018. Scholars at all levels working on frontiers and borders within the period 100-1500 CE, in any geographical area, are invited to offer papers addressing questions such as these:
§ Who defines or defined a frontier, and with what effect?
§ How did the medieval understanding of the world envisage or describe frontiers?
§ How was a frontier physically constituted?
§ Did military frontiers differ from other sorts of border, and if so how?
§ How do archaeologists’ views of medieval frontiers compare to those of historians?
§ What persons or groups crossed medieval borders, and why? Who was prevented from
doing so, and how effectively?
§ What persons or groups lived in border zones, for what reasons?
§ How far did frontiers and borders create or inform medieval identities?
§ How do the insights of other disciplines studying frontiers apply to medieval societies,
and how do medievalist disciplines differ in their study of frontiers?
Papers should be up to 15 minutes long and may be exploratory or experimental.
Comparison of more than one medieval society is encouraged. Titles and abstracts should be received by 1st February 2018. It may not be possible to accept all submissions. Some travel bursaries are available to allow attendance which might otherwise not be possible, including from outside the UK.
Submissions, as well as any other queries, should be sent to Jonathan Jarrett, School of History, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT, j.jarrett@leeds.ac.uk.

CFP: Pictor/Miniator: Working across media, 1250–1500, 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, May 10-13, 2018

michelino_molinari_da_besozzo_-_st-_luke_painting_the_virgin_-_google_art_projectCall for Papers: Pictor/Miniator: Working across media, 1250–1500, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies Sponsored Session at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, May 10-13, 2018
Deadline: 20 September 2017

The multimedia fluidity of artists and artisans in the later Middle Ages is an area ripe for investigation. Across diverse regions in Europe and beyond, many illuminators, both named and anonymous, engaged in forms of art-making in addition to the decoration of manuscript books. Some painted frescoes, panels, and ephemera, while others provided designs and supervised the production of stained glass, enamels, tapestries, and other objects. With some frequency, those who specialized in other media were in turn called upon to illuminate books. While modern studies have focused on individual examples of such multi-media talent, the broader implications of this intermedial fluency remain obscure: within the wider art-historical canon, manuscript illumination as an art form is largely seen as derivative or prone to influence from large-scale media.
This session seeks to re-examine the relationship between manuscript illumination and other fields of artistic endeavor in the later Middle Ages. How did artists themselves consider the differing characteristics and ontologies of these varied supports? How did painters adapt their style and working method when engaging with other media and other categories of object? Did the presence of local guild regulations curtail or encourage multi-media practice, and how did this compare region-to-region or to contexts outside of Western Europe? Beyond evident differences in scale, pricing, and technique, interesting issues arise regarding patronage and audience: how different was the clientele for manuscripts compared to that for painting, for example? How did the relative accessibility and visibility of differing art forms affect the visual solutions achieved? Is a book-bound image “freer” or more experimental than a publically visible one?
The session asks these and other questions relevant to those studying the social contexts of art production, the dynamics of reception, materiality, and the technical characteristics of objects. It seeks to be open-minded in terms of methodological approach, and aims to bring together scholars working on diverse material, in order to initiate a larger conversation that can impact the discipline of art history as a whole.
Please send proposals with a one-page abstract and a completed Participant Information Form (http://www.wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions) to Nicholas Herman (hermanni@upenn.edu) by 20 September 2017.

CFP: Moving People, Shifting Frontiers: Re-contextualising the Thirteenth Century in the Wider Mediterranean

CfP ICMA Kalamazoo 2018 Moving People Shifting FrontiersCall for Papers: Moving People, Shifting Frontiers: Re-contextualising the Thirteenth Century in the Wider Mediterranean, International Congress of Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, May 10-13 2018
Deadline: 10 September 2017

Organizers: Katerina Ragkou (University of Cologne) and Maria Alessia Rossi (The Courtauld Institute of Art)

Every day we witness people moving, with them objects and skills, knowledge and experience; either forcibly or willingly; for work or for pleasure. The communities living along the shores of the Mediterranean and the hinterlands of the Balkans during the thirteenth century share many of the characteristics of our contemporary world: military campaigns and religious wars; the intensification of pilgrimage and the relocation of refugees; the shifting of frontiers and the transformation of socio-political orders.

The transformations of the thirteenth century span from east to west, from northern Europe to the Byzantine Empire and from the Balkans to the Levant. The geographic breadth is paralleled by crucial events including the fourth crusade, the fall of Acre, the empowerment of the Serbian Kingdom and the Republic of Venice, the loss and following restoration of the Byzantine Empire, and the creation of new political entities, such as the Kingdom of Naples and that of Cyprus, the Empire of Trebizond, and the Principality of Achaia. Eclectic scholarly tradition has either focused geographically or thematically, losing sight of the pan-Mediterranean perspective. These societies had multifaceted interactions, and comprised a variety of scales, from the small world of regional and inter-regional communities to the broader Mediterranean dynamics.

This session aims to address questions such as which are the various processes through which military campaigns and religious wars affected the urban landscape of these regions and their material production? Is there a difference in economic and artistic trends between “town” and “countryside” in the thirteenth-century wider Mediterranean? What observations can we make in regards to trade, diplomatic missions, artistic interaction and exchange of the regional, interregional and international contacts? How did these shape and transform cultural identities? How did different social, political and religious groups interact with each other?

This session welcomes papers focused on, but not limited to: the role played by economic activity and political power in thirteenth-century artistic production and the shaping of local and interregional identities; the production and consumption of artifacts and their meaning; the transformation of urban and rural landscapes; religious and domestic architecture and the relationship between the private and public use of space.

Proposals for 20 min papers should include an abstract (max.250 words) and brief CV. Proposals should be submitted by 10 September 2017 to the session organizers: Katerina Ragkou (katerina.ragkou@gmail.com) and Maria Alessia Rossi (m.alessiarossi@icloud.com).

Thanks to a generous grant from the Kress Foundation, funds may be available to defray travel costs of speakers in ICMA-sponsored sessions up to a maximum of $600 ($1200 for transatlantic travel). If available, the Kress funds are allocated for travel and hotel only. Speakers in ICMA sponsored sessions will be refunded only after the conference, against travel receipts.

CFP: Textile Gifts in the Middle Ages – Objects, Actors, and Representations

fb6e7e0f36Call for Papers: Textile Gifts in the Middle Ages – Objects, Actors, and Representations (Textilschenkungen im Mittelalter)
Bibliotheca Hertziana, Max-Planck-Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Rome, November 3-4 2016.
Deadline: March 24, 2016

As art history has given greater attention to material culture and its social contexts as a whole, the applied arts have also re-entered the scope of art historical discourse. Cultural-historical approaches, such as those employed in material culture studies, explore the objectness of artifacts and their efficacy. Related are studies of objects as mediums of symbolic communication, in which such objects are described and interpreted as part of complex performances of ritual and ceremony. Gifts of textiles in the Middle Ages provide a test field for the evaluation of such questions and approaches for the discipline of art history.

Gifts of textiles and clothing appeared in diverse contexts and fulfilled various functions in pre-modern Europe. They could be offered in the course of an initiation rite and or an act of social transition, including upon investiture, marriage, or entry into a monastery. Gifts of clothing to the poor, meanwhile, were among the works of charity thematized in the vitae of numerous medieval saints. Sumptuous textiles were sent as resplendent gifts to religious institutions or, like patterned silk textiles from Byzantium, circulated through diplomatic gift exchanges. Gifts of clothing were also distributed within the court as compensation in kind, which supported the structuralization and hierarchization of courtly society. Gifts of clothing could represent the donor. Especially in the case of clothing previously worn by its donor, the physical presence of the giver might have been woven into the materiality and form of the gifted garment.

The goal of this interdisciplinary conference is to situate the diversity and polysemy of such acts of symbolic communication into the broader context of medieval gift culture.

Already in the 1920s, Marcel Mauss showed that gift giving established social relationships and was composed of three necessary elements: giving, accepting, and reciprocating (the “principle of reciprocity”). At play in such exchanges is essentially the construction of power and social hierarchies. While Mauss’ theory has long been employed within medieval studies, recent criticism has pointed out that the particular efficacy resulting from the material and visual qualities of gifts has not been sufficiently addressed, as studies applying Mauss’ model concentrate primarily on donors, recipients, and their interaction. In other words, the context of the exchange has been privileged over the objects of exchange (Cecily Hilsdale, 2012). With its focus on images and objects, art history is poised to show how the dynamics of reciprocity and its attendant obligations might be charged both visually and materially.

The conference focuses on textile gifts in pre-modern Europe in order to explore such questions in greater detail. The integration of anthropological models into an art historical approach allows for gifted artifacts to be taken seriously as independent entities within the giving process as a socially generative form of communication. The relationship between the actors and the “agency” of gifts themselves can therefore be further explored (Bruno Latour).

We invite paper proposals from the field of art history and related disciplines, such as history, anthropology, archaeology, and literature. Papers might address the following subjects in particular:
– Textile gifts as acts of symbolic communication in the Middle Ages:
Especially welcome are case studies that illustrate the act of giving and the sense of obligation generated between donor and recipient and that, in so doing, attend to the visual and material efficacy of textile gifts. Papers might consider gifts of personal garments, like the gifting of a sovereign’s mantle to an ecclesiastical institution, and the honor—or affront—such gifts might entail.
– Methodological reflections on the suitability of anthropological models for medieval art history:
How helpful are anthropological models (Marcel Mauss’ gift theory and its lineage) in understanding and interpreting pre-modern textile gifts? We begin with the premise that no single general theory is capable of explaining every gift act definitively. Rather, a number of approaches originating in Mauss, some of which are controversial, could be debated within the context of medieval textile gifts.
– The relationship of textile gifts as performative acts to their representations:
How were medieval textile gifts represented in word and image? What relationship do these representations have to their material prototypes (surviving textile gifts) and their contexts (acts of donation)?
– Gendered aspects of textile gifts:
Could textile gifts in the Middle Ages be gender-specific? Can we observe different behavioral patterns in the gifting practices of men and women?
– Re-use and re-contextualization of textile gifts:
The appreciation, use, and conservation of medieval textile gifts, including their restoration or alteration, can reveal much about how recipient institutions dealt with their donations. How, for example, did recipients interpret and use textile gifts in the formation of their identities? How did such a process shape the relationship between a recipient institution and its donor?

Submission: Proposals for talks should be sent in the form of an abstract (max 1 page) with a brief CV by March, 24th, 2016 to Christiane Elster (elster@biblhertz.it).

Typical Venice? Venetian Commodities, 13th-16th centuries (3-6 March 2016)

095L12230_6GNHR_1[1]Call for Papers

Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venice, Palazzo Barbarigo della Terrazza,
March 3 – 06, 2016
Deadline: Oct 31, 2015

Organizer: Dr. Philippe Cordez (ENB-Nachwuchsforschergruppe “Premodern
Objects”, Department Kunstwissenschaften, LMU Munich) and PD Dr.
Romedio Schmitz-Esser (Deutsches Studienzentrum in Venice)

What are “Venetian” commodities? More than any other medieval or early
modern city, Venice lived off of the trade of portable goods. In
addition to trading foreign imports, the city also engaged in intense
local production, manufacturing high quality glass, crystal, cloth,
metal, enamel, leather, and ceramic objects, characterized by their
exceedingly rich forms and complex production processes. Today, these
objects are scattered in collections throughout the world, but little
remains in Venice itself. In individual instances, it is often
difficult to tell whether the objects in question were actually made in
Venice or if they originated in Byzantine, Islamic, or other European

This conference focuses on the question of how Venice designed and
exported its own identity through all kinds of its goods, long before
ideas about the city were propagated by, shaped through and crystalized
in images (the countless, largely standardized vedute). We especially
invite papers that address the following questions:
What was the relationship between raw commodities like wood, stone,
wool or foodstuffs, which varied in their degrees of value, and
specifically artistic products? Where do luxury goods that were
processed in Venice, such as medicines, spices, or pigments, fit into
the picture? What was the relationship between portable objects that
could be acquired and the city’s other, inalienable riches, such as
architecture and church treasures?
How could Venetian merchants, craftsmen, or artists generate a specific
set of expectations with respect to their wares and what kinds of
organizational and aesthetic strategies were used to meet these
expectations? What role did the Senate play, for instance, by imposing
import bans? What did travelers expect from Venice and what did they
find? Where and how were commodities from Venice received elsewhere?
What was perceived to be and labeled as “Venetian,” from medieval
“Orientalism” in the city to the “façon de Venise” in the whole of
Europe? Finally, can Venetian “commodity” concepts be reconstructed and
to what extent can similarities and differences be identified between
Venice and the commodity cultures of other cities in the Mediterranean
and in Europe?

Expected contributions could address “Venetian” commodity categories
and object groups individually or in relation to each other or in
relation to larger, overarching issues. Papers written from the
perspectives of the history of art, economy, law, literature or other
historical sciences are welcome.
Travel and accommodation costs will be defrayed. Speakers will be
invited to participate in an anthology on the same subject following
the conference. The working languages are mainly English and Italian,
but papers in German and French will also be considered.

Please send an abstract (one page) and a short CV to

The deadline for abstract submissions is 31.10.2015.

Call For Papers: Medworlds 6 “Symbols and Models of the Mediterranean”, Cosenza

Call For Papers: Medworlds 6 “Symbols and Models of the Mediterranean”
University of Calabria, Department of Humanities, September 9-11, 2014
Deadline: 1 March 2014

medshipThe Mediterranean Sea is a milieu in which it is possible to observe, through an interdisciplinary lens, the undertaking of elements defining an idea which conflicts with its immediate sensitive aspect; an idea that arises from life situations and the imaginary world of every man. Nevertheless, it remains a context in which is possible to observe the presence and the constant use of historical symbols, patterns and models of those people inhabiting its shores, as embedded in both the artistic and material production, as well as in the literary one.

The Mediterranean Sea could be investigated as a real geographical and historical referee, that has generated, and continues to generate symbols; but it can be also interpreted as the metaphor and allegory of the “encounters and clashes” between near and distant people. There are symbols and models by which is possible to perceive and understand convergences and contacts, and disclose common identities, even when considering specific differences of the people.

The theme of this interdisciplinary conference will focus on these issues:
– The symbols (signs, gestures, objects, animals, persons) capable of bringing to mind meanings deeply interconnected with the development of each of Mediterranean society.
– The importance of tangible and intangible models serving as examples to reproduce and imitate the evidence that have marked and conditioned the life of the Mediterranean people from a political, religious, economic, and social viewpoints.

We welcome the submission of 250-word abstracts for twenty-minute papers that broadly address the above themes, and that may address, but not be limited by, the following topics:
– Symbols and models disclosing common identities.
– Symbolical landmarks
– Symbols of the State and Political Power as institutional models
– Religious symbols
– Settlements patterns and historical-economic models
– Natural elements (living beings typical of the Mediterranean area bearing a symbolic value)
– Literary production as often recording the centrality of the Mediterranean as a complex and contradictory allegory.
– Redefining Mediterranean boundaries as precarious and mobile limits, but also as bridges between lands and shores
– The metaphor of the Mediterranean and the dialectic between the hegemonic power of the centers and the potential destabilizing peripheries.

Abstract Submissions:
Abstracts should be no more than 250 words and should include at least 3 descriptive keywords, the presenter’s name, email address, organization, and mailing address. The languages of the conference will be English and Italian.

Please send your abstract submissions to: m.salerno@unical.it; luca.zavagno@gmail.com

Notification of acceptance will be communicated by 1 April 2014

10 Postdoctoral Fellowships: Europe in the Middle East, The Middle East in Europe

10 Postdoctoral Fellowships: Europe in the Middle East, The Middle East in Europe
Deadline: 15 January 2014

Bassin_Syrie_1The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien invites scholars to apply for up to ten postdoctoral fellowships for the research program EUROPE IN THE MIDDLE EAST – THE MIDDLE EAST IN EUROPE (EUME).

EUME seeks to rethink key concepts and premises that link and divide Europe and the Middle East. The program draws on the international expertise of scholars in and outside of Germany and is embedded in university and extra-university research institutions in Berlin. It supports historical-critical philology, rigorous engagement with the literatures of the Middle East and their histories, the social history of cities and the study of Middle Eastern political and philosophical thought (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and secular) as central fields of research not only for area or cultural studies, but also for European intellectual history and other academic disciplines. The program explores modernity as a historical space and conceptual frame.

The program puts emphasis on three programmatic ideas:
1) supporting research that demonstrates the rich and complex historical legacies and entanglements between Europe and the Middle East
2) reexamining genealogical notions of mythical ‘beginnings’, ‘origins’, and ‘purity’ in relation to culture and society
3) rethinking key concepts of a shared modernity in light of contemporary cultural, social, and political entanglements that supersede identity discourses as well as national, cultural or regional canons and epistemologies that were established in the nineteenth century.

The fellowships are intended primarily for scholars of art history, history, literature, philology, political philosophy, political science, religion and sociology who want to carry out their research projects in connection with the Berlin program. Applicants should be at the postdoctoral level and should have obtained their doctorate within the last seven years. Fellows gain the opportunity to pursue research projects of their own choice within the framework of one of the above-mentioned research fields and in relation to the overall program ‘Europe in the Middle East – the Middle East in Europe’. Successful applicants will be fellows of EUME at the Forum Transregionale Studien and associate members of one of the university or non-university research institutes listed below.

As a rule, the fellowships start on 1 October 2014 and will end on 31 July 2015. Postdoctoral fellows will receive a monthly stipend of 2.500 € plus supplement depending on their personal situation. Organisational support regarding visa, insurances, housing, etc. will be provided. Fellows are obliged to work in Berlin and to help shape the seminars and working discussions related to their research field. The working language of EUME is English.

EUME supports and builds upon the following interconnected research fields:

This research group is directed by Ulrike Freitag and Nora Lafi, both of the Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin. It contributes to the debate on plurality, citizenship and civil society from the historical experience of conviviality and socio-cultural, ethnic, and religious differences in the cities around the Mediterranean;

is directed by Gudrun Kraemer, Institute for Islamic Studies, Freie Universitaet Berlin. It analyzes modern Middle Eastern thought in the framework of discourses on modernity, secularity, and justice;

is directed by Angelika Neuwirth, Seminar for Arabic Studies, Freie Universitaet Berlin, and Stefan Wild, Universitaet Bonn. This research group situates the foundational text of Islam within the religious and literary landscape of late antiquity, early Islamic History and Arabic philology, and combines a historicization of its genesis with an analysis of its hermeneutics, its reception and perception in Europe and the Middle East;

is directed by Friederike Pannewick, Centrum fuer Nah- und Mitteloststudien, Philipps-Universitaet Marburg, and Samah Selim, Rutgers University. This research group reassesses literary entanglements and processes of canonization between Europe and the Middle East.

is a special forum, directed by Amnon Raz-Krakotzkin, Ben-Gurion University, that attempts to rethink key concepts of modernity like secularity, tradition, or religion in the context of the experiences, interpretations, and critiques of Jews, Arabs, and Muslims in the Middle East and in Europe.

A new field of research that attempts to bridge the gap between political science approaches and cultural studies will be developed during the coming year. It will be directed by Cilja Harders, Otto-Suhr-Institut fuer Politikwissenschaft, Freie Universitaet Berlin, and Rachid Ouaissa, Political Science Departement, Centrum für Nah- und Mittelost-Studien, Philipps-Universität Marburg.


An application should be made in explicit relation to one of the research fields and consist of
– a curriculum vitae,
– a project description (no longer than 5 pages), stating what the scholar will work on in Berlin if granted a fellowship)
– a sample of scholarly work (maximum 20 pages from an article, conference paper, or dissertation chapter)
– a letter of recommendation by one university instructor (that can be sent by as a separate e-mail).

The application should be submitted by e-mail as four separate PDF files in English and should be received by 15 January 2014, sent in to: eume@trafo-berlin.de

For information on the research institutions in Berlin participating in EUME, please visit:
– Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies, FU Berlin
– Center for Middle Eastern and North African Politics, FU Berlin
– Corpus Coranicum, Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
– Zentrum Moderner Orient
– Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School of Literary Studies, FU Berlin
– Institute for Islamic Studies, FU Berlin
– Museum for Islamic Art
– Seminar for Arabic Studies, FU Berlin