Calls for Papers/Jul 06, 2017

Byzantium Compared

Byzantium Compared lead image

Byzantium Compared: First International Graduate Conference in Byzantine Studies, University of Edinburgh, September 22–26, 2017

The University of Edinburgh’s Late Antique and Byzantine Studies Research Group is delighted to welcome applications for participation in its inaugural graduate conference in Byzantine Studies, to be held in the School of History, Classics and Archaeology.

The theme, ‘Byzantium Compared’, invites participants to evaluate the possibilities and pitfalls of the comparative approaches to the study of Byzantium, 4th-15th centuries. Byzantinists increasingly find themselves under pressure to set their research into a wider, often global context. ‘Globalising’ Byzantine Studies tends to involve focusing on one or both of connections and comparisons between Byzantium and its neighbours. This conference invites papers considering both approaches, though with a particular focus on the second.

Byzantium and the Slavic world; Byzantium and Islam; Byzantium and the West; Byzantium and cultures further afield, such as China: all of these comparisons have been, and continue to be made, often producing rich results. The approach, however, invites a range of questions: When is a comparison valid, and when is it not? Are two perspectives intrinsically better than one? Taking its lead from these questions, the purpose of this conference is to engage thoughtfully with the possibilities of comparative approaches to Byzantine Studies.

Papers may address one or several of the following themes, though this is of course by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Comparison across time in Byzantium
  • Comparison across space in Byzantium and/or in the wider Eastern Mediterranean
  • Comparison across discipline: e.g. Philology, History, Archaeology, Art History
  • Methodological concerns, theoretical frameworks
  • Insights into Byzantine Studies from outside disciplines: e.g. Anthropology, Political Science

Abstracts, of no more than 250 words, should be sent alongside a brief academic biography as a PDF to by midnight on Friday 14 July 2017. Applicants will be notified of the outcome of their application by Friday 21 July.

The Conference will form part of a varied series of events in Edinburgh over two days, with a workshop held on Saturday 23 September under the auspices of the British Byzantine Postgraduate Network (BBPN), generously sponsored by the Society for the Promotion of Byzantine Studies. The theme of this workshop is ‘Comparison in Collaboration’, bringing together a number of graduate students from universities across the UK to discuss the challenges and practicalities of comparative history, and encouraging the forging of informal, personal research networks. Participation in the conference, and attendance at the BBPN event are open to graduate students at any higher education institution, worldwide.