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Sites of Encounter and Cultural Exchange in West Asia and the Mediterranean

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£5 – £35

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The 5th Annual Edinburgh Graduate Studies Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies Conference: 'Sites of Encounter and Cultural Exchange'

About this event

The Edinburgh Annual Postgraduate Late Antique, Byzantine, and Islamic Studies Conference has been running for the past five years, organised by postgraduates for postgraduates and early-career researchers. We welcome professional academics to present each year as keynote speakers. One of the primary intentions of the conference is to integrate the oft separated fields of Byzantine, Islamic, and Late Antique Studies, deconstructing arbitrary divisions in geography or chronology. We meticulously curate panels based on theme and approach, facilitating academic dialogue both within the aforementioned disciplines and between them. Such an approach has yielded excellent results in the past, with panel participants, panel hosts, and audience members working together to widen their understanding of crucial issues in these interwoven fields. The subject of the upcoming conference is:

Sites of Encounter and Cultural Exchange (500-1500 CE)

Sites of encounter and cultural exchange are crucial to the construction of meaningful narratives concerning the Mediterranean and West Asian past. These sites have at times been excluded from wider historiographical narratives which seek to centre them within the nation-state; such narratives exclude the marginalised and serve to other anything deemed syncretic or alien. Scholarship has, in the last half century, acquired a new-found appreciation for the history of cultural exchange, and the spaces – be they physical, textual, or imagined – where such interpersonal and intercultural contact occurs. Our conference aims to bring together these multifarious ‘sites of encounter’ in order to gain a more complex understanding of the Mediterranean and West Asia in the period between 500 and 1500 C.E.

The principle themes of the conference include, but are not limited to:

❖ Sites of Encounter in Material Culture: Attestation of sites of encounter and cultural contact in material culture; the archaeology of physical sites of encounter; cultural encounter in Art History.

❖ Frontiers: Frontiers as sites of encounter; life on the frontier; the vision of states/societies from the periphery; the treatment of the frontier in texts.

❖ Marginality: Encounter with the socially marginalised on ethnic/gender/sexual (etc.) grounds; legal systems as sites of encounter between the marginalised and non-marginalised; encounters between the free and unfree.

❖ Multilingualism: Tracing multilingualism; intercultural contact and multilingualism; translation and the transmission of knowledge and texts.

❖ Religion as a Site of Encounter: Syncretic belief systems; the translation and cross-cultural reception of religious, spiritual, and magical texts.

❖ Mapping and Geographical Writings: Conceptualisations and articulations of geographic space; spatial representations in both images and texts; intercultural exchange of geographical knowledge.

❖ Commercial Networks and Trade: The reconstruction of regional and trans-regional commercial networks; trade networks as nexuses for intercultural encounter and contact; urban spaces and commercial exchange.

Additionally, we are pleased to welcome our keynote speakers, the eminent Byzantinist Leonora Neville (University of Wisconsin, Madison) and the equally eminent Armenologist and Islamic Historian Alison Vacca (University of Tennessee, Knoxville).

This conference will be hosted online by the Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Society of the University of Edinburgh on the 4th to the 6th of November, 2021. We welcome papers and posters from postgraduates and early-career researchers from all disciplines with an interest in Late Antique, Islamic or Byzantine studies.

Papers: Presentations will be approximately 20 minutes in length, delivered in English.

Posters: Participants will present their research at a poster session held in individual break-out rooms; conference participants will have the opportunity to visit those presenting electronically.

To apply, please send an e-mail to edibyzpg@ed.ac.uk consisting of the following: a statement of whether you hope to present a paper or poster, an abstract of no more than 300 words, and a small academic biography of no more than 120 words. The deadline for submitting papers and posters is the 30th of June, 2021.

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Organiser LAIBS Society - University Of Edinburgh

Organiser of Sites of Encounter and Cultural Exchange in West Asia and the Mediterranean

Late Antiquity, Islamic, and Byzantine Studies society at the University of Edinburgh. 

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