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Call for Papers: 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies

Posted On August 08, 2019 | 10:36 am | by lainw | Permalink
Dumbarton Oaks is sponsoring 5 sessions in 2020

Dumbarton Oaks welcomes submissions for five sponsored panels at the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies, which takes place on the campus of Western Michigan University on May 7 to 10, 2020. Please submit a paper abstract and Participant Information Form to Nicole Eddy at by September 15.


Topics in Byzantine Numismatics

Cosponsored by the Princeton University Numismatic Collection

Byzantine numismatics is one of the oldest disciplines of Byzantine studies, one that has contributed not only to economic but also social, religious, commercial, and institutional history. Byzantine numismatics is a flourishing subset of the wider discipline which compliments and extends other areas of inquiry, and is of relevance not only to Byzantinists, but all those who study the medieval world. The proposed session is open to papers that study coins from a material perspective, as well as to those whose argument is based primarily on evidence from coins.


Identity and Status in Byzantine Material Culture

In addition to written sources like letters, Byzantine material culture provides evidence for identity and status. Coins and seals, textiles and jewelry, and inscriptions and art objects—these objects provide a window on the ways in which individuals and groups at all levels understood and presented themselves and their place in society. Although focusing on objects from Byzantium, this panel welcomes speakers working on materials from a comparative perspective.


Christian-Muslim Exchange in Art, Literature, and Science

The artistic, literary, and intellectual exchanges between Christians and Muslims left enduring traces and belong to some of the most complex developments of the medieval period. Fundamental questions remain about the way these exchanges came about and were perceived. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, participants examine the points of interaction and the processes by which Christians and Muslims exchanged ideas, texts, and techniques; they will also analyze how Christians and Muslims conceptualized and reflected on these exchanges. Through case studies from such diverse disciplines as art history, literary studies, and intellectual history, this session seeks to establish commonalities and determining differences.

The session is open to scholars of all medieval periods and geographic areas, provided they address Christian-Muslim exchange. Potential paper topics include but are not limited to: architectural spolia, artistic practices and techniques, reuse of manuscripts, palimpsests, transfer of technical and scientific expertise, translation, religious dialogue and debate, and literary forms and genres.


Biblical Storytelling in Verse: Poetic Traditions around Mary from East to West

For Christians living in the Latin-speaking West as well as the Greek- and Syriac-speaking East, poetry was a powerful medium for dramatic storytelling and representing female speech. Focusing on poetic traditions around the figure of Mary, mother of Jesus, this panel brings together scholars working in Greek, Syriac, and Latin to discuss her character’s reception and transformation from early Byzantium through the high Middle Ages. While the poetic literatures of East and West have traditionally been studied in isolation, this panel fosters an interdisciplinary exploration of how poets used her character to construct gender and script emotions such as grief.

This panel will be open for proposals employing various methodological approaches. Participants may employ literary and critical theory to engage in the analysis of gender construction. By focusing on a common character, these papers will jointly examine the representation of female speech and action to illuminate the ways poets presented Christian audiences with depictions of Mary and participated in larger discourses around gender.


Inventing the Text: Fictitious Narratives of Composition and Transmission

Cosponsored by the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library

Many medieval texts carefully transmit invented, misleading, or incomplete stories of the circumstances of their own composition and transmission. These can range from the discovery of a lost manuscript in a tomb to the attribution of a text to a (pseudo-) author. This panel invites submissions for papers exploring how these metanarratives and constructed histories affect both the reputation and the meaning of the texts they accompany, for both medieval audiences and modern interpreters.

We intentionally solicit papers that explore fictitious narratives of transmission across cultures, from East to West, and across periods, throughout the Middle Ages and beyond.


Image: Fragment of a sleeve, 7th–10th century; wool and linen; 12.7 × 28.6 cm. Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, Washington, DC, BZ.1973.33.