Call for Papers: Catastrophes and Memory (500-1500 CE)
4th Edinburgh International Graduate Conference in Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies, University of Edinburgh, 19-20 November 2020
Deadline: 15 June 2020
Disasters (natural, manmade or “supernatural”) shape historical memory and our understanding of the past. This conference focuses on the problematic relations between catastrophes and memory in Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine societies. Memory plays a crucial role in the way events are perceived, understood and narrated by different groups and elites: locals might see the conquest of their city as a catastrophe, while the conquerors portray the same as glorious or divinely inspired. We invite papers and posters that address issues and questions including, but not limited to:
· Natural/environmental: Plagues, earthquakes, famines/droughts, floods, fires, climate change
· Socio-cultural/linguistic: Iconoclasm, artistic and urban disruption/renewal, cultural vandalism, translation movements, language death and breaks in literary tradition
· Political/military: Conquests, coups, sieges, wars, revolts, revolutions, civil wars, usurpations, succession crises and religious/ “holy” wars (Crusade/Jihad)
· Religious: Heresies, schisms, theological or dogmatic conflict, new religions, apocalyptic traditions and eschatology
· Memory “devices” and strategies: How do memories of catastrophes manifest themselves in material culture, texts, images and other different sources? Where do we see evidence of intentional forgetting?
· Comparative/Interdisciplinary: Elites versus non-elite memory of catastrophes; geographical (Mediterranean and Eurasia); temporal (500-1500CE)
· The role of the 21st century cultural historian: What is and should be modern scholars’ role in situating catastrophe?