CFP: Adapting Violence in/from Classic Texts

A 2-day online workshop to be held 24–25 March 2022, organised by Amy Brown (University of Bern) and Lucy Fleming (University of Oxford). This interdisciplinary event brings together specialists in literature, retelling, and feminist practice to consider how adaptations address various forms of violence in and from their canonical source-texts. Sources and adaptations examined may be in any language, though the workshop will be conducted primarily in English. Please submit proposals for 20-minute conference papers and/or text workshops online or via adaptingviolence@gmail.com. The deadline for submissions is 15 December 2021; we welcome papers from faculty members as well as postgraduates and early-career researchers. The workshop is supported by the University of Bern Fund for Promotion of Young Researchers. Attendance is free.

Plenary Sessions:

  • Urvashi Chakravarty (University of Toronto), Keynote Speaker
  • Maria Sachiko Cecire (Bard College), Plenary Respondent
  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (University of Houston), Author Talk
  • Round Table on violence in adaptations (TBA)

Proposal Portal:

Due by 15 Dec 2021. For proposals we ask for a title, a 200 word abstract, and for ‘Text explorations’ an excerpt or description of the media you’ll share. Please submit online through our proposal portal – but if you have any problems, email us ( adaptingviolence@gmail.com ). Do note that the responses cannot be saved to return to later – you’ll want to draft your abstract somewhere else and paste it in.

Rationale:

Jyotika Virdi (2006) described the feminist creator seeking to represent rape in film as caught between a ‘rock and a hard place’’—that is, between the ethical call to represent oppressive reality, and the risk that representing violence may perpetuate harm. Similar concerns underlie the representation—in film, literary retellings, and other forms of adaptation—of racial violence, homophobia and transpohbia, and graphic physical violence, all of which are common in works held in high esteem for their literary and/or cultural value. Violence in these ‘classic’ works thus becomes a flashpoint for social, political, and creative tensions. In response, adaptations may reify violence in these texts, or critique it; they may represent violence in the name of fidelity, or seek to reclaim the text. Both adaptors and scholars must grapple with difficult questions: When is violence in adaptation important or useful? When is it negligent or even harmful? What uses does violence serve when adapting culturally prestigious texts, and how is these texts’ very prestige linked to the violence they contain?  

This two-day, online workshop will bring together specialists in the contemporary adaptation of ‘classic texts’ and adaptation as a premodern cultural practice to consider what concerns shape the reception and re-visioning of violence. We will explore the stakes involved in adaptation, and the uses and abuses of violence in adapting texts of high cultural value.  

We define ‘violence’ broadly, including both physical violence and social oppressions, and are interested in considering adaptation strategies across and in reaction to different axes of power, including but not limited to race, gender, and sexuality. In this workshop we seek to bring together scholars working on adaptations (any period) of ‘high status cultural texts’, where the source texts predate 1865. Those texts religious, mythological, artistic and historical source-texts as well as literary forms, and adaptations may be in widely varying media. These source-texts need not derive from any particular language, region, or literary tradition; rather, we aim to feature studies from a wide range of cultural contexts and time periods, to approach our central questions from many varied perspectives. In asking what it means to (re-)write violence, potential papers could address:  

  • Case studies grappling with the ethics of rewritten violence; 
  • Applying a lens of feminist theory, queer studies, violence studies, trauma studies or other interdisciplinary modes to ‘classic’ texts; 
  • Retellings or adaptations that challenge contemporary/contemporaneous ideas of violence; 
  • Retellings for particular or unusual audiences or readerships;  
  • The canonization of works containing violence;  
  • How adaptations and retellings relate to ‘real-world’ violence; 
  • The act of adaptation as a form of violence; 
  • Rewritings of violence that are radical, liberating, and even empowering acts. 

Workshop Format:

This workshop will be entirely online, with both synchronous and asynchronous participation options possible. Given the nature of global online conferences we anticipate that many participants will alternate between synchronous and asynchronous participation depending on their location, work and/or family commitments, accessibility needs, and other considerations. Some material will be uploaded and professionally captioned in advance; plenary sessions will be recorded, professionally captioned, and uploaded after the fact. Still other sessions will be unrecorded.

Further Information:

For full details, please visit the workshop website.

Call for Papers: Reshaping the World: Utopias, Ideals and Aspirations in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

24th International Graduate Conference of the Oxford University Byzantine Society

25th—26th February 2022, in Oxford and Online

There is nothing better than imagining other worlds – he said – to forget the
painful one we live in. At least so I thought then. I hadn’t yet realized
that, imagining other worlds, you end up changing this one’.

– Umberto Eco, Baudolino

It is the creative power of imagination that Baudolino described to a fictionalised Niketas Choniates in this dialogue from Eco’s homonymous novel (2000). The creation of idealised imaginary worlds has the power to change the past, the present and the future. When imagination is directed towards more worldly goals, it becomes aspiration and such aspiration can influence policies of reform. When imagination is unrestrained, utopias are born.

The Oxford University Byzantine Society’s twenty-fourth International Graduate Conference seeks to explore the impact utopias, ideals and aspirations had in changing the course of history and, therefore, how imagined or alternative realities shaped the Late Antique and Byzantine world(s), broadly understood.  

Our conference provides a forum for postgraduate and early-career scholars to reflect on this theme through a variety of cultural media and (inter)disciplinary approaches. In doing so, we hope to facilitate the interaction and engagement of historians, philologists, archaeologists, art historians, theologians and specialists in material culture. To that end, we encourage submissions encompassing, but not limited to, the following themes: 

  • Theological and/or philosophical usage of utopias in the depictions of the ideal society, of the afterlife, or to serve a particular worldview; 
  • Political, administrative, martial, economic and religious reforms as embodiments of aspirations or ideals;  
  • Allegory as both a literary and philosophical tool that endowed texts with new and original meanings; 
  • The ‘Byzantine novel’ and utopias: sceneries, characters and endings; 
  • ‘Chivalry’ in Byzantium as a form of utopia, for example in works such as Digenis Akritis
  • Language purism as a form of utopia; 
  • Encomia, hagiography and historiography used to cater to and curate idealised images; 
  • Numismatics, for example the depiction of harmonious imperial families on coinage in defiance of ‘reality’; 
  • Gift-giving and exchange of luxury goods to communicate ideals or aspirations; 
  • The performance of ceremony and ritual to suggest the continuity, legitimacy and permanence of imperial power; 
  • The ideal city in various artistic media, for example frescos and manuscript illuminations; 
  • Utopian ideas conveyed through material objects like seals or epigraphs; 
  • Utopia and manuscript culture, for example the ‘perfect book’, illuminations of utopia/dystopia, and ‘idealised’ writing styles; and, 
  • Byzantium as a utopia in the post-1453 imagination.  

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a short academic biography in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society by Friday 19th November 2021 at byzantine.society@gmail.com. Papers should be twenty minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French. As with previous conferences, selected papers will be published in an edited volume, chosen and reviewed by specialists from the University of Oxford. Speakers wishing to have their papers considered for publication should aim to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.  

To read the full text of the call for papers, please visit the OUBS website here.

The conference will have a hybrid format, taking place both in Oxford and online. Accepted speakers are strongly encouraged to participate in person, but livestreamed papers are also warmly welcomed. 

OMS Small Grants MT 2021

The TORCH Oxford Medieval Studies Programme invites applications for small grants to support conferences, workshops, and other forms of collaborative research activity organised by researchers at postgraduate (whether MSt or DPhil) or early-career level from across the Humanities Division at the University of Oxford.

The activity should take place between November 2021 and April 2022. The closing date for applications is Friday of Week 4 of Michaelmas Term 2021.

Grants are normally in the region of £100–250. Recipients will be required to supply a report after the event for the TORCH Medieval Studies blog. Recipients of awards will also be invited to present on their events at the next Medieval Roadshow.

Applicants will be responsible for all administrative aspects of the activity, including formulating the theme and intellectual rationale, devising the format, and, depending on the type of event, inviting speakers and/or issuing a Call for Papers, organising the schedule, and managing the budget, promotion and advertising. Some administrative and organisational support may be available through TORCH subject to availability.

Applications should be submitted to  lesley.smith@history.ox.ac.uk  using the grant application form. Applications submitted in other formats or after the deadline will not be considered.

Informal enquiries may be directed to lesley.smith@history.ox.ac.uk

The Oxford Medieval Studies Programme is sponsored by The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH).

NB: Given COVID-19, we will also consider applications for online or virtual projects, e.g., costs of hosting and/or designing a website, digital recording equipment, purchasing image rights and digitisation.

For more medieval matters from Oxford, have a look at the website of the Oxford Medieval Studies TORCH Programme and the OMS blog!

CFP: Morality, Exemplarity and Emotion in Medieval Insular Texts

We invite papers which explore the relationship between morality, exemplarity, and the expression of emotion in medieval Insular texts, c. 700-1500.


The behaviours, ideas, and emotions that medieval writers, translators, and authors present as (im)moral and exemplary naturally fluctuate depending on time, place, genre, and language. Similarly, the textual representation and expression of emotion is culturally, temporally, and socially determined. This conference seeks to explore the nexus of morality, exemplarity, and emotion as presented throughout the medieval Insular world (Ireland and the British Isles), c. 700-c. 1500. In an effort to bring different types of texts into conversation with each other, and to probe generic boundaries, we encourage papers on a range of genres, including religious, heroic, romantic, and historic, written in Latin or the vernacular(s). In particular, we welcome papers which explore how the expression of emotion within texts was used to signal exemplary and/or (im)moral behaviour.


Topics include, but are not limited to, the following suggestions:

  • Methodological approaches to identifying emotion(s) and/or exemplary/moral behaviour.
  • The effectiveness of genre as an interpretive frame when examining morality, exemplarity, and/or emotion.
  • The implications of time, place, language, gender, and/or race on morality, exemplarity and/or emotion(s).
  • The expression of emotion(s) to provoke an affective response to different types of behaviour within texts.
  • Explicit or implicit tensions between morality, exemplarity, and the expression of emotion(s).
  • Moral and/or emotional ambiguity.
  • Emotional and/or moral standards (or transgressions) of behaviour (for religious/lay person, saint, lover, hero, knight, etc).
  • The moral implications for the restraint of emotion.


In addition, we seek participants for a roundtable discussion on:

  • The reception of medieval morality and/or emotions in the classroom, especially issues that arise when teaching texts that include emotionally and/or morally one-dimensional figures.


Please send abstracts of approximately 200 words for a twenty-minute paper and a short bio to Dr Niamh Kehoe (Heinrich Heine Universität) (niamh.kehoe@hhu.de) by the 10th December 2021. If you have any queries, please email Niamh. While we currently anticipate that this will be an in-person event at Heinrich Heine University, we may decide to switch to an online event

Call for Papers: Spirits and Spirituality in Medieval Britain and Ireland C. 600 – 1400

An Interdisciplinary Online Conference at the University of Nottingham.

Wednesdays, 9th, 16th and 23rd March 2022

A medieval illustration of a person praying.

Call for Papers

We invite papers which explore representations of spirits and spirituality in the medieval period from c. 600-1400 in Britain and Ireland, including, but not limited to, the following suggestions:

  • The influence of Eastern and / or Western patristics
  • Representations of spirits and demons
  • Approaches to spirituality
  • How spirits and spirituality are represented in medieval texts, artefacts, art and material culture
  • Alternative spiritualities

Please send abstracts of no more than 200 words to: eleni.ponirakis3@nottingham.ac.uk by the 30th November 2021.

For more information, please visit: https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/english/spirits-and-spirituality.aspx

Call for Papers: Oxford University Numismatic Society Graduate and ECR Colloquium 2021 (Tuesday 30th November 2021)

Oxford University Numismatic Society is delighted to announce its call for papers for an online colloquium on the afternoon of Tuesday 30th November 2021. This virtual event held over MS Teams will aim to explore various aspects of base metal coinage(s) and the motives behind its production. We invite contributions from postgraduate students and ECR researchers from any institution on any period or coinage. We hope to welcome three speakers to deliver talks of 30 minutes each (with additional time for questions and responses). Topics might include:

  • Political messages on base metal coinages
  • Fiduciary money and fiduciarity
  • The circulation and quantification of base metal coinage
  • Social and cultural aspects of base metal coinage and money
  • Hoards and/or base metal coins in their archaeological contexts
  • History of collections and base metal coins
  • Fakes and plated coins
  • Money and medallions in base metals

Abstracts of no more than 400 words (excluding a short bibliography) should be sent to daniel.etches@new.ox.ac.uk for consideration by the organising committee by Monday 20th September 2021. Speakers will be contacted shortly thereafter. If you have any further questions, please contact the Secretary by email at daniel.etches@new.ox.ac.uk.

(7-8 January 2022) Identity Abroad in Central and Late Medieval Europe and the Mediterranean (Cambridge(venue TBC))

*Keynote Speakers: Prof. Miri Rubin (Queen Mary University, London); Prof. Roser Salicrú i Lluch (Institució Milà i Fontanals,CSIC,Barcelona); Prof. Teresa Shawcross (Princeton University)

Life in the central and late Middle Ages was characterised by high levels of mobility and migration. Shifts in political, economic, cultural and religious life encouraged and sometimes forced individuals and groups to move ‘abroad’ permanently or temporarily, to places nearby or further afield.

The position and impact of these ‘foreigners’in societieshas been widely discussed. However, what isless consideredis how theyunderstood and (re)presented themselves. Ourconference aimsto explorethe construction, expression, and practical significance of different forms of social identity among individuals and groups living ‘abroad’ in Europe and the Mediterranean in the period between the eleventh andfifteenth centuries.

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers from graduate and early career researchers working across all relevant disciplinesin the Humanities and Social Sciences. By bringing together a variety of different perspectives, the conference not only aims to consider how ‘identity abroad’ functioned in specific contexts, but also to emphasise developments, patterns, and divergences. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

• Individuals and groups living ‘abroad’, such as merchants, artisans, pilgrims, scholars, diplomats, soldiers, exiles, ethnic and religious minorities, and captives and enslaved people

• Voluntary orforced, temporary orpermanentmigration

•Importance of political allegiance, language, cultural heritage, and faith in identity construction

•Means of identity expression, such as writtenproduction and material culture

•Relations between different ‘foreign’ individuals and groups

• Interaction and assimilation/resistance to assimilation with ‘local’ populations, institutions, and rulers •Impact of gender, socio-economic background, and other types of differences

• Theoretical explorations of the concepts of ‘identity’, ‘foreignness’, and ‘abroad’ in the Middle Ages

Abstracts of 250 words and a short biographical note should be sent to identityabroad22@gmail.com by 12 September 2021. For more information, visit https://identityabroad22.crassh.cam.ac.uk/ and follow @identityabroad on Twitter.

Mortimer History Society Essay Prize 2021

The Mortimer History Society is proud to announce in 2021 the sixth round of its annual essay prize

With the continued difficult circumstances, the scope of the prize has once again been extended. This year, essays will be accepted on:

✓ Any aspect relating to the history, geopolitics, topography, laws, economy, society and culture of medieval borderlands, including comparative studies, between 1066-1542, or:

✓ Any aspect of the medieval Mortimer family of Wigmore including its cadet branches and its impact on the history and culture of the British Isles

The prize

✓ first prize £750, runner-up prize £300, third-place £200

The conditions

✓ the essay must contain original research not published previously elsewhere and the prize is open to everyone who can meet the assessment criteria

The chair of the judging panel

✓ Emeritus Professor Chris Given-Wilson, University of St. Andrews

The closing date

✓ essays must be submitted by 1st March 2022

Publication

✓ prizewinning essays will be published in The Mortimer History Society Journal as may other commended entries

Click here for more details about the prize
Click here to see the rules of the competition
Click here for full details & conditions

Gregorian Chant Recordings on BODcasts

During lockdown, the Bodleian library ran two Gregorian chanting workshop called ‘Singing Together Apart’. Hundreds of participants from all around the world learnt to sing along with a simple voice part from a 15th-century manuscript from the Cistercian nunnery of Medingen, in Germany, Bodleian Library MS. Lat. liturg. e. 18. You can watch the workshops on the BODcast channel here: https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/singing-together-apart-gregorian-chant-workshop-song-simeon singing from manuscripts from the Polonsky German digitisation project

‘Lumen ad revelacionem gencium’ – the Song of Simeon from the Handbook of the Medingen Provost in the Bodleian Library. Edition by Dr Andrew Dunning

Invitation to research staff to write a blog for the University Bulletin

The Public Affairs Directorate (PAD) would like to hear from research staff who would be interested in writing a blog for publication with the University Bulletin. This is a fabulous opportunity for research staff to give insight into their area from their perspective.

Those interested in writing a blog should contact Rakiya Farah, PAD. Rakiya will need a one-line description of the subject of the proposed blog and an indicative time line that would work for the researcher.

About the blog: We send out a weekly blog with University Bulletin, usually written by a senior member of staff. Several hundred staff read it every week and we are now keen to ensure that our colleagues hear from a broader range of staff at Oxford.

We’d particularly like to profile more Early Career Researchers in the blog to give more visibility to their work, and because research stories are consistently among the most popular articles we share in the Bulletin.

With this in mind, we would like to invite you to write one of our blogs. This would be a platform to describe your work to a (predominantly) uninitiated audience, to reflect on your experiences as a researcher, your motivations, and to share your perspective on research at Oxford.

The brief: • Informal, personal style and tone 
• A reflective piece that gives staff some insight into your area – we tend not to use the blog as a place for formal announcements 
• Content: a guiding question, when writing your blog, might be good to think about what staff across the University would find most interesting about your work and experiences 
• Around 250 words, but can be longer – they can be up to 450 
• Deadline: end of Thursday preceding the Monday edition – unless you are drafting a blog not for inclusion on a set date 
• We are finding that staff are really responding to this style and have been asking to hear from a wider range of staff.

Examples are available online, including these from July 2020 and October 2020 respectively.

Timing: We would welcome a blog that you draft at your leisure, which we can slot in as appropriate. But if you had a particular week in mind, we could also pencil this in provisionally. All of our blogs are subject to final approval by the Vice-Chancellor.


A great example for a suitable blog post is this short article about anchorites by Godelinde Gertrude Perk