The 5th Annual Edinburgh Graduate Studies Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies Conference: “Sites of Encounter and Cultural Exchange” — Online, 4-6 November 2021

Sites of Encounter and Cultural Exchange in West Asia and the Mediterranean
by LAIBS Society – University Of Edinburgh

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

About this event

**Update 20/10/2021** the Conference is now FREE, all paid tickets will be refunded, if you experience any issues with your refund please contact edibyzpg[at]

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.

All Times in GMT

Thursday 4th November
3.50 pm – Conference Room Opens
4.00-4.15pm – Opening Remarks
4.15-6.15pm – PANEL 1: WOMEN AND SOCIAL MARGINALITY. Moderator: Dr Lucy Grig, University of Edinburgh.
4.15-4.35 “The female monks of Aphrodito as intermediaries for women and children at the Village’s margin”, Thomas Laver (PhD Student, University of Cambridge).
4.35-4.55 “Women’s Labour and Property in the Cairo Geniza”, Rachel Richman (PhD Student, Princeton University).
4.55-5.15 “What the Women of Late Antiquity wore”, Bishakha Dutta (MA, Novosibirsk State University).
5.15-5.35 “Fifth Column in the Forecourt: Blaming the Underlings in the Late Antique domus (c. 500–700 C.E.)”, Ella Kirsh (PhD Student, Brown University).
5.35-6.15 Discussion
15 Minute Break
6.30-7.10pm – PANEL 2: RELIGION. Moderator: tbc
6.30-6.50 “Late Roman Pagans in Christian Churches: Double Faith or Religious Mimicry”, Mikhail A. Vedeshkin (Senior Research Fellow, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences).
6.50-7.10 Discussion
20 Minute Break
7.30-8.30pm – Keynote Lecture by Prof Leonora Neville

Friday 5th November
4.00-4.45pm – Poster session (via breakout rooms)
“A particular case of marginalization: gender and politics in the Komnenian court”, Giusy Odorisio (MA, University “G. D’Annunzio”).
“The meaning of Light”, Ana Kovacic (PhD Student, University of Primorska).
“Late Antique pottery”, Elza Shipoli (PhD Student, Pázmány Péter Catholic University).
15 Minute Break
5.00-6.30pm – PANEL 3: COMMERCIAL NETWORKS. Moderator: Dr Mike Carr, University of Edinburgh.
5.00-5.20 “The importance of Via Lissus-Naissus: the case of Municipium Ulpiana”, Elza Shipoli (PhD Student, Pázmány Péter Catholic University).
5.20-5.40 “Influenced by Imports: Exploring Changing Food Consumption Practices in Rome in Late Antiquity through Common Wares”, Alessandra Pegurri (PhD Student, University of Leicester).
5.40-6.00 “The medieval Muslim market as a sphere of cultural exchange: Personal performance and its socio-religious manifestations”, Hadas Hirsch (PhD from Haifa University, currently serving as Dean of the Faculty of Social Studies and Humanities, Oranim Academic College).
6.00-6.30 Discussion
15 Minute Break
6.45-7.45pm – PANEL 4: LAW. Moderator: Dr Tim Greenwood, University of St Andrews.
6.45-7.05 “Dayeaks: Fostering in Early Medieval Armenia 5th – 7th Centuries”, Lewis Read (PhD Student, University of Vienna).
7.05-7.25 “Junillus Africanus: Canon, Apocrypha, and Cross-Cultural Christianity in Justinian’s Empire”, Andrew Koperski (PhD Student, Ohio State University).
7.25-7.45 Discussion
15 Minute Break
8.00-9.00pm – PANEL 5: MATERIAL CULTURE. Moderator: Prof Jim Crow, University of Edinburgh.
8.00-8.20 “Reading Confessional Identity in the Canon Table Fountain of the Gladzor Gospel”, Earnestine Qiu (PhD Student, Princeton University).
8.20-8.40 “Stone walls as a physical space of cultural encounter in Medieval Armenia”, Beatrice Spampinato (PhD Student, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and Aix-Marseille Université).
8.40-9.00 Discussion

Saturday 6th November
4.45-6.15pm – PANEL 6: FRONTIERS. Moderator: Dr Yannis Stouraitis, University of Edinburgh.
4.45-5.05 “The Ghāzī-Caliph”: The ṣāʾifa of 165-6/782 and the nomination of Hārūn al- Rashīd”, Leone Pecorini Goodall (PhD Student, University of Edinburgh and St Andrews).
5.05-5.25 “Setting New Trends in Spolia Fashion – The City Gates of ‘Ala al-Din Kayqubad in Konya”, Fatih Tarhan (PhD student, Princeton University).
5.25-5.45 “Tephrike the Shelter or Tephrike the Heretical? A Fortress on the Frontier through Paulician and Byzantine Eyes”, Mauro Mormino (PhD from the University of Messina, Member of the Officina di Studi Medievali (OSM)).
5.45-6.15 Discussion
15 Minute Break
6.30-7.30pm – PANEL 7: MULTILINGUALISM. Moderator: Dr Marie Legendre, University of Edinburgh.
6.30-6.50 “Establishing how closely a given piece of controversy is linked to encounters and exchange”, Bastien Dumont (PhD Student, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne and Sorbonne Université).
6.50-7.10 “The Arabic and Persian Versifications of Kalīla wa-Dimna: A Case-Study of ‘The Cat and Mouse’ Chapter by Ibn al-Habbārīya and Qāniʿī Ṭūṣī (12th/13th c.)”, Ruslan Pavlyshyn (Postgraduate Student, University of Oxford).
7.10-7.30 Discussion
30 Minute Break
8.00-9.00pm – Keynote Lecture by Prof Alison Vacca
9pm-9.15pm – Closing Remarks

More information and registration: here

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