Call for Papers: Reality and Illusion: Seeing through the ‘Byzantine Mirage’

Reality and Illusion: Seeing through the ‘Byzantine Mirage’
The Oxford Byzantine Society’s 2012 International Graduate Conference
17-18 February 2012, the History Faculty, University of Oxford
Call for Papers

Byzantium is famed as a place where the seemingly insubstantial could hold great weight: where the operation of wills and natures was a matter of life and death, where images could save or damn, where the pomp of court held an empire together, and great processions heralded the invisible presence of the divine. Is this reputation justified, or just another Byzantine myth? And how were boundaries between the real and the illusory understood?

We are interested in papers which explore functions of reality and illusion in all fields of Late Antique and Byzantine studies, including history, art history, archaeology, theology, literature, and philology. A broad range of approaches to realities and illusions, both historical and historiographical, are welcome.
Possible themes might include:
– local realities, imperial illusions
– theory and practice in Roman law
– hard and soft power on the frontiers
– communities, imagined or otherwise
– magic and religion
– the (un)changing face of orthodoxy
– the invisible gender
– continuity and change in the classical tradition
– images of the real and divine
– presentation of political power
– representations of the self

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a few words about yourself and your academic background, to the Oxford Byzantine Society at by Saturday, 26 November 2011. Final papers should be 20 minutes in length.

Subject to funding, the OBS hopes to offer subsidised accommodation for visiting speakers. More information will be available in early 2012. We regret that we are unable to cover travel expenses to and from Oxford, but encourage all participants to apply to their home institutions for travel grants.


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