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Call for Papers: Edinburgh Int’l Graduate Conference in Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies

July 1, 2019

“Historical Inertia: Continuity in the Face of Change, 500-1500 CE”

Historical discourse has long concerned itself with patterns of change and discontinuity to demonstrate and validate models of periodisation and the compartmentalisation of the wider historical field. Building on these themes, this conference has chosen to focus on the opposing view by concentrating on inertia – how history, material culture, ideas and communities can be seen to maintain a stayed course or deviate if a significant force is exerted upon it. Inertia, a concept that has yet to be applied to mainstream Late Antique studies, introduces perspectives and frameworks that permit new approaches to traditional processes.

This conference will be hosted by the Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Society of the University of Edinburgh on the 22-23 November 2019 and will tackle the notion of inertia and the implications accompanying it for Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine history from 500-1500 CE. Confirmed  speakers include: Prof. Dame Averil Cameron (Oxford), Dr. Yannis Stouraitis (Edinburgh), Dr. Lucy Grig (Edinburgh) Prof. Eberhard Sauer (Edinburgh) and Dr. Paul Reynolds (Barcelona).

The organising committee particularly encourages contributions on the following topics:

  • Dynastic and Political Changes: Patterns of continuity across ruling classes, court-life and dynastic succession.
  • A View from Below – Story of the Common Masses: The role of perceived ‘minority’ groups (religious, ethnic or cultural) that constituted the numerical majority of the population but are ignored or omitted in sources written for/by the dominant group.
  • Patterns of Trade and Economic Infrastructure: ‘domestic or foreign’.
  • Forms of Expression and Transmission: Listening through language, art and ideas.
  • Frontiers (and beyond): Military, diplomatic or cultural interactions across linguistic and political delimitations.

Also, papers from postgraduate students and early career researchers from all disciplines (Archaeology, Art History, History, Theology, etc.) which take advantage of interdisciplinary source-critical approaches are strongly encouraged.

Poster presentations

There will be a special poster session held during the conference of 1 hour, which will take place on Saturday afternoon, allowing for discussion with the authors. The posters will be left up for the duration of the conference so they can also be visited during the breaks and during the reception.

The committee strongly encourage submissions from undergraduate as well as graduate students. The poster size cannot exceed 70cm (width) x 100cm (height).


Extended deadline for abstracts is the 1st of July and notification of acceptance will be announced within a week of the deadline. Please submit your abstract of no more than 300 words, and a 100-word professional biography to edibyzpg@ed.ac.uk. Please indicate on your abstract if you are submitting for poster or paper, and submissions from individuals or groups are welcome. There will be a small registration fee of £15 and lunch will be provided on both days. The committee aims to publish a selection of the papers in a peer-reviewed volume that will bring together the strongest contributions in each area to produce an edited volume of high-quality, deep coherence and rich variety.


University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, United Kingdom