Appel à contribution – Byzantine Animals Between Materiality and Fantasy

Katowice, 22-23.6.2023

Cultural animal studies are recently gaining in popularity, paricularly in the field of literary studies and in the wide area of cultural history. Even though the so-called « animal turn » did not omit Byzantine studies, the rich material in textual, iconographic and archeological sources from the Byzantine world has only partially been analysed with regard to human- fauna relations. As a hub of cultural traditions from the Euromediterranean regions, the Late Antique and Medieval Byzantine Empire is essential to the development of human knowledge and interpretations of the natural world, including its fauna. The different geographic and climatic zones that characterized the Eastern Roman Empire and its spheres of influence abounded with flora and fauna that left significant traces in human literature, art, the archeology of everyday life, and world knowledge.

Human-animal relations can be studied with a wide variety of different methods and aims: the study of individual species and their material presence and semiotic value; ecocritical and environmentally oriented approaches to the entanglement between individual humans and their animals, as well as between humanity and the kosmos; archeological and paleoclimatic research on the distribution and use of animals within the Byzantine world; the presence of literary animals in text and image.

We invite submissions from scholars interested in Byzantine fauna. The list of suggested topics includes, but is not limited to:

  • –  Aristotelian zoology in Byzantium
  • –  Archeozoology
  • –  Companion species
  • –  « agency » of Byzantine animals;
  • –  literary animals and animal semiotics
  • –  Imaginary zoology;
  • –  Byzantine anthropozoosemiotics;
  • –  We especially invite researchers to contribute to a session about animals in the hexaemera .

    Organizers: Przemysław Marciniak, Katarzyna Piotrowska, Tristan Schmidt

    Confirmed speakers include: Stavros Lazaris, Margaret Mullett, Arnaud Zucker

    Date, Location, travel & accommodation: The conference will take place in Katowice on June 22-23, 2023. As it is planned in the hybrid format, please state in your submission whether you would like to participate in person or virtually. Accepted participants will be offered accommodation and reimbursement of the transportation costs.

    Abstracts and submission: Please send abstracts (150 words max) no later than April, 10 to the following address:

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