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Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Ages VII

Neighbours or Strangers?
Conflict, Negotiation, and Collaboration in Multicultural Communities

University of Tampere, 23-25 August 2018

The aim of the international Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Ages conferences is to bring together scholars of various fields of study to examine and discuss various phenomena during the longue durée from Antiquity to the Middle Ages. The first 'Passages' conference was organised at the Department of History and Philosophy, University of Tampere, in January 2003. Since then there have been six conferences under the same concept, with topics varying from aging and death to social networks, religious participation and infirmity and health.

Questions of toleration, aggression and even hatred based on ethnic diversity have been accentuated in recent times, but multiculturalism in its various forms is far from being confined to the modern world only. The seventh international Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Ages conference will focus on forms of interaction and methods of negotiation in multicultural, multiethnic, and multilingual contexts.

The conference aims at concentrating on social and cultural interaction within and between multi-ethnic and multilingual communities, groups and individuals, minority (minorities) and majority. Cooperation, toleration, and coexistence was an everyday necessity in Ancient and medieval societies. On occasion, however, these would turn into the opposite: suspicion, conflict, and violence, enhanced by power struggles and prejudices. All these had a central influence on social dynamics, negotiations of collective or individual identity, definitions of ethnicity, and shaping of legal rules. What was the function of multicultural and multilingual interaction in various contexts: did it create and increase conflicts, or was it rather a prerequisite for survival and prosperity?

Our focus lies on society and the history of everyday life. We welcome papers, which have a sensitive approach to social differences: gender, status, and ethnicity. Actors, experiences, and various levels of negotiations are of main interest. We aim at a broad coverage not only chronologically but also geographically and disciplinarily (all branches of Classical, Byzantine and Medieval Studies). Most preferable are contributions that have themselves a comparative and/or interdisciplinary viewpoint or focusing on a longue durée perspective.

Keynote speakers of the conference are:
Professor Emma Dench (Harvard University): "From Race to Ethnicity and Back again in Classical Antiquity"
Professor Bryan Ward-Perkins (University of Oxford): "Unity and Conflict in the Late-Antique Cult of the Saints"
Professor Felicitas Schmieder (FernUniversität in Hagen): "At the End of the World and in the Throats of our Enemies - Latin Europeans in Late Medieval Asia"

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If interested, please submit an abstract of 300 words (setting out thesis and conclusions) for a twenty-minute paper together with your contact details (with academic affiliation, address and e-mail) by e-mail attachment to the conference secretary, passages@uta.fi. The deadline for abstracts is 31 December 2017, and the notification of paper acceptance will be made in January 2018.

Conference papers may be presented in English, or in French, German or Italian, if supplied with an English translation or summary. The sessions will be formed on the basis of thematic coherence, combining papers on Antiquity and the Middle Ages in each session. The registration fee is 120 € (doctoral students 50 €). For further information, contact the organizers by sending an e-mail to passages@uta.fi. The registration opens in March 2018.





University of Tampere,
School of Social Sciences and Humanities, History

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