Call for Papers: The Global Middle Ages: From Influence to Translation

Conference at the University of Edinburgh, 16-18 May 2012

European, Islamic and Chinese societies engaged in a broad practice of cultural,
artistic and ideological exchange during the period that was known in Europe as
the ‘Middle Ages’ and that coincided with classical phases in eastern and western
Asia. Adopting and passing on traditions through trade, pilgrimage and a range
of other encounters, peoples of diverse backgrounds developed patterns of
representation and exchange that have gained the interest of scholars for several
centuries.

Beginning with suggestions of influence and evolving through to theories of
translation, the study of societal interactions during this period has been a
transitional one. As such, this conference seeks to explore the embodiment of
cultural exchange through the art and architecture of the medieval period as well
as the methodological shifts that have occurred in the study of this period of wide
multi-cultural engagement.

In light of the transitions evident in both the art of the period and in significant
studies of it, we welcome papers related to the topics of global interaction between
the years of 400 and 1500 and the range of scholarly approaches to that material.
By examining traditional approaches to this material in relation to newer ways
of engaging with it, this conference seeks to open discussion of new ways of
approaching ideas of exchange and material in which cultural interventions are
evident.

We invite abstracts of 250 words to be submitted to gmaconference@gmail.com
by 10 February, 2012, which deal with cultural encounters and the study of such
interactions. Papers focusing on a particular historical moment in China, India,
Central Asia, the Middle East or Europe will be welcome and possible themes to
consider include but are not limited to:

Conceptions of influence, appropriation and translation in scholarly
discourse and curatorial practice

The exchange of visual and material culture through diplomatic gifts,
pilgrimage, commerce and conquest

Patterns of encounter and the process of exchange

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