Indiana University, Bloomington, IN * April 2-5, 2009

Shifting Frontiers VIII

Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity

Call for Papers


The Society for Late Antiquity announces that the Eighth Biennial Conference on Shifting Frontiers in Late Antiquity will be held at Indiana University and will explore the theme "Shifting Cultural Frontiers in Late Antiquity" [ca. 200 - 700 AD]. The confirmed plenary speakers will be Professors Jas Elsner (Corpus Christi, Oxford) and Seth Schwartz (Jewish Theological Seminary).

Beneath the familiar political and religious narrative of late antiquity lies a cultural history both more complicated and more fascinating. Late antiquity was a time of intense cultural negotiation in which new religious communities and new populations sifted through existing modes of cultural expression, adopting many elements for themselves and turning others aside. This conference seeks to understand how cultural transformation occurred amidst the political and religious disruption that can seem characteristic of late antiquity. To this end, we seek contributions that explore three distinct areas of late antique cultural history: 1) the interaction of "high" and "low" culture, 2) the impact of changing and collapsing political centers on their peripheries, and 3) the emergence of hybrid literary, artistic, and religious modes of expression. Possible contributions to these areas may highlight the permeable division between elite and vernacular culture, the ease with which cultural memes were transmitted across geographic and linguistic boundaries, the adaptability of established cultures to new political and social realities, and the degree to which newcomers were integrated into existing cultural communities.

As in the past, the conference will provide an interdisciplinary forum for ancient historians, philologists, Orientalists, art historians, archeologists, and specialists in the early Christian, Jewish, and Muslim worlds to discuss a wide range of European, Middle-Eastern, and African evidence for cultural transformation in late antiquity. Proposals should be clearly related to the conference theme. They should state both the problem being discussed and the nature of the new insights or conclusions that will be presented.

Abstracts of not more than 500 words for 20-minute presentations may be submitted via e-mail to the following address:


The deadline for submission of abstracts is . The submission of an abstract carries with it a commitment to attend the conference should the abstract be accepted.

Indiana University Bloomington