CALLS FOR PAPERS: Byzantine Animals between Materiality and Fantasy

Byzantine Animals between Materiality and Fantasy

Byzantine Animals between Materiality and Fantasy, Katowice, June 22–23, 2023

Cultural animal studies are recently gaining in popularity, particularly 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.

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.

Please send abstracts (150 words max) no later than April 10 to tristan[dot]schmidt[at]


Author: Dr. Bernard Mulholland

Dr. Bernard Mulholland is a Byzantinist, archaeologist, historian and Patristics scholar with a Ph.D. in history (QUB, 2012). Bernard's publications include: Fiction: Bernard Mulholland, Nazareth Quest (2022). Non-fiction: Bernard Mulholland, The man from MENSA - 1 of 600: Mensa research (2016). ---, The man from MENSA - 1 of the 600: Politics 1990-1995 (2016). ---, Ratio analysis of financial KPI in the Higher Education sector: a case study (2018). ---, Early Byzantine Ireland: a survey of the archaeological evidence (2021). ---, Navan Fort, Ireland: archaeological and palaeoecological analysis (2021). ---, The Early Byzantine Christian Church (Oxford, 2014). ---, 'Identification of Early Byzantine Constantinopolitan, Syrian, and Roman church plans in the Levant and some possible consequences', Patristic Studies in the twenty-first century: proceedings of an international conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Association of Patristic Studies, ed. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Theodore de Bruyn and Carol Harrison (Turnhout, 2015), 597-633. Mulholland, B. (2021). 'Can archaeology inform the climate change debate?' Academia Letters, Article4385.

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