Workshop – The “Self” and the “Other” – The Construction and Perception of “Otherness” in Late Antiquity, University of Kiel

The “Self” and the “Other” – The Construction and Perception of “Otherness” in Late Antiquity

International Workshop to be held at the University of Kiel in cooperation with the GS Human Development in Landscapes and the Institut für Klassische Altertumskunde

23 – 25 November 2016

All human communities, throughout history, have been in contact with different groups they perceived as “other”. Such contacts generate stereotypes, prejudices and ethnical portraits, which dominate, through the definition of Otherness, the ways identity is constructed. Already in the 18th century, philosophers like Hegel (1770– 1831) reflected about how self-awareness is linked to the construction of Otherness and since then scholars have been investigating how the representation of the others is a crucial and essential component of the perception and description of the Self. This thesis does also apply to Late Antiquity and is a central tenet for the interpretation of the so-called “Migration period”.

Under the recent political challenges, Otherness and the contact of people from different cultural backgrounds are a highly relevant and discussed topic, sometimes even dealt with an explicit reference to Late Antiquity and the Migration Period (e.g.: or Nonetheless, in spite of the absolute certainty about the Migration Period shown by some politicians, many questions about the definition of Otherness and its perception in Late Antiquity are still unanswered.

In order to reveal how the “Self” and the “Other” were perceived in Late Antiquity and how these perceptions were intertwined with each other, post-graduate scholars investigating these questions from a historical, archaeological, philological or anthropological point of view are kindly invited to participate to the international Workshop “The ‘Self’ and the ‘Other’ – The construction and perception of “Otherness” in Late Antiquity” at the University of Kiel.  The workshop aims to bring established scholars together with PhD-candidates to question and discuss “Otherness” from a Roman perspective (the Western and Eastern part of the empire) in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (ca. 3rd century CE – 8th century CE) in an open round table atmosphere.

Possible topics and questions that could be addressed among others:

–           Theory of Otherness and Alterity: What is “Otherness” or “Alterity”? What theories and models are available in the fields of social sciences and humanities? With which models can Otherness be investigated? What are the pitfalls? Can new theories, terms or models be introduced for researching or defining Alterity?
–           Barbarians and Outsiders: Who was a “Barbarian”? Which are the criteria in order to define “Barbarians” in Late Antiquity? Can they still be seen as outsiders of the Roman Empire?
–           Who are the “Romans” – The Question of Identity: What were the criteria the Romans used to define themselves in Late Antiquity? Have they changed with time? Was there a process of “Barbarization”? And most of all: Who exactly was a “Roman”?
–           Perception of Otherness in Written Evidences: How was Otherness depicted and represented in the written records of Late Antiquity? Which stereotypes were used? Was there a difference between the Eastern and the Western empire in the way “Others” were perceived? Which methods do we have to apply to analyse written evidences of the time and what are the “problems” one encounters when investigating the written sources?
–           The Barbarians and the Landscape: Since landscape was a tool in literature to create a specific scenery and can therefore be seen as discourses, is it possible to see a link between the depiction of Landscapes and the process of “othering”?
–           Otherness in the Archaeological Record: Is it possible to identify “others” with help of the archaeological material? Are there new methods in the field of Archaeology to investigate otherness and how can they be combined with traditional research? What are the chances and limitations of Archaeology in the investigation of identities?

Abstracts of papers, not longer than 300 words, together with a short CV should be submitted until the 6th of July 2016 (
Accepted PhD-students can apply for travel stipends.


Veronika Egetenmeyr in cooperation with Dr. Filippo Carlà; Prof. Dr. Annette Haug and Prof. Dr. Josef Wiesehöfer

For further information, please visit our Website:

Interwoven: Textiles from the Medieval Mediterranean – 2015 Harvard Medieval Material Cultures Workshop

Margaret Mullett (Director of Byzantine Studies, Dumbarton Oaks) will deliver the 2015 Harvard Medieval Material Cultures Lecture. Her talk, Byzantium On the Move: Mobile Empire, Traveling Textiles, will take its cue from some middle Byzantine tent poems and then address two questions: first the implications for Byzantine ceremony and administration of the importance of tents in Byzantium, and then secondly the problem of arriving at a clear view of what Byzantine tents looked like.

The lecture will take place on Monday, March 9 at 5:30 pm in Barker Center 110 (the Thompson Room), 12 Quincy Street, Cambridge. A reception precedes the lecture at 4:30 pm.

Interwoven: Textiles from the Medieval Mediterranean, the 2015 Harvard Medieval Material Cultures Workshop, will explore the production, uses, and meanings of textiles in the Byzantine, Islamic, and Latin Mediterranean basin, drawing upon the rich collections of the Harvard Art Museums. Presenters: Gudrun Bühl, Katherine Eremin, Eurydice Georganteli, Brandie Ratliff, Georgina Rayner, and Elizabeth Williams.

The workshop will take place on Wednesday, March 11 from 10:30 am–1:00 pm. Space for the workshop is limited; to reserve a place, please contact Dana Ciccotello ( at the Harvard Art Museums by Monday, March 9.

The events are co-sponsored by the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, the Harvard Art Museums, the Harvard University Standing Committee on Medieval Studies, and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross.

« Heresy from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages »

« Heresy from Late Antiquity to the Middle Ages »

Saturday 14 March 2015, 11am-5pm
TORCH Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities, Woodstock Road, Oxford

The past few decades have seen a burgeoning scholarly interest in heresy in early and medieval Christianity. Research on Christian heresy and its representation (‘heresiology’) has proliferated, in particular, in two periods: late antiquity and the later middle ages. However, despite deriving inspiration from similar trends in modern cultural theory and critical historical analysis, these two fields of scholarship have developed largely in isolation from one another. This workshop seeks to bring together historians working on heresy across the late-antique and medieval periods, to consider how and why heresy (or its representation) might change over time and in different contexts, and to think through the possibilities of common (or indeed divergent) approaches.

To register, or for more information, e-mail Robin Whelan ( A sandwich lunch is available; please request it on registration and supply any dietary requirements. Thanks are due to the Oxford Centre for Late Antiquity and the Oxford Medieval Studies Network for their generous support.

11:00 Registration and Welcome

11:15 Session 1: Chair: Antonia Fitzpatrick (St John’s)
Richard Flower (Exeter) ‘The birth of scientific heresiology in late antiquity’
Jill Moore (Birkbeck) ‘Set a thief to catch a thief? Family experience of heresy among thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italian inquisitors’

12:45 Lunch

13:45 Session 2: Chair: Phil Booth (Trinity)
Liz Mincin (St Andrews) ‘Curing the common soul: reexamining the heresiological motif of disease in Middle Byzantium’
Ali Bonner (Jesus) ‘The reception of Pelagius and interactionist theory’

15:15 Coffee

15:45 Session 3: Chair: Robin Whelan (TORCH/Brasenose)
Lucy Sackville (York) ‘The great divide: inquisition texts and the history of heresy’

Plenary Discussion
Conrad Leyser (Worcester) and Kantik Ghosh (Trinity)

From gold to silver in the seventh century

From gold to silver in the seventh century
(workshop, 27-8 March 2015, Department of Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic, 9 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DP)

It has long been known that the seventh century witnessed fundamental changes in the economic and monetary landscape of northwest Europe. At the heart of this process was the metamorphosis of a system derived from late Roman gold denominations into silver pennies familiar from subsequent centuries. Recent research by archaeologists has reignited discussion of these changes and created challenging questions for the entire subject. A central aim of this workshop is to create a dialogue on these developments between leading specialists from a range of disciplines, including historians and numismatists as well as archaeologists. Through close comparison of evidence from England, the Low Countries and France, we intend to address fundamental questions of chronology and causation in the transformation of seventh-century currency, together with the implications these changes raise for the contemporary archaeological and historical record.

 Speakers include Marion Archibald, Dr Anna Gannon, Prof John Hines, Dr Rory Naismith, Dr Arent Pol, Prof Chris Scull, Dr Gareth Williams and Prof. Barbara Yorke.


Please contact Dr Rory Naismith ( if you would like to attend. Registration is £10; £7 for students.