For the 12th edition of the AEMB international post-graduate conference, the board of the association has opted for a new format: one day will be dedicated to free presentations, and the second day will center around a precise theme. The selected theme, chosen with consultation with members of the association, is Time.
Time: Usage, Perception, and Interpretation in the Byzantine World
From the life of Basil the First, written to legitimise the Macedonian dynasty, to the use of spolia in religious and lay architecture, and from the development of a textual and visual tradition concerning the Last Judgement to typika strictly organising monastic life, the experience of time, which mobilises the memory of the past, the attention to the present, and hope in the future, takes multiple forms which can be applied to the study of numerous aspects of Byzantine Culture.
Intimately linked to experience, time is first perceptible through the mutations that it operates. Time marked by the alternation of night and day and by the rhythm of the seasons, in addition to ecclesiastical time, punctuated by the religious calendar of Great Feasts, the commemoration of saints, and the rhythm of the liturgy, is significant to all. It constitutes a particularly fruitful topic for the understanding of the reality of women and men in the Byzantine World.
It is in considering time at different scales that we may understand the complexity of this phenomenon. Amongst the qualities of God, that of anarchos raises the question of eternity, difficult to grasp by humankind. In society, the organised succession of events through historical discourse exhibits the linear nature of time, which, depending on the period, is understood as progress or decline in contrast to nature’s cyclical character.
This concept of time, simultaneously cyclical, linear, and eternal, blurs notions of past, present, and future, underlined in literary and artistic expression. The instrumentalisation of the past for practical, theoretical, political, and spiritual reasons underpin the long-term continuity and legitimacy of the empire. Polarised by Creation and the Incarnation, the course of time, in Christian thought, is inevitably oriented towards the end of time and the salvation of humankind. The fear produced by this predetermined future contributed to a rise in eschatological preoccupations, and dictated the development of apotropaic practice with the purpose of protecting individual and collective presents in order to guarantee access to eternal life. As such, the question of the virtuous terrestrial life as preparation for salvation is pertinent to all. Additionally, at an individual level, questions concerning the transformation of the body throughout time and the pathway towards death are also relevant.
These questions guide us in seeing nature and the specificity of time as it was envisioned in Byzantium and in its neighbours. Talks may therefore address the following themes, though the list is not exhaustive:
- The scientific conception of time
- The measurement of time
- Historical time and its construction by Historians, la longue durée
- The vision of the past and its instrumentalisation in art and history
- Philosophical and theological approaches towards time and eternity
- Lived time and daily rhythms
- The Christianisation of time by the Church and the liturgy
- The future and the hermeneutics of its warning signs
- The transmission of memory
- The treatment of time and its duration in literary and visual narration
- The preparation for the end of time
- The treatment of time in music
- Time and ritual
- Time and nature
Presentation proposals of 250 to 300 words as well as a brief biography including the author’s institution, their level of study (masters, doctoral, post-doctoral), and their research subjects should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by April 18 at the latest.
The 20-minute talks may be presented in English or French. As evidenced by earlier editions, certain talks could be selected to be included in a future publication.
It is our hope that the Rencontres will take place physically in Paris. Participants’ travel costs may be covered by AEMB if they are unable to receive funding from their institutions. Selected candidates will be asked to adhere to the association.