Conf/CfP - “Fight Books in Comparative Perspective”, 9-10 Nov 2017, Germany

Publish Date: Mar 23, 2017

Deadline: May 31, 2017

Fight Books in Comparative Perspective 1. International St. Martin Conference 9. | 10. NOV 2017

St. Martin Conference is the title of a new series of academic conferences held at Deutsches Klingenmuseum (German Blade Museum) in Solingen/Germany. It will be dedicated to topics from the field of edged weapons: their production and cultural history, the schools and traditions of their use, and their reception in modern culture, among others.

The first St. Martin Conference on 9./10. NOV 2017 will be discussing “Fight Books in Comparative Perspective”. From the famous wrestling scenes of the cemetery site of Beni Hasan in Egypt to self-defense manuals of the globalized martial arts world of the 21st century: The depiction and description of body techniques of combat is a phenomenon that can be witnessed throughout history and worldwide. For several hundred years, such techniques have been laid down by image and/or word in a huge number of fight books from (at least) Europe, India, and East Asia, and were largely, but not exclusively concerned with the use of edged weapons. The books are among the most significant and informative artifacts of martial arts culture, and their interpretation is an important task for martial arts studies.

The conference wants to open a comparative, multidisciplinary approach towards these artifacts. Scholars from all relevant fields (martial arts studies, literary studies, linguistics, art history, cultural studies, Asian studies, history, sports and movement sciences, among others) are invited to discuss topics that could include:

• Materiality: What can the material properties of a fight book reveal about its intended function and actual use?

• Depiction of technique: What visual strategies are applied to render movement into image?

•Textuality: Which terminologies and forms of text are chosen to convey the techniques to the reader?

• Weaponry: For which weapons are the described techniques intended, and what does that reveal about their audience?

• Martial arts context: What do the books tell us about the martial arts world they are part of?

• Wider historical context: Which role do the fight books play in the society they belong to, and how do they reflect it?

In the last years, questions concerning fight books have mainly been discussed on the basis of medieval and early modern European examples. The conference explicitly wants to widen the scope, both geographically and historically. To this purpose, a minimal working definition of “fight book” shall encompass all kinds of media that try to systematize and/or transmit body techniques for close quarter combat. Contributions are welcome on all types of relevant source ‘texts’, from the abovementioned Egyptian murals to modern, digital media. They can either focus on a single text (or family of texts), or contrast sources from different times and places with each other. The goal of the two days will be to integrate the presented studies into a common perspective.

During the conference, the Klingenmuseum will exhibit its rich collection of ght books, the oldest of which date from the mid-16th century.


Please send your proposal of ca. 300 words and a short biographical note of ca. 100 words to Deadline is 31. MAY 2017. Contributions must not be longer than 20 minutes, conference language is English. The conference proceedings will be published in the Acta Periodica Duellatorum.

Conference fees

Key note speakers (to be confirmed) are free of charge. The fee for accepted speakers is 50,– €. The fee for regular listeners is 75,– €, to be paid in advance. Places will be limited, cancellation is only possible until 10. OCT 2017. Included in the fee are conference documents, coffee and snacks, and a buffet at the museum on the first evening.

For application, registration, or any questions, please contact:

Sixt Wetzler Deutsches Klingenmuseum Solingen Tel.: +49 212 258 3612

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.


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