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Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies at Central European University | Materiality in the Eastern Mediterranean World Conference
May 28, 2021 @ 3:00 am - 10:30 am
One event on May 29, 2021 at 4:30 am
The Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies (CEMS) at Central European University (Vienna/Budapest) is proud to announce the 7th International Graduate Conference on “Materiality in the Eastern Mediterranean World”, Vienna, 28-29 May 2021. The conference will provide a forum for graduate and advanced undergraduate students working on the Eastern Mediterranean to present their current research, exchange ideas, and develop scholarly networks.
The aim of this conference is to explore how a turn towards materiality can help us to understand the Eastern Mediterranean world. The conference seeks research that investigates the role of physical “things” in history. How are material culture, technology, and the physical environment entangled in historical processes? How has the physical world shaped and been shaped by forms of social life in the Eastern Mediterranean? How have ideas and emotions been put into practice and how have they been embodied in material objects (e.g. artifacts, relics, and manuscripts)? How could materiality in the Eastern Mediterranean differ from other regions?
Keynote lecture by Charlie Barber, May 29, 6:30 pm: Formlessness and Potentiality: Reflections on Art and Materiality in Fourteenth-Century Byzantium: ‘The first part of this paper will offer some readings of the definitions and use of Matter in a variety of writings, primarily from the early-fourteenth century. Formlessness, Potentiality, and Harmonics will be discussed as aspects of Materiality. Works by George Pachymeres and Theodore Metochites will be a particular focus. The second part of the paper will propose a reading of the use of marble in Metochites’ church of the Holy Savior in Chora. I will argue that the display of marble in the church was more than a demonstration of material resources. Its presence speaks to the very identity of the monastery.’
Charlie Barber is the Donald Drew Egbert Professor of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University.
Advance registration is not required. To access the conference, please visit the CEU Events website.
For joining the conference online, click here (Passcode: 299336)
Friday, May 28th
Opening Remarks: 3:00–3:30am (CT)
Brett Wilson (Central European University, Director of CEMS)
Karolina Kotus (Central European University)
3:30–5:00am (CT) — Session 1: Text as an Object
Chair: Brett Wilson (Central European University)
Adélie Chevée (European University Institute), “The Politics of Materiality in Syrian Revolutionary Newspapers”
Nimet İpek (Sabancı University), “A Room of a Reader’s Own: Frame (cedvel) Making and Margin Practices in Islamic Manuscripts”
Sergio Carro Martín (Pompeu Fabra University), “Beyond Religious Duty: Rethinking the Islamic Certificates of Pilgrimage Through Materiality”
5:00–6:30 (CT) — Session 2: Art, Images, and Aesthetics
Chair: Sona Grigoryan (Central European University)
Elvin A. Dağlıer (Koç University), “Late Antique Mosaics in Anatolia Calling for Attention”
Antrea Oratiou (University of Newcastle), “Glazed Wares from Cyprus: Pots, People and Ideas”
Giulia De Ponte (Università degli Studi di Firenze), “A Case Study of ‘Khedivial’ Orientalism: Stefano Ussi’s The Transportation of the Mahmal to Mecca and the Shaping of Khedive Isma‛il Pasha’s Iconography of Identity and Power”
Lunch Break — 6:30–7:30am (CT)
7:30–9:30am (CT) — Session 3: Objects and Identity
Chair: Dana Sajdi (Boston College)
Anastasia Thamnopoulou (University of Bonn), “The Materiality of Smoking. The Ottoman Tobacco Pipes of Palestine”
Savannah Ulalian Bishop (Koç University), “Shedding Light and Spilling Oil: Ceramic Oil Lamps as Markers of Identity and Change in the Eastern Mediterranean”
Katia Arslan (Istanbul Bilgi University), “Beads of Masculinities: Tespih As an Extension of Men’s Selves and Bodies”
Benjamin Sharkey (University of Oxford), “Pilgrimage Through the Material: Experiencing Stories and Places Through an 8th–9th Century Bronze Censer in the Christian Community of Samarqand”
Friday Keynote Lecture — 10:00am (CT)
Dana Sajdi (Boston College)
Text as a Spatial Performance
While recent scholarship on materiality has produced new queries in book history and exciting revaluations of the meanings of text, it has yet to consider the text as a production in space. In considering places in and around the text, we would be able to bring out the material, the sonic, and the corporeal to construct clearer images of past social practice and reality.
Dana Sajdi (Ph.D., Columbia University 2002) is Associate Professor of History at Boston College. She is the author of The Barber of Damascus: Nouveau Literacy in the Eighteenth-Century Ottoman Levant (2013, Turkish and Arabic translations in 2018); editor of Ottoman Tulips, Ottoman Coffee: Leisure and Lifestyle in the Eighteenth Century (2008, in Turkish 2014) and co-editor of Transforming Loss into Beauty: Essays in Arabic Literature and Culture in Memory of Madga Al-Nowaihi (2008). She is the recipient of several fellowships including from Princeton University, Wissenschaftskollege zu Berlin (EUME); Research Center for Anatolian Civilization; MIT-Aga Khan Program for Islamic Architecture; and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She is working on history of Damascus based on a local tradition of textual representations of the city between 12th-20th centuries.
Saturday, May 29th
4:30–6:30am (CT) — Session 1: Material Exchanges
Chair: Volker Menze (Central European University)
Yunus Doğan (Bilkent University), “From Danishmendid Coin to the Catalan Seal: The Material Culture of Saint George”
Anitta G Kunnappilly (Mahatma Gandhi University), “Indo-Mediterranean Trade in Malabar (2nd to 12th Century AD): A Historiographic Reading”
Gay Apolline (École Pratique des Hautes Études), “Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph: The Function of Patriarch’s Pictures on Egyptian Garments (6th–10th Century)”
Özlem Yıldız (Temple University), “Multisensory Meanings of Sugar Figures in the 1582 Ottoman Imperial Festival”
Lunch Break — 6:30–7:30am (CT)
7:30–9:30am (CT) — Session 2: Religion, Spirituality, and Symbols
Chair: Gábor Klaniczay (Central European University)
Fermude Gülsevinç (Bilkent University), “‘Prisoner of the Sea, Defended by the Sea, and Punished by the Clemency of Heaven’: Christianization the Seascape of Naxos and Rhodes in the Late Antiquity (4th–7th Centuries)”
Matthew R. Westermayer (Cornell University), “Edenic Trees as Material and Noetic Things”
Yusuf Selman İnanç (Central European University), “Where Materiality Meets Spirituality: Türbe Rituals in Contemporary Turkey”
Raluca Prelipceanu (Babeș-Bolyai University), “Angelic Representations from Immateriality to Materiality”
9:45–11:15am (CT) — Session 3: Objects on the Move
Chair: Charlie Barber (Princeton University)
Nikita Bogachev (Central European University), “The Adventures of the Hand: The Cult of Relics in Byzantium Around 1000”
Lavinia Gambini (University of Cambridge), “Sacred Christian Artefacts in the Greek Archipelago, ca. 1650–1700”
Stefano Saracino (University of Jena), “The Material Culture of Halle Pietists in the Ottoman Empire in the Ottoman Empire on the Eve of the 18th century”
Saturday Keynote Lecture — 11:30am (CT)
Charlie Barber (Princeton University)
Formlessness and Potentiality: Reflections on Art and Materiality in Fourteenth-Century Byzantium
The first part of this paper will offer some readings of the definitions and use of Matter in a variety of writings, primarily from the early-fourteenth century. Formlessness, Potentiality, and Harmonics will be discussed as aspects of Materiality. Works by George Pachymeres and Theodore Metochites will be a particular focus. The second part of the paper will propose a reading of the use of marble in Metochites’ church of the Holy Savior in Chora. I will argue that the display of marble in the church was more than a demonstration of material resources. Its presence speaks to the very identity of the monastery.
Charlie Barber is the Donald Drew Egbert Professor of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University. Barber’s area of specialization is the history of Byzantine and Post-Byzantine art, with a particular focus on the history and theory of the icon. He has also worked extensively on Byzantine aesthetics and intellectual history and with Byzantine manuscripts. He has written and co-edited a number of books. These include two studies of the contested status of the icon in Byzantium: Figure and Likeness: On the Limits of Representation in Byzantine Iconoclasm (2002) and Contesting the Logic of Painting: Art and Understanding in Eleventh-Century Byzantium (2007). Current and future research will lead to books that examine the status of the icon in the 14th and 16th centuries. In addition to presenting papers at numerous domestic and international conferences and symposia, Barber has co-organized several interdisciplinary workshops on Byzantine intellectual history. These have resulted in such publications as Reading Michael Psellos (2006), Medieval Greek Commentaries on the Nicomachean Ethics (2009), and Michael Psellos on Literature and Art: A Byzantine Perspective on Aesthetics (2017).
Concluding Remarks by the Organizers — 12:30–1:00pm CT