Politics of time and space in the Byzantine Empire between the 12th and the 13th century
44th Annual Byzantine Studies Conference
Chiara D’Agostini (CML, SDU)
Andras Kraft (Central European University)
Valeria Lovato (Università di Sassari/Université de Lausanne)
Aglae Pizzone (CML, SDU)
This panel at the 44th Annual Byzantine Studies Conference explores how constructions of space and time in Byzantine texts from the 12th to the 13th century were determined by and impacted on contemporary imperial ideologies. Even though the connection between the representation of space and empires has been widely investigated after Gregory’s take on geographical imagination, post-colonial approaches to spatiality have reached Byzantine studies only recently. Cartography in particular needs reassessment in this light. This panel looks at the connection between dominant imperial ideologies and 13th-century new interest in maps. It also investigates the link between the representation of spaces to be construed as “other” and competing imperial ideologies in the 12th century. If space is essential to the constitution of the empire, time is equally crucial. And yet very little research exists on the matter in Byzantine studies. Taking its cues from John R. Hall’s notion of ‘temporal orientation’, the panel investigates constructions of time in Byzantine texts before and after 1204. Conversations about history, progress and change reflect on Imperial politics, pointing to conflicting conceptualisations. The panel investigates the historical and socio-economical driving forces behind such contrasting temporal orientations. Time and space cannot be investigated in isolation. Changing notions of time are necessarily shaped by spatiality, even if only because of the empire’s mutable borders. Representations of space, on the other hand, are deeply affected by attitudes toward tradition: opening up the space means being open to change. Bringing together scholars with diverse textual expertise, the panel sheds light on the mutual interaction between these defining concepts. The panel consists of presentations (15 mins), followed by questions (10 mins) and debate (30 mins) to which the audience is invited to participate.
Read Chiara d'Agostini's blog post about the conference here.