CEMS Graduate Conference 2019



Sixth CEMS International Graduate Conference

Budapest, 30 May-1 June, 2019

Nador 15, Room 103

The Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies (CEMS) at Central European University and its junior members are proud to announce the forthcoming sixth International Graduate Conference on Cultural Entanglement, Transfer and Contention in Mediterranean Communities. 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.

Keynote Speakers

Nicholas Purcell (University of Oxford)

Arietta Papaconstantinou (University of Reading)

Zeynep Türkyilmaz (Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin)

Conference Description

Marking the boundary of three continents, the Mediterranean has been one of the world’s premier zones of cultural interaction since antiquity. From the Romans to the Ottomans, the first caliphs to Queen Victoria, the powers who sought dominance over this sea reckoned with this history of multiplicity by appropriating its rich past and attempting to imitate and outdo their predecessors and contemporaries. Diverse communities, moreover, concomitantly sought to survive and prosper in competition and cooperation with one another. The aim of this conference is to work against the grain of disciplinary boundaries to better understand these processes of inheritance, transmission, and exchange both diachronically and synchronically. How were the cultures of Mediterranean communities particularized through accommodation to, modification of, and divergence from their shared pasts? How did rulers manage these shifting webs of diversity? What procedures drew boundaries between cultures, either successive or contemporary, if and when such lines can be drawn? What evidence and methodologies can be brought to bear to read genuine curiosity, selective accommodation, and outright rejection in these exchanges within and across polities in the Mediterranean?

Young scholars from across the globe will be invited to share their work and come to grips with how to conduct research in an academic environment that increasingly demands both specialized expertise and comparative breadth. We seek innovative proposals by graduate students from all disciplines that relate to the Mediterranean world, including but not limited to Anthropology, Archeology, Art History, Classics, Environmental Science, Gender Studies, History, Languages and Literatures, Medieval Studies, Philosophy, Religion, and Theology.

Possible paper topics might include, but are not limited to:

  • The entanglements and diverse heritages of elite artistic, literary, and intellectual cultures
  • Rethinking big processes, e.g. Hellenization, Romanization, Christianization, and Islamization
  • Interaction and diversity in everyday life and popular/vernacular cultures
  • Trans-imperial/trans-national subjects, contact zones, gendered boundaries, and porous identities within and beyond borders
  • Maintaining common identities in diasporas: the connections and differences between communities across far-flung geographies
  • Communities and networks (intellectual, professional, mercantile, civic, military, domestic, etc.) that operate across ethnic and national lines
  • Conquest, colonization, environmental change, and shifting landscapes of diversity
  • Envisioning pluralism in philosophical, theological, and legal discourses of order
  • Intra-communal politics in contexts of social, economic, and gender stratification
  • Migration, urban economies, and the transformation of spatial and social structures
  • The (re)invention of national communities and their relationship to legacies of difference
  • The re-appropriation of imperial pasts in Mediterranean societies


Please submit by February 15, 2019 a short paper proposal (no more than 250 words, together with a brief biography and contact information) to the following address: cemsconference@ceu.edu. Results will be announced on March 4, 2019.


Accommodation and Travel Grants

All participants will be offered accommodation for the full duration of the conference (3 nights) at the CEU Residence Center. In order to encourage the participation of individuals with limited institutional support a small number of partial travel grants will be available to cover travel expenses. Those who wish to be considered for the grant should include an additional justification alongside their paper proposals. Please note that there is no conference fee.

In addition, this year the conference will coincide with CEMS’s Undergraduate Open House, and advanced undergraduates interested in pursuing research or academic career in the history and cultures of the Eastern Mediterranean are invited to attend the Open House as well as apply to present a paper at the conference. For further information, do not hesitate to contact the organizers at cemsconference@ceu.edu


Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies

Acedemic Cooperation and Research Support Office

 Organizing Committee

Dunja Milenkovic (PhD Student, Department of Medieval Studies)

Flora Ghazaryan (PhD Student, Department of History)

John Kee (MA Student, Department of Medieval Studies)

For further information, do not hesitate to contact the organizers at cemsconference@ceu.edu or at our Facebook page.