Language as Culture in the Eastern Mediterranean (330–2013), 15th Annual Postgraduate Colloquium, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham, May 24, 2014
Keynote Address: Dr. Maria Georgopoulou (The Gennadius Library, ASCSA)
The colloquium will bring postgraduate students together to discuss the significance of language in the eastern Mediterranean from Late Antiquity to the Modern Age. Beginning with the observation that all studies are routinely possessed by language, it is important to understand the relationship between language and culture. A major goal is to examine the role of culture in linguistic meaning, language use and, conversely, the role of linguistic form and culture in social action and in cultural practices. Language is a key to understanding the social, symbolic and expressive lives of members of society.
Studies of ritual and performance, of patronage and status often draw on linguistic evidence to talk about various forms of cultural production: attesting to the crucial and hitherto unacknowledged role of language in the creation of cultural subjectivities. Language as a term should not be limited to literary forms, as verbal products, but may be extended to encompass a broader range of visual narratives, including, potentially, painting, architecture and other kinds of material culture. We are interested in the production, interpretation and reproduction of social meanings, as expressed and accrued through language and in exploring the relation to culture and society.