On the Road: Travels, Pilgrimages and Social Interaction, Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Age VI, University of Tampere, Finland, August 6–8, 2015
The sixth international Passages from Antiquity to the Middle Ages conference will focus on social approaches to travelling, mobility, pilgrimages, and cultural exchange. Interaction between society and space has been a key interest of scholars after the 'Spatial Turn'. Nevertheless, larger comparisons between eras and cultures are mainly missing.
The archetypal journey of Odysseys served as a metaphor and model for later narrations of travelling. In both Ancient and medieval worlds, religious reasons were significant motivations for travelling; these travels confront the traditional idea of these periods as eras of immobility. However, the challenges of setting out for a journey, as well as the dangers of the road, were not dependent on the incentive but rather on distance and other geographical settings, social status of the traveller, and political climate.
The conference aims at concentrating on social and cultural interaction before, during and after travelling. What kinds of motivations were there for ancient and medieval people to get on the road and what kind of negotiations and networks were inherent in travelling? We welcome papers, which have a sensitive approach to social differences: gender, age, health, and status. Actors, experiences and various levels of negotiations are of main interest, and our focus lies on society and the history of everyday life, on the differences and similarities between elite and popular culture, and on the expectations linked to gender and life cycle stage, visible in the practices and policies of travelling. We encourage proposals that integrate the theme of travelling into wider larger social and cultural contexts.
We aim at a broad coverage not only chronologically but also geographically and disciplinarily (all branches of Classical, Byzantine and Medieval Studies). Most preferable are contributions that have themselves a comparative and/or interdisciplinary viewpoint or focusing on a longue durée perspective.