Forced Movement in Late Antiquity, c. 300-700

German Historical Institute, London, 6-8 April 2017

You can see the programme here


Call for Papers


Mobility of individuals and groups was a defining feature of late antiquity and underpinned the cultural, social and religious transformations of the ancient world in this period. Findings from the project that sponsors this conference, ‘The Migration of Faith: Clerical Exile in Late Antiquity’, suggest that forced physical movement due to clerical exile – the primary way in late antiquity to deal with wayward Christian clergy – led to encounters with profound cultural or social consequences to exiled clerics themselves, their households and original communities, the individuals and communities they met or constituted, and ultimately to the dissemination of knowledge and to new ways of mentally mapping the late antique world.

This conference seeks to contextualise and compare these findings by inviting papers that investigate questions around the sense of belonging of forcibly moved or moving individuals or groups in late antiquity, the contribution of forced movement to the spread of ideas, behaviour or norms, the impact of forced movement on late antique society, economy and religion, on mechanisms of civic exclusion and inclusion, on concepts and practices of space, or on the connectedness or fragmentation of the Mediterranean world. Papers should focus on late antique individuals and groups who may have had little choice over whether or not to be physically on the move, although we also welcome papers that problematize the very concept of ‘forced movement’ for the study of late antiquity. Subjects of papers of no more than 20 minutes length may include, but are not exclusive to:


*legally exiled individuals (whether lay, clerical, ascetic or other), including to forced labour

*refugees from legal prosecution

*refugees from wars

*prisoners of war/raids

*refugees from slavery or tenant labour

*refugees from civic obligations

*followers of warrior leaders

*individuals/groups subject to slave trade

*wage labourers looking for work

*women married across communities


We also invite papers that investigate:

*traditional and new ideas of exile and peregrinatio as universal human conditions demanding mental or practical withdrawal from the world

*rights, practices and spaces of late antique asylum


We particularly welcome papers that deal with questions around the methodological possibilities to ‘unearth’ the experiences, perceptions, spaces and influence of those forcibly moved from the contemporary evidence, including through investigation of the archaeological record and through new digital methods such as social network analysis or GIS.


Confirmed Key Note Speakers: Sarah Bond (University of Iowa), Peter Heather (King’s College, London)

Confirmed Roundtable Participant: Klaus Wivel, Author of The Last Supper: The Plight of Christians in Arab Lands


We invite papers from colleagues at any career stage, including postgraduate, and working in any discipline pertaining to the study of late antiquity. Please send abstracts of papers of maximal 300 words to by 15 September 2016. We aim to respond within three weeks of this date.

We will cover travel and accommodation expenses of all speakers.