Call for Papers: Landscape, Nature, and Sacred Site

Synergies across the Global Middle Ages

The goal of this 2-day interdisciplinary conference is to explore the dynamics between landscape, nature, and sacred sites across the medieval world. Building on Mircea Eliade’s pioneering work, the recent focus on landscape and nature as agents of sacred power and religious symbolism, and on sacred topography as determined and shaped by the physical environment, has opened up new ways of investigating religious sites in their natural but far from neutral settings.

How do mountains, rivers, wilderness, rocks or caves capture the imagination, evoke and anchor myths? In which ways do they mediate and participate in the sacred? Which spatial and visual strategies were used to engage and capitalize on the ‘natural’ in the creation of sanctuaries and other sacred buildings? How did religious communities and pilgrims respond to the land and its features? Through these and related questions, this conference aims to bring together scholars who are willing to address traditional divides between the sciences and the humanities, ‘nature’ and ‘culture,’ as well as between western, eastern, and indigenous ways of relating to the natural world and the place of humans within it.

Call for papers

Papers should be 30 min. length. Confirmed keynote speakers are Tamara Sears (Rutgers University) and Michele Bacci (University of Fribourg). The conference will take place on 12 and 13 May 2022, in the Department of Arts and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Travel, accommodation and meals related to the conference will be covered by the Novo Nordisk Foundation. Conference papers are expected to be published in a peer-reviewed anthology.

Paper proposals (1 page), accompanied by a brief CV (2 pages), should be sent to Nicoletta Isar and/or Erik Thunø before 20 December 2021.