“Catastrophe, Calamity and Chaos in the Pre-Modern World”, Pre-Modern Institute, University of Alberta
The Pre-Modern Institute (formerly the Medieval and Modern Institute) at the
University of Alberta, in collaboration with Athabasca University and
PreMiss (the Pre-Modern Institute Student Society), is soliciting proposals
for participation in a virtual (fully on-line) symposium on “Catastrophe,
Calamity and Chaos in the Pre-Modern World.” The symposium time-slot (8:30 –
10:30 AM PST) permits active participation from across a large number of
time zones, and is specifically designed to enable conversations among
specialists who otherwise would not encounter one another. Participants will
discuss previously-circulated presentations, available in advance through a
The organizers encourage presentations concerning any area of the globe
during pre-modern times, roughly understood as the period before c. 1750 CE,
but allowing for flexibility where regional specialists periodize
The symposium will stimulate comparative discussion of the dynamics of
catastrophic, calamitous and chaotic events such as volcanic eruptions,
tsunamis, hurricanes, wildfires, earthquakes, floods, plagues, epidemics,
expulsions, forced migrations, genocides, and terrorism. Presentations may
address the causes of the events, the events themselves, the results of the
events, the depiction of the events (in textual or visual media), or the
subsequent memory and commemoration of the events.
Presentations may be in any format, including but not limited to text files
(e.g. in Microsoft Word), power point presentations, pdfs of poster
presentations, MP3 audio files, or YouTube videos. Participation in
discussion, through Elluminate for Moodle, will be possible via text, voice,
and/or video both in a “main” room and in topical/thematic breakout rooms.
All rooms will be moderated. A link enabling access to the discussion forum
will be sent to registered participants.
The organizers plan to publish fleshed-out versions of a selection of the
presentations as an edited collection.
Please send 150 word (text) abstracts and a brief biography or CV by
November 30, 2012 to firstname.lastname@example.org. Questions concerning format should be
addressed to Felice Lifshitz (email@example.com) or Shandip Saha
(firstname.lastname@example.org). For more information, see the website: