Call for papers

Passages from Ancient to Medieval and Early Modern Societies IX

Violence, War, and Suffering

Tampere, 13-15 August, 2025

The Passages conference series (since 2003) has focused on society and the history of everyday life in the premodern world. Our aim is to bring together scholars from diverse fields to study longer term historical continuities and changes between the classical, medieval, and early modern worlds.

The next conference focuses on the emotions and suffering associated with violence. The aim is to understand what kinds of emotional and affective responses, and experiences violence and war cause in individuals, families, and other communities. While premodern violence as such has been studied from various viewpoints, we encourage perspectives considering comparisons between eras and cultures. Emotions, experiences, and everyday life provides novel viewpoints to approach these themes. The conference combines the latest research on emotions and experience with social and cultural historical approaches to the ancient, medieval, and early modern world.

We are particularly interested in what people feel in violent situations, and what the communal responses were to such experiences. We particularly welcome papers, which have a sensitive approach to social differences: gender, status, and ethnicity. We also welcome research on the processes of peace and reconstruction.

The tentative topics include but are not limited to:

  • the feelings and emotions related to violence and war
  • resilience, courage, and mercy
  • everyday strategies of coping with threat
  • identity building and communities of experience
  • trauma and communal memory of violent situations and experiences
  • humour and other positive feelings as survival strategies
  • active or passive cultures of sympathy
  • gendered experiences of violence and suffering
  • children, the elderly, and other marginalized groups

If interested, please submit an abstract of 300 words (setting out thesis and conclusions) for a twenty-minute paper together with your contact details (with academic affiliation, address, and e-mail) via this link by 13 December 2024. The notification of paper acceptance will be made in early February 2025. Conference papers may be presented in major scientific languages, however supplied with English summary or translation if the language of the presentation is not English. The sessions are formed by keeping an eye on the thematic coherence of the papers and a comparative perspective that spans the time periods of Antiquity, the Middle Ages, and Early Modern times. Thus, session proposals focusing on one period only will not be accepted.

The conference series covers chronologically, geographically and disciplinarily all branches of Classical, Byzantine, Medieval and Early Modern Studies. Most preferable are contributions that have a comparative and/or interdisciplinary viewpoint or that focus on a longue durée perspective.

The registration fees depend on the funding we receive for the conference. They will be confirmed before the registration begins. They will be, however, no more than 150 € for regular fee, 110 € for the members of Trivium, and 70 € for post-graduate students and unemployed. For further information, please contact conference secretary Saku Pihko, The registration opens in March 2025.

The conference is organized by TriviumTampere Centre for Classical, Medieval, and Early Modern Studies (Tampere University) in collaboration with the project Portrayals of pain and models of manliness: the suffering male body in Western art and culture (funded by Kone Foundation).

Confirmed keynote speakers and their tentative titles:

  • Professor Justine Firnhaber-Baker (St Andrews): Suffering the Unimaginable: Affective Responses to Warfare in an Age of Plague
  • Professor Marian Füssel (Göttingen): Feelings in a World on Fire: Doing Emotions during the Seven Years War
  • Professor Edith Hall (Durham): Women under Siege: the Trauma of the Chorus of Aeschylus’ “Seven against Thebes”