The Shape of Return:
Progress, Process, and Repetition
in Medieval Culture

International Conference
29-30 September 2017

Organized by
Francesco Giusti and Daniel Reeve

Keynote speaker
Elizabeth Eva Leach (University of Oxford)

The conference will explore the ways in which medieval literary, artistic, musical, philosophical, and theological texts perform, interrogate, and generate value from the complexities of return, with particular reference to its formal and temporal qualities. Reconsidering the practical and theoretical implications of return — a movement in time and space that seems to shape medieval culture in a fundamental sense — we will investigate the following questions: What shapes does return take, and how does it shape cultural artifacts of the Middle Ages? How does return (as fact or possibility) regulate the flow of time and the experience of human life? How can return as a final goal and return as a problematic repetition coexist? Is repetition simply identified with a state of sin, or can it lead somewhere? Reiteration, after all, can disrupt linear and teleological progress, but also empower it.

Presentations in English, limited to 30 minutes. Please email an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short bio-bibliographical profile (100 words maximum) to by 15 April 2017. An answer will be given before 1 May 2017. A full programme will be published on the ICI Berlin website ( in due course. As with all events at the ICI Berlin, there is no registration fee. We can provide assistance in securing discounted accommodation for the conference period.

Poster The Shape of Return

Posted on 20 February 2017