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ICONOCLASM: PAST & PRESENT ISSUES October 4 – 6, 2021, Wrocław, Poland

Given the confusion still prevalent all over Europe concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, the frustrating slowness of the vaccination campaign in many countries, and the uncertainties concerning international travel, the History & Archaeology Section, in agreement with the Academia Europaea authorities and with the Wrocław Hub staff, twice postponed the conference on Iconoclasm, initially scheduled for October 2020. This delay of one full year, nonetheless, allowed us to assemble an exceptional panel of participant speakers. 

Photo by: fattah_artwork

Background and rationale

Why is iconoclasm such a recurring phenomenon?

Since ancient times, iconoclasm, the destruction of images or monuments for religious or political reasons, has been a recurring phenomenon throughout the world. From Egypt to China or India; in the Christian, Muslim, and Judaic traditions, iconoclasm has been the pretext for destruction – the erasure of unwanted objects of worship and, at the same time, the reassessment of the principles of conceptual belief. But iconoclasm has also been the manifestation of a recurring damnatio memoriae, the ancient Roman practice of official obliteration of the memory of a specific individual or event. The current negative trend of “political correctness”, political fracturing, and manifestations such as “no-platforming”, “historical re-interpretation”, and “educational exclusions”, has imparted a new dimension to this practice and an urgency in undertaking an in-depth systematic and scholarly analysis of these issues in a modern post-colonial and “post-authoritarian” European societal context.

Scope and development

That first conference, held in Wrocław (Poland) between October 5 and October 7, 2020, aimed to analyse iconoclasm from a decidedly interdisciplinary perspective, with interventions from historians and archaeologists, as well as from specialists in the fields of art, literature, political science, classical studies, theology, and philosophy. Our intention was to involve most – if not all – of the sections in Classes 1 and 2 of Academia Europaea and YAE. The event was intended to be further developed into a major project theme of AE that could contribute to defining the position of Academia Europaea on the subject. The intention was to widen the scope of analysis and broaden the interdisciplinary participants. Furthermore, the first outputs were expected to constitute a special “open access” issue of the European Review. It was a test event to gauge the potential scope for a future series. The subsequent series was seen as an opportunity to include other AE Hubs, and especially the new Regional Knowledge Hub, launched recently by AE at Tbilisi in Georgia. Their unique contexts and issues deriving from the Caucasus region of Europe promised to be a valuable input. The event and the subsequent series were also expected to provide us with a means by which the AE could help with the process of capacity building and integration of the Caucasus academic community into our wider European scholarship family.


The event was sponsored by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.



The process of collecting proposals is closed.
The call for papers is available here.



The conference was live-streamed via You Tube.
The event was open to the public without registration.

Nikita Harwich
Université de Paris Nanterre
Pieter C. Emmer
Academia Europaea
Katarzyna Majkowska
Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub Manager
Joanna Szymkiewicz-Tarka
Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub
Hans Ulrich Jessurun d’Oliveira
Professor Emeritus, University of Amsterdam; European University Institute (Florence), Member of Academia Europaea – Law Section
The Netherlands
Helene Whittaker
Professor, Department of Historical Studies, University of Gothenburg, Member of Academia Europaea – History & Archaeology Section
Francesco Stella
Professor of Medieval Latin and Humanistic Literature, University of Siena-Arezzo, Member of Academia Europaea - Literary and Theatrical Studies Section
Sverre Håkon Bagge
Professor Emeritus of Medieval History, University of Bergen Member of Academia Europaea – History & Archaeology Section
Xavier Narbón’s
Researcher, Universitat Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona)
Vladimir Biti
Professor Emeritus of South Slav Literatures and Cultures at the Institute of Slavic Studies, University of Vienna, Member of Academia Europaea - Literary & Theatrical Studies Section
Sergueï Nicolaïevitch Zenkin
Professor, Russian State University for the Humanities – RGGU – (Moscow) and Higher School of Economics (Saint- Petersburg), Member of Academia Europaea - Literary & Theatrical Studies Section
Manuel Lucena Giraldo
Senior Researcher, CSIC, Madrid. Member of Academia Europaea – History & Archaeology Section
Kathleen Gyssels
Professor of Francophone Literatures at the University of Antwerp
Tonje Haugland Sørensen
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Linguistic, Literary and Aesthetic Studies, University of Bergen
Renate Lachmann
Professor Emeritus, General Literary Theory and Slavic Literatures, University of Konstanz, Member of Academia Europaea – Literary and Theatrical Studies Section
Rosa-María Martínez de Codes
Professor of American History at the Facultad de Geografía of the Complutense University, Madrid, Member of Academia Europaea – History and Archaeology Section
Nikitas Aliprantis
Professor Emeritus of the Democritos University of Thrace (Komotini) and of the University of Strasburg, Member of Academia Europaea – Human Mobility, Governance, Environment and Space Section
Xavier Costa-Guix
Professor of the History of Art and Architecture at Northeastern University, Boston, Member of Academia Europaea – Musicology and Art History Section
United States
Pieter C. Emmer
Academia Europaea
Leonard Blussé
Professor Emeritus of the History of European-Asian Relations at the University of Leiden, Institute for History, Member of Academia Europaea - History and Archaeology Section
The Netherlands
Amélia Polónia
Professor at the Department of History, Political and International Studies of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Porto, Member of Academia Europaea - History and Archaeology Section
Doris Behrens-Abouseif
Professor Emerita, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology, School of Oriantal and African Studies (London), Member of Academia Europaea - Classics and Oriental Studies Section
United Kingdom
Barbara Crostini
Associate Professor in Byzantine Greek, Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University
Gideon Biger
Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography and Human Environment, University of Tel-Aviv, Member of Academia Europaea - History and Archaeology Section
Wojciech Bedyński
University of Warsaw
Svend Erik Larsen
Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature, Aarhus University; Visiting Professor, Sichuan University, Member of Academia Europaea – Literary and Theatrical Studies Section

The process of collecting proposals is closed.
The call for papers is available here.