David Pettegrew dropped me a line about Late Antique World Workshop at the University of Ottawa from September 20-21, 2008. A number of the sessions will focus on various chapters from Stephen Mitchell's recent textbook A History of the Later Roman Empire (2007). This is a really clever idea for a conference and ensures that participants have a common basis for conversation. While I have not read Mitchell's textbook, the very need for a formal textbook designed, presumably, for a course in Late Antiquity (beyond Brown's classic survey The World of Late Antiquity or Averil Cameron's more "monographic" offering, The Mediterranean world in late antiquity, AD 395-600) surely reflects the period's recent boom in popularity as well as a recent wave of synthetic studies in the field.
The conference is put on by the Ottawa Network for the Study of Late Antiquity. The list of contributors to this network and their research projects reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the study of Late Antiquity at Ottawa. The impulse toward interdisciplinary collaboration (the emergence of centers/centres as opposed to departments and schools) and at the same time a willingness to regard (accessible) synthetic studies as significant contributions to the discipline reflects the deep engagement of Late Antique studies in the language and vision of North American universities.