Venice, Byzantium and the Mediterranean World, Research Fellowship, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia

The Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage, Università Ca’ Foscari Venezia, is offering a 12-month research fellowship on the theme: Venice, Byzantium and the Mediterranean World: Patronage, Circulation of Arts and Artifacts between the 9th and 15th Centuries.

El Greco, a Cretan painter?

El Greco, a Cretan painter?, lecture by Angeliki Lymberopoulou (Open University), King’s College London, November 24, 2014, 5:30pm

Domenikos Theotokopoulos (widely known as El Greco), was born in Candia (present-day Herakleion), the capital of Venetian Crete. But was he a Cretan painter? Geographically speaking, the obvious answer is ‘yes’. The notion may also have been part of the painter’s identity, because he repeatedly declared his origin as ‘Cretan’ (Κρής) on his signed works. But what did being ‘Cretan’ entail at this particular time? This question cannot be answered on the basis of topography alone. It needs to be regarded from different perspectives, taking into account the nature of sixteenth-century Venetian Crete as a bi-cultural and bi-religious society - a unique environment that nurtured the formative stage of El Greco’s exceptional artistic development.

Angeliki Lymberopoulou is a Lecturer in Byzantine art and culture at The Open University, having joined in April 2004 from the National Gallery in London. She specializes in the artistic production of Venetian Crete (1211–1669). Her research and publications focus primarily on wall paintings and icons; the social context of their production (i.e. the artists and their hybrid clientele); their demand within the local and European Renaissance market; the cross-cultural influences between Byzantine East and (mainly Italian) West; and the heritage of Byzantine art in the Renaissance period. She currently co-manages a Leverhulme funded International Networks project, which examines the representation of Hell on frescoes of Venetian Crete. El Greco is an interest within the broader context of post-Byzantine Cretan icon production. Her most recent publication on the acclaimed master is ‘From Candia to Toledo: El Greco and his art’, in Art and Visual Culture 1100–1600. Medieval to Renaissance, ed. K.W. Woods, London, 2012, pp. 282-325.

The Gospel Paris gr. 54 and the Union of Lyon: Renewal, Reunion, Reform, and Rejection

The Gospel Paris gr. 54 and the Union of Lyon: Renewal, Reunion, Reform, and Rejection, lecture by Kathleen Maxwell (Santa Clara University), Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales-CSIC, Madrid, October 30, 2014, at noon

Paris, BnF, gr. 54—a bilingual Greek and Latin illustrated Byzantine Gospel book—is a singular reflection of the Emperor Michael VIII’s efforts to renew relations with Rome through the union of the Greek and Latin Churches. Paris 54’s bilingual text, expanded narrative cycle with scenes related to St. Peter, and its many unfinished aspects can best be understood if it was conceived as a diplomatic gift, commissioned by the Byzantine emperor for the Latin pope. This paper will explore the contentious response to Michael VIII’s efforts to implement renewal and reform in late thirteenth-century Constantinople.

Assistant Professor, Post-Classical Mediterranean, University of Virginia

The College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences of the University of Virginia invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor from scholars with a research focus on connective cultures in the post-Classical Mediterranean (4th to 10th century).

Possible areas of study might include: the interaction of knowledge, people and practices; the social, political and/or cultural history of one or more connective Mediterranean cultures or communities; minority, diasporic or vocationally distinct social groups (e.g., merchants, scholars of science and medicine); interstitial and nomadic polities and cultures; translation; reappropriation of earlier cultural forms, materials or technologies.

Candidates must demonstrate excellence in scholarly research and an ongoing program of publication. They must also be committed to outstanding teaching at the undergraduate and graduate levels. PhD must be in hand by August 15, 2015.

Possible home departments include, but are not limited to: Art, Classics, History or Religious Studies. The appointee will also hold an initial two-year Mellon Fellowship in 'Comparative Cultures of the Pre-Modern World' at the University's interdisciplinary Institute of Humanities and Global Cultures.

Assistant Professor of Classics, Greco-Roman & Islamic Traditions, Tufts University

The School of Arts and Sciences at Tufts University seeks a scholar who studies the contact between the Greco-Roman and Islamic traditions during any period through the Renaissance for a tenure-track Mellon Bridge Assistant Professorship, to begin September 2015. This newly-created position is being supported by a grant from the Mellon Foundation to promote scholarship and teaching that bridges different departments and programs in the humanities. Mellon Bridge professors will be grounded in one department but will also teach in other academic departments or programs, according to their areas of expertise.

This position will have a primary appointment in the Department of Classics, and a secondary appointment in one or more of the following programs and departments: Arabic; Archaeology; Art History; History; International Relations; Middle Eastern Studies; Philosophy; Religion; Romance Languages; and a potentially new interdisciplinary master’s program, Digital Technologies for Pre-Modern Studies, which is currently in the planning stage. The School will extend secondary appointments and cross-list courses in other departments and programs as appropriate. The successful candidate will receive an appointment as a fellow at the Center for the Humanities at Tufts (CHAT) for the duration of the pre-tenure probationary period.

The intellectual emphasis of the Department of Classics is the transmission of knowledge across cultures and time. The Department currently teaches courses in Greek, Latin, Medieval Latin, and Sanskrit and in the archaeology and history of Egypt, the Greco-Roman world, Ancient Northern Europe, and the Mediterranean, as well as in the comparison of Greek, Roman, and Chinese history. In addition, department members and affiliated faculty maintain teaching and research interests in the medieval and early modern world. The Department of Classics also houses the Perseus Digital Library, one of the largest and most actively used open-access humanities databases in the world—currently containing approximately 165 million searchable words in Greek, Latin, Arabic, French, German, Italian, and English, and receiving more than eight million visits last year alone, with a returning-visitor rate of 66%. Perseus’s collections range from Homer through the Renaissance to nineteenth-century American literature and contemporary scholarship, and also include photographs and descriptions of art objects, buildings, and archaeological sites. The Perseus Perseids Platform, supported by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation, is currently expanding Tufts’ digital infrastructure by facilitating the publication, revision, and conservation of previously unavailable texts, other media, and original research by faculty and students.

Applicants should demonstrate knowledge of Arabic as well as either Greek or Latin. Evidence of a strong record of scholarship is required. Doctorate and minimum of two years’ full- or part-time teaching experience is required. We especially welcome candidates who can support student research at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. Candidates who are interested in augmenting the strengths of Tufts’ Perseus Digital Library and its Perseids Platform in Greek, Latin, Classical Arabic, or other languages are especially encouraged to apply. The successful candidate will be expected to teach undergraduate courses related to his or her specific research area using works in translation, as well as to have the capacity to teach undergraduate and graduate courses on works in the original Latin and/or Greek.

Early Christian-Muslim Debate on the Unity of God

Sara Leila Husseini. Early Christian-Muslim Debate on the Unity of God: Three Christian Scholars and Their Engagement with Islamic Thought (9th Century C.E.). Brill, 2014.

From Brill

Early Christian-Muslim Debate on the Unity of God examines the writings of three of the earliest known Christian theologians to write comprehensive theological works in Arabic. Theodore Abū Qurra, Abū Rā’iṭa and ‘Ammār al-Baṣrī provide valuable insight into early Christian-Muslim debate shortly after the rise of the Islamic empire.

Through close examination of their writings on the doctrine of the Trinity, Sara Husseini demonstrates the creativity of these theologians, who make use of language, style and argumentation characteristic of Islamic theological thought (kalām), in order to help articulate their long-established religious truths. Husseini offers close analysis of the authors individually and comparatively, exploring their engagement with Islamic theology and their role in this fascinating period.

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Fragmentation: The Eastern Mediterranean in Conflict and Cohesion

Fragmentation: The Eastern Mediterranean in Conflict and Cohesion,16th Annual Postgraduate Colloquium, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman, and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham, May 30, 2015

Papers are cordially invited for the 16th Annual Postgraduate Colloquium at the Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies. ‘Fragmentation’ is as important a phenomenon as ‘continuity’ in politics, economics, and cultures in the Eastern Mediterranean from late antiquity to the modern times. Instead of foreclosing debate on such common heritage in the region, the theme ‘Fragmentation’ provides a dimension on how institutions and various political, social, and economic groups interacted in harmony or in conflict, because of or in spite of such commonality.

We welcome 20-minute papers on topics in all fields of Byzantine, Ottoman and/or Modern Greek Studies that include, but are not limited by, the following:

  • Economic activities/institutions
  • Political institutions
  • Identity
  • Literature and narrative
  • Historiographical scholarship
  • Societal affiliation/mentality

Abstracts of 250 words should be submitted by 31 March 2015 to cbomgs.colloquium@

Source: BSANA listserv

Aristotle Transferred - The Ancient Greek Commentaries on Aristotle and the Transfer of Knowledge

Aristotle Transferred - The Ancient Greek Commentaries on Aristotle and the Transfer of Knowledge, Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities, Berlin, October 23–25, 2014

The conference “Aristotle transferred” challenges the concept of Richard Sorabji´s “Aristotle transformed” (Cornell University Press, 1990), i. e. the idea of distortion and of creativity that emerges (only) through transformation by suggesting a different model and instrument: the concept of “transfer”. This is derived from the basic conception of scientific history in premodern times underlying the research unit “Episteme in motion.”

The motions in which the ancient tradition is concerned with Aristotle can be described as forms of transfer of knowledge rather than of transformation. Inside traditions knowledge is moved by acts of transfer of knowledge. Text and context as well as their institutional representations and media undergo certain dynamics that are constituted by different forms of change and evolution: among which many are moving only bit by bit or subliminally away from the readings of their predecessors. The motions are determined substantially by continuity and stability. The processes of gaining knowledge and attaining higher levels of differentiated understanding of texts and philosophical concepts develop gradually and while permanently reflecting on tradition, on their hermeneutical methods and on the context in and for which the applied knowledge is built.

The schools of philosophy in Late Antiquity take part in social, political, religious, and general educational and cultural processes so that the teaching and learning in the different institutional frameworks themselves have to be analysed and viewed as acts of transfer. Emphasis needs to be put especially on the entanglement and mutual influence of institutions, hermeneutical process, media (especially oral learning and teaching), and philosophical thought.

Such readings of late ancient commentaries in Aristotle need to be systematical and historically comprehensive in order to present an overview of the different approaches towards hermeneutics, interpretation, the scientific and educational role of commentaries and philosophical teachers and their mutual influence in Late Antiquity. The conference wants to meet this challenges.


Christian Historiography between Empires (4th–8th Centuries)

Christian Historiography between Empires (4th–8th Centuries),  Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies (CEMS), Central European University, October 24–25, 2014

The conference will explore the construction of the Christian historiographic traditions from the fourth to the eighth century, between the Roman and the Sasanian empires first and, then, between Byzantium and the Islamic caliphates. The last decade has seen much development and many new results in the assessment of these historiographic traditions including some landmark publications. Byzantinists have explored new sources and approached well-known sources in innovative ways; new editorial and commentary projects are under way; sources in Oriental languages ceased to be the subject of the Orientalist disciplines and entered the major historiographic discourse; areas previously considered peripheral entered the mainstream narrative; narrative genres that previously had been neglected as having little value as historical sources, such as hagiography, have been re-evaluated. Readers have become less prone to accept everything at face value and more sensitive to hidden meanings and allusions. The present conference intends to take stock of these developments and explore the ways forward.

The Emperor Julian

The Emperor Julian, panel at the 2016 Society for Classical Studies Meeting, sponsored by the Society for Late Antiquity, San Francisco, January 7–10, 2016

Julian ruled as sole emperor for less than 20 months between November 361 and June 363; however, his reign is among of the best attested periods of ancient history, and more of his writings survive than of any previous Roman emperor. The last pagan emperor was also the first emperor born in Constantinople, and the first to have been baptized and brought up as a Christian. His religious reversal made Julian the object of intense interest debate for contemporaries such as Libanius, Gregory Nazianzen, and Ammianus Marcellinus (recently illuminated in Gregory’s case by Susanna Elm’s Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church); he continued to provoke fascination throughout the Byzantine period and for historians and writers since the renaissance, including among many others Gibbon, Ibsen, and Cavafy. Interest in his religious reaction and the vivid personality revealed in his and his contemporaries’ writings has stimulated numerous popular biographies and biographically oriented scholarly works, and to some extent overshadowed literary interest in his works (though see now Nicholas Baker Brian and Shaun Tougher (eds.), Emperor and Author),or interpretation of his actions in the broader context of fourth-century political history. His context in the religious history of the period might merit further attention in the light of contrasting recent views of the religious history of the fourth century from Alan Cameron and Peter Brown. We invite proposals for papers on Julian as politician, as author, or as thinker; on the relationship between his actions and his writing; on Julian in the context of fourth-century literature and history; and on perceptions of Julian, whether by contemporaries or by later historians and creative artists.

Arguing It Out: Discussion in Byzantium III. Jews and Muslims

Arguing it out: discussion in Byzantium III. Jews and Muslims, lecture by Averil Cameron, Department of Medieval Studies, CEU, October 22 at 5:30pm

Part of the 2014 Natalie Zemon Davis Annual Lecture Series
The social and cultural history of Byzantium seems at first sight unsuited to the kind of thick description at which Natalie Zemon Davis excels. Yet recent scholarship that aims to locate Byzantine culture and society within new global and transnational approaches to history demands a more nuanced understanding. In these lectures Prof. Cameron will explore the question of what kind of thick description can be provided. She will focus on the long twelfth century, a time of intense creativity as well as of rising tensions, and one for which literary approaches are currently a lively area in current scholarship. She will argue for their integration within a broader approach to Byzantine social and cultural history focusing on discourse, and drawing on the many kinds of dialogue texts (secular and religious) that were a key feature of Byzantine textual production.

Jews and Muslims
Dialogues composed by Christians with, or rather against, Jews, and later also with Muslims, were composed in Greek from late antiquity throughout the Byzantine period. However, actual circumstances changed greatly over this long span of time.  Why did such works continue to be written and how do they relate to other types of writing? This lecture takes a broader view than lectures 1 and 2, also bearing in mind the changes after 1204, and relates these works to social and cultural circumstances in Byzantium, the west and the wider Mediterranean context. It concludes with suggestions for a more integrated social and cultural history of Byzantium.

Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, or Reader in Art History, University of Essex

The School of Philosophy and Art History at the University of Essex is pleased to invite applications for a post with the rank of Lecturer (with eligibility for permanency), Senior Lecturer, or Reader. We are well represented in 20th and 21st century art and visual culture, and particularly seek someone with expertise in the history of art, architecture, and/or visual culture between the dates of 1300 and 1850.

You will be expected to carry out a vigorous programme of independent research, to contribute broadly to teaching and supervision activities within the School, and to participate in the usual range of administrative duties. Essential qualifications for the post include: a PhD (or one awaiting examination) in Art History or a related discipline, or equivalent professional experience; evidence of research excellence; experience of teaching in a higher education environment or the demonstrable potential for excellence in teaching.

Female Bodies and Female Practitioners, Medical Traditions of the Late Antique Mediterranean World

Female Bodies and Female Practitioners in the Medical Traditions of the Late Antique Mediterranean World, Berlin, October 27–29, 2014

Gynaecology and obstetrics form an important part of human medical knowledge. As early as Graeco-Roman antiquity, gynaecology emerged as a distinct discipline within medical theory. This subfield of medical inquiry comprised a large store of ideas about anatomy (‘seeds’, embryo, sexual organs, etc.), bodily functions and physiological processes (conception, pregnancy, menstruation, etc.). Furthermore, several diseases or dysfunctions were specifically described and examples of diagnosis, prognosis and therapy were discussed and collected (e.g. by Soranus of Ephesus).

Although Galen did not write a treatise specifically about gynaecology, his immense oeuvre contains many remarks about women’s illnesses or obstetrics. These and material from Soranus and other sources, some of them now lost, were collected and used selectively by the compilers of the late antique/early Byzantine medical encyclopaedias, who also discuss the criteria for choosing the right midwife or wet-nurse. Oribasius, Aetius of Amida and Paul of Aegina all transmit earlier knowledge, some of it filtered through their own experience, and in the case of Paul it was his gynaecology in particular that made him famous in the Arab world, where he was known as ‘the Obstetrician’.

Questions about gynaecological issues in the broadest sense play an important role in the rabbinic, Talmudic tradition. This is due to the detailed commandments regarding ritual purity and other religious (halakhic) prescriptions that touch upon sexuality, pregnancy and childbirth. Since no particular work can be found which is exclusively related to gynaecology, the literary or discursive embeddedness of Talmudic passages on this topic in their differing contexts are of crucial importance.

The conference aims at discussing the emergence and transmission of gynaecological knowledge from different angles in ancient medical theory and practice. Beside the medical approach, we will consider cultural practices and socio-religious norms that enable and constrain the production and application of gynaecological know-how (e.g. certain taboos on examining or touching the female body, etc.). The role and function of female specialists (e.g. healers, midwives or wet-nurses) as objects and subjects within ancient medical discourses will also be elaborated in further detail.

The combination of topics from various disciplines will provide ample possibilities for a comparative exploration of this field. The multi-perspective approach will help to sharpen our understanding of similarities and differences between Talmudic knowledge on this topic and the medical traditions in Ancient Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Graeco-Roman, Persian, Byzantine, and Syriac cultures.


Assistant Professor of Eastern Mediterranean, University of Maryland, College Park

The Department of Art History & Archaeology at the University of Maryland, College Park, invites applications for a full-time, tenure-track appointment in the art history and archaeology of the eastern Mediterranean at the rank of Assistant Professor, to begin in the fall of 2015 or as soon as possible thereafter. Candidates should be able to teach courses in the field of eastern Mediterranean art history, architecture, and archaeology and should demonstrate high scholarly potential. (Candidates’ specialization may fall in any geographical area of the eastern Mediterranean and in any time period from the Iron Age to Late Antiquity.) Interest in cross-disciplinary teaching and research with faculty in other fields at the University of Maryland, as well as collaboration with curators at area museums, will be welcome. Candidates should have an interdisciplinary specialization in the art, archaeology, and sociocultural history of the eastern Mediterranean. A Ph.D. in Art History or a related field is required for appointment.

Faculty are expected to make significant contributions to knowledge through innovative research and publication, to teach and advise with excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and to fulfill reasonable service obligations to the academic and local communities. We are looking for outstanding scholars with an interest in the broad context of the history of art and architecture in the eastern Mediterranean and who are committed to contributing diverse perspectives to the department, the university, and the community.

Post-Doctoral Research Associate, UMass Amherst

The University of Massachusetts Amherst invites applicants for a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellowship linked to the Sawyer Seminar, “Beyond Medieval and Modern: Rethinking Global Paradigms of Political Economy and Culture.” We seek a humanist or social scientist studying global connectivities within alternative periodizations or mappings of world history, political economy, or culture.  We especially welcome applications from scholars with knowledge of  world historiography who:  study periods before western European hegemony and/or regions outside of western Europe, and give attention to the role of these periods or places in the so-called “rise of modernity” after 1500 (including any of its dimensions--political, cultural, economic, ideological).

Responsibilities: Participate in the full seminar series (including seminar paper presentation, public lecture, and attendance at all events); help to organize seminar events; mentor graduate students, individually and in a multi-meeting research workshop.  No formal teaching.  The fellow will also be assigned a faculty mentor, affiliated with an appropriate department in the Humanities or Social Sciences.

Charlotte Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship

The Charlotte W. Newcombe Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships are designed to encourage original and significant study of ethical or religious values in all fields of the humanities and social sciences, and particularly to help Ph.D. candidates in these fields complete their dissertation work in a timely manner. In addition to topics in religious studies or in ethics (philosophical or religious), dissertations appropriate to the Newcombe Fellowship competition might explore the ethical implications of foreign policy, the values influencing political decisions, the moral codes of other cultures, and religious or ethical issues reflected in history or literature.

Since the first round of competition in 1981, more than 1,100 Newcombe Fellows have been named. Fellows from early years of the program are now senior faculty members at major research universities and selective liberal arts colleges, curators and directors at significant scholarly archives, and leaders and policymakers at nonprofit organizations and in cabinet-level government agencies. In the past decade, national honors such as the MacArthur Fellowship, the Guggenheim Fellowship, and election to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences have been accorded to more than a dozen Newcombe Fellows—a number that will continue to grow as more and more Fellows enter the most productive phases of their careers.

The Newcombe Fellowships are provided to Ph.D. candidates at American institutions located in the United States who will complete their dissertations during the academic year 2015-2016. In the current Newcombe competition, at least 22 non-renewable Fellowships of $25,000 will be awarded for 12 months of full-time dissertation writing; in addition, Fellows' graduate schools will be asked to waive tuition and/or remit some portion of their fees. Successful candidates will be notified, and the public announcement of new Fellows made, in spring 2015.

Travellers, Merchants and Settlers in the Eastern Mediterranean, 11th–14th Centuries

…he author’s layered categorisations explore Westerners’ interactions with the local social, cultural, economic, and political environment(s). Such a framework helps to open up room for more nuanced understandings of the Eastern Mediterranean between the 11th century and the 14th century.

David Jacoby. Travellers, Merchants and Settlers in the Eastern Mediterranean, 11th–14th Centuries. Ashgate, 2014.

From Reviews in History. Review by Wei-sheng Lin, University of Birmingham

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Research Fellowships, Magdalene College, Cambridge

The Governing Body of Magdalene College expects to elect two stipendiary Research Fellows with tenure for three years from 1 October 2015. (The Nevile Fellowship, endowed through the generosity of Trinity College, Cambridge, will be in the Sciences; the Lumley Fellowship, endowed through the generosity of H R L Lumley, will be in the Humanities).

Applications are invited from graduates, male or female, from any university. Candidates should normally have completed two or three years of research and may have written a PhD dissertation.

Junior Research Fellowships, University of Cambridge

Applications are invited for Junior Research Fellowships in arts and social science subjects. These will normally be tenable for three years from 1 October 2015. The Fellowships are open to graduates, men or women, of any University, with no age limit, but will normally be awarded to candidates who have recently completed their PhD or are close to completion. The function of these Fellowships is as initial (normally) post-doctoral positions appropriate to the start of an academic career.

Churchill College, Fitzwilliam College, Murray Edwards College, Selwyn College, St Edmund’s College and Trinity Hall operate a Joint Application Scheme for Junior Research Fellowships. Applications will be considered by all Colleges offering Fellowships in the relevant subject.

Medieval Greek Summer Session, Gennadius Library

Medieval Greek Summer Session, Gennadius Library, Athens, June 30–July 29, 2015

The Gennadius Library of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens announces the 2015 summer session focused on the teaching of Medieval Greek.

The month-long program for Medieval Greek at the Intermediate Level from June 30 to July 29, 2015 will include daily analysis and translation of Byzantine texts; paleography; introduction to the bibliography of Byzantine philology and electronic resources; introduction to the collections of the Gennadius Library; visits to area museums and libraries including the Byzantine, the Benaki, and the Epigraphical Museum and the National Library; visits to sites, museums, and monuments outside Athens including Corinth, Mistra, Thessaloniki, and Hosios Loukas; and individual tutorials and assignments for each student determined by his/her specific needs and field of study. The language of instruction is English. Plan to arrive on June 29 and depart on July 30.

The program is offered at the intermediate level, and will be geared to twelve qualified students enrolled in a graduate program in any field of late antique, post-antique, Byzantine or medieval studies at any university worldwide. A minimum of two years of college level Classical Greek (or the equivalent) is required. If there are available slots, college professors in any university worldwide, who have no access to the instruction of Medieval Greek in their home institutions, may also be considered. A diagnostic test (available electronically) may be administered to finalists before the final selection of students is made.

The American School is not a degree-granting institution. No grades are given for its programs, nor are transcripts provided. An optional final exam at the end of the program may be provided if requested, and the directors will write a letter to the participant’s home institution, if requested, recommending that credit be granted, provided that the student has satisfactorily participated in the program and passed the final exam.

In previous years, a generous grant from the A.G. Leventis Foundation has made possible up to 12 full scholarships for the Medieval Greek Summer Session. These Leventis Foundation scholarships will cover the costs of tuition and fees, lodging for the entire period, travel with the program within Greece, and museum and site fees. International airfare to and from Greece, meals, and incidental expenses are the participant’s responsibility.

Greek Medical Texts and Their Audience

Greek Medical Texts and Their Audience: Perception, Transmission, Reception, King’s College London, December 12–13, 2014

The idea that every text is meant to appeal to a certain audience is not a new one, but it is only recently that it has engaged much scholarly discussion, especially in light of the application of reception theory to literary works. This conference, convened by Petros Bouras-Vallianatos (King's College London) and Sophia Xenophontos (University of Glasgow), seeks to examine the interplay between Greek medical texts and their contemporary readers. Special attention will be given to the reception of these texts in later periods (for instance Late Antiquity and Byzantium) including the Syriac and Islamic tradition.

We aim to explore the following topics:

  • How do medical authors adjust their text according to the needs and expectations of their audience? (structure of medical texts and medical subgenres as aspects determining wide vs specialised readership)
  • Other conditions that may regulate, control, or limit the reception of medical writings (e.g. background of author and reader, degree of shared memory between them)
  • Deciphering medical texts; mechanisms for activating or enhancing the reader’s memory (e.g. rhetorics, visual representations, diagrams)
  • Cognitive and emotional responses to medical works
  • Translators/editors and their role in the transmission and reception of medical texts
  • Commentaries, scholia, paraphrases


Coptic Art, Dikran Kelekian, and Milton Avery

Coptic Art, Dikran Kelekian, and Milton Avery,The Metropolitan Museum of Art, August 11, 2014–September 7, 2015

A 1943 portrait by the renowned modern American painter Milton Avery (1885–1965) of his friend Dikran Kelekian—a noted collector of modern paintings, Coptic, and Islamic art, and an influential dealer in Middle Eastern art of all periods—is the centerpiece of this installation. It is shown alongside twenty textiles and decorative objects created in Egypt between 300 and 800 A.D. Many are from the collection of works from Egypt that Kelekian began to acquire in the late 1800s. In addition to textile fragments, the installation includes a statuette, a necklace, and a comb.

The presentation presents one example of Kelekian's success in encouraging contemporary artists to become interested in ancient art, especially Coptic art. Avery depicts the dealer before a background decorated with sketchily drawn Coptic textile patterns that are arranged as if roughly sewn together into a hanging. The motifs are similar to those on works in the exhibition.

Kelekian's generation called the works Coptic in reference to Egypt's dominant Christian community at the time they were discovered in burial sites in the late nineteenth century. Their motifs referring to Greek and Roman mythology were associated with the conquest of Egypt by Alexander the Great in 332 B.C. Recent research places these works within the larger sphere of Mediterranean culture, as they are displayed at the Met, rather than limiting them to being an Egyptian Coptic phenomenon.

Dikran Garabed Kelekian (1868–1951) was born in the Armenian community in Kayseri, when it was an important city of the Ottoman Empire. After opening a gallery in Istanbul in 1892, he showed "Persian" works at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. He and his brother Kevork went on to establish galleries in Paris, London, Cairo, and New York that attracted the major collectors of their time. He cultivated friendships with artists including Milton Avery as well as Mary Cassatt, Marsden Hartley, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, and John Singer Sargent, among others. His American clients included such collectors as George Blumenthal, H. O. and Louisine Havemeyer (whom he escorted through Egypt), and John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (to whom he sold monumental friezes from the palace of Ashurnasirpal II at Nimrud, which Rockefeller eventually gave to the Metropolitan Museum). A small faience statue of a hippopotamus—the Museum's unofficial mascot, known as "William"—was also owned by Kelekian before it was acquired by the Metropolitan.

Milton Avery (1885–1965) was an American artist who came to Kelekian's attention in the dealer's old age. Avery and his friend Marsden Hartley knew Kelekian while he was in New York. Avery's portrait of Kelekian was first shown in the exhibition Kelekian as the Artist Sees Him, held at the Durand-Ruel Galleries in New York in 1944.

2015 ASOR Annual Meeting

2015 ASOR Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA, November 18–21, 2015

ASOR members may propose Member-Organized Sessions around a specific theme, or Workshop Sessions that minimize formal presentation in favor of open discussion. Sessions and workshops may be approved for up to 3 years and can accommodate presenters invited by the session chair as well as papers submitted by ASOR members (with the approval of the session chair).

In the Shadow of the Nation: A Critical Approach to the Issue of ‘Byzantine Identity’

In the Shadow of the Nation: A Critical Approach to the Issue of ‘Byzantine Identity,’ Seeger Center for Hellenic Studies, Princeton University, October 17, 2014, at 1:30

Workshop convened by Yannis Stouraitis, University of Vienna, Visiting Research Fellow, Hellenic Studies

Respondent: Helmut Reimitz, History

The intensive sociological debate over the concepts of ethnie and nation during the last three decades or so is marked by efforts to extensively revise or even dismiss the dominant modernist paradigm regarding the emergence of the phenomena nationhood and nation-state. These theoretical developments are not irrelevant to medievalist research on collective identity in the so-called Byzantine Empire. In summarizing my arguments in two current publications on Romanness in Byzantium, I shall present my critical approach to both aforementioned theses and suggest that the conceptualization of collective identity (or identities) in this medieval social order needs to be disconnected from essentialist and reifying views on perennial ethnicity as well as from a toothless application of the analytical categories nation and nation-state.

Yannies Stouraitis is a full-time researcher and adjunct lecturer at the Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies at the University of Vienna. He obtained his B.A. in History (1999) and M.A. in Medieval Studies (2002) from the University of Ioannina, and received his Ph.D. in Byzantine History from the University of Vienna (2007). He is the author of the monograph Krieg und Frieden in der politischen und ideologischen Wahrnehmung in Byzanz (7.–11. Jahrhundert) (2009) and co-editor of the book Byzantine war ideology between Roman Imperial Concept and Christian Religion (2012). He is now preparing a new monograph on the socio-ideological background of Byzantine warfare during the Crusades (1081–1204). His current research focuses on questions of subaltern ideology, social power and collective identities in the post-sixth century Byzantine world.

Liturgical Subjects

Derek Krueger. Liturgical Subjects: Christian Ritual, Biblical Narrative, and the Formation of the Self in Byzantium. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2014.

From University of Pennsylvania Press

Liturgical Subjects examines the history of the self in the Byzantine Empire, challenging narratives of Christian subjectivity that focus only on classical antiquity and the Western Middle Ages. As Derek Krueger demonstrates, Orthodox Christian interior life was profoundly shaped by patterns of worship introduced and disseminated by Byzantine clergy. Hymns, prayers, and sermons transmitted complex emotional responses to biblical stories, particularly during Lent. Religious services and religious art taught congregants who they were in relation to God and each other.

Focusing on Christian practice in Constantinople from the sixth to eleventh centuries, Krueger charts the impact of the liturgical calendar, the eucharistic rite, hymns for vigils and festivals, and scenes from the life of Christ on the making of Christian selves. He explores the verse of great Byzantine liturgical poets, including Romanos the Melodist, Andrew of Crete, Theodore the Stoudite, and Symeon the New Theologian. Their compositions offered templates for Christian self-regard and self-criticism, defining the Christian "I." Cantors, choirs, and congregations sang in the first person singular expressing guilt and repentence, while prayers and sermons defined the collective identity of the Christian community as sinners in need of salvation. By examining the way models of selfhood were formed, performed, and transmitted in the Byzantine Empire, Liturgical Subjects adds a vital dimension to the history of the self in Western culture.

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Senior Scholar in Residence at CAARI

An established scholar who commits to stay at least 30 days in succession at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI), ideally during the summer months, and to be available in evenings and weekends to younger scholars working there, in return for 50% reduction in residency rate. Must have PhD in archaeology or ancillary field for at least 5 years prior to visit, be fluent in English (but may be of any nationality), and be committed to mentoring students. Travel and other expenses are not covered.

CARRI/CAORC Research Fellowships

Two fellowships funded by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs through a grant from the Council of American Overseas Research Centers. The fellowships provide US $5500 each and are designed for scholars in the humanities, social sciences, and related natural sciences who already have their PhDs, whose research engages the archaeology, history, culture, or geography of Cyprus, and who would derive significant benefit from a month’s research time on the island. Recipients will receive up to US $1500 to be used for transportation and an additional US $4000 for research expenses on the island. Particular consideration will be given to applicants whose projects will enable them to include Cyprus in their teaching. A minimum of 30 days residence at the Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) is required. Recipients will present a public lecture or workshop on their research at CAARI during their residency, file a report on their project at its conclusion, and acknowledge CAARI in publications resulting from research done there. Applicants must be U.S. citizens.

CAARI Graduate Student Fellowships

The Cyprus American Archaeological Research Institute (CAARI) in Nicosia, Cyprus sponsors three fellowships for graduate students whose research requires work on Cyprus itself. Residence at CAARI is required for all graduate student fellowships.

The Danielle Parks Memorial Fellowship
This is a fellowship of US $1,000 for a graduate student of any nationality who needs to work in Cyprus to further his/her research on a subject of relevance to Cypriot archaeology and culture. The purpose of the fellowship is to help cover travel to and living expenses in Cyprus. Applications are invited especially from students of Hellenistic and Roman Cyprus. During his/her stay, the fellow is expected to give a presentation at CAARI on a subject related to his/her research.

The Helena Wylde Swiny and Stuart Swiny Fellowship
One grant of US $1,000 to a graduate student of any nationality in a college or university in the U.S. or Canada to pursue a research project that is relevant to an ongoing field project in Cyprus or that requires work on Cyprus itself. The award is to be used to fund research time spent in residence at CAARI and to help defray costs of travel.

The Anita Cecil O’Donovan Fellowship
Founded in memory of musician, composer, and homemaker Anita Cecil O'Donovan, this fellowship offers one grant of US $1000 to a graduate student of any nationality, enrolled in a graduate program in any nation, to pursue research on a project relevant to the archaeology and/or culture of Cyprus; to be used to fund a period of research time in residence at CAARI and to help defray costs of travel.

Movement in Medieval Art and Architecture

Movement in Medieval Art and Architecture, 20th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Student Colloquium, The Courtauld Institute of Art, February 7, 2015

Pilgrimage, wars and trade are key components of the Middle Ages and all embody movement. This colloquium aims at exploring the importance of movement in the creative processes of medieval art and architecture. Participants are invited to interpret the notion of movement especially in relation to itinerant artists and workshops, the circulation of artworks and the transmission of ideas. Movement will be questioned as a transformative and creative agent in art, in theory as well as in practice. This theme can be expanded to include both local and trans-cultural outcomes of exchanges, ranging from adoption to compromise and rejection. All these encounters show that movement was essential in the creation of art and architecture, whether in Europe, in the Byzantine Empire or beyond, coinciding with the emergence of new artistic trends and reciprocal influences.

Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

the circulation of artifacts via diplomatic relations and trade routes
the spread of new technologies
the diffusion of iconographical themes
the dissemination of architectonic vocabulary
the role played by drawings in the transmission of art and architecture

The Medieval Colloquium offers the opportunity for Research Students at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present and promote their research. Unfortunately funding for speakers is not available.



for Byzantine Arts and Culture

Founded in 2010 through a generous gift from the Jaharis Family Foundation, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is dedicated to the promotion and advancement of knowledge about the rich heritage of Byzantine art and culture.

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