The Emperor Theophilos and the East, 829–842

Juan Signes Codoñer. The Emperor Theophilos and the East, 829–842: Court and Frontier in Byzantium during the Last Phase of Iconoclasm. Birmingham Byzantine and Ottoman Studies: 13. Ashgate, 2014.

From Ashgate

Modern historiography has become accustomed to portraying the emperor Theophilos of Byzantium (829-842) in a favourable light, taking at face value the legendary account that makes of him a righteous and learned ruler, and excusing as ill fortune his apparent military failures against the Muslims. The present book considers events of the period that are crucial to our understanding of the reign and argues for a more balanced assessment of it.

The focus lies on the impact of Oriental politics on the reign of Theophilos, the last iconoclast emperor. After introductory chapters, setting out the context in which he came to power, separate sections are devoted to the influence of Armenians at the court, the enrolment of Persian rebels against the caliphate in the Byzantine army, the continuous warfare with the Arabs and the cultural exchange with Baghdad, the Khazar problem, and the attitude of the Christian Melkites towards the iconoclast emperor. The final chapter reassesses the image of the emperor as a good ruler, building on the conclusions of the previous sections.

The book reinterprets major events of the period and their chronology, and sets in a new light the role played by figures like Thomas the Slav, Manuel the Armenian or the Persian Theophobos, whose identity is established from a better understanding of the sources.

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Western Association for Slavic Studies Annual Conference

Western Association for Slavic Studies (WASS) Annual Conference, Portland, April 8–11, 2015

Plan to join us for the annual Western Association for Slavic Studies (WASS) conference. This year our host organization, the Western Social Science Association (WSSA), is holding its 57th annual conference in Portland, Oregon on April 8–11, 2015.

We invite proposals for individual papers, complete panels, and roundtable presentations in all areas of studies on Eastern Europe, the Balkans, Russia, the former Soviet Union, and Central Asia. The topics may include any aspect of economy, politics, and culture with a broad chronological span from the Middle Ages to present.  Contributions are encouraged from disciplines including (but not limited to): anthropology, archeology, architecture, arts, communication, cultural studies, demography, economics, education, environment, ethnic and minority studies, film, gender studies, geography, history, international relations, Jewish studies, law, linguistics, literature, political science, psychology, religion, sociology, theatre, travel and tourism.  Graduate student proposals will also be considered.

For papers, please include the following:
Title of Presentation/Panel
Name, Affiliation, and Email Address
Other Authors and contact information
Abstract (not to exceed 200 words)

For panels, submit the title of each paper.  If you do not have a chair or discussant, we will work with you to find one. Please indicate if you would like to serve as discussant.

Please submit proposals to Evguenia Davidova.

The WASS encourages graduate student participation.  The best graduate paper presented will win a $100 prize and will be eligible for the graduate student paper prize sponsored by the ASEEES.

Assistant Professor of Classics, College of Charleston

The Department of Classics at the College of Charleston invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor, beginning August 16, 2015. We seek an archaeologist with a demonstrable research interest in the cultures of the central or western Mediterranean, which will contribute to the College’s major in Archaeology and provide curricular and research opportunities for students working in Archaeology, Classics, and a variety of majors. The ability to teach Latin and/or Greek language is also essential. The course-load is 3/3. A Ph.D. in Classics or Archaeology is required by the time of appointment.

The Department of Classics has 7 faculty members and enjoys strong enrollments in Latin, Greek, Greek and Roman culture, history, and archaeology.

The Door of the Sanctuary: A Place of Transition

The Door of the Sanctuary: A Place of Transition, VU University, Amsterdam, May 27–29, 2015

In sanctuaries, the boundaries between the profane and the sacred are marked by doors on different levels, either physical or symbolic: gateways in a precinct, the outer doors of a temple or church, the inner doors of a cella or holy of holies. Pagans and Christians have recorded their perceptions of these liminal spaces in literature, giving us a glimpse of their emotions and ideas. What did someone entering a pagan or Christian sanctuary see, hear, smell, feel? Who was excluded at the door, who was admitted? What symbolic meaning did a door have? What continuities and changes can be identified in Late Antiquity?

The conference aims to elucidate the transition from the worldly to the divine by focusing on the door of the sanctuary during Late Antiquity, a key period of transition in which, with the spread of Christianity, cultural paradigms were redefined. With pagans and Christians living side by side there were many religious debates. During this period, description of churches developed into a specific genre. An early example in the Greek East is Eusebius’ description (in his Ecclesiastical History X.4.37ss.) of the church of Tyre built by the bishop Paulinus (ca. 316–

317). The door plays a decisive role in this description. A similar example in the Latin West is the description of the doors of the basilica of Felix by Paulinus of Nola, in Letter 32 and Carmina 27 and 28.

The theme of the conference, the experience of the sanctuary door as a place of transition, will be addressed by an interdisciplinary and dynamic approach. This will embrace literary and material sources from the 3rd to the 8th centuries CE, from different regions of the Mediterranean world and from different linguistic, religious and cultural contexts. It will deal with sensory perceptions (light, music, smell, touch) and intellectual perceptions (symbolic meanings). A further dimension to this theme may be added by comparative studies from other religions, i.e. papers on the door of the sanctuary in Judaism and Islam.

It is intended that participants of the conference (some 10–15 persons) will come from different disciplines: specialists in Greek and Latin, archaeology, art history and history of religion. Each participant  should aim to deliver a transdisciplinary paper on the door of the sanctuary in pagan or Christian Late Antiquity, in the Greek East or in the Latin West. He/she should depart from his/her own field of expertise, relate material, sociological, ritual and symbolic aspects to each other and explore different kinds of experiences as fully as possible. During the conference,participants will work together as an interdisciplinary team. Each participant will present his/her paper in plenary sessions and act as a referee to the paper of another participant from another discipline. The results of the conference – an introduction and a selection of representative papers – will be published in a thematic volume.

The Life and Works of Severus of Antioch in the Coptic and Copto-Arabic Tradition

Youhanna Youssef. The Life and Works of Severus of Antioch in the Coptic and Copto-Arabic Tradition. Gorgias Eastern Christian Studies 28. Gorgias Press, 2014.

From Gorgias Press

Severus of Antioch is by far the most prolific and well known theologian of the non-Chalcedonian churches. Although his life and writings came to our knowledge in Syriac, gaining him the title “Crown of the Syriac Literature,” many texts relating to his life and works survived in the Coptic and Copto-Arabic tradition, as well as a number of other texts that were traditionally attributed to him. This book provides an analysis of the remaining texts in Coptic and in Copto-Arabic, as well as the texts ascribed to Severus. The last part of the book deals with the veneration of Severus of Antioch in the Coptic Church.

Tales from Byzantium

Tales from Byzantium, The Art Institute of Chicago, Fullerton Hall, September 27, 2014, 2:00–4:00 pm

To celebrate the opening of Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections, Jenny Albani, Ministry of Culture and Sports, Greece, and Anastasia Drandaki, Benaki Museum, Athens, provide overviews of Byzantine culture and the exhibition.

Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections, The Art Institute of Chicago

Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections, The Art Institute of Chicago, September 27, 2014–February 15, 2015

Heaven and Earth: Art of Byzantium from Greek Collections presents 63 superb artworks from the early Christian and Byzantine eras in the Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art. Originally exhibited at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the exhibition represents major artistic holdings from Greece—many of which have never been exhibited outside that country—consisting of shimmering mosaics, architectural fragments, manuscripts, luxury glass, silver, personal adornments, liturgical textiles, and painted icons. The Art Institute’s display offers a selection of exceptional works from the original exhibition, including the debut of the 14th-century Icon of Saint Prokopios.

For over 1,000 years, Greece was part of the vast Byzantine Empire, established in 330 A.D. by the emperor Constantine, who moved the capital of the Roman Empire eastwards to a small town named Byzantium in modern-day Turkey. Renamed and transformed into Constantinople, Byzantium would later lend its name to an empire of splendor and power that endured for more than a millennium. Greek replaced Latin as the language of the empire, and Greece itself was home to important centers of theology, scholarship, and artistic production. Heaven and Earth explores the rich legacy of the Byzantine Empire through five main themes: the transition from the Classical to the Byzantine world, spiritual life, intellectual life, the pleasures of life, and crosscurrents between East and West during the final days of the empire in the 15th century.

AAH Careers Day, Barber Institute of Fine Arts

AAH Careers Day, Barber Institute of Fine Arts, University of Birmingham, October 25, 2014

These one-day events are intended to introduce people to options for future career development in art historical fields, and to set out the sorts of opportunities which may be available to students of art history. Careers Days are organised annually by the Association of Art Historians Student Members Committee.

This event is primarily aimed at undergraduate students and recent graduates who are interested in pursuing a career in the increasingly competitive arts and heritage sectors.

The Careers Day will bring together a wide-range of speakers from leading cultural institutions who will share their professional experiences and expertise in areas including curatorship, art management, gallery marketing and education, and research.

Through a series of informal talks followed by Q&A sessions, you will have the opportunity to explore different careers possibilities in the art world, and gain insight into what these professional positions might entail. Refreshments will be provided during breaks between sessions, when you will have the chance to talk informally with the speakers.

Speakers include:

  • Reyahn King (Head of Heritage Lottery Fund West Midlands)
  • Connie Wan (Pop Art Curator, Wolverhampton Art Gallery)
  • Sarah Shirley-Priest (Director, Bonhams Knowle)
  • Jane Thompson Webb (Conservator, Birmingham Museums Trust)
  • Alex Jolly (Learning & Access Assistant, Barber Institute of Fine Arts)
  • Hannah Carroll (Marketing Officer, Birmingham Museums)
  • Carly Hegenbarth (Doctoral Researcher, University of Birmingham)
  • Chris Packham (Careers Consultant, Arts and Law, University of Birmingham)

AAH members: £8
non-members: £12

Places are limited and tickets must be bought in advance.

Cotsen Excavation Grants, Archaeological Institute of America

The Cotsen Excavation Grant Program provides two grants per year of up to $25,000 each.

  • One will be for a first time director launching a new project
  • One will be open to all professionals working in the field

Applicants must be AIA members in good standing and must have a Ph.D. in archaeology or related field.

Applicants must be the primary permit holder for the excavation. Permits must be obtained before funds are dispersed.

The AIA will not fund overhead costs. Please note that funds may not be used for survey expenses and equipment, publication, or for salaries for principal investigators, or to purchase land. Potential applicants are invited to consult about what other expenses are allowable before submitting their narratives and budgets.

Successful applications will clearly demonstrate the impact of the project and the critical need for AIA funding. Although combining AIA with other sources of support is allowed, a Cotsen grant should be central to the success of the project.

Olivia James Traveling Fellowship, Archaeological Institute of America

For travel and study to be conducted between July 1 of the award year and the following June 30. Preference will be given to projects of at least a half-year's duration. The award is to be used for travel and study in Greece (the modern state), Cyprus, the Aegean Islands, Sicily, southern Italy (that is, the Italian provinces of Campania, Molise, Apulia, Basilicata, and Calabria), Asia Minor (Turkey) or Mesopotamia (that is, the territory between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, that is modern Iraq and parts of northern Syria and eastern Turkey). Although the proposal may require travel outside these areas, the majority of travel proposed must be within them. The award is not intended to support field excavation projects.  AIA fellowship funds may not be used for institutional overhead, institutional administrative recovery costs, or institutional indirect costs.

Applicant must be a United States citizen. To be eligible, applicants must be members of the AIA at the time of application and until the end of the fellowship term.  Preference will be given to individuals engaged in dissertation research or to those who received their Ph.D. within five years of the application deadline. Recipients may not hold other major fellowships during the requested tenure of the Olivia James award.

John R. Coleman Traveling Fellowship, Archaeological Institute of America

The fellowship honors the memory of John R. Coleman, whose premature death deprived the field of a scholar of unusual integrity and promise.  John R. Coleman graduated magna cum laude at Harvard University, held a Fulbright Fellowship at the University of Bonn, and pursued graduate study at Princeton University. He excavated at Aphrodisias and Morgantina. The Coleman Fellowship is to be used for travel and study in Italy, the western Mediterranean, or North Africa, between July 1 of the award year and the following June 30. The award may not support field excavation projects, nor may AIA fellowship funds be used for institutional overhead, administrative recovery costs, or indirect costs.

Applicants must be members of the AIA at the time of application; the recipient should remain a member until the end of the fellowship term and subsequent submission of an abstract and/or presentation at the annual meeting. Applicants must be engaged in dissertation research in a U.S. graduate program.

Museum Exhibitions and Programs Coordinator, Dumbarton Oaks

Under the supervision of the Museum Director, the Exhibitions and Programs Coordinator is responsible for the coordination of museum special exhibitions, rotations of permanent collections (to include Byzantine Main and Courtyard Galleries, Textile Gallery, Bliss Gallery, Orientation Gallery, and Pre-Columbian Galleries), and any installation changes within the Museum’s permanent galleries. The Exhibitions and Programs Coordinator assists with the exhibition-making process from development and design to building and installation, monitors the display throughout the run of an exhibition to determine if maintenance is necessary (on AV equipment, labels, etc.), and de-installation. The Exhibitions and Programs Coordinator may also coordinate all museum-related special events, public programming, and academic initiatives, and creates and distributes museum-related press, marketing, and promotional materials.

The Panoplia Dogmatike by Euthymios Zygadenos

Nadia Miladinova. The Panoplia Dogmatike by Euthymios Zygadenos: A study on the first edition published in Greek in 1710. Brill, 2014.

From Brill

Created in the twelfth century, the Panoplia Dogmatike is one of the Byzantine anthologies that became a key source for Orthodox theology. The anthology is known in more than 140 Greek manuscripts. In the fourteenth century it was translated into Old Church Slavonic. The Latin translation, prepared by the Italian humanist Pietro Francesco Zini, was published in Venice in 1555 during the years of the Council of Trent.
The first printed edition of the Greek text came relatively late – in 1710 in the Romanian Principality of Wallachia. By examining the reasons for this publication, the book gives snapshots of the history of this authoritative anthology in the early modern period and uses sources until now not related to the Panoplia.

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Visiting Research Scholar Program, ISAW

Each year the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World makes about 7 appointments of visiting research scholars.

ISAW's scope embraces research and graduate education in the history, archaeology, and culture of the entire Old World from late prehistoric times to the eighth century AD, including Asia and Africa. Projects of a theoretical or comparative nature relevant to this domain are also welcome. Academic visitors at ISAW should be individuals of scholarly distinction or promise in any relevant field of ancient studies who will benefit from the stimulation of working in an environment with colleagues in other disciplines. Applicants with a history of interdisciplinary exchange are particularly welcome. They will be expected to be in residence at the Institute during the period for which they are appointed and to take part in the intellectual life of the community.

Visiting Research Scholars at ISAW have access to the Institute's own library, as well as to a wide range of other libraries at NYU, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (located a block away), and other institutions in New York City including Columbia University and the New York Public Library. Scholars are provided with their own carrel workspace.

ISAW is prepared to host visiting research scholars in three categories:

  • (1) Visiting Assistant Professors, appointed for two years: Two such visiting assistant professors will be appointed for 2015-2017. Those who have degrees in hand and will have completed the doctorate within three years of the beginning of the appointment may apply, as well as current doctoral students who will complete all requirements for the degree by June 30, 2015. Holders of these positions are appointed as faculty and will be expected to lead one research seminar at ISAW during the two-year period and teach one undergraduate course in an NYU department each year.
  • (2) Visiting Research Scholars appointed for one year with full or partial funding from ISAW: These may be at any career stage from postdoctoral to retired; the doctoral degree must be completed no later than June 30, 2015. Applicants in category 1 who are not awarded two-year fellowships will be automatically considered for category 2.  Please do not apply to both positions. Specific appointment details may vary according to situation.

Applicants for categories 1 and 2 are considered in a single competition cycle with a fixed deadline each year.

  • (3) Externally-funded Scholars: ISAW is prepared to consider applications from postdoctoral scholars with their own funding from another source. These scholars have the same community privileges as the other two categories and are expected to participate in the Institute’s life in the same fashion but do not receive any financial support from ISAW. Applicants in the category must apply at least one semester in advance of their anticipated start date.

Destruction and Documentation: Saving Syria’s Cultural Heritage

Destruction and Documentation: Saving Syria’s Cultural Heritage, lecture by Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis, The Center for the Humanities, The Graduate Center, CUNY (Rm C198), October 15, 2014, 6:30 pm

Since 2011, Syria has been mired in war and destruction. The country’s cultural patrimony has been ruined and is likely to be obliterated. Join Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis as she introduces Manar al-Athar, an open access photograph database aimed at understanding the damage inflicted upon archaeological sites and other heritage structures due to conflict, increasing population, and/or development. This project was started before the current war, but its significance is even timelier as Syria and other Middle Eastern areas are presently under threat. Through a careful examination of pre-war photographs, archaeological reports, and other scholarship, in conjunction with a review of current social media, photographs, and video, the project attempts to assess the damage to archaeological sites and the validity of claims made by all sides.

Elizabeth Macaulay-Lewis s the deputy executive officer of the MA Program in Liberal Studies (MALS) and director of the MALS track Archaeology of the Classical, Late Antique, and Islamic Worlds at The Graduate Center, CUNY. She is the editor of two books and the author of ten articles on ancient Roman and Islamic gardens and architecture. Trained as a garden archaeologist and architectural historian, she has excavated or served as a specialist on excavations in Italy, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. Currently, she is completing a monograph about Sephardic houses in late Ottoman Damascus. She is also the co-director of the Upper Egypt Mosque Project, and she serves as a contributing editor for Arts of the Islamic World at, an open-access art history website supported by the Khan Academy.

Call for Contributions: The Center of Byzantine Material Arts

From January 1st to March 6th 2015, Trinity House Cafe in Leesburg, Virginia will host an exhibition of icons made in mosaic, enamel, fresco, manuscript, carved wood and stone (two-dimensional), tile and encaustic.  Any traditional Byzantine Ecclesiastical medium (excluding Icons painted with egg tempera and acrylic) for The Center of Byzantine Material Arts. If you would like to participate, contact Colette Kalvesmaki.


Patristic Homilies and Their History of Reception

Patristic Homilies and Their History of Reception, Hellenic College Holy Cross, October 9–11, 2014

Sponsored by The Stephen and Catherine Pappas Patristic Institute of Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology

A great deal of work has been done in the past several decades on recovering the hermeneutical mind of the ancient church. Fortunately, both the methods of exegesis as well as the hermeneutical presuppositions that undergird these methods have become more frequently represented wherever the topic of biblical interpretation has been discussed. However, the related topic of the act of preaching in antiquity has not yet received the same kind of attention. Building on some of the few, notable monographs that have appeared recently on this topic, this conference will explore both the forms and genres of the patristic sermons, including their relationship to biblical hermeneutics where relevant, and the rhetorical contexts in which these sermons were given (e.g. liturgical, catechetical, festal, etc.). The rhetorical context would include the reception of these sermons by those hearing them. Lastly, the conference wishes to include within its scope the question: what might be gleaned from these ancient models for preaching in the Church today?

Plenary Session Papers

October 9
His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America

October 10
Sermons, sectarianism and survival: Two ps.-Chrysostom corpora and their reception
Dr. Wendy Mayer, Research Fellow, Centre for Early Christian Studies, Australian Catholic University, and Visiting Professor, University of South Africa
Tiny Text, Great Benefit, and Dialogue between Preacher and Audience: Chrysostom's Two Homilies on Romans 16:3
Dr. Margaret Mitchell, University of Chicago Divinity School
Ritual Places for Reading Sacred Scriptures and Preaching: the Ambo in Early Christian Worship
Dr. David Pereyra, Inclusive Design Institute, OCAD University

October 11
The Homiletic Paradigm of the Fathers of the Church and its Impact upon Today's Preaching
Dr. Dimitra Koukoura, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
The Tradition of Liturgical Homilies and the Implications for Contemporary Homiletic Practice
Rev. Dr. Sergius Halvorsen, St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary


Please register at your convenience by email to Dr. Bruce Beck, with your name, institutional affiliation, address, and phone number. The registration fee is $85, which includes all meals and breaks during the conference. This fee is payable by cash or check upon check-in at the conference. The registration fee for graduate students is $50.00. The registration fee is waived for those presenting a paper.

Director of Research Center for Mediterranean Civilizations, Koç University

Koç University is accepting applications for the position of Director for the Research Center for Mediterranean Civilizations. The center will be established by the integration of the Suna & İnan Kıraç Research Institute on Mediterranean Civilizations in Antalya with the university. After the integration, the center is envisioned to continue its mission to provide support to researchers in their research, conservation, and other archaeological, historical, and cultural heritage projects related to the Mediterranean region. The center will also oversee collaborative academic programs with the university leading to certificates and graduate degrees in Mediterranean Studies that will encompass disciplines such as History, Archaeology, Art History, Literature, Philosophy, and Law. The director of the center is expected to demonstrate leadership in the integration of the Antalya site with Koç University, including the main campus and the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations as well as leading the academic programs both in Istanbul and Antalya. The director must have a PhD in one of the relevant disciplines and be fluent in Turkish. The candidates should have a solid research publication record in their area of specialization and preferably have administrative experience. The position requires the director to reside in Antalya for the greater part of the year, supervise graduate students, and occasionally offer courses in Istanbul.

Review of applications begins November 14, 2014.

I Tatti – RCAC Joint Fellowship 2015–2016

Villa I Tatti – The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies (VIT, in Florence) and the Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations of Koç University (RCAC, in Istanbul) offer a joint, one-year fellowship. Scholars will spend the Fall semester at one center, and the Spring semester at the other. Here they will carry out projects that represent advanced research in any aspect of the interaction between Italy and the Byzantine or the Ottoman Empire (ca. 1300 to ca. 1700). Subjects covered include art, architecture, archaeology, history, literature, material culture, music, philosophy, religion, and science.

The “I Tatti – RCAC Joint Fellowship” will be awarded at one of two levels: one junior fellowship, for advanced doctoral candidates who are writing their PhD dissertation; or one senior fellowship, for candidates who have received a PhD within a decade of the year of application. (For senior fellowships, PhD certificates must bear a date between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2013, inclusive.) Candidates must be conversant in English and have at least a reading knowledge of Italian. They must have a solid background in Italian Renaissance and Byzantine or Ottoman Studies. Fellows may not take on any other obligations such as teaching positions, even part-time ones, during any part of their Fellowship term. Each successful candidate must be approved by both RCAC and VIT. Priority will be given to applicants with no previous association with VIT or RCAC.  Renewals, repeats, or deferments of this Fellowship are not granted. Scholars can apply to only one I Tatti fellowship.

The Fellowship period will be one academic year, which will be spent as one term at VIT and one term at RCAC. The dates of the fall and spring semesters differ at the two institutions (see below), and successful candidates can express a preference for spending the Fall semester in Florence or Istanbul. During both semesters, it must be possible for Fellows to carry out most of their research with the resources available in the city where they are resident.

Clothing Sacred Scripture. Book Art and Book Religions in the Middle Ages

Clothing Sacred Scripture. Book Art and Book Religions in the Middle Ages, University of Zurich, October 9–11, 2014

In a traditional perspective, book religions are seen as agents of logocentrism, establishing a sharp dichotomy between scripture and aesthetics, religion and art. The conference aims to broaden this perspective by a comparative and transcultural approach to religious book culture exploring the specific »aesthetics of inlibration« of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam in the Middle Ages. The conference will reflect upon the different strategies of »clothing« sacred texts with precious materials and ornate forms in pretypographic cultures to create a close relation between the divine words and their human audience. Conducted by an art historical focus the conference contributes to the nexus between sacred scripture and art by exploring how art shapes the religious practice of books, and how the central importance of religious books shapes the evolution of artistic practices.

Identity, Ethnicity and Nationhood before Modernity: Old Debates and New Perspectives

Identity, Ethnicity and Nationhood before Modernity: Old Debates and New Perspectives, University of Oxford, April 24–26, 2015

The organizing committee of the conference ‘Identity, Ethnicity and Nationhood before Modernity: Old Debates and New Perspectives’ invites paper proposals from prospective speakers.

In spite of the flow of publications over the last thirty years on ancient and medieval ethnicity and national identity, modernism – the view that nationhood is an essentially modern phenomenon and was non-existent or peculiarly unimportant before the 18th century – remains the dominant paradigm in ethnicity and nationalism studies. It is time, we believe, to reopen this debate. Scholars working on pre-modern collective identities too often avoid the challenge of modernism, either by using allegedly unproblematic terminology of ethnicity or by employing the vocabulary of nationhood uncritically. This conference, therefore, aims at tackling these difficult theoretical issues head on. This can only truly be achieved by bringing together a range of researchers working on ancient, late antique, early medieval, high medieval, late medieval, and early modern ethnicity and nationhood. Thus we hope to reinvigorate discussion of pre-modern ethnicity and nationhood, as well as to go beyond the unhelpful chronological divisions which have emerged through surprisingly fragmented research on pre-modern collective identities. Overall, our conference’s goal is to encourage systemic conceptual thinking about pre-modern identity and nationhood, and to consider the similarities and differences between the construction and use of ethnic and national categories both within those periods, and in comparison with modernity.

The conference welcomes papers from classics, all periods of ancient, medieval and early modern history, oriental studies, sociology, social anthropology, literary studies. We also warmly invite papers from modernists that aim to compare pre-modern and modern ethnicity and nationhood. Priority will be given to papers that situate their particular studies within the broader conceptual debate on pre-modern and modern identity.

The keynote lectures will be given by Caspar Hirschi, Len Scales, Walter Pohl, Susan Reynolds and Tim Whitmarsh. To stimulate the discussion our keynote lectures will be responded to by the leading experts on modern national identity and nationalism Monica Baár, Stefan Berger, John Breuilly and Oliver Zimmer, as well as Azar Gat, the author of a recent book on the long history of ethnicity.

We intend to publish selected papers from the conference as a special journal edition.

The conference is supported by the Oxford Research Centre in Humanities (TORCH) and Oxford’s Faculty of History.

Organising Committee: Ilya Afanasyev and Nicholas Matheou

Autumn Term 2014 General Seminar, CBOMGS, University of Birmingham

Meetings of the General Seminar, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies, University of Birmingham take place in room 436 (the Whitting Room), fourth floor, Arts Building, University of Birmingham, at 5.15. All welcome!


9 October                 
Travellers' Tales           

23 October               
MONICA WHITE (Nottingham)
Byzantine-Rus relations in the late pre-Mongol period: the policies of Vsevolod ‘Big Nest’

13 November          
REBECCA INGRAM (College Station, Texas)
Making it last: the construction and repair of a seventh-century ship from Constantinople’s Theodosian harbour

20 November          
Abul Abbas and all that: the caliphate and the West in the Age of Bede and Charlemagne

27 November          
Byzantine adolescence: real or imaginary?

4 December            
Mother vs maiden: Helena, Pulcheria and the formulation of imperial dynasty in late antiquity

11 December
Crisis and famine in island Greece: sovereign debt, political violence and topologies of memory in Chios

British Institute at Ankara – Research Scholar 2015

The British Institute at Ankara is advertising for the 2015 Research Scholar.  

Applications are invited for a Research Scholarship tenable for 7 months (with the possibility of extending for two extra months) from 5 January 2015 and based at the Institute in Ankara.  The Research Scholar will work with the Director and Assistant Director on the research collections and the electronic records of the BIAA archives to improve the Institute’s research capacity in one or more of its Strategic Research Initiatives SRI). Please visit the website: to see an overview of the BIAA’s SRI’s.

The scholar will be required to spend at least two-thirds of their time on institute related work and a third conducting their own research relating to Turkey and/or the Black Sea littoral, which may fall within any of the academic disciplines of the humanities and social sciences.

Candidates should have recently completed or be about to complete a Masters degree, and are expected subsequently to conduct research at doctoral level.  The research undertaken at the BIAA should normally be preparatory and designed to underpin a funding application for a PhD.

Applicants must be normally resident in the UK and must have a demonstrable connection with a UK academic institution. The position will be based at the Institute in Ankara.

The salary for the position will be £800 per month.  The BIAA will pay the cost of one return flight between the UK and Turkey.

Cities, Citadels, and Sights of the Near East

Sophie Gordon and Badr El Hage. Cities, Citadels, and Sights of the Near East: Francis Bedford’s Nineteenth-Century Photographs of Egypt, the Levant, and Constantinople. The American University in Cairo Press, 2014.

From The American University in Cairo Press

Haunting images of the great cities and historic sites of the Near East from a bygone era through the eyes of an English photographer in royal company

In 1862, the Prince of Wales, eldest son of Britain’s Queen Victoria, embarked on a grand tour of the Middle East, for his education and enlightenment. Accompanying the royal party was Francis Bedford, an accomplished practitioner of the still young art of photography, charged with taking views of the cities and historic places visited on the tour for the royal album. The result is an extraordinary collection of some of the best early photographs of Cairo and the temples of Upper Egypt, Jerusalem and the Holy Land, Lebanon and Damascus, Izmir and Constantinople. From timeless views of the Pyramids, the Dome of the Rock, Baalbek, and Hagia Sophia to scenes from another age of the streets of Cairo or tall ships on the Bosphorus, 120 of Bedford’s most outstanding photographs are showcased here in this fascinating visual tour of ancient lands in royal company.

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Religion, Architecture and Visual Culture

Co-editors Professor Victoria Young and Dr Ayla Lepine are delighted to announce a new book series with Pickering & Chatto Publishers entitled Religion, Architecture and Visual Culture.

Exploring religious practices and sacred traditions can lead to new ways of interpreting identities, the exchange of ideas and objects and systems of power, politics and patronage. This series addresses a growing need for publications that focus on new methodologies in relation to theology and art history. Titles will engage directly with a range of traditions including Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Visual culture and architecture will be discussed alongside religious traditions to assess cultural beliefs, social relations and creative practices in global contexts.

The series will be of value to those studying art and architectural history, heritage and conservation, gender and sexuality.

We are currently welcoming proposals from authors at any stage of their academic career whose research fits with the series theme. We are interested in hearing from authors to discuss potential projects or who are ready to submit a proposal.


To publish or not to publish?

To publish or not to publish? A multidisciplinary approach to the politics, ethics and economics of ancient artifacts, The John Rylands Library, October 25, 2014

The event, organized by Dr. Roberta Mazza, currently Research Fellow of the John Rylands Research Institute, is part of the The John Rylands Research Institute Seminar in Papyrology.

What does ‘provenance’ mean?
David Gill (University Campus Suffolk)
The role of academics
Neil Brodie (University of Glasgow)
Mesopotamian objects in a conflicted world
Stuart Campbell (University of Manchester)
Who owns the past? Private and public papyrus collections
Roberta Mazza (University of Manchester)
Association policies: the case of the Egypt Exploration Society
Chris Naunton (Egypt Exploration Society, London)
‘Working together.’ Law enforcement and cultural sector, intelligence sharing and cooperation
Vernon Rapley (V&A Museum, National Museum Security Group, London)
Dealers: trade, traffic and the consequences of demonization
James Ede (Charles Ede Ltd, London)
The way forward: round table
Discussants include David Trobisch (Director of the Museum of the Bible/Green Collection, Washington DC), Marcel Marée (The British Museum), Nikolaos Gonis (UCL), Campbell Price (Manchester Museum), Nicole Vitellone (University of Liverpool), William Webber (Art Loss Register), Donna Yates (University of Glasgow)

Aims of the seminar

Religious Conversion: History, Experience and Meaning

Ira Katznelson and Miri Rubin, eds. Religious Conversion: History, Experience and Meaning. Ashgate, 2014.

From Ashgate

Religious conversion - a shift in membership from one community of faith to another - can take diverse forms in radically different circumstances. As the essays in this volume demonstrate, conversion can be protracted or sudden, voluntary or coerced, small-scale or large. It may be the result of active missionary efforts, instrumental decisions, or intellectual or spiritual attraction to a different doctrine and practices. In order to investigate these multiple meanings, and how they may differ across time and space, this collection ranges far and wide across medieval and early modern Europe and beyond. From early Christian pilgrims to fifteenth-century Ethiopia; from the Islamisation of the eastern Mediterranean to Reformation Germany, the volume highlights salient features and key concepts that define religious conversion, particular the Jewish, Muslim and Christian experiences.

By probing similarities and variations, continuities and fissures, the volume also extends the range of conversion to focus on matters less commonly examined, such as competition for the meaning of sacred space, changes to bodies, patterns of gender, and the ways conversion has been understood and narrated by actors and observers. In so doing, it promotes a layered approach that deepens inquiry by identifying and suggesting constellations of elements that both compose particular instances of conversion and help make systematic comparisons possible by indicating how to ask comparable questions of often vastly different situations.

book cover

Honor Frost Foundation Grants

The Honor Frost Foundation’s next deadline for HFF Grants is 1 October 2014 for projects in Marine and Maritime Archaeology with a regional focus on the Eastern Mediterranean.

Individual grants will not normally exceed £10,000. 

HFF Grants are available to independent scholars, affiliated scholars and institutions, and are intended to support or facilitate research projects covering any period or aspect of maritime archaeology. HFF grants can also support proposals that are involved with training, publications, workshops and conferences, conservation work, museum exhibitions, and public engagement and education in maritime archaeology. Applications from institutions and scholars based in the Eastern Mediterranean are particularly welcome with a focus on Cyprus, Lebanon and Western Syria. The HFF also gives preference to projects that show strong collaboration with regional partners and include local training opportunities.

Swenson Family Fellowships in Eastern Christian Manuscript Studies for Junior Scholars, HMML

The Swenson Family Fellowship in Eastern Christian Manuscript Studies, established in 2012, will be awarded semi-annually. The Fellowship was established by Dr. Gregory T. and Jeannette Swenson, with their son Nicholas Swenson.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to support residencies at HMML for graduate students or postdoctoral scholars with demonstrated expertise in the languages and cultures of Eastern Christianity. Awardees must be undertaking research on some aspect of Eastern Christian studies requiring use of the digital or microfilm manuscript collections at HMML. The program is specifically designed to aid new scholars in establishing themselves through research focused on manuscripts available through HMML. Postdoctoral scholars are understood to be those who at the time of application are within three years of being awarded a doctoral degree.

Awards will range from $2,500 - $5,000, based on project proposal and length of residency (two to six weeks). Funds may be applied toward travel to and from Collegeville, housing and meals at Saint John’s University, and costs related to duplication of HMML’s microfilm or digital resources. The Fellowship may be supplemented by other sources of funding but may not be held simultaneously with another HMML fellowship. Holders of the Fellowship must wait at least two years before applying again. At its discretion, HMML may choose to award more than one fellowship per cycle.

Applications must be submitted by November 15 for residencies between January and June of the following year.

Heckman Stipends, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library

Heckman Stipends, made possible by the A.A. Heckman Endowed Fund, are awarded semi-annually. Up to 10 stipends in amounts up to $2,000 are available each year. Funds may be applied toward travel to and from Collegeville, housing and meals at Saint John’s University, and costs related to duplication of HMML’s microfilm or digital resources. The Stipend may be supplemented by other sources of funding but may not be held simultaneously with another HMML Stipend or Fellowship. Holders of the Stipend must wait at least two years before applying again.

The program is specifically intended to help scholars who have not yet established themselves professionally and whose research cannot progress satisfactorily without consulting materials to be found in the collections of the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library.

Applications must be submitted by November 15 for residencies between January and June of the following year.

NEH Fellowships, American School of Classical Studies at Athens

Founded in 1881, the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (ASCSA) is the most significant resource in Greece for American scholars in the fields of Greek language, literature, history, archaeology, philosophy, and art, from pre-Hellenic times to the present. It offers two major research libraries: the Blegen, with over 100,000 volumes dedicated to the ancient Mediterranean world; and the Gennadius, with over 120,000 volumes and archives devoted to post-classical Hellenic civilization and, more broadly, the Balkans and the eastern Mediterranean. The School also sponsors excavations and provides centers for advanced research in archaeological and related topics at its excavations in the Athenian Agora and Corinth, and it houses an archaeological laboratory at the main building complex in Athens. By agreement with the Greek government, the ASCSA is authorized to serve as liaison with the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Tourism on behalf of American students and scholars for the acquisition of permits to conduct archaeological work and to study museum collections.

Since its inception in 1994, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Fellowship program at the ASCSA has demonstrated its effectiveness by supporting projects for 43 scholars with distinguished research and teaching careers in the humanities.

Postdoctoral scholars and professionals in relevant fields including architecture or art who are US citizens or foreign nationals who have lived in the US for the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Applicants must already hold their Ph.D. or equivalent terminal degree at the time of application. The ASCSA encourages younger scholars to apply.

Two to four fellowships, either five or ten months in duration. Stipend for a five-month project, $21,000; for a ten-month project, $42,000. Term must coincide with American School’s academic year, September to June. School fees are waived, and the award provides lunches at Loring Hall five days per week. The NEH Fellow will pay for travel costs, housing, partial board, residence permit, and other living expenses from the stipend. A final report is due at the end of the award period, and the ASCSA expects that copies of all publications that result from research conducted as a Fellow of the ASCSA be contributed to the relevant library of the School. The NEH Fellow is required to send one copy of all books and electronic copies of articles to the NEH.

NEH Fellows will be expected to reside primarily at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens (though research may be carried out elsewhere in Greece), contribute to and enhance  the scholarly dialogue, as well as contribute to and expand  scholarly horizons at the School.

Submit Senior Associate Membership application with fellowship online on the ASCSA website.

Between Empires: Negotiating Identity on the Veneto-Ottoman Frontier

Between empires: negotiating identity on the Veneto-Ottoman frontier, lecture by Milena Grabacic, King’s College London, November 18, 2014, at 5:30 pm

Focusing on several court cases from areas as diverse as Nauplion, Bocca di Cattaro and Venice, this seminar will trace the movement of both individuals and communities across the Mediterranean, in order to propose a framework for thinking about what it meant to live in-between empires in the fifteenth century. Rather than privileging either the metropolitan or colonial perspective, light will be shed on precise strategies used by individuals and communities alike to engage with the Venetian state and make claims about identity, social membership and the empire. The image that emerges is one where historical agency is not always on the side of the state and its military power, but rather where individuals navigate between overlapping legal and political systems, and where international norms take shape not in the Venetian metropolis, but at the edges, passages and corridors of the Mediterranean Sea.

Milena Grabacic studied Byzantine studies, medieval history and art history at the universities of Belgrade and Oxford. Her doctoral thesis examined the intersection of religion and politics in Venice’s Stato da Mar in order to show how religious devotion was used to reinforce, negotiate and challenge colonial relations between the Venetian state and its culturally, ethnically and linguistically diverse subjects. Milena was a lecturer in late medieval history at Wadham and St John’s Colleges, Oxford, and convened the Medieval Visual Culture Seminar at the University of Oxford. She is now embarking on a new project which draws on anthropological methods to study the everyday life of various groups of foreigners in fifteenth-century Venice.



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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