Fellowship: Macmillan-Rodewald & Richard Bradford Mcconnell Studentships 2020-2021

The British School at Athens

Deadline: 24 April 2020

The British School at Athens offers two fellowships (for either a full year or 6 months) for postdoctoral or advanced doctoral or research in any area covered by the School’s mission statement. By historical convention these awards are referred to as ‘Studentships’. Applications are open to researchers engaged in advanced postgraduate or postdoctoral research at UK universities.

The School is both the primary centre of British research in Greece for resident and visiting scholars and a hub of international research through its programme of seminars and conferences. It is the co-ordinating body for British archaeological fieldwork, and possesses outstanding Library facilities in many fields, as well as the Fitch Laboratory for science-based archaeology. The successful candidate will demonstrate high standards of academic excellence and will be conducting genuinely innovative research either in an established discipline, or of an inter-disciplinary nature. Candidates should have completed at least one year of doctoral research by the time they take up the award. Holders of AHRC or equivalent awards eligible for overseas study support within the terms of their grant will not normally be considered. During their tenure of an award, students are expected to be resident in Greece for a minimum of eight months. When in Athens, they must reside at the School and will be expected to contribute to its scholarly life and administrative operation. The holders of awards may re-apply for a second tenure, subject to academic performance. The fellowship is funded at the AHRC’s London-based rate for postgraduate awards.

Applicants should submit a CV and research proposal (maximum 1,000 words) which includes: a brief statement of the research question or questions, an outline of the overall research programme in its scholarly context, a timetable for completion, and the benefits for the research of residence in Greece based at the School. Two references will be required.

Applications are automatically considered for both the ‘Macmillan-Rodewald’ and the ‘Richard Bradford McConnell Studentship’.

Applicants should ask referees to write directly to the School Administrator by the deadline. Applicants should be prepared to attend an interview in London in June.

Applications and references must be sent by Friday 24th April 2020 to the School Administrator (school.administrator@bsa.ac.uk).

Information about the School is available at https://www.bsa.ac.uk/

SPBS Subscription Rates

Please note that subscription fees for SPBS membership will be increasing on 1 January 2020, as announced at the Society’s AGM in March. Our subscription rates have been unchanged for decades and it has become necessary to raise them to support the Society’s continuing operation and ability to provide grants.

Standard membership will increase to £30/year, with student membership increasing to £15/year. All new members joining from 1 January will pay the new rates, while existing members will become liable only upon the date of their membership renewal; current Life members will of course remain unaffected.

Until January, new members are welcome to join at the present rates, either online or offline.

The Executive Committee thanks all the Society’s members for their continuing support for the promotion of Byzantine Studies.

Lecture: The Empress’s New Clothes: Foreign Brides in Byzantium

The Fourth Annual Public Lecture in Medieval and Early Modern Slavonic Studies

University of Cambridge, 6 November 2019

Cambridge Ukrainian Studies in association with The Byzantine Worlds Seminar and the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities invites you to join us for the Fourth Annual Public Lecture in Medieval and Early Modern Slavonic Studies to be delivered by Dr Petra Melichar, Prague. Dr Melichar will speak on ‘The Empress’s New Clothes: Foreign Brides in Byzantium’.

Dr Petra Melichar earned her PhD from Katholieke Universiteit in Leuven in 2012. At present, she is a fellow of the Slavonic Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague and editor-in-chief of the journal Byzantinoslavica (since 2015). Her recent work centers on late Byzantine elite women in the Palaiologan period (1261–1453).

In her lecture, Dr Melichar will explore the transformation and integration of a foreign bride in the Byzantine environment. When a foreign princess arrived in Byzantium, she was brought into a splendid tent and dressed in a luxurious purple robe. The aim of this and several similar rituals symbolized a hoped-for transformation, a metamorphosis of a foreigner into a Byzantine. While these rituals could be performed within several days, integration into the Byzantine environment was much more complex and difficult as the stories of Maria of Bulgaria, Helene of Serbia, Anna of Savoy or Anna of Moscow reveal.

The event will take place at 17.00 on the 6th November in Room SG2, Alison Richard Building, University of Cambridge. The event is free and open to the public.

Call for Papers: The State Between: Liminality, Transition and Transformation in Late Antiquity and Byzantium

Oxford University Byzantine Society’s 22nd International Graduate Conference, History Faculty, Oxford, 28-29 February 2020

Deadline: 25 November 2019

For many centuries, Byzantium was characterised in historiographical narratives as a transitional state: a retrospective bridge between antiquity and modernity. However, while Byzantium undoubtedly acted as an intermediary between these worlds and eras, it is important to recognise the creativity, originality, and vitality which characterised this empire and its population. Much as Late Antiquity has been reframed recently as a period of evolution rather than decline, so too can the Byzantine world be viewed in a new light through the lens of liminality. This conference aims to explore the fluid and the unfixed, periods of transition and ambiguity; the state of being ‘betwixt and between’.

There are many cases in which liminality can be applied effectively as a historiographical tool to understand aspects of the Late Antique and Byzantine world. For instance, the lives of individuals were shaped by liminal experiences, in both secular and religious spheres. From the experience of widowhood to that of a novice entering monastic life, Byzantine lives were marked by the transition from one social status and identity to another: the middle phase in which liminal personae are simultaneously ‘no longer’ and ‘not yet’, existing between positions assigned and arrayed by law, custom, convention and ceremonial. Liminal spaces permeated societies in the broader Byzantine world, from local landscapes, to religious buildings, to household interiors. As such, liminality provides a constructive framework with which to approach the transition and transformation of the Late Roman city to Medieval Islamic urbanism. On a larger scale, polities formerly on the periphery of the Byzantine world (the peoples of the Arabian Peninsula, the Steppe, the Slavic oecumene) often came suddenly to the foreground of the political landscape, resulting in the formation of new cultural networks and the shaping of identities.

Liminality is often defined in spatial terms, but it is also about process. For the cultural anthropologist Victor Turner, a ‘liminal phase’ can be an event or process which involves the disruption of existing hierarchies and power-structures. This definition of liminality as an inter-structural phase not only applies to political and economic change, but also may be extended to the subjective world of ideas and philosophical thought: the realm of what is possible and what may be.

Including contributions on political, social, literary, architectural and artistic history, and covering geographical areas throughout the central and eastern Mediterranean and beyond, this conference aims to provide an interdisciplinary and kaleidoscopic view of the Late Antique and Byzantine world. To that end, we encourage submissions from all graduate students and young researchers, encompassing, but not limited to, the following themes:
· Borders, Frontiers and Thresholds: cross-cultural engagement and identity formation; negotiation, hybridity and transition.
· States of Religious Identity and Practice: rituals, conversions, missionaries and pilgrimage.
· Political and Administrative Transformation: transition, social change and conflict.
· Gender and Sexuality: social norms, boundaries and transgression.
· Life on the Margins: mercenaries, merchants, outlaws and slaves.
· Liminal, Temporary and Transitional Identities: saints, soldiers, scholars and students.
· Liminal Spaces and Places: staging posts and sites of passage, the natural and the preternatural, the world of the living and of the dead.
· Conformity and Dissent: the space between dominant and minority discourses.
· Literary Works, Narratology and Liminality: histories, chronicles, hagiographies and martyrologies.
· Manuscripts: scribal habits, palimpsests, marginal comments, illustrations and other decorative elements.
· Architecture and Urbanism: liminal landscapes, changing land use, spolia and reappropriation.
· Epigraphy: textual content, form and style, interrelations between text and object.
· Numismatics and Sigillography: exchanges across boundaries, prosopography and social networks.
· Art, Material and Visual Culture: sensory perception and interactions with art objects, icons, mosaics, statues, altar screens and textiles.
· Religious Objects: relics, liturgical equipment and vestments.
· Legal Texts: overlapping legal cultures, boundaries and legal status, legislation related to the life course.
· Comparative approaches to liminality, in opposition or concordance with Late Antiquity and Byzantium.

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with a short academic biography in the third person, to the Oxford University Byzantine Society at byzantine.society@gmail.com by Monday, 25th November 2019. Papers should be 20 minutes in length and may be delivered in English or French. As with previous conferences, there will be a publication of selected papers, chosen and reviewed by specialists from the University of Oxford in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies. Speakers wishing to have their papers considered for publication should try to be as close to the theme as possible in their abstract and paper. Nevertheless, all submissions are warmly invited.