Is Byzantine Studies a colonialist discipline? – by Benjamin Anderson and Mirela Ivanova


New publication in Byzantine Studies featuring many of our members!

Is Byzantine Studies a colonialist discipline? Toward a Critical Historiography. Edited by Benjamin Anderson and Mirela Ivanova

Rather than provide a definitive answer to this question, this book defines the parameters of the debate and proposes ways of thinking about what it would mean to engage seriously with the field’s political and intellectual genealogies, hierarchies, and forms of exclusion. In this volume, scholars of art, history, and literature address the entanglements, past and present, among the academic discipline of Byzantine Studies and the practice and legacies of European colonialism. Starting with the premise that Byzantium and the field of Byzantine studies are simultaneously colonial and colonized, the chapters address topics ranging from the material basis of philological scholarship and its uses in modern politics to the colonial plunder of art and its consequences for curatorial practice in the present. The book concludes with a bibliography that serves as a foundation for a coherent and systematic critical historiography. Bringing together insights from scholars working in different disciplines, regions, and institutions, Is Byzantine Studies a Colonialist Discipline? urges practitioners to reckon with the discipline’s colonialist, imperialist, and white supremacist history.


Table of Contents:

Preface: The Historical Conjuncture

Introduction: For a Critical Historiography of Byzantine Studies

Benjamin Anderson and Mirela Ivanova

Part 1: How Is Byzantine Studies (Re)Produced?

1. Hieronymus Wolf’s Silver Tongue: Early Byzantine Scholarship at the Intersection of Slavery, Colonialism, and the Crusades

Nathanael Aschenbrenner and Jake Ransohoff

2. Byzantine Archaeology: Teaching the Tenth and the Twentieth Centuries

Hugh G. Jeffery

3. Byzantium in Exile

Şebnem Dönbekci, Bahattin Bayram, and Zeynep Olgun

Part 2: How Is Byzantium (Re)Produced?

4. Methodological Imperialism

Nicholas S. M. Matheou

5. The Price of Admission

Anthony Kaldellis

6. Byzantine Studies: A Field Ripe for Disruption

Averil Cameron

7. Subaltern Byzantinism

Maria Mavroudi

Part 3: How Are Byzantine Texts (Re)Produced?

8. Byzantine and Western Narratives: A Dialogue of Empires

Arietta Papaconstantinou

9. The Ethnic Process

Alexandra Vukovich

10. Publication and Citation Practices: Enclosure, Extractivism, and Gatekeeping in Byzantine Studies

Matthew Kinloch

Part 4: How Is Byzantine Art (Re)Produced?

11. The South Kensington Museum, Byzantine Egyptian Textiles, and Art-Historical Imperialism

Arielle Winnik

12. From Ethnographic Illustration to Aphrodisian Magistrate: Changing Perceptions of an Early Byzantine Portrait

Stephanie R. Caruso

13. Expanding and Decentering Byzantium: The Acquisition of an Ethiopian Double-Sided Gospel Leaf

Andrea Myers Achi

14. Equity, Accessibility, and New Narratives for Byzantine Art in the Museum

Elizabeth Dospěl Williams

A Collective Bibliography Toward a Critical Historiography of Byzantine Studies

List of Contributors