The Society’s latest Newsletter is now available, with news of all SPBS business, including – of course – the Spring Symposium.
University of Birmingham, 28-30 March 2020
Deadline: 3 January 2020
Abstracts are invited for proposals to deliver communications at the 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, to be held in Birmingham 28-30 March 2020 on the topic of Nature and the Environment. Communications are 12 minutes long, followed by 3 minutes of questions.
Abstracts should be 250 words in length (maximum), and are due by Friday 3 January 2020. Please send to either D.K.Reynolds@bham.ac.uk or L.Brubaker@bham.ac.uk. Successful applicants will be notified mid-January, in order to allow sufficient time to secure visas, if relevant.
Further information about travel and accommodation may be found here: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/bomgs/events/2020/53rd-spring-symposium-of-byzantine-studies.aspx.
The Programme for the Symposium is also available to download (PDF).
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.
The Executive Committee thanks all the Society’s members for their continuing support for the promotion of Byzantine Studies.
University of Birmingham, 28-30 March 2020
Nature and the environment underpinned Byzantine life but have been little studied. How the Byzantines responded to, interacted with and understood the landscape, however, enables crucial new insights into East Roman perceptions of the world. Modern interest in the environment and eco-history makes this theme pertinent and timely. Current research on climate change and how it affected the East Mediterranean creates new paradigms for our understanding of Byzantine interactions with the environment. The 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies draws together Byzantine literary and visual responses to nature and the environment as well as showcasing the most recent scientific research on historical climate change and environmental management in Byzantium.
This symposium was planned by Dr Ruth Macrides (University of Birmingham) and will be dedicated to her memory. The first two sessions of the symposium will consist of tributes to Ruth’s life and career by her former students and colleagues.
The Symposium will be followed, on Monday afternoon (30 March), by the second in what is planned as a regular series of professional development workshops targeted at Byzantine postgraduate students and sponsored by the SPBS. The workshop, Climate, environment and history, is intended to help early career academics in the humanities familiarize themselves with some of the key aspects of studying the way past human societies have interacted with their physical and climatic environments. Presenters will explain key methodological and interpretational issues and discuss how to avoid misunderstanding or misusing palaeoenvironmental and palaeoclimatic research results.
Information about registration, accommodation and communications will be released in November 2019.
All members of SPBS, and the wider community of Byzantine Studies, will be deeply saddened, and many devastated, to learn of the death of Dr Ruth Macrides on Saturday 27 April 2019.
Ruth was Reader in Byzantine Studies at the University of Birmingham where she had worked for twenty-five years and where she was a much loved colleague and friend. We will miss her terribly.
Our deepest sympathies are extended to her family at this time.
Colleagues in Birmingham have set up a tribute page for Ruth: https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/activity/bomgs/news/2019/ruth-macrides.aspx.
Donations in memory of Ruth may be made to Médecins sans Frontières.
The Bryer Postgraduate Travel Fund was established in 2017 in memory of Prof. Anthony Bryer, who passed away on 22nd October 2016. The fund exists to support innovative, experimental and adventurous research by post-graduate researchers in Byzantine studies, particularly by supporting travel for research beyond the scope of conference grants or other structured events.
Following very successful initial fundraising, and thanks to the generosity of donors within and outside the field of Byzantine studies, the Fund will begin to award grants from March 2019. However fundraising continues, with the aim of increase the sums available to support research. Donations can now be made online via our website.