The SPBS is sorry to announce that its Spring Lecture – ‘The fortifications of Byzantine and Crusader Cyprus’, by Dr James Petre – will be postponed indefinitely owing to ongoing measures against the spread of COVID-19. The lecture was due to take place on 31 March in Senate House, London. We intend to reschedule the event at a later date when public gatherings become more practicable. In the meantime, please stay well!
A message from Professor Leslie Brubaker:
We are sorry to inform you that, due to the ongoing risks of the COVID-19 virus and the possibility of a full campus closure at the University of Birmingham, and on the advice of administrators, we have decided to postpone Nature and the Environment: the 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies until 27th-29th March 2021.
This postponement will not affect the advertised programme for Nature and the Environment, and we will look forward to welcoming you in Birmingham next year, should you still wish to attend.
If you have already paid for registration, and would still like to attend in 2021, we can roll over your registration until next year and keep the funds in our dedicated account. Alternatively, if you would prefer a refund, please feel to contact Daniel Reynolds (D.K.Reynolds@bham.ac.uk) or Thomas White (T.P.White@bham.ac.uk) in the University of Birmingham Department of History Office.
For those of you who have already booked travel, the majority of flight operators are offering to rebook flights for people whose travel plans have been disrupted by the virus. We also recommend that you contact your insurance company as soon as possible.
Further advice may be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/travel-advice-novel-coronavirus
If you require a formal letter to confirm the cancellation of the event, we will be happy to provide one for you. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. In either case, please contact Dan Reynolds or Tom White, as above.
With all best wishes, and please stay well!
Chair, SPBS and
Director, Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
University of Birmingham, UK.
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.