Exhibition: ‘A Piece of Nature’ Arts & Crafts Perceptions of Nature and the Byzantine Monument

https://nature.bsa.ac.uk/

The relationship between nature and architecture was particularly emphasized by the Arts & Crafts members as an expression of man’s inner-relationship with his natural surroundings. Historical architecture, in particular, had a central role in this interaction between man and the physical world. Medieval architecture, primarily the Gothic cathedral, was admired for its natural forms and the close almost mystical connections that it managed to establish with nature.

Pioneer architects of the British Arts & Crafts movement, such as Robert Weir Schultz and Sidney Barnsley of the British School at Athens BRF Archive, following the example of John Ruskin, William Morris and their Arts & Crafts masters, were among the first to record, document and study surviving Byzantine monuments in the Eastern Mediterranean. Their attitude towards the remains of Byzantine heritage in the region, eloquently reflected in their recordings and, later, publications, demonstrates a pronounced concern, at the footsteps of their masters, for the multiple interconnections between a historic building and its natural surroundings. Byzantine architecture was considered an essential part of the landscape and, vice versa, nature, the physical world, its forms and qualities were reflected in the historic building both in the way it developed as well as in impressive or even minute details in its architecture and decoration.

This exhibition was created for Nature and the Environment: the 53rd Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies, which was planned by the late Dr Ruth Macrides, and it is dedicated to her memory.

Seminar Series: Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar

Oxford Byzantine Graduate Seminar – Summer 2021

Mondays 12.30-14.00 BST, via Zoom

To register, please contact the organiser at james.cogbill@worc.ox.ac.uk

Monday 26th April
Katherine Krauss (Somerville College, Oxford), Rereading the ‘Canon’ in Latin Late Antiquity: Exemplarity and Allusion in Macrobius’ Saturnalia

Monday 3rd May
Alessandro Carabia (University of Birmingham), Defining the ‘Byzantine Variable’ in Early Byzantine Italy: The Case of Liguria (500-700 CE)

Monday 10th May
Cristina Cocola (Universiteit Gent & Katholieke Universiteit te Leuven), Feeling Repentance in Byzantium: A Study on the Literary Sources of Katanyktic Poetry

Monday 17th May
Ben Kybett (Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge), Themistius and the Muses: Religion, Rhetoric, and Classical Statuary in Fourth-Century Constantinople

Monday 24th May
Grace Stafford (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz), Between the Living and the Dead: Use, Reuse, and Imitation of Painted Portraits in Late Antiquity

Monday 31st May
Josh Hitt (St. Hilda’s College, Oxford), Ageing, Rejuvenation and Patronage in Twelfth-Century Byzantium

Monday 7th June
Constanța Burlacu (Merton College, Oxford), Monastic Presence and Book Circulation in the Lands North of the Danube (15th-16th Centuries)

Monday 14th June
Kyriakos Fragkoulis (University of Birmingham), (Re)contextualising a Late Antique City through the Ceramic Record: The Case of Dion in Macedonia (Pieria, Greece)

Seminar Series: Byzantium and the Silk Roads

Byzantium at Ankara is happy to announce its new and exciting April Mini-Seminar Series entitled: “Byzantium and the Silk Roads” which includes Irene Giviashvili, Qiang Li, and Aniket Chettry as speakers.

We will start our scholarly trip on Friday 9 April (17.00 o’clock, Istanbul time) with Irene Giviashvili who will be talking about the “Intercultural dialogue between Georgia and Byzantium“.

For further info and registration go to https://www.byzantiumatankara.net/program-1 or send an email to byzantiumatankara@hotmail.com.

New Journal: Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS)

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new journal, Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies (JLAIBS), https://www.euppublishing.com/loi/jlaibs, published by Edinburgh University Press. The JLAIBS as a hotspot for interdisciplinary dialogue aims to disseminate new approaches and methodologies that intend to transform our understanding of broader Late Antique and Medieval phenomena, such as knowledge transfer and cultural exchanges, by looking beyond single linguistic traditions or political boundaries. It provides a forum for high-quality articles on the interactions and cross-cultural exchange between different traditions and of the so-called Byzantine Empire and the Islamic world. Thematically, the journal also welcomes submissions dealing individually with Late Antique, Byzantine and Islamic literature, history, archaeology, and material culture from the fourth to the fifteenth century.

Articles should be written in English and can be up to 15,000 words in total length (i.e. including all footnotes, bibliography and any appendices). Submissions to Journal of Late Antique, Islamic and Byzantine Studies should be formatted in accordance with the full JLAIBS style guidelines (https://www.euppublishing.com/pb-assets/Notes_for_Contibutors/JLAIBS_Style_guide-1614190487.pdf), and sent as Word and PDF files to: jlaibs@ed.ac.uk

Editors:

Dr Petros Bouras-Vallianatos (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Marie Legendre (University of Edinburgh)
Dr Yannis Stouraitis (University of Edinburgh)

Editorial board:

Prof. Peter Adamson (Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München)
Prof. Gianfranco Agosti (Sapienza Università di Roma)
Assoc. Prof. Corisande Fenwick (University College London)
Prof. Robert Hoyland (New York University)
Prof. Marc Lauxtermann (University of Oxford)
Prof. Maria Mavroudi (University of California, Berkeley)
Prof. Annliese Nef (Université Paris 1 Panthéon)
Prof. Dr Johannes Pahlitzsch (Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz)
Assoc. Prof. Arietta Papaconstantinou (University of Reading)
Assoc. Prof. Maria Parani (University of Cyprus)
Prof. Samuel Rubenson (Lund University)
Assoc. Prof. Kostis Smyrlis (National Hellenic Research Foundation/Athens)
Assoc. Prof. Jack Tannous (Princeton University)
Assoc. Prof. Alicia Walker (Bryn Mawr College, Pennsylvania)

“On Being Conquered in Byzantium” Virtual Symposium

16-17 April 2021

The famous adage that history is written by the victors may have become a truism, but the voices of conquered people have never been fully silenced—rather, we may not have been interested in hearing them. All too often, historiography (by no means limited to Byzantine studies) has focused on great-man histories, impersonal studies of societies, or the “longue durée,” all modes that diminish the importance of subjective individual experiences of people who were not great or who were not men.

This symposium therefore aims to refocus the collective scholarly gaze of Byzantinists away from the victors in war and toward the vanquished; away from heroes and rulers and toward victims and casualties; away from the political, economic, historical, and social causes of war and toward the personal and subjective experience of it; away from the insistence of dominant voices and toward the recuperation of marginalized ones.

Bringing together twelve specialists in literature, history, art history, and contemporary cultural theory, this symposium seeks to better understand both how Byzantines themselves understood being conquered and, as importantly, what being conquered in Byzantium can mean for us now.

Free and open to the public. Register here.

Dumbarton Oaks Virtual Museum Study Day

Deadline: March 28, 2021

How did objects convey information about individuals and society in Late Antiquity and Byzantium? Much like today, people of these periods carefully constructed their public personas through textiles, jewelry, seals, and other artifacts. This workshop will consider how modern-day notions of identity apply to premodern concepts of individuals’ relationships to their broader social, religious, gender, ethnic, and official communities. In addition, we will discuss the pragmatic challenges of displaying objects associated with individuals in museum contexts.

This year’s Dumbarton Oaks Museum Study Day will go virtual. We can accommodate up to 12 graduate students in art history, archaeology, history, classics, religious studies, and other fields who might benefit from close engagement with our collections and from training in material culture approaches.

To apply, please submit a CV and cover letter with a brief summary of the candidate’s research interests, plans for future research, and an explanation of why attendance is important to the candidate’s intellectual and professional development. All materials should be submitted to byzantine@doaks.org.

Online Resource: Syrian Architectural Heritage Released on Wikimedia Commons

Dumbarton Oaks

More than 9,700 photographs of Late Roman and Byzantine monuments in Syria are being uploaded to Wikimedia Commons, in keeping with our Access Initiative to make Dumbarton Oaks collections and scholarship more broadly available. In 2016, retired historian Frank Kidner donated photographs he had taken of Syrian sites in the 1980s and 1990s to Dumbarton Oaks. Emphasizing ancient villages in the modern-day province Idlib, west of Aleppo along the border with Turkey, the Frank Kidner Photographs collection documents sites of historical and archaeological significance while capturing scenes of daily life. His poignant photographs of children playing among the nearly 2,000-year-old ruins stand in stark contrast to familiar images of the ongoing refugee and displacement crisis stemming from the Syrian Civil War. Kidner created a comprehensive resource—drawing together topography, evidence of communities that once lived in the region, and architectural details—that is useful for researchers and scholars across a breadth of fields.

Online Resource: Woven Interiors: Furnishing Early Medieval Egypt Catalogue

Dumbarton Oaks

Experience the vibrant colors and array of textures that enlivened interior spaces in early medieval Egypt. Recent exhibition Woven Interiors—a collaboration with The George Washington University Museum and The Textile Museum—presented rare and fragile masterpieces from major American institutions, including many textiles that had never before been exhibited or had remained in storage for decades. Now, download the digital catalogue free of charge to explore some sixty remarkable pieces. Essays from curators Gudrun Bühl, Sumru Belger Krody, and Dumbarton Oaks Assistant Curator of the Byzantine Collection Elizabeth Dospěl Williams highlight major themes of the exhibition, including aesthetics, sacred imagery, comfort at home, and continuity and change. To purchase a hard copy of the catalogue, contact our Museum Shop.

Online Resource: International Byzantinist Reading Group

A message from the organisers (note that, if you are too late for this session, the group will contiue to meet on subsequent Sundays):

Dear Colleagues,

In light of all the cancelled talks, conferences, etc. because of the current pandemic, we, Scott Kennedy and Ugo Mondini, have created the International Byzantinist Reading Group for graduate students, post-docs, and faculty as a digital space for discussion among scholars currently scattered around the world. We aim to build solidarity among academics interested in late antique and Byzantine culture as well as to lay the foundation for future exchanges and collaboration.

The Group is now in its fourth meeting. Meetings are held on Sundays at 8 pm (Rome time) via the video-conferencing platform Zoom. Based on the number of participants, we do two kinds of discussion groups during a meeting: (1) small group discussion and (2) large group discussion. Through Zoom, we can breakup meeting participants into groups of 5-6. For the first 30 minutes of the meeting, we break participants up into these small groups, so that everyone has the opportunity to speak and discuss the reading with their group. Then for the last 20-30 minutes of the meeting, we discuss the reading altogether. We use the raise your hand feature on Zoom to moderate discussion for the larger group.

For our next reading session (Sunday, 26th April 2020), we will be moving back to late antiquity with the following reading

A. Kaldellis, “How perilous was it to write political history in late antiquity?”, Studies in Late Antiquity 1 (2017) 38-64

You can find the paper on Kaldellis’ academia.edu account: https://bit.ly/3autKNO

If you are interested in participating in this week’s meeting or future meetings of the group, please email Ugo Mondini (ugo.mondini@unimi.it). All participants will be sent an invitation to join the meeting on Sunday via email.

See you next Sunday
Scott Kennedy (scott.kennedy@bilkent.edu.tr)
Ugo Mondini (ugo.mondini@unimi.it)

Fellowship: Short-Term Predoctoral Residencies

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C., USA

Dumbarton Oaks offers a limited number of Short-Term Predoctoral Residencies for advanced graduate students who are preparing for their PhD general exams, writing their doctoral dissertations, or expecting relevant final degrees in the field of Byzantine, Pre-Columbian, or Garden and Landscape studies. Students who plan to conduct research in the fieldwork and photo collections, the rare book collection, or the museum collections are particularly encouraged to apply. The general library collections at Dumbarton Oaks contain more than 210,000 items in a variety of formats, while our rare book collection holds more than 10,000 volumes, prints, drawings, photographs, and blueprints. We welcome and encourage you to peruse our holdings in advance via the HOLLIS catalogue found here. Due to the short-term nature of the award, we are unable to process inter-library loan requests. Each residency provides two to four weeks of single accommodations and lunches on weekdays (with the exception of scheduled refectory closures). In addition, a Reader badge for access to the Library will be issued for the period of the residency. Applicants who live 75 or more miles from Washington, DC, will receive preference.

Successful applicants for residencies will be eligible to apply a second time before they receive their PhD degrees. The award of a residency does not preclude a subsequent award of a junior or a regular fellowship or a One-Month Research Award. Upon completion of the residency, recipients are asked to submit a research report to the Program Director, and to provide future degree completion and subsequent position placement information to the program.

For application details see: https://www.doaks.org/research/fellowships-and-awards/short-term-predoctoral-residencies