Public Lecture: From the Fall of Rome to Byzantium: New Light from DNA, Ice Cores, and Harvard’s Science of the Human Past

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C., USA, 1 May 2019

Historians and archaeologists have long debated the processes that ended the ancient world and gave rise to the civilizations of Byzantium, the medieval West, and Islam. The advances of archaeology are delivering ever more material pieces of the past that are suitable for expanding scientific toolkits, featuring ancient DNA, ice cores, and digital humanities. Come learn how—from senior faculty members to freshmen—historians, archaeologists, geneticists, biomolecular archaeologists, and computer and climate scientists at Harvard University are working together, and in concert with our American and international partners, to expand what we know about the fall of Rome and the origins of Byzantium, as science, archaeology, and history combine to begin a new day in the discovery of ancient and medieval civilization.

Professor Michael McCormick is Francis Goelet Professor of Medieval History at Harvard, and chairs the university-wide Initiative for the Science of the Human Past (SoHP), an interdisciplinary research network that brings together geneticists, archaeological scientists, climatologists, computer scientists, humanists, and social scientists to explore great questions of human history from our origins in Africa to our migrations across the globe. He is director in Cambridge of the new Max Planck-Harvard Research Center for the Archaeoscience of the Ancient Mediterranean. McCormick has written numerous monographs and articles, including the award-winning Origins of the European Economy: Communications and Commerce, AD 300–900 (Cambridge University Press, 2001). He codirects the Historical Ice Core Project, a joint project of SoHP and the Climate Change Institute (University of Maine) that uses ancient ice to reconstruct the environmental and economic history of Europe back to antiquity; and the archaeoscientific excavation of the lost Visigothic royal capital at Reccopolis, Spain.

For details and registration: https://www.doaks.org/research/byzantine/scholarly-activities/mccormick-lecture

Conference: Byzantine Materiality

St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 575 Scarsdale Rd, Yonkers, NY 10707, USA, 8-11 May 2019

Byzantine Materiality, a conference of the Sacred Arts Initiative, will be held May 8-11, 2019 on the campus of St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 575 Scarsdale Rd, Yonkers, NY 10707. This conference has been made possible by generous support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Popular descriptions of Byzantium often emphasize the mystical and immaterial while overlooking the mediating role of matter implied by the Christian belief in the incarnation. In the field of art history and across the humanities, a new interest in matter and materials constitutes what is now being referred to as the “material turn” or “new materialisms.”

Conference papers will explore the roles of matter and materials in icons, relics, and the Eucharist; Byzantine churches and their consecration; sensory experiences of liturgy; the neuroscience of viewing icons, and more. Conference speakers include Charles Barber, Roland Betancourt, Peter Bouteneff, Annemarie Weyl Carr, Béatrice Caseau, Mary Farag, Evan Freeman, Holger Klein, Joseph Kopta, Sean Leatherbury, James Magruder, Vasileios Marinis, Harry Prance, Stephanie Rumpza, Richard Schneider, Katherine Taronas, Laura Veneskey, Gary Vikan, and Alicia Walker.

Registration required. For more information, visit: www.byzantinemateriality.com

Fellowship: Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection Library Research Fellowship Program, 2019-2020

University Library at California State University, Sacramento, CA, USA

Deadline: 30 April 2019

Thanks to generous ongoing funding from the Elios Charitable Foundation and additional funding from the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Foundation, the University Library at California State University, Sacramento is pleased to announce the continuation of the Library Research Fellowship Program to support the use of the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection by fellows for scholarly research in Hellenic studies while in residence in Sacramento, CA. The Program provides a limited number of fellowships ranging from $1,000 to $4,000 to help offset transportation and living expenses incurred during the tenure of the awards and is open to external researchers anywhere in the world at the doctoral through senior scholar levels (including independent scholars) working in fields encompassed by the Collection’s strengths who reside outside a 75-mile radius of Sacramento. The term of fellowships can vary between two weeks and three months, depending on the nature of the research, and for the current cycle will be tenable from September 1, 2019-August 31, 2020. The fellowship application deadline is April 30, 2019. No late applications will be considered.

Consisting of the holdings of the former Speros Basil Vryonis Center for the Study of Hellenism, the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection is the premier Hellenic collection in the western United States and one of the largest of its kind in the country, currently numbering approximately 75,000 volumes. It comprises a large circulating book collection, journal holdings, electronic resources, non-print media materials, rare books, archival materials, art and artifacts. With its focus on the Hellenic world, the Collection contains early through contemporary materials across the social sciences and humanities relating to Greece, the Balkans, the Ottoman Empire and modern Turkey, and the surrounding region, with particular strengths in Byzantine, post-Byzantine, and Modern Greek studies, including the Greek diaspora worldwide. There is a broad representation of over 20 languages in the Collection, with a rich assortment of primary source materials. Since 2009 the collection has experienced particularly dramatic growth through several major gift acquisitions. For further information about the Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection, visit http://library.csus.edu/tsakopoulos-hellenic-collection.

For the full Library Research Fellowship Program description and application instructions, see: http://library.csus.edu/tsakopoulos-hellenic-collection/lrfp. Questions about the Program can be directed to George I. Paganelis, Curator, Tsakopoulos Hellenic Collection (paganelis@csus.edu).

Conference: Byzantine Studies Conference (BSC) 2019

University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, USA, 17-20 October 2019

The 45th Annual Byzantine Studies conference will be held on the University of Wisconsin-Madison Campus on October 17th through October 20th, 2019. Online Registration is now available!

Click here to register! https://uwmadison.eventsair.com/byzantine-studies-conference/

More information on the meeting and venue can be found on the conference website. If you have any questions please contact Conference Management at conferences@union.wisc.edu

Conference: Eclecticism at the Edges

Eclecticism at the Edges: Medieval Art and Architecture at the Crossroads of the Latin, Greek, and Slavic Cultural Spheres (c.1300-c.1550)

Princeton University, USA, 5-9 April 2019

In response to the global turn in art history and medieval studies, “Eclecticism at the Edges” explores the temporal and geographic parameters of the study of medieval art, seeking to challenge the ways in which we think about the artistic production of Eastern Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. This event will serve as a long-awaited platform to examine, discuss, and focus on the eclectic visual cultures of the Balkan Peninsula and the Carpathian Mountains, the specificities, but also the shared cultural heritage of these regions. It will raise issues of cultural contact, transmission, and appropriation of western medieval and Byzantine artistic and cultural traditions in eastern European centers, and consider how this heritage was deployed to shape notions of identity and visual rhetoric in these regions that formed a cultural landscape beyond medieval, Byzantine, and modern borders.

For full information, see https://ima.princeton.edu/conferences/. Note that the symposium is free but reigstration is necessary to guarantee a place.

Lecture: Dropping a Medieval Chronicle (and Putting it Back Together): Reading the Byzantine Chronography of Theophanes and George the Synkellos through Manuscripts, Maps, and Text Analysis

Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA, USA, 6:15-7:45pm, 28 March 2019

The co-authored early ninth-century Constantinopolitan Chronography of George the Synkellos and Theophanes the Confessor was a much more daring intellectual project than has been conceded. Opening up the Chronography’s complexity invites both the re-deployment of established methods such as close readings and codicological studies, as well as new “digital” approaches such as text analysis and mapping.

This talk will argue that these approaches are not mutually exclusive but both complementary and game-changing for historicized readings of medieval historical texts in general. After outlining an ecumenical approach to the Chronography in particular, I will propose other applications. Beyond a coup for Byzantinsts these methods can rejuvenate study of medieval chronicles in general: they supply a method for rigorous comparative reading and contribute to contemporary debates over historical space and periodization.

Full details at: https://maryjahariscenter.org/events/dropping-a-medieval-chronicle-and-putting-it-back-together

Job: Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History (Greek Art and Architecture)

Stockton University, NJ, USA

The Visual Arts Program at Stockton University invites applications for a one-year Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History beginning September 2019. Ph.D. required (or must have Ph.D. by September 2019) with college-level teaching experience and publications record. The preferred candidate will specialize in Greek art and architecture and have access to an active archaeological project in Greece or Cyprus. Consideration is also given to specialists in Byzantine art and architecture or other ancient specializations. Ability to teach more broadly within art history curriculum and academic experience with culturally diverse populations desired.

The successful applicant will teach courses in area of specialization, two-semester art history survey, and other courses as needed, including courses for the University’s General Studies program. One course in archaeology is required each year with preference given to candidates who can offer summer field work for students. The position includes endowed research funding and support for students traveling abroad established through the Pappas Center for Hellenic Studies. The faculty member will participate in Pappas Center for Hellenic Studies programming on campus and beyond. Teaching load is six four-credit courses per year.

The job is posted here:
https://stockton.hiretouch.com/job-details?jobID=1606&job=visiting-assistant-professor-of-art-history-13d

Conference: Syriac Worlds: Interactions, Exchanges, Contributions

Brown University, Providence, RI, USA, 16-19 June 2019

The Eighth North American Syriac Symposium will convene at Brown University on June 16-19, 2019. Held every four years since 1991, the North American Syriac Symposium brings together scholars and students for exchange and discussion on a wide variety of topics related to the language, literature, and cultural history of Syriac Christianity, extending chronologically from the first centuries CE to the present day and geographically from Syriac Christianity’s homeland in the Middle East to South India, China, and the worldwide diaspora.

Registration is now open. For details, see https://www.brown.edu/academics/religious-studies/events-0/syriac-symposium

Job: Museum Director, Dumbarton Oaks

Dumbarton Oaks, Washington D.C., USA

Dumbarton Oaks is a Harvard research institute, museum, library, and historic garden in Washington, D.C. The institute supports research and learning internationally in Byzantine, Garden and Landscape, and Pre-Columbian studies. The Museum is renowned for its world-class Byzantine and Pre-Columbian collections, and select works of European art. The Museum, open six days/week free of charge, has close ties to local and Harvard communities and engages scholars and visitors from all over the world through exhibitions, gallery talks, and class visits. Dumbarton Oaks is a vibrant home of the humanities with an overarching mission of communicating the value of culture and advanced research to the broadest possible public.

The Museum Director will lead the Museum team in planning and delivering innovative exhibits that will highlight the Dumbarton Oaks collections and may include collaborations with the three programs of study and the library, rare book, and image collections. The Museum Director will oversee long-term exhibition planning, budget, and all aspects of Museum operations, in close conjunction with other departments of Dumbarton Oaks. The ideal candidate will combine deep knowledge of at least one area of the Dumbarton Oaks collections with the promise of strong leadership and a proven record of collaboration. The incumbent will join Dumbarton Oaks at an exciting time of expansion of both our academic and our public programs and will be encouraged to foster links between the Museum and the research institute, help develop new educational programs for DC students, and provide open and free access to the collections through digital initiatives.

For full details and online application, see DO’s website.

Conference: Processions: Urban Ritual in Byzantium and Neighboring Lands

Byzantine Studies Symposium, Dumbarton Oaks Music Room, Washington DC, USA, 12-13 April 2019

Military, civic, and religious processions were hallmarks of the ancient and medieval world; they continued into the Renaissance and, indeed, continue to this day. Yet the Byzantine procession has not yet been subjected to any synthetic, historicizing, contextualizing, or comparative examination.

Understanding processions is critical for our appreciation of how urban space worked and was manipulated in the Middle Ages. For the 2019 Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Symposium, speakers will examine texts, artifacts, and images in order to develop a new understanding of medieval urban life across multiple social registers. For example, records of processions show us what kinds of public behavior were acceptable, and when, and where. Studying processions introduces us to new protagonists as well, for processions involve audiences as well as participants, and groups hitherto virtually invisible, such as the team of people who prepared for the event by decorating the streets, will be brought to light. The Byzantine commitment to processions is striking in terms of the resources and time allocated: there were as many as two processions a week in Constantinople, many involving the patriarch and the emperor. In the Latin West, the Crusader States, and in the Fatimid, Ottoman, and Muscovite worlds, by comparison, processions occurred far less frequently: the procession was significantly more important to the Byzantines than to their neighbors and successors. The comparative study of Byzantine processions to be offered by the speakers at the symposium will reveal how the Byzantines operated in a complex global network defined by local contexts, how the Byzantines positioned themselves within this network, and the nature of the Byzantine legacy to the Islamic, Catholic, and Orthodox inheritors of their culture.

For further infromation, see https://www.doaks.org/research/byzantine/scholarly-activities/processions.