The Byzness

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The Byzness, 9 December 2012
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New Orthodox Studies at Fordham Grant

BSANA forward from George Demacopoulos, Fordham University:

I am writing with the very good news that the Orthodox Christian Studies Center at Fordham has been awarded the maximum NEH Challenge Grant.  In a 1-3 matching arrangement, NEH will provide $500,000 of an anticipated $2m endowment.  This endowment will enable an annual faculty-in-residence research fellowship and an annual dissertation-completion fellowship.  These fellowships will be available to the global scholarly community and are open in terms of discipline/methodology, period, and geographic focus.

Inspired by Dumbarton Oaks and other research centers, our long-term goal is to build the necessary endowment to offer 4-5 faculty fellowships and 2-3 dissertation fellowships every year for the purpose of advancing interdisciplinary research in Orthodox Christian thought, history, and culture.
I thought that you might want to circulate this good news to the BSANA list.


George E. Demacopoulos
Associate Professor of Theology
Co-Founding Director, Orthodox Christian Studies Center
Fordham University

Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Coins and Seals Summer Program

Registration is now open for our 2013 Byzantine Coins and Seals Summer School.  For more information please visit our website.


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Medieval Art History after the Interdisciplinary Turn
University of Notre Dame, IN, March 28-29, 2014

Deadline: Jan 15, 2013

In the spring of 2014 it will have been twenty years since Jeffrey
Hamburger and Michael Camille confronted the relationship of medieval
art history with medieval studies in a volume of conference
proceedings, The Past and Future of Medieval Studies (Notre Dame,
1994), and twenty-six years since Herbert Kessler’s authoritative
assessment of the state of medieval art history in the Art Bulletin
(1988). Since these landmark statements, the interdisciplinary
character of medieval art history has become “a given” for new
generations of scholars trained in the field. At the same time, a
decided “turn” to the visual and material has become increasingly
evident throughout medieval studies, as scholars in other disciplines
have selectively embraced or appropriated domains of evidence and
methods of visual analysis and material interpretation once regarded as
the purview of art historians.

In light of these developments, this conference seeks papers that
critically examine the convergences and divergences that mark the
intersection of medieval art history and a broader tradition of
interdisciplinary medieval studies ever more invested in visual and
material evidence. What modes of analysis and argument distinguish
medieval art history from other art historical fields and from the
interpretation of material and visual evidence practiced, variously, by
other medievalists? How might older traditions of art historical
inquiry reinvigorate an expanding conversation about medieval works of
art and material culture? And perhaps above all else: what can an
interdisciplinary practice of art history now contribute to medieval

Adhering to the tradition of forward-thinking inquiry promoted by the
Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame, this prospective –
rather than retrospective – conference aims to frame new questions,
formulate future research agendas, and identify lacunae in the current
state of our knowledge that require new approaches, and new work.

As a forum for rigorous but collaborative dialogue, questioning, and
critique among participants, we hope the conference will encourage
lively intellectual and collegial exchange, that will ramify in ongoing
conversation, future collaborations, and publications.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions are invited for the following conference panels. Proposals
of no more than 300 words, along with a two-page CV, should be sent to
the organizers of the appropriate panel no later than January 15, 2013.
Multiple submissions will not be accepted.


Objects, Agency, and Efficacy

Panel Organizers:

Beate Fricke, University of California-Berkeley (
Cecily Hilsdale, McGill University (

What work did objects do in medieval culture? What made an object
efficacious? Art historians have begun to take seriously objects,
including amulets, talismans, ex-votos, funerary effigies, astrolabes,
eye glasses, decorative armaments, furniture, textiles, as well as the
sacraments of the Christian church and a wide range of medieval
counterfeits, that raise important questions of agency, efficacy, and
authority. This session seeks papers that engage questions of aura,
efficacy, and authority in relation to the production, instrumentality,
perceived animation and participation of medieval works and subjects in
material and visual culture. While anthropologically informed habits of
analysis have proved useful in relation to these issues, the session
also welcomes alternative approaches.

Medieval Art History in the Expanded Field

Panel Organizers:

Eric Ramírez-Weaver, University of Virginia
Christopher Lakey, Johns Hopkins University (

As the field of art history evolved during the twentieth and now
twenty-first centuries, the range of objects considered by art
historians expanded greatly, transgressing the bounds of a canonical
series of acknowledged “masterpieces.” Simultaneously, with the
appearance of departments devoted to visual studies and visual culture,
together with the new emphasis given to interdisciplinarity, works of
art, architecture, and material culture increasingly appear as evidence
in the work of other disciplines. Given these developments, can we
identify medieval art history’s disciplinarity? Do we want to? How, as
medievalists, do we practice art history in this expanded evidentiary
and methodological field? Can we envision an “art history” of physical
beauty in the Middle Ages? How would an art historical account of the
medieval natural landscape or night sky proceed? What might traditional
art historical concerns with questions of style or quality contribute
to medieval art history in the expanded field? And how do disciplinary
modes of analysis succeed or fail when confronted with historical works
or phenomena that stretch the boundaries of what has traditionally been
recognized as the “stuff” of art historical argument? This session
invites papers that take up questions of disciplinarity and evidence by
means of specific case studies or focused historical or historiographic

Technique, Technology, and Process

Panel Organizers:

Richard Leson, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (
Danielle Joyner, University of Notre Dame (

How might renewed consideration of artistic and artisanal techniques
and processes affect our vision of the material, visual and
intellectual cultures of the Middle Ages? Could art historians better
integrate insights from the history of science and archaeology with
traditional connoisseurial attention to facture in our interpretations
of medieval works of art, architecture and material culture? Can we
imagine a new critical formalism in which sustained engagement with
artistic and artisanal processes, techniques, and technologies yields a
different vision of our objects and monuments? How might such an
attention to the making and facture of medieval works transform our
understanding of the role of the “hand” in the making of historical
cultures? This session welcomes papers that investigate making,
artifice, and the specific formal constitution of medieval works of art.

Ornament and the Decorative: When the “minor” is major

Panel Organizers:

Alicia Walker, Bryn Mawr College (
Aden Kumler, University of Chicago (

Might the Middle Ages, broadly construed, be best described as an “age
of ornament”? While historians of Islamic art have long attended to the
function and/or significance of ornament, historians of European
medieval art have yet to develop robust accounts of ornament or “the
decorative” in medieval material and visual culture. So too, recent
work has foregrounded the importance of so-called “minor arts” in the
medieval period, challenging the primacy of architecture and book arts
in the history of medieval art. This session invites papers that
interrogate field-specific habits of thought in relation to the art
historiography of ornament and “the minor arts” in the Middle Ages,
that consider how “the minor arts” and the “ornamental” were central to
medieval aesthetic experiences, or otherwise question how scholarly
presumptions concerning media, mimesis, &/or the utility vs autonomy of
works may influence our vision of medieval art and material culture.


‘The Individual and the Society’
Center of Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies Postgraduate Colloquium at the University of Birmingham.

We welcome 250 word abstracts for a 20 min paper from postgraduate students. The deadline for submission is 25th March 2013.

The colloquium will convene on 25th May 2013.

Please find the full Call for Papers here.


Representing War and Violence in the Pre-Modern World

Pembroke College, Cambridge, 23rd-24th September 2013

Proposals are sought for 20-minute papers on any aspect of how war and violence were documented, depicted and narrated in the medieval and early modern periods, including:

–       the representation of conflict in chronicles, poetry,
correspondence, proclamations, pageantry;
–       the visual depiction/performance of war and violence;
–       questions of just war, holy war, necessary war, casus belli;
–       perspectives of victor and victim, chivalry and atrocity;
–       different interpretations of soldier and civilian, eyewitness and historian;
–       changing philosophies, codes, practices, technologies and accoutrements of war;
–       war as divine providence or human scourge;
–       intersections of art, literature, and propaganda.

Keynote speakers: Professor Daniel Weiss, Lafayette College; Professor Richard Kaeuper, University of Rochester; Professor Anne Curry, University of Southampton

Other contributors: Laura Ashe, David Grummitt, Megan Leitch, Catherine Nall, Craig Taylor.

Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers to Joanna Bellis, by 1st March 2013, at

This colloquium is generously sponsored by the Harry F. Guggenheim Foundation, which promotes research on all aspects of the human propensity to violence and aggression; and by Pembroke College, Cambridge. It will be a forum to foster conversation between historians, art historians and literary critics.
Conference website:


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Byzantium and British Heritage:  Byzantine influences on the Art & Crafts Movement

A conference organised by the British School at Athens in conjunction with
the Centre for Hellenic Studies, Kings College, London

4-6 September, 2013 in the Safra Theatre, Strand Campus, King’s College London (with possible one-day excursion on Saturday, 7th September).

This conference opens a dialogue between specialists on the Byzantine world and on the Arts and Crafts Movement in order to set into context an important, if short-lived, episode in Anglo-Hellenic relations at the turn of the 20th century. This dialogue will be articulated around the architects who created the Byzantine Research Fund Archive, a unique collection of architectural drawings and photographs of numerous monuments across the Byzantine world, held in the Archive of the British School at Athens. Educated and trained in the traditions of the Arts and Crafts Movement (1880-1930) these architects developed highly successful practices, undertaking major commissions for buildings, furniture and fittings across Britain and the Empire. Their work, uniting as it does distinctively a British design tradition with Byzantine arts and crafts, represents a highly significant and under-researched link between Britain and the Hellenic world.

There will be a charge for the conference and for the day-excursion to St Sophia, Bayswater, and Westminster Cathedral in London, and to the Church of the Wisdom of God, Lower Kingswood, Surrey.

Highlighted subjects among the conference papers include the Byzantine Revival in Europe; the Byzantine Research Fund; Arts and Crafts architects (including W. R Lethaby, Robert Weir Schultz, and Henry Wilson) and monuments such as Westminster Cathedral; and the great patrons, including the Marquess of Bute and the Freshfield family.

Confirmed speakers include Professor J.B. Bullen (Reading) Professor Robin Cormack (Courtauld Institute); Dr. Kostis Kourelis (Franklin and Mary College, USA), Dr. Dimitra Kotoula (Byzantine and Christian Museum, Athens); Professor Alan Powers (University of Greenwich); Professor Gavin Stamp (Cambridge); and Dr. Peter Cormack (V&A Museum)


The New Testament in Byzantium
Co-Symposiarchs: Robert Nelson and Derek Krueger

April 26 – 28, 2013. Dumbarton Oaks, Washington, D.C.

Dumbarton Oaks is pleased to announce the annual Byzantine symposium, to be held in the Music Room of Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., from Friday, April 26 – Sunday, April 28, 2013.  Please note that the symposium will be two full days and one partial day session: sessions will begin at 9 am on Friday, and conclude Sunday afternoon.

The New Testament lay at the center of Byzantine Christian thought and practice.  Scribes copied its gospels and epistles. Lectionaries apportioned much of its contents over the course of the liturgical calendar; its narratives structured the experience of liturgical time and shaped the nature of Christian preaching. Quoted, alluded to, and expounded, it inspired and fueled the genres of hagiography and hymnography. Patrons and illustrators brought scenes from the life of Christ and his apostles to manuscripts, icons, and the walls of churches.  Preachers, theologians and political theorists drew inspiration and authority from its teachings. Considering such varied legacies, this symposium assesses the impact of the New Testament on Byzantine civilization.

Following the successful symposium and volume on the Old Testament in Byzantium, we extend the investigation of the Bible in Byzantine history.  We raise the following questions: What was the New Testament for Byzantine Christians?  What of it was known, how, when, where, and by whom?  How was this knowledge mediated through text, image, and rite? What was the place of these sacred texts in Byzantine arts, letters, and thought?  We draw upon the current state of textual scholarship and explore aspects of New Testament manuscripts.  But manuscripts of complete biblical texts, collections of texts, or entire Bibles were not the only or even the most important way in which the New Testament was understood, and accordingly, we explore the transformation of the New Testament as read, heard, imaged, and imagined in lectionaries, hymns, homilies, saints’ lives, and illustrations in miniatures and monuments. We turn also to the role of the New Testament in framing theological inquiry, ecclesiastical controversy, and political thought.  Central is our conviction that liturgy, liturgical arts, and intellectual culture offered places where exegesis continued, long after the tradition of Patristic biblical commentary had ceased.  Our interdisciplinary conversation will yield fuller knowledge of the New Testament and its varied reception over the long history of Byzantium.

 Space for this event is limited, and registration will be handled on a first come, first served basis. For further information, please visit our website ( or contact the Byzantine Studies Program at Dumbarton Oaks (, 202-339-6940). 

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Christian iconography Scholarship – London.

This is offered by the Leventis Foundation at the Princes School of Traditional Arts (PSTA), London. The scholarship is for PhD tuition regardless of whether the student is EU or non-EU.

Potential students should contact Dr Emily Pott, Supervisor, Research Coordinator or Ririko Suzuki, Registrar, at PSTA:
The Prince’s School of Traditional Arts
19-22 Charlotte Road
London EC2A 3SG


Three New Post-Doc Positions at Kings College, London

The Centre for Hellenic Studies and the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at King’s College London are currently advertising three new post-doctoral positions, to work on the ERC funded project ‘Defining Belief and Identities in the Eastern Mediterranean: The Role of Interreligious Debate and Interaction’, directed by Dr Ioannis Papadogiannakis

The project seeks to recover the processes by which religious beliefs and identities were defined through inter-religious interaction and debate in the religious culture of a broader social base in the eastern Mediterranean (6-8th centuries AD) through examination of a neglected, unconventional corpus of medieval Greek, Syriac and Arabic literature of debate and disputation (consisting of collections of questions and answers, dialogues among others).
There are posts for a Greek philologist, an specialist in Arabic and Syriac, and a researcher studying the cosmology of the period. For further details see 
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