BSC brochure and poster

The poster and brochure for the annual Byzantine Studies Conference in Cleveland (December 9-12) are now available on our website.

Collis Lecture (Virtual): Dr. Maria Vassilaki, September 26

“Viewing St. Catherine’s Monastery at Sinai”
Maria Vassilaki, Professor Emerita, Byzantine Art History, University of Thessaly (Volos, Greece), and Member of the Benaki Museum Board of Trustees (Athens, Greece)

September 26, 2pm-3pm EST (USA) via Zoom

An Annual Lecture Devoted to Ancient Greek and Byzantine Art

Saint Catherine’s Monastery is located in Sinai, a place associated with well-known events narrated in the Old Testament, making the region the ultimate locus sanctus (holy place). Built in Egypt in the mid-sixth century by emperor Justinian on the site of Moses’s Burning Bush at the foot of Mount Sinai, the fortified monastery remains intact to this day. In this lecture, Maria Vassilaki investigates how and when the Sinai landscape was transformed from a mere background setting into an independent composition.

Obituary for UCLA Professor Emeritus Bariša Krekić (14 October 1928 – 12 January 2021)Bariša Krekić

Bariša Krekić was a professor in the History Department from 1970 until his retirement in 1994, and taught the history of Byzantium as well as the history of the medieval and early modern Balkans. He served UCLA also as Director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies.
His family had long roots in Ragusa, where he was born in 1928. The stories he heard in his childhood were those of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while he himself experienced the deprivations of the Second World War and the limitations of the Communist Era. He studied at Belgrade where he obtained his doctorate in 1954. The famous Russian Byzantinist George Ostrogorsky soon depended on him as his assistant at the Serbian Academy of Sciences. He became a professor at the University of Novi Sad in 1956, a position he held until 1970. During this time, he had Visiting Professorships at Indiana University, Bloomington, and at Stanford University. UCLA recruited him as professor in 1970. Visiting Professorships took him to Dumbarton Oaks (Harvard’s international research center in Byzantine Studies) as well as the Central European University in Budapest.
Formative for his future academic development was the year he spent as a postdoctoral researcher in Paris, 1957-8, where he was a contemporary of Helene Ahrweiler. Among his teachers were the historian of Byzantine culture and social life Paul Lemerle and the historian Fernand Braudel. It was the latter who impressed upon his students the importance to study the Mediterranean as a historical and cultural unit, rather than as a divided space, and Ragusa as a key location in this context.
Indeed, Krekić engaged with these issues several decades before ‘Mediterranean Studies’ became a distinct area of research, and his seminal works have become the point of departure for a current generation of scholars who turn their attention to Ragusa as the place where the multiple interactions between the Western, Catholic and the Eastern, Orthodox worlds come into focus. He often spent his summers in Venice, collecting Ragusan documents in the Archivio di Stato. He entrusted his ample research notes to the UCLA library. He also remained connected with Dubrovnik, holding several leadership functions in its Inter-University Center.
Bariša Krekić’s books include: Dubrovnik (Raguse) et le Levant au Moyen Âge  (1961), Dubrovnik in the 14th and 15th Centuries: A City between East and West (1972), Dubrovnik, Italy and the Balkans in the Late Middle Ages (1980), Dubrovnik: A Mediterranean Urban Society, 1300–1600 (1997), Unequal Rivals: Essays on Relations between Dubrovnik and Venice in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries (2007), in addition to edited volumes, articles and book reviews.
His active years in the History Department coincided with those of several great scholars, many of them trained in Europe: the Medievalist Gerhardt Ladner, the Byzantinist Speros Vryonis Jr., the Ottomanist Stanford Shaw and the Armenian historian Richard Hovanissian, as well as the historian of Ancient Greece Mortimer Chambers, the historian of Russia Hans Rogge and the historian of early modern France Eugen Weber. He was also closely associated with Henrik Birnbaum in the Department of Slavonic Literatures and Cultures.
Together with his wife Ruzica Popovic-Krekić, herself a scholar of Russia and active in Serbian cultural life in Los Angeles and beyond (she passed away in 2011, making his last years of declining health very lonely), Bariša Krekić maintained a circle of learned friends— all of them Californians by deep conviction—with personal or intellectual roots in Europe. Some of the colleagues mentioned above together with their equally learned wives belonged to this circle, along with many others. Dinner table conversations were always spirited and wide-ranging. He also cared deeply about students and younger scholars.
His gracious manner, deep erudition and warm humanity will be fondly remembered by all who were fortunate to know him.
— Obituary from Claudia Rapp, UCLA Department of History (1993-2011), University of Vienna (2011-)

Call for participants: Studying East of Byzantium VIII: Material Culture

The Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, are pleased to invite abstracts for the next Studying East of Byzantium workshop: Studying East of Byzantium VIII: Material Culture.

The three-part workshop intends to bring together doctoral students studying the Christian East to reflect on how to study the material world of the Christian East, to share methodologies, and to discuss their research with workshop respondents, Marica Cassis, University of Calgary, and Kate Franklin, Birkbeck, University of London. The workshop will meet on November 19, 2021, February 18, 2022, and June 6–7, 2022, on Zoom. The timing of the workshop meetings will be determined when the participant list is finalized.

We invite doctoral students working in any discipline of East Christian studies to discuss the role of material culture—monuments, archaeological sites, artifacts, images—in their research and to consider questions such as how the tools of the study of material culture can assist in understanding the realities of the Christian East? What is the difference between material culture and art-historical and archaeological approaches? How does attention to the non-verbal world harmonize with or challenge historical narratives based on textual study?

Participation is limited to 10 students. The full workshop description is available on the East of Byzantium website ( Those interested in attending should submit a C.V. and 200-word abstract through the East of Byzantium website no later than September 13, 2021.

For questions, please contact East of Byzantium organizers, Christina Maranci, Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art, Tufts University, and Brandie Ratliff, Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at

EAST OF BYZANTIUM is a partnership between the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA. It explores the cultures of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine Empire in the late antique and medieval periods.

Funding opportunites for the 2021 Byzantine Studies Conference

Information on funding opportunities for graduate and early career contingent scholars* is now available on our website!
BSC Graduate Student & Early Career Contingent Scholar Travel Reimbursement:
Byzantinists of Color Conference Grant:
*Early Career Contingent Scholars designate scholars who have earned their PhD within the past 8 years and who do not hold permanent or tenure-track appointments. This includes scholars serving as adjuncts, post-doctoral fellows, contingent faculty, and those holding other non-tenured academic and non-academic positions.

[CFP, Kalamazoo 2022] Armenian Studies: Literature and Art I and II

Papers are sought for two sessions: Armenian Studies: Literature and Art I and II to be proposed for the 57th International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, ONLINE: May 9-14, 2022), organized by Dr. Michail Kitsos (University of Toronto)

Classical and medieval Armenian literature and material culture offer a plethora of information about Armenian history, culture, theology, and politics during late antiquity and the Middle Ages. Despite the importance of classical and medieval Armenian sources, these remain understudied. Armenian Studies I & II: Literature and Art aim to demonstrate the importance of the study of classical and medieval Armenian literary sources and material culture and to highlight the role of Byzantine and Medieval Armenia by exploring literary contacts, interactions, the perception and the impact of Byzantine cultural tradition on the Armenian life, and exchanges between Armenia and its neighbors.

These two sessions aim to demonstrate the importance of classical and medieval Armenian sources and material culture for the study of Byzantium and beyond in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. We welcome papers that study different literary genres such as chronicles, theological treatises, narratives, letters, legal texts, as well as various forms of artistic expression in order to explore points of interaction, cultural exchange, literary contacts, and polemics between Armenia and its neighbors. Through these sessions, we aim to provide a multifaceted perspective of the role of medieval Armenia between Byzantium and Islam.

To submit a paper proposal, you are kindly requested to do so no later than September 15, 2021 using the conference portal:

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the organizer: Dr. Michail Kitsos at

[CFP, Kalamazoo 2022] Decentering the Self: Liminality and Marginality in Self-Presentation

Recent work on subjecthood and patronage in Byzantine studies has shown the import of formulas and models, especially in light of liturgical and literary ones, for understanding and presenting the self. At the same time, theories of queerness and intersectionality have been used to bring greater awareness to previously overlooked medieval identities. Drawing on these discourses, this panel revisits traditional sites of self-presentation, such as seals, donation images, and objects of commemoration to ask how these issues were visualized. How did patrons with marginal or liminal identities represent themselves? Or why would a patron choose to represent themselves via a figure whose identity did not fit neatly into societally defined categories? For example, why would a man choose an angel as his emblem? At stake is how we recognize and interpret medieval self-identification. Speakers are encouraged to address de-centered subjects, either patrons or iconographies, and ask how the arena of self-presentation can aid our understanding of what liminal and marginal meant to medieval patrons and viewers. Deadline for Submissions: Wednesday, September 15, 2021.

Call for Sessions: Mary Jaharis Center Sponsored Panel, 2022 International Medieval Congress

To encourage the integration of Byzantine studies within the scholarly community and medieval studies in particular, the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture seeks proposals for a Mary Jaharis Center sponsored session at the 2022 International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, July 4–7, 2022. We invite session proposals on any topic relevant to Byzantine studies. The deadline for submission is September 3, 2021.

Amassing Perspectives: Recent Trends in Syriac Iconography

This virtual conference, which will take place on September 17–18, 2021, gathers diverse scholars from across the globe whose research touches on all aspects of Syriac iconography and visual culture in any geographic region from late antiquity throughout the Middle Ages, to roughly 1400 C.E. It is structured around roundtable workshop sessions for pre-circulated papers, disseminated to registered participants approximately one month in advance. The conference is hosted by the Department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University, with additional support from the Committee for the Study of Late Antiquity (CSLA) and the Center for Collaborative History (CCH).

Job Announcement: Foundation for Hellenic Studies-Illinois Chair in Hellenic Studies

The Department of Classics and Mediterranean Studies and the Department of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (LAS) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) invite applications and nominations for the endowed chair “Foundation for Hellenic Studies—Illinois Chair in Hellenic Studies.” We seek a scholar in the humanities with a research focus on any aspect of Hellenic Studies, broadly understood. Areas of research focus may range from antiquity to the foundation of the modern Greek state to the present. Preference will be given to scholars who demonstrate in their research or teaching diachronic expertise in Greek culture and history. The appointment will reside in the Department of Classics and Mediterranean Studies or the Department of History. Shared appointments between these two units may be possible when appropriate.

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