Studying East of Byzantium IX: Networks


Zara Pogossian, University of Florence
Joel Walker, University of Washington

Studying East of Byzantium IX: Networks is a three-part workshop that intends to bring together doctoral students and recent PhDs studying the Christian East to reflect on the usefulness of networks in studying the Christian East, to share methodologies, and to discuss their research with one another and senior specialists in the field. The workshop continues the efforts of East of Byzantium, the partnership between the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross and the Mashtots Professor of Armenian Studies at Harvard University (from 2022–), to foster an interdisciplinary community of early career scholars engaged in the study of the diverse traditions of the medieval Christian East, including Syria, the South Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and Egypt.

Increasingly scholars are conceptualizing the late antique and medieval worlds as networks that bridge and connect vast spaces, people, and cultures. How, when, and why are such models useful? Whom do they serve? Do they succeed across disciplines, from archaeology to theology, and political to economic history? Can they be helpful in understanding the development and interconnection of academic disciplines?

This year we invite all graduate students and recent PhDs working in the Christian East whose work considers, or hopes to consider, the theme of networks (microregional, regional, transregional, global, etc.) in their own research to apply.

Workshop Format
The workshop events will be led by Zara Pogossian and Joel Walker and facilitated by Christina Maranci and Brandie Ratliff. Meetings will be held on Zoom. The first event on November 18 will be a short introductory session where participants introduce themselves and their projects. During the second event on February 17, participants will provide a short 10-minute update on their research and have the opportunity to pose questions or problems to the group. At the final two-day event on June 5–6, each participant will deliver a 20- to 25-minute presentation based on their project. While research projects may be on any topic and need not focus specifically on networks, the workshop theme should be the focus of the presentations. Individual presentations will be followed by a 10-minute response from Zara Pogossian or Joel Walker and a general discussion. The timing of the workshop meetings will be determined when the participant list is finalized.

Doctoral students or recent PhDs studying the Christian East. All disciplines are welcome. Early career researchers should have received their PhD in 2022. Priority will be given to graduate students.

Interested students should submit a C.V. and a 200-word abstract no later than September 19, 2022. Papers should be based on the dissertation project. The final output may be in the form of a conference paper, a dissertation chapter or excerpt, or an article.

Complete Papers
Papers should not exceed 5,000 words in length including footnotes. Complete papers must be submitted to all workshop participants no later than May 14, 2023.

September 19, 2022: Abstracts due
October 3, 2022: Organizers notify workshop applicants of status
November 18, 2022: Workshop, Part I (Zoom)
February 17, 2023: Workshop, Part II (Zoom)
May 14, 2023: Complete papers due
June 5 and 6, 2023: Workshop, Part III (Zoom)

Zara Pogossian is Associate Professor of Byzantine Civilisation at University of Florence and PI of the ERC project Armenia Entangled: Connectivity and Cultural Encounters in Medieval Eurasia 9th – 14th Centuries (ArmEn). Dr. Pogossian is a specialist in medieval Armenian history, culture and religion, especially in relation to other peoples, cultures and religions in the Near East and Asia Minor.

Joel Walker is the Lawrence J. Roseman Endowed Associate Professor in History at the University of Washington. A historian of Late Antiquity, he is interested in the diverse cultures of western Eurasia from prehistory to the early Islamic caliphate. Dr. Walker’s research focuses on the religious and cultural communities of the premodern Middle East, especially the Christian community known as the Church of the East.

Blog at