Rather than provide a definitive answer to this question, this talk defines the parameters of the debate and proposes ways of thinking about what it would mean to engage seriously with the Byzantine Studies's political and intellectual genealogies, hierarchies, and forms of exclusion. In doing so, we will both propose a way of understanding Byzantine Studies in wider debates about empire and colonialism, and seek to situate it within the wider discussions in Classics and Medieval studies to show what Byzantine Studies can gain but also what it can contribute to these wider questions.
Mirela Ivanova is Lecturer in Medieval History at the University of Sheffield. Her work focuses intellectual and social history of Byzantium and Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages.Her book, Inventing Slavonic: Cultures of Writing between Rome and Constantinople is under production with Oxford University Press. Relatedly, her work explores the historiography of Byzantium and Central and Eastern Europe, and how nineteenth century ideas of nations have produced the common-sense assumptions of modern medieval history.
Benjamin Anderson is Associate Professor of the History of Art and Classics at Cornell University. He studies the visual and material cultures of the eastern Mediterranean and adjacent landmasses, with a particular focus on late antique and Byzantine art and the history of archaeology. He is author of Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art (2017) and coeditor of Antiquarianisms: Contact, Conflict, Comparison (2017); The Byzantine Neighbourhood: Urban Space and Political Action (2022); and Otros pasados: Ontologías alternatives y el estudio de lo que ha sido (2022).
Image Credit: Penn State University Press