Visiting Fellow, Fall 2018
Kórinna Latèlis holds a PhD in Byzantine History and Music Anthropology and currently collaborates as a Research Associate with the Institute of Historical Research of the National Hellenic Research Foundation (Athens, Greece). Her research interests include historical forms of performance and public space performance-as-research. She is the founder of AérEchO (from "air" and "echo"), a platform dedicated to the artistic creation and research on public space. She has participated in various festivals, in Greece and in Europe and has been awarded for her work. She is member of CMRC-KSYME (Contemporary Music Research Centre – Athens, Greece) and collaborates as artist-researcher with the Ethnomusicology and Cultural Anthropology Laboratory (EthnoLab – National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece). She is the author of a book titled "Music and Musicians in Byzantium. Performing arts and performers in the Late Byzantine Era (1261-1453)" (In press- Athens:Nakas).
My research project will focus on ‘Female performers in the mid- and late Byzantine period. Evidence from the legal texts’, bringing into play the legal and social status of female performers, as well as the social, ideological and cultural dimension of female performance in this period. The originality of the project consists in that it highlights, for the first time, female performance in the Middle and Late Byzantine periods as a concrete, distinct topic of research and it proposes to investigate it systematically and comprehensively, in great depth and scale, based primarily on legal texts of this era. To this end, this study will draw on expertise from several fields (literature, history, performance studies, cultural anthropology and gender studies), thus opening a path towards a greater and more comprehensive understanding of female performance -and of performance in general- in a period largely unexplored to this day.
The project will focus principally on secular female performers and will use legal texts as its primary sources. Within the framework outlined above, the project will first consider the legal status of female performers and then discuss the repercussions and connotation of this status in relation to/ for mid- and late Byzantine society and cultural life.
Through a comprehensive use of the source material, the proposed study will attempt to give a concrete and all-embracing image not only of the legal status of performers in that era, but, also, of how institutions, namely the state and the church, as well as society in general deal with female performers and female performance.
The proposed study will become the core material of a book dedicated to female performers and performance in the Late Byzantine Era.