Towards a Critical Historiography of Byzantine Studies

poster  crit hist


BSANA and the New Critical Approaches to the Byzantine World Network announce a webinar to be held Thursday, 13 August 2020, from 5.00-7.00 PM (GMT) / 12.00-2.00 PM (EST). To promote discussion of the question, “Is Byzantine Studies a colonialist discipline?,” we plan to:


- consider the role that European colonialism plays in existing accounts of the history of the discipline (readings will include “Byzantine Studies as an Academic Discipline” from the Oxford handbook, and essays by Dimiter Angelov, Helena Bodin, Averil Cameron, and Ihor Ševčenko);


- compare those accounts to two critical historiographies of neighboring disciplines (The Nation and Its Ruins by Yannis Hamilakis and Beyond Balkanism by Diana Mishkova); and,


- brainstorm topics (themes, chapters) that are still little discussed, but should appear in a future (and as yet entirely hypothetical) Critical Historiography of Byzantine Studies.


In addition to the members of the New Critical Approaches Network and the BSANA initiative to Decolonize Byzantine Studies, we hope to welcome a further ca. 15 participants. If you would like to join, please write (as soon as possible, at any rate before the end of July) to co-facilitators Ben Anderson ( and Mirela Ivanova ( As a “buy-in” we ask that you suggest a relevant essay (book, chapter, film, etc.) by an author not mentioned above. This will help us to build a collective bibliography as a resource for future inquiry. If nothing concrete comes to mind, please write a few short sentences ( no more than 150 words) on why you are interested in this topic, and what you hope is covered in the discussion. 


Participants will receive detailed instructions (and links to all readings in .pdf) on or before August 1. Our goal is to create an environment in which no single voice dominates, all feel welcome to question and contribute, and new knowledge results.

New Critical Approaches to the Byzantine World Network, TORCH Networks