The officers and board members of the Byzantine Studies Association of North America affirm that Black Lives Matter. We mourn the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other victims of racism and white supremacy. We stand in solidarity with activists who are protesting police violence and systemic racism. We lament that our own field of study has been deployed to justify false narratives of white supremacy and western civilization. We believe that silence is complicity, that words without action are hollow, and we commit to battle against racism and white supremacy in our scholarship, teaching, and public engagement. We implore our members, colleagues, and partners to do the same.
In an effort to combat systemic forms of racism and exclusion in our discipline, we establish the Byzantinists of Color Fund. Its seed is $7,000 previously allocated to support graduate student travel to the (now virtual) BSC 2020. Donations to BSANA made via this link will be directed towards this fund until it doubles. [The fund has since doubled - thank you to everyone who contributed!] The fund will support travel to the BSC by people of color, with priority to graduate students, contingent faculty, and early-career / pre-tenure scholars, beginning in Cleveland 2021. Graduate student stipends will continue to be awarded as before.
We announce an initiative to Decolonize Byzantine Studies. We invite reflections on the question: Is Byzantine Studies a colonialist discipline? [The first forum for discussion was a webinar, “Towards a Critical Historiography of Byzantium,” held on 13 August in collaboration with the New Critical Approaches to the Byzantine World Network. For more information, click here.]
THE VIRTUAL BSC
The 46th Annual Byzantine Studies Conference took place online, 23-25 October. Thank you to everyone who participated! The schedule and abstracts may be viewed here.