The first element of the BSANA initiative to Decolonize Byzantine Studies was a collaboration with the New Critical Approaches to the Byzantine World Network. On August 13, 12-14 EST / 17-19 GMT, we hosted a webinar (announcement here), “Towards a Critical Historiography of Byzantine Studies.” To promote discussion of the question, “Is Byzantine Studies a colonialist discipline?,” we planned to:

- consider the role that European colonialism plays in existing accounts of the history of the discipline;


Elizabeth Jeffreys, John F. Haldon, and Robin Cormack, “Byzantine Studies as an Academic Discipline.” In The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies (2008). (pdf)

Dimiter Angelov, “Byzantinism: The Imaginary and Real Heritage of Byzantium in Southeastern Europe.” In New Approaches to Balkan Studies (2003), edited by Dimitris Keridis, Ellen Elias-Bursać, and Nicholas Yatromanolakis. (pdf)00
Helena Bodin, “Whose Byzantinism - Ours or Theirs? On the Issue of Byzantinism from a Cultural Semiotic Perspective.” In The Reception of Byzantium in European Culture since 1500 (2016), edited by Przemysław Marciniak and Dion C. Smythe. (pdf)

Averil Cameron, The Use & Abuse of Byzantium: An Essay on Reception (1992). (pdf)
Ihor Ševčenko. "Old Byzantinists and the Place of Byzantine Studies Today." Byzantinoslavica (2009). (pdf)

- compare those accounts to two critical historiographies of neighboring disciplines; 


Yannis Hamilakis, The Nation and Its Ruins: Antiquity, Archaeology, and National Imagination in Greece (2007), Chs. 1 and 3. (pdf)

Diana Mishkova, Beyond Balkanism: The Scholarly Politics of Region Making (2019), Introduction and Ch. 1. (pdf)

- 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.

As a ‘buy-in,’ participants suggested relevant essays (books, chapters, films, etc.) by authors not mentioned above. Suggestions have been compiled (and remain welcome!) to build a collective bibliography as a resource for future inquiry.

To read a brief report on the resulting conversation, please click here.

Byzantine Studies Association of North America