You are cordially invited to a seminar entitled ” Identifying hybrid spaces and ‘makeshift’ spatial practices within the Byzantine period of transformations (6th-9th centuries): the potential of archaeology and textual evidence. « ὰ προειρημένα ἐπὶ τῶν ἐκ νέου κατασκευαζομένων εἴρηται• εἰ δὲ χάρται εἰσὶ παλαιοὶ ἤ καὶ δουλεία τις προλαβοῦσα, κεχρῆσθαι δεῖ τοῖς ἐξ ἀρχῆς συμπεφωνημένοις…» ” organized by the Department of History.
Date: 11 March 2021, Thursday
Time: 18.00 (Ankara Time Zone)
Title: Identifying hybrid spaces and ‘makeshift’ spatial practices within the Byzantine period of transformations (6th-9th centuries): the potential of archaeology and textual evidence. «Τὰ προειρημένα ἐπὶ τῶν ἐκ νέου κατασκευαζομένων εἴρηται• εἰ δὲ χάρται εἰσὶ παλαιοὶ ἤ καὶ δουλεία τις προλαβοῦσα, κεχρῆσθαι δεῖ τοῖς ἐξ ἀρχῆς συμπεφωνημένοις…».
Speaker: Myrto Veikou, University of Uppsala
This presentation scrutinizes the potential of archaeology and literary analysis towards an identification of ‘hybrid’ spaces and ‘makeshift’ spatial practices within the transforming Byzantine world of the 6th-9th centuries. It brings focus upon the archaeologist’s struggle to define historical settlement, based on the archaeological and historical record, as an act of walking a tight rope; one tip of the rope is paying justice to the flexibility and hybridity of settlement, and the other is acknowledging one’s stance amid a great diversity of theoretical perspectives on settlement. This discussion is partly based on material and insights published in the study “Encroachment, Subdivision, and Expansion: A Cultural Interpretation of Byzantine Spatial Transformation (6th- 9th Century)” in Beate Böhlendorf-Arslan & Robert Schick (Eds), Transformations of city and countryside in in the Byzantine Period (Leibniz-Science Campus Mainz/Frankfurt: Byzantium between Orient and Occident / BOO 22, 2020, pp. 25-38.
I consider information on Byzantine secular and religious spaces (buildings, settlements, landscapes), deriving from archaeological evidence and texts, in order to define and interpret their transformations from the 6th to the 9th centuries. I comparatively evaluate transformations in urban, rural and other environments so as to allow involving political, economic and cultural aspects in a discussion of: a) the structures, which were transformed, b) the human agencies, which produced the transformations, and c) the challenges responsible for these agencies. I interpret these developments by means of contemporary archaeological theories of agency and non-representational theories (or theories of practices) in cultural geography. By using these theories, I aim to shift focus from the meanings of products of human agency (Byzantine architecture) into the meanings of human, »habitual« everyday practices (Byzantine spatial practices). My main argument in favour of this shift is that the scrutiny of social practices allows non-intentionalist accounts of Byzantine transformation acts.
Myrto Veikou studied History and Archaeology (BA 1995, University of Athens), and further specialized in Byzantine History and Archaeology (MPhil 1998 – University of Birmingham; MA 2002 – University of Paris I-Sorbonne; PhD 2007 – University of Athens). Her first Ph.D. thesis on Middle-Byzantine settlement in Epirus (Western Greek mainland) was published in 2012 (Byzantine Epirus: A topography of transformation. Settlements from the 7th to the 12th centuries in Southern Epirus and Aetoloacarnania, Greece, The Medieval Mediterranean 95, Leiden: Brill NV). Since September 2015, she has been pursuing further specialization in Byzantine Philology at Uppsala University where she has recently gained her second Ph.D.
She taught courses on Byzantine history and archaeology (University of Cyprus, 2008; University of Crete, 2010-2012; Hellenic Open University, 2010-2012; Open University of Cyprus, 2012-2015) as well as on ancient and modern Greek language and culture in France and Sweden.
Dr. Veikou has worked in several research projects on Byzantine culture in Greece, as a postdoctoral researcher (University of Athens, 2009-2010; University of Crete, 2012-2015) and as a senior researcher (University of Athens, 2008; Archaeological Society at Athens, 2007; National Hellenic Research Foundation – Institute of Byzantine Research, 2003-2004; Foundation of the Hellenic World, 1998-1999).
Dr. Veikou has also lead two personal postdoctoral research projects on Byzantine spaces, funded by the Greek State and the European Social Fund (2012-2015) and by the Greek State Scholarship Foundation (2009-2010); she has also been active as Byzantine-material-culture specialist for excavations and survey projects in Greece (e.g. in the Athenian Agora, Meganissi and ancient Eleutherna).
Her principal publications are available online at https://uppsala.academia.edu/MyrtoVeikou.
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