For its 50th anniversary, the Spring Symposium of Byzantine Studies returns to the University of Birmingham, where it began in 1967. On this anniversary of the discipline we ask what the language of globalism has to offer to Byzantine studies, and Byzantine studies to global narratives.
How global was Byzantium? Our understanding of the links which Byzantium had to far-flung parts of the world, and of its connections with near neighbours, continues to develop but the significance of these connections to Byzantium and its interlocutors remains keenly debated. Comparisons from or to Byzantium may also help in thinking about globalism, modern and historical. How, for example, might Byzantine legal structures, visual culture or military practice contribute to debates about the role of the medieval state or the relationship between modern cultural and national identities? Byzantine studies has always been an international discipline, marked by the interaction of its different national, regional and linguistic traditions of scholarship, as well as its highly interdisciplinary nature. How has this manifested in the interpretation of Byzantine history and how might practices of global scholarship be pursued in the future. [www.birmingham.ac.uk]