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Dumbarton Oaks/Harvard Exchange

Ekaterina Nechaeva, American Academy in Rome, 2013–14 Dumbarton Fellow in Byzantine Studies
Dumbarton Oaks/Harvard Exchange

Pictured, left to right: Nate Aschenbrenner, Ekaterina Nechaeva, and

Ekaterina Nechaeva traveled to Cambridge in April as part of the Dumbarton Oaks/Harvard Exchange program. While there, she had an opportunity to present the project on which she has been working this year at Dumbarton Oaks to a new audience of colleagues at Harvard.

The Standing Committee on Medieval Studies hosted her formal talk, Defection and Freedom: Long-Term Cross-Border Movements of Individuals in the Late Antique World. Analyzing different cases of “flights from Byzantium,” Ekaterina demonstrated how both civil and military emigration functioned throughout late antiquity at different levels of society. She discussed topics such as the permeability of borders, freedom of movement, the level of self-determination, and problems of the late Roman state that were pushing its citizens away. Discussion and feedback were exceptionally useful.

Ekaterina also participated in an informal roundtable, Border Crossings, cosponsored by the Medieval Studies and Medieval History workshops. The roundtable focused on comparative history across imperial and chronological frontiers. It focused on problems of loyalty and treason, the juridical and factual aspects of fleeing/defecting/deserting/moving away, as well as on the contradictions in international relations associated with granting asylum and obligations to extradite fugitives.

“This enriching experience, including my conversations with Dimiter Angelov, Dan Smail, Sean Gilsdorf, Michael McCormick, Nate Aschenbrenner, Shane Bobrycki, Rowan Dorin, and with many other generous colleagues, will be of tremendous inspiration for the development of my project.”

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