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Episode 0: Introduction

Program Director for Byzantine Studies Anna Stavrakopoulou introduces the Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Podcast. In this limited summer podcast series, a senior scholar will be discussing with a younger scholar of their choice an article or a book chapter from a field other than Byzantine studies that has had an impact of their work. We hope you will join us!


I am Anna Stavrakopoulou, the Program Director in Byzantine Studies at Dumbarton Oaks. During our usual cycle of operations, our campus is bustling with junior and regular academic fellows. For our residential fellowships, the scholars are housed in the Fellowship House, where they engage in neighborly camaraderie, enjoy communal lunches in our refectory, followed by leisurely strolls in the majestic Dumbarton Oaks Gardens.

Usually, around this time of the year, we also host a cohort of Summer Fellows, who have similar housing and dining privileges as our fall and spring fellows, with the additional perk of refreshing swims in our almost centennial pool. Nonetheless, all of that has been put on hold this year, because of the extraordinary circumstances of the pandemic.

In an effort to keep moving forward, within the new parameters, we have devised virtual encounters with scholars that will inform, entertain and challenge the Byzantine scholarly community and colleagues in the Arts and the Humanities, more broadly.

We are delighted to release a limited summer podcast series, that will be hosted on the Dumbarton Oaks site, during which a senior scholar will be discussing with a younger scholar of their choice, an article or a book chapter from a field other than Byzantine Studies that has had an impact on their work. We have asked our participants to choose any reading they wish, older or more recent, as well as invite an advanced graduate student or recent postdoc for a lively and productive dialogue. The discussions are meant to be informal but informative, stressing the value of the readings, but also highlighting differences brought about by time or varying angles in the diverse fields of study.

We have a wonderful group of guests lined up for the summer. For our first podcast, our July guests are Anthony Kaldellis and Jake Ransohoff. Anthony Kaldellis is the Professor and Chair of the Department of Classics at The Ohio State University. They will be discussing “The Roman Mind and the Power of Fiction” by John S. Richardson, who was a Professor of Classics at the University of Edinburgh, with main research interests in Roman imperialism and Roman law. They’ll dive into questions such as, “How strong was the power of imagination for the Romans, how does legal fiction contribute to equal rights citizenship, and how inclusive were the rights of the immigrants in Roman society?”

We hope you will join us.

Podcast musical theme is from the Concerto in E-Flat “Dumbarton Oaks” by Igor Stravinsky, recorded by the Smithsonian Chamber Orchestra, Kenneth Slowik, conducting. Special thanks to Anthony Kaldellis, Judy Lee, and Lain Wilson for making this podcast possible.