DSMgrB19 A Theoretical History of Byzantium

Faculty of Arts
Spring 2019
Extent and Intensity
2/0/0. 5 credit(s). Type of Completion: z (credit).
Matthew Kinloch, Ph.D. (lecturer), doc. Mgr. et Mgr. Markéta Kulhánková, Ph.D. (deputy)
doc. Mgr. et Mgr. Markéta Kulhánková, Ph.D. (assistant)
Guaranteed by
doc. Mgr. et Mgr. Markéta Kulhánková, Ph.D.
Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Jitka Erlebachová
Supplier department: Department of Classical Studies - Faculty of Arts
each even Tuesday 14:00–17:40 B2.22
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is offered to students of any study field.
Course objectives
This course will introduce students to late Byzantine history and historiography through the examination of critical theoretical approaches to its study. The class set text is the Chronikē syngraphē or History of George Akropolites, which narrates the fifty-seven-year period of exile, which followed the fall of Constantinople to the Fourth Crusade in 1204. In each class, we will examine a different theoretical approach to historiographical analysis, with reference to key passages of the Chronikē syngraphē (read in English translation). These topics will include Postmodernism, Narratology, Gender and Queer Theory, Social History, and Postcolonialism.
Learning outcomes (in Czech)
By the end of the course, students will
have read and gained a better understanding of an example of a Byzantine historiographical narrative, the Chronikē syngraphē of Georgios Akropolites (in English translation)
have read and critically analysed important works related to key theoretical, philosophical, and methodological problems related to the study of historiography and the past
be able to relate these theoretical readings to the study of Byzantine historiography in sophisticated ways
  • 1. Introduction: Late Byzantine Historiography
  • 2.Postmodernism
  • 3.Narratology
  • 4.Gender and Queer Theory
  • 5.Social History
  • 6.Postcolonialism
  • Macrides, R. (trans.), George Akropolites, The History: Introduction, Translation and Commentary (Oxford, 2007).
  • Laiou, A., ‘Political Historical Survey, 1204-1453’, in E. Jeffreys, J. Haldon, and R. Cormack (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Byzantine Studies (Oxford, 2008), 280-94.
  • Clark, E., History, Theory, Text: Historians and the Linguistic Turn (Cambridge MA, 2004).
  • Bourbouhakis, E. and Nilsson, I., ‘Byzantine Narrative: The Form of Storytelling in Byzantium’, in L. James (ed.), Companion to Byzantium (Chichester, 2010), 263-74.
  • Jenkins, K., Re-thinking History (Abingdon, [1991] 2003).
  • Kaldellis, A., ‘The Study of Women and Children: Methodological Challenges and New Directions’, in P. Stephenson (ed.), The Byzantine World (Abingdon, 2010), 61-71.
  • Clark, E., ‘The Lady Vanishes: Dilemmas of a Feminist Historian after the “Linguistic Turn”’, Church History 67 (1998), 1-31.
Teaching methods
Lecture, students' presentations, discussion
Assessment methods
1. In-class participation (10% of the final grade) Each session includes mandatory readings, as announced in the syllabus. In order to initiate discussion in class and to show evidence of engagement with the reading, students are expected to prepare questions and remarks related to each reading. Grading will be based on depth of analysis and originality. This part of the grade is based on presence and active participation in class, especially oral contributions to class discussions on the basis of assigned readings.
2. In-class presentation (30% of the final grade) During the class all students are expected to present on an additional reading related to one of the five topics discussed in the classes. Students are expected to prepare a handout and/or PowerPoint presentation to accompany their presentation and analysis. Presentations should be approximately 10-15 minutes.
3. Extended Essay (60% of the final grade) The essay (approximately 2,000 words) tackles a question or a topic related to one or more of the themes of the course. It can explore in depth a text or passage in relation to a theoretical area treated in class. They may also select a different text, in consultation with the instructor. The essay should include a critical assessment of existing scholarship. Students with a working knowledge of Greek are encouraged to take into account readings of primary texts. Please consult with the instructor about your topic.
Language of instruction
Further Comments
Study Materials
The course is taught only once.

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