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Middle East Studies Center Lecture Series: Ivan Drpic on Devotional Selves: On Art & Identity in Byzantium
Friday, May 18, 2012 - 10:00am
Middle East Studies Center Lecture Series: Ivan Drpic on Devotional Selves: On Art & Identity in Byzantium

Art Building, room 200, 2000 SW Fifth Avenue

Ivan Drpic (Ph.D., Harvard University) is Assistant Professor of Art History at the University of Washington. Dr Drpic’s areas of research and teaching interest include the art, architecture, and material culture of the medieval Mediterranean and Europe, with an emphasis on Byzantium; the nexus of aesthetics, anthropology, and religion; theories of the image; and the intersection of the verbal and the visual. In his current book project, Drpic explores the relationship between art and epigrammatic poetry in the last centuries of Byzantium, taking as his focus the realm of personal piety and its artistic arsenal. The project is grounded in a close examination of the corpus of Byzantine epigrams, or verse inscriptions, on art objects produced from around 1100 to around 1450. Drpic uses this rich and largely neglected evidence to offer a novel account of the aesthetic and devotional parameters of art-making in later Byzantine society. He has also begun a second project on Byzantine enkolpia, a broad category of objects, ranging from miniature reliquaries to crosses and engraved gems mounted in precious metal, worn suspended on the chest. Proceeding from a detailed analysis of these diminutive and often highly intricate objects and of an array of textual sources that illuminate various aspects of their use and circulation, Drpic addresses a cluster of larger issues, among them the interplay between artifice, materiality, and the body; the convergence of optic and haptic forms of perception; and the role of devotional artifacts as social agents and instruments for negotiating personal and group identities. Being a native of Serbia, a special interest of Dr Drpic’s remains the art and culture of the Slavic Balkans.

Free and open to the public.

Co-sponsored by the Portland State University Hellenic Studies Program

The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages and religions of the Middle East. As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, the Center serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library.

www.mesc.pdx.edu | middleeaststudiescenter@pdx.edu | 503-725-4074