Character Systems and Cultural Solipsisms: Comparing the Histories of Doukas and Leonardo Bruni
Boğaziçi Üniversitesi Bizans Çalışmaları Araştırma Merkezi'nin düzenlediği "Character Systems and Cultural Solipsisms: Comparing the Histories of Doukas and Leonardo Bruni" başlıklı çevrimiçi konuşma, Matthew Kinloch tarafından 25 Mart 2021 tarihinde saat 17:00'da gerçekleştirilecektir.
Konuşma dili İngilizce olup, simültane çeviri yapılmayacaktır.
One of the defining features of the Byzantine historiographical tradition is the dominant role
played by emperors. Not only do emperors take up a disproportionate amount of narrative
space, they also provide the foundational organizing principal and structure for the stories being
told. It has become an accepted fact that Byzantine historiographical narratives are
disproportionately about emperors, just as it is accepted that they are mostly about war, politics,
and diplomacy or that they generally produce worlds centered on and aligned with the interests
of the imperial court, its metropolitan center, Constantinople, and its (principally male) literate
elite. This paper aims to render the contingency of this naturalized narrative structure visible.
It contends that transhistorical comparison between historiographical traditions offers a means
of unveiling, what Chris Wickham has termed, the “cultural solipsism” of traditional modes of
analyzing Byzantine historiography. It does so by comparing the character systems of the
fifteenth-century histories of Doukas and Leonardo Bruni and the manner in which rulers and
urban populations interact to construct action in each narrative. While both narratives are
statist, the stories of the Florentine, Pisan, Byzantine, and Ottoman states that emerge from
these narratives are constructed in such contrasting ways that they allow us to reflect critically
on the foundational narrative structures of the Byzantine historical tradition.
Matthew Kinloch is currently a Joint Fellow of the Byzantine Studies Research Center of
Boğaziçi University and Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance
Studies in Florence. He has spent time as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna
and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, as a fellow at Dumbarton Oaks, as a guest lecturer at
Masaryk University, Brno, and as a Gästdoktorand in Greek linguistics and philology at
Uppsala University. He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 2018 with a
thesis entitled Rethinking Thirteenth-Century Byzantine Historiography: A Postmodern,
Narrativist, and Narratological Approach. He holds an MRes in Byzantine studies from the
University of Birmingham and a BA in ancient, medieval, and modern history from Durham
University. His current project is entitled Minor Characters across Historiographies: A
Comparative Narratological Analysis of Urban Populations in the Histories of Doukas and
Leonardo Bruni. His recent publications include “In the Name of the Father, the Husband, or
Some Other Man: The Subordination of Female Characters in Byzantine Historiography,”
Dumbarton Oaks Papers 74 (2020), 303–328; “Nicaea Anlatısı: On Üçüncü Yüzyıl Bizans
Dünyasının Tarih Yazımı Üzerine Yeniden Düşünmek,” in İznik/Nicaea on its Way to Become
UNESCO World Heritage, ed. Ş. Kılıç and K. Akalın (Bursa: Bursa Büyükşehir Belediyesi
Yayınevi, 2020), 451–470; Trends and Turning Points: Constructing the Late Antique and
Byzantine World (Leiden: Brill, 2019), edited with Alex MacFarlane.
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