I like to think that I am a Byzantine historian, although as with all such identifications this comes with an entire raft of qualifications, extensions, generalizations, and whims. As is reflected in the title of this blog, I am also a technologist--this lends me a small but ever-increasing amount of notoriety within Byzantine studies. My undergraduate degree is from MIT, and I was a professional computer programmer for several years (specializing in software release engineering for large and distributed computer networks) before making my way to this branch of academia. As such, I wouldn't dream of doing any of my research without scripting away the boring bits, and part of the fun is figuring out how to do this.
Currently, I am a post-doctoral researcher at the KU Leuven, where the project that employs me has me firmly in the realm of philological theory and medieval text traditions of all stripes. I came to this from my Ph.D. research, which combined medieval Armenian philology with middle Byzantine history in the form of a study of the Chronicle of Matt'ēos Uṙhayec'i (Matthew of Edessa), written in the twelfth century and known primarily as an eastern Christian source for the First Crusade.
The burning research question that has me in its grip, and that I hope to get a chance to dive into very soon, concerns the eleventh century in all its ill-documented and interconnected glory. Essentially, just how big was the eleventh-century world? Who was talking to whom, what did Englishmen know of Armenians and what did Parisians know of Byzantines, in the years leading up to the Crusades? And what sort of innovative methodology will let us really get to grips with the unhelpfully scattered bits of knowledge we have about that period? Stay tuned as I work toward finding out.
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