ARCS Theory Seminars


Fall 2016

Description and goals: The seminar aims to provide a forum where ARCS Fellows and scholars from the community in Sofia can discuss recent issues in theoretical archaeology and history. The environment that we seek to create is based on equality, cooperation, and intellectual curiosity.

Format: Readings will be assigned in advance of the seminar meeting and will be circulated by email. It is expected that every participant will complete the reading and will come with questions, problems, and ideas to discuss in the seminar. There will be a discussion leader for each session; this individual will begin with a 10 min. presentation which frames the major problems posed by the readings and suggests possible topics for discussion. After this introduction, however, the burden (and privilege) of discussion falls equally upon all members of the seminar.

Topics: Each seminar will focus on a particular topic. Possible topics include, and are not limited tohistory and archaeology. Since participants in the seminar will have a range of diverse research interests and specializations in the field of history and archaeology, every effort will be made to select readings which have the broadest possible potential range of application.

Participants: The seminar is open to ARCS Fellows and all scholars who pursue research in the field of archaeology and history (broadly construed). Advanced and motivated graduate students in archaeology, history, and related fields, are also invited to attend. Previous experience with theory is not required or expected. 

Language: The primary language of the seminar will be English.  

Frequency and locationUnless otherwise noted, seminars will be held on Wednesdays between 3.30-5.30 pm at the American Research Center in Sofia, 75 Vasil Petleshkov St. (see schedule for details).  

Please contact Dr. Emil Nankov, Academic Director of ARCS, at ehn2@cornell.eduto express interest in participating in this seminar.  



October 3

Topic: Historiographic trends in Bulgarian archaeology…………….. (discussion leader: E. Nankov)


Todorova, M. 1992. "Historiography of the Countries of Eastern Europe: Bulgaria", American Historical Review, 1105-1117.

Bailey, D. 1998. “Archaeology as Socio-politics: Practice and Ideology in Bulgaria", In: Meskell, L. (ed.) Archaeology Under Fire: Nationalism, Politics and Heritage in the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East. London: Routledge, 87-110.


October 6

Topic: Engaged archaeology as pseudoarchaeology…………………. (discussion leader: H. Talevski)


Bassett, Alecia. 2013. "Pseudo-Archaeology: The Appropriation and Commercialization of Cultural Heritage." Spectrum, no. 3 (Fall 2013): 61–67.

Džino, Danijel. 2014. "„Bosanske Piramide": Pseudoarheologija i Konstrukcija Društvene Zbilje u Daytonskoj Bosni i Hercegovini." Status, (Magazin Za Političku Kulturu I Društvena Pitanja) Br. 17 (proleće 2014): 245–252.

Schadla-Hall, Tim. 2004. "The Comforts of Unreason, The Importance and Relevance of Alternative Archaeology." in Public Archaeology, edited by Nick Merriman, 255–271. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.


October 19

Topic: Theories of religious change: syncretism and transformation theory……… (discussion leader: A. Chmiel)


Allerton, C. 2009. Static crosses and working spirits: Anti-syncretism and agricultural animism in Catholic west flores. Anthropological Forum, vol.19/3, 271-287.

Stewart, T. 2001. In search of equivalence: Conceiving muslim-hindu encounter through translation theory. History of Religions, vol. 40/3, 260-287.

Stewart, Ch. 1999. Syncretism and its synonyms: reflections on cultural mixture. Diacritics, vol. 29/3, 40-62.


November 2

Topic: Mapping the empire, mapping the state…………………………… (discussion leader: J. Radovanovic)


Harley, J. Brian. “Maps, Knowledge, and Power”. In: The Iconography of Landscape: Essays On the Symbolic Representation, Design, and Use of Past Environments, ed. Denic Cosgrove and Stephen Daniels. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988, pp.277-312.

Yosmaoğlu, İpek. “Territoriality and its discontents”. In: Blood Ties: Religion, Violence, and the Politics of Nationhood In Ottoman Macedonia, 1878-1908. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2014, pp.79-130.


November 7

Topic: Ethnoarchaeology and the continued role of ethnographic analogy in archaeological interpretation (discussion leader: J. Gorczyck)


Lane, Paul. “Present to Past: Ethnoarchaeology.” In Handbook of Material Culture, 402–24. 1 Oliver’s Yard,  55 City Road,  London    EC1Y 1SP  United Kingdom: SAGE Publications Ltd, 2006.

Wylie, Alison. “The Reaction against Analogy.” Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory 8 (1985): 63–111. (read pp. 20-46, although the entire chapter is a useful review of ethnographic analogy in archaeology)


November 9

Topic: The language of the book imagery in the book illumination of the Byzantine world……… (discussion leader: L. Nenkovska)


Crostini, B. 2013. Book and Image in Byzantine Christianity: Polemics or Communication? In:  Byzantine Aesthetics and Theurgy, S. Mariev and W.-M. Stock, (eds.), Byzantinisches Archiv 25 (Berlin: De Gruyter), pp. 99–119.

Maаyan-Fanar, E. 2014. Salvific imagery in the Barberini Psalter (Rome, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Barb. Gr. 285). – Зограф 38, 31-44.

November 14

Topic: Judeo-Spanish Texts from the Bulgarian Central State Archive………………………. (discussion leader: I. Dobreva)


Friedman, V./Joseph, Br. 2014. Lessons from Judezmo about the Balkan Sprachbund and contact linguistics. – International Journal of Sociology of the Language, 226:3-23.


Dobreva, I. 2016. Judeo-Spanish Texts in Cyrillic Script in the Turn of XXth century. Etudes Balkaniques, I.II, 3, papers from the XIth Congress of AIESEE, Sofia, 53-64.


November 16

Topic: National Languages: Continuity or Rupture with the Past?…………… (discussion leader: G. Smilanis)


Gellner, E. 1983. Nations and Nationalism. Basil Blackwell. Chapter 2 (Culture in Agrarian Society), pp.8-13

Marinov, Tch. 2013. In Defense of the native tongue. The Standardization of the Macedonian language and the Bulgarian-Macedonian linguistic controversies, in: Entangled histories of the Balkans. Vol. 1: National ideologies and language policies (eds. R. Daskalov and Tch. Marinov), Brill.


November 28

Topic: Motherhood, Femininity and Dis/embodiment………………………. (discussion leader: S. Panayotov)


Ousterhout, Robert. 2009. “Brief History of Chôra,” in: Chôra Museum,

Kalavrezou, Ioli. 1990. “Images of the Mother: When the Virgin Mary Became ‘Meter Theou,’” in: Dumbarton Oaks Papers, Vol. 44 (1990), pp. 165-172.

Isar, Nicoletta. 2000. “The Vision and Its ‘Exceedingly Blessed Beholder’: Of Desire and Participation in the Icon,” in: RES: Anthropology and Aesthetics, No. 38 (Autumn, 2000), pp. 56-72.


Manoussakis, John. 2002. “The Hermeneutics of Hyphenation,” in: Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia, T. 58, Fasc. 1, Fé e Razão & Outros Ensaios (Jan. - Mar., 2002), pp. 93-100.