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Marco Institute Annual Riggsby Lecture: "Byzantine Purple, Purple Wampum: Mediterranean Studies on Turtle Island" (Suzanne Conklin Akbari)

The study of the medieval past increasingly focuses on regional connectivities, entanglements, and border regions, where various cultural and social formations come into contact, especially as formulated in terms of Mediterranean Studies and Silk Road Studies. Such work also invites us to consider exactly how the global intersects with the local: while it is nothing new to comment that the local and the global are always in tension, it is worth considering the way that they are in tension, and what the methodological implications of this tension might be. In other words, how do we take account of the local? How does our own situatedness – understood not only in terms of individual subject position, our disciplines, and our institutions, but also in terms of the land we live on – affect the work we do? This lecture addresses the implications that arise when we carry out the study of the Global Middle Ages in a specific location – that is, when we recognize the situatedness of our work, being aware of the constant tension of the local and the global.

Professor Suzanne Conklin Akbari is professor of medieval studies in the School of Historical Studies at Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study. Her research centers around the literature and history of Europe, the Mediterranean, and the interconnected medieval world. She is the co-PI on the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, “The Book and the Silk Roads,” studying medieval transmission of book technologies along the silk road trade routes between China and Europe. She is committed to fostering relationships with Lenape (Delaware) communities, in recognition of the land she lives and works on – in Munsee Delaware language, “Lunaapahkiiing” – and is a member of Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Princeton.

The Marco Institute’s annual Riggsby Lecture on Medieval Mediterranean History & Culture was established in 2004 through the generous support of Stuart and Kate Riggsby, and is one of the Institute's premier events of the academic year. This lecture series brings a prestigious scholar of the medieval Mediterranean to the University of Tennessee every fall to give a public talk on a medieval Mediterranean topic of the speaker’s choosing.

Thursday, November 30, 2023 at 5:00pm to 6:30pm

John C Hodges Library, Lindsay Young Auditorium
1015 Volunteer Blvd, Knoxville TN

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Social Sciences


Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public


History, Humanities Center, Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Contact Name

Ryan T. Goodman

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