WCBS invites students as well as experienced faculty to participate in our seminars. Learn about our latest activites.

Jovana Andjelkovic

Jovana is a PhD candidate at SFU under the supervision of Dimitris Krallis. She holds a BA and an MA in history, from the University of Belgrade, with a specific focus on Medieval, Byzantine history. Parts of her MA thesis are available as publications in the Annual for Social History XXIII (Географија патње: дискурс простора у колекцији писама Јована Мавропода (The geography of grief: space discourse in John Mauropous’ letter collection), and in Brill’s edited volume Transmitting and Circulating the Late Antique and Byzantine Worlds (Mauropous as Menander’s Student of Rhetoric – An Exile Progymnasma). Jovana’s PhD thesis is exploring practices of letter collecting in the middle-Byzantine period (with a specific focus on smaller compositions) and considers their engagement with the exilic literature of ancient Greece and Rome. Through one genre-based inquiry, this work aims to discuss post-iconoclastic political culture and its relationship with concepts of free speech. Her other research interests include educational practices in formal and informal settings as well as communication of knowledge through documentary media – she has been engaged as a research assistant with the Institute for the Study of Teaching and Learning in the Disciplines, presented some of her pedagogically-based research at the 18th Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies, and is currently the lecturer and coordinator of the social sciences and humanities program at Petnica Science Centre.

Nicolyna Enriquez

Nicolyna is a second year PhD student at the department of Art History, at UCLA. Her dissertation, tentatively entitled “Surrounded by Sea: The Maritime Cultural Landscape of Late Byzantine Villages on Crete,” is situated at the intersection of island studies and environmental history and brings together visual imagery, architectural studies, archaeological research and topographical analysis to explore how rural Cretan villagers in late Byzantium experienced and interacted with the maritime world around them. She has a master’s degree from the UCLA where her thesis looked at the reuse of Late Antique and early Christian sculpture in the church of St. John in Keria, Mani.

Laura Horan

Laure is a PhD candidate at UCLA. Her dissertation will focus on the building projects of the Theodosian imperial women, including the mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and consorts of the dynasty’s emperors. Their expansive building projects looked beyond simple civic function in order to wield influence over political and ecclesiastical topics of the period. She seeks to unpack the physical remnants of the power harnessed, sometimes in rather unusual manners, by the women of this dynasty. Such action was done through the donation of ecclesiastical and public buildings, the erection of civic monuments to relatives, the translation of relics and the commissioning of additional artistic mediums such as manuscripts. The dissertation will also seek to create an appendix that compiles the most comprehensive collection to date of this type of building project.

Franka Horvat

Franka is a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History at UCLA. She received a master’s degree from Central European University in Budapest. Her research interests include the interconnection of social, artistic and economic aspects in medieval landscapes of the Byzantine periphery, with a particular focus on the dichotomy of rural areas and urban centers, as well as islands and mainland on the borderline between the East and West. All of these facets intertwine in her PhD dissertation, entitled “Insular Power: Reconstructing the Social, Economic and Artistic Networks of the Elaphiti Islands, Croatia,” which she is currently writing under the guidance of professor Sharon Gerstel. Set within the framework of island-mainland relations, and broader Mediterranean networks, her dissertation focuses on the Elaphiti Islands off the Dalmatian coast, an archipelago closely connected to medieval Ragusa. The islands are well attested in archival documents, and rich in medieval material remains —preserving fifteen churches dated from the 9th to the 13th ct., as well as architectural traces of the islands’ settlements. By examining art-historical, archaeological, archival and literary sources, she reconstructs the islands’ living conditions in the 13th century, their relationship with Ragusa, and their role in the social, economic and artistic networks of the wider Mediterranean. 

Aleksandar Jovanovic

Aleksandar obtained his BA and MA degrees in Byzantine Philology from the Department of Classics at the University of Belgrade, Serbia and he holds a PhD degree focusing on Byzantine history of the Laskarid period from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada. He is currently a sessional lecturer for the Department of Humanities at SFU.

George Makris

Georgios (Yorgos) specializes in the arts of Byzantium, with particular emphasis on the material culture and archaeology of monasticism as well as the dissemination and usage of portable objects across the eastern Mediterranean. His work lies at the intersection of art history, archaeology, and cultural history. Makris is currently at work on his first monograph that examines the sacred topography, artistic production, and life-cycle of monasticism in the European hinterland of the Byzantine capital, Constantinople, within its Balkan and Mediterranean context. As an active archaeologist, he has participated in a number of archaeological projects and is currently co-director of the field survey of the Molyvoti, Thrace, Archaeological Project (MTAP). The surface survey integrates a trading port in northeastern Greece and its periphery into the wider region and explores the site’s changing geopolitical and economic connections with surrounding cultural loci across time. Makris is also engaged in a third research project which investigates the collective significance and role of jewelry and personal dress accessories in the daily lives of the Byzantines. The project brings together museum artifacts with a number of jewels found in medieval cemeteries.

Mark Pawlowski

Mark received his PhD in Art History from UCLA in 2019 in Byzantine art and archaeology. His dissertation was completed in part during his time as Junior Fellow at Dumbarton Oaks where he was also selected to give a lecture at Harvard University as part of their Archaeological Seminar series. His research is focused on domestic and secular architecture in rural medieval villages based on extensive fieldwork in Greece, particularly the Mani peninsula. Dr. Pawlowski studies the ways that architecture can inform us about the social history and environment of medieval Byzantium. Currently, Dr. Pawlowski is a lecturer in the History Department at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he teaches courses in both Ancient and Medieval history, with an emphasis on the transition between the two periods.

Sofia Pitouli

Sofia is an art history graduate student at the UCLA, studying Byzantine and Islamic art. She holds a BA in Art History from the University of Massachusetts. Her research investigates artistic contacts and exchanges in the medieval Mediterranean, specifically between Byzantium and Islam. Currently, she is working on her qualifying paper which examines the destroyed thirteenth-century monastery of Lykousada and its Vlach founder, Hypomone. Sofia's methodological approach for this historical period derives from art history, history, archaeology, anthropology, memory culture, minority, and gender studies. Outside of her coursework, Sofia has conducted numerous internships in museums in the US and Greece, including the Cotsen Textile Traces Collection, the Textile Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Worcester Art Museum, and the Benaki Museum – Mentis Passementerie. Most notably, at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Sofia researched glasswork and textiles (Byzantine and Islamic) for the upcoming Byzantine Gallery at the museum.

Danai Thomaidis

Danai studied Cultural heritage at Statale University of Milan and gained her MA in Medieval and Byzantine Art History at Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. For her PhD (Ca’ Foscari - Fribourg University), she analyzed the introduction, cult and exposition of Byzantine icons in the churches, streets and houses of Venice and of the Venetian-ruled colonies of the Mediterranean. Her research interests include the cult of Byzantine icons in the wider Mediterranean context, Marian devotion in Byzantium and the West, religious transformations and social identity in the Middle ages. She has received scholarships from the Leventis Foundation and Swissuniversities, and participated as a speaker in numerous international conferences. During her time at the SNF Centre for Hellenic Studies she will be finalizing her book manuscript entitled The Life of Icons in Venice. Her next two articles will be focused on icon worship among the Venetian working class, and on the use of icons as media of self-expression and promotion in Venice (15th - 17th centuries).

Tiffany VanWinkoop

Tiffany is currently an MA candidate in the Department of History at SFU under the supervision of Dr. Dimitris Krallis. She holds a B.Sc. in health sciences at SFU (2019) with a concentration in life sciences. Additionally, she received a Certificate in Hellenic Studies (2019) through the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies at SFU, which propelled an interest in Byzantium. Her MA research is focused specifically on De Ceremoniis or the “Book of Ceremonies,” and the different ways in which ceremonies were lived, understood, remembered and utilized in the urban background of Constantinople in the tenth and eleventh centuries. She will be starting her PhD studies in Fall 2021 at the University of Wisconsin-Madison under the senior supervision of Dr. Leonora Neville.


Dimitris Krallis is the director of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for Hellenic Studies and is a professor in the Department of Humanities at SFU. His research explores the social, political, economic and intellectual history of Byzantium, as well as its modern reception.

Sharon Gerstel is the director of the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture and is a professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology at UCLA's Department of Art History. She is also the holder of the George P. Kolovos Family Centennial Term Chair in Hellenic Studies. Her research focuses on the intersection of ritual and art in Byzantium.