"The interdisciplinary focus of the Stavros Niarchos Center for Hellenic Studies has been a boon to my understanding of the field of Byzantine Studies as well as the wider historical context in which my research is situated."

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Student Profile: Ethan Schmidt

March 11, 2022
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Doctoral student in Individualized Interdisciplinary Studies

I am a born and raised New Yorker and received an undergraduate degree from the University of St. Andrews in Medieval History in 2019, and an MSc in Late Antique, Byzantine, and Islamic Studies from the University of Edinburgh in 2020. Furthermore, I am an aspiring Byzantinist with an interest in the culture, history, and literature of medieval Byzantium.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

Mainly due to the excellent and singular opportunities to further my education in my chosen field offered by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for Hellenic Studies, as well as the presence of my current supervisors, Professor Krallis, Professor Mirhady, and Professor Kuehn, whose expertise and advice have proved invaluable.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?

My planned dissertation concerns ekphrases (i.e. descriptions) of the urban landscape of Constantinople and its monuments in eleventh and twelfth century Byzantine literature, particularly in their capacity as representations of a nascent spirit of 'civic humanism' in Byzantine culture, as well as, in time, a means by which authors sought to evoke the lost imperial capital in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade (c. 1204). At its core, my planned dissertation is concerned with the ways in which authors of the time interacted with, conceptualized, and evoked, the world around them through the genre of ekphrasis.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

It is wonderful to be in a community of people who not only have been approachable and welcoming, but also have such challenging and informed perspectives on our mutual interests. Furthermore, the interdisciplinary focus of the Stavros Niarchos Center for Hellenic Studies has been a boon to my understanding of the field of Byzantine Studies as well as the wider historical context in which my research is situated.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.

I received a stipend from the Stavros Niarchos Center for Hellenic Studies as well as a Graduate Deans Entrance Scholarship. I am incredibly grateful for this, and these awards have been hugely impactful in terms of enabling me to devote myself more fully to my research.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM/POSTDOC POSITION TO SOMEONE STILL SEARCHING FOR A PROGRAM OR POSTDOC POSITION?

I would say that it is an excellent program which is incredibly rewarding and intellectually rigorous, as well as having a close-knit community attached to it which has proved an amazing support system in this first year.

 

Contact : ethan_schmidt@sfu.ca