2019 SHERA Emerging Scholar Prize

2019 SHERA Emerging Scholar Prize

Alice Isabella Sullivan

The 2019 SHERA Emerging Scholar Prize was awarded to Alice Isabella Sullivan (University of Michigan) for her article “The Athonite Patronage of Stephen III of Moldavia, 1457-1504,” Speculum 94.1 (2019): 1-46.

The jury consisted of Carolyn Guile, Colleen McQuillen, Marie-Alice L’Heureux.

Jury commendation: After contextualizing Stephen III’s activities within the mid-fourteenth-century legacy of patronage directed from within the sub-Carpathian Romanian-speaking lands, Sullivan demonstrates how the Prince’s “aspirations as a Christian ruler and protector of Orthodox faith” (8) in a kingdom perceived as a bulwark of Christianity, and his fashioning himself “an heir to the authority of Byzantine emperors among Christian peoples under Ottoman control”(4) motivated his activities as a patron of Athonite monasteries of the “Holy Mount”. The committee felt this highly original study deserves the Prize for its new and significant contribution to our understanding of not only how sacred landscapes developed within the northeastern Greek territories in the nearly fifty-year period of Stephen III’s rule, but also how princely patronage from Europe’s eastern borderlands had a direct and profound impact on the broader reification of Byzantine culture after the fall of Constantinople in 1453. Whereas previous scholarship has tended to focus on the study of Byzantine ideology in these lands (historical Wallachia, Moldavia) in the sixteenth-eighteenth centuries, Sullivan turns a conventional center-periphery argument on its head. An impressive linguistic and material array of primary sources that includes liturgical artifacts, vestments, manuscripts, buildings, inscriptions, and monetary records in Church Slavonic, Greek and Romanian underpins Sullivan’s deft elucidation of the connection between cross-cultural exchange and contemporary patronage. The committee would like to recognize and praise the intellectual work that a study of this type requires, the clarity of its presentation, and the demonstration of how the study of “borderland” territories is essential to how we interpret and theorize cross-cultural exchange.

Next Emerging Scholar Prize deadline: September 30, 2020

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