The Circle for Late Antique and Medieval Studies at the Ralph Bunche Institute for International Studies at The Graduate Center, CUNY, is a forum for scholars working on the period covering roughly 300-1400 CE. The Circle hopes to engage scholars working on the Eurasian and Afro-Asian worlds in an interdisciplinary, comparative study of this fascinating period of history when the bases of the modern world were established. We aim at highlighting the direct relevance of this — as of yet still neglected — period of history to our contemporary and modern world history. When does Late Antiquity end and Medieval begin in history? Are the terms applicable to all cultural areas of Eurasian and Afro-Asian worlds? Can one think of this period globally? Can one compare and contrast the late antique and medieval worlds across the Eurasian and Afro-Asian worlds? How can scholars working on this period talk to each other in a truly interdisciplinary fashion? The Circle anticipates having lively forums and workshops throughout the academic year to address these issues of import to the scholars of the field. Through the Circle, we hope to establish a dialog with colleagues working on modern history, bringing to bear a better understanding of our contemporary lives.
The Circle is convened by Parvaneh Pourshariati, Associate Professor of History at the New York City College of Technology/CUNY, where she has been on faculty since 2014. She came to CUNY from the Ohio State University where she had taught since 2000. An Honorary Adjunct Professor at the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, she specializes on the late antique and medieval history of Western Asia, with a concentration on the Iranian oikumene and its relations with its neigbors. Her book, Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire, has been translated into Persian and Arabic and has gone through many reprints. Her scholarship has been supported by the American Association of University Women (AAUW), Social Science Research Council (SSRC), the Persian Heritage Foundation (NY), and Lady Davis Fellowship (University of Jerusalem), among others. In 2015-16 she was a visiting research scholar in the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, NYU.
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