I am working on two projects :
The first project traces the displays of “Greekness” as a facet of identity in the end processes of migration, from settlement to acculturation to integration, from sixth to the eleventh century. Central to the project has been collecting and contextualizing moments when the label grecus, Greek language or Greek script were employed. These often served as public or semi-public declarations, and were one way in which being “Greek” mattered as part of inherently complex identities in which language, social position, heredity, religion, or political allegiance could play important roles. More broadly, the period was one of intermittent movement and settlement of individuals and communities from the eastern Mediterranean to Italy, and my research seeks to reassess the environment in terms of competing identities, language and ethnicity, and political and cultural rivalry. The project is more than half-way complete, and two presses are interested in the final manuscript.
The second project focuses on the ways in which historical data from charters, chronicles, and other medieval records can be read against paleoecological and paleoclimatic histories to understand how human political, cultural, and economic priorities influenced the management of land and local ecology on the one hand, and how these priorities could be affected by environmental and climatic changes on the other hand. Thinking regionally and locally, the early phases of the project focused on the Rieti valley north west of Rome, and relied heavily on the material from the monastery of Farfa in addition to the records of fossilized pollen to reconstruct ecological change and its possible drivers (publications include those in Science Reports and the Journal of Interdisciplinary History). The second phases has recently been funded by the NSF, and will begin work on northern Tuscany in the areas around Lucca this summer (2019).
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