5. Uluslararası Sevgi Gönül Bizans Çalışmaları SempozyumuFifth International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium

24-26 June 2019

Byzantine Anatolia: Space and Communities

For almost a thousand years Anatolia was the center of the Byzantine Empire. Through centuries of strife, the Empire and its successor states struggled for dominance of the Anatolian heartland against encroaching neighboring powers and internal rivals. Yet behind the high drama of politics, intrigue and conflict, Anatolia was also a rich and complex network of regional settlements which would shift and change with environmental, social and economic conditions, and whose character was expressed in the art, culture and politics of actively involved populations. Too often, however, in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies the province and its many regions have been overlooked in favor of the major urban centers – in particular, Constantinople.

The Fifth International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium will redress this balance by focusing on the settlements and communities of Anatolia. The symposium will present new voices from diverse disciplines to share ideas, challenge established views and showcase a wealth of new material emerging from field studies and research in history and art history. Contributions from international and domestic scholars actively involved in the study of Byzantine Anatolia will be brought together to create a new reference for future research.

The symposium will focus on three main topics:

  • Settlement and environment 
In this stream we will focus on issues of reciprocity, interdependence and the ways in which communal identities were reflected on Anatolia’s civic and rural landscape. We will study how communities affected their environment (and vice versa) drawing on material evidence, architectural remains, technological analysis, landscape, water and earth management studies.

  • Notions of space
Perceptions of space and nature in Byzantine mentality (in other words, how Byzantine people perceived Anatolia) can be traced from descriptions and depictions of landscapes, cityscapes and buildings in visual arts and literature. In this stream we will also study the definitions and interpretations of cultural space found in artistic practices and their relation to the sacred.

  • Interactions, Networks and Mobility
In this stream we will explore relations and movement among communities in Anatolia, including seasonal migrations and the forced displacement of people. Often the result of interdisciplinary projects, evidence for the mobility of human groups such as merchants, pilgrims, armies, refugees and artistic workshops can be found with a diverse range of methodological approaches.


Call for Papers is Open

Call for papers is open. Deadline for the applications is October 14, 2018

Sevgi GönülSevgi Gönül


Sevgi Gönül (Koç) was born to the family of the esteemed Turkish businessman Vehbi Koç in Ankara in 1938. After graduating from the American School for Girls at Istanbul, she went into business. She was a Board Member of Koç Holding and Vehbi Koç Foundation as well as the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of Sadberk Hanım Museum of Vehbi Koç Foundation, the President of the Turkish Numismatic Society and Geyre Foundation besides a Council Member of Beşiktaş Municipality until she passed away in 2003.

No doubt she inherited her interest and love for history and antiquities from her mother Sadberk Koç, whose greatest desire was to found a museum to display her collection of numerous items of our cultural heritage in order to pass it to the future generations. The dream of Sadberk Koç came true seven years after she had passed away, on October 14th, 1980 when the Sadberk Hanım Museum, the first private museum of Turkey, was inaugurated at the historical Azaryan Mansion. 

Sevgi Gönül, as the Chairperson of the Executive Committee, had the greatest role in transforming the Sadberk Hanım Museum to a world renowned cultural institution. Sadberk Koç's collection was enriched in time by Sevgi Gönül and the Museum earned the "Europa Nostra" Award with its modern displays.

Despite her efforts to facilitate the research into Byzantine period in Turkey and to encourage public opinion to own this part of the country's history, her attempts to organize local academic activities in this field failed as the circumstances were not favourable for organizing regular international Symposia for Byzantine Studies. Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium which is one of the prominent academic meetings in this field established a tradition that became the heritage of Sevgi Gönül.