New Projects for a New Time

As summer 2020 arrives, some news on publications and projects I’ve been working on.

1.) Reviews: One new/old feature I am sharing is my new Reviews page: visit here to enjoy many reviews of books and music I have published over the years. I welcome comments for new works to be reviewed.

2.) My new travel interview series is here! Entitled Greek Travel after the Pandemic: Seizing Opportunities in Challenging Times, it provides an inside view on what Greek tourism providers are doing to rebuild after the pandemic. Read the series’ first piece here- an interview with Magdalene Livadioti from the Thessaloniki-area Ktima Gerovassiliou Winery and W0ine Museum.

3.) I have a new travel article out with Australian website World Nomads, covering an uproarious and most unexpected visit to Rupite, Bulgaria, in the balmy months just before the COVID crisis paused travels worldwide. This engaging account of a journey to the birthplace and open-air museum of Baba Vanga, Bulgaria’s most famous Communist-era mystic, is essentially a take of going with the flow and embracing adventure- two things the world could do a bit more with now. Read the article, The Rupite Mission, here.

Portrait of Gemistos Plethon, 15th-century Byzantium;s last great philosopher, from a fresco by Benozzo Gozzoli, Palazzo Medici Riccardi, Florence,

4.) My new Research area on Late Byzantine Intellectual History is here!

Click the link above to get detailed overviews of the main topics and thinkers influencing Byzantium from the Latin conquest of 1204 rheough rhe Palaiologan dynasty (until the Ottoman conquest of 1453), and thereafter into Renaissance Italy.

The detailed pages, which will be further developed, cover philosophy, theology, literature and historiography of the period, and explain what made them uniquely ‘Byzantine’ at the same time. Readers will be able to enjoy this free resource on a unique area of my personal academic specialization, going back to my MPhil thesis (1999) at Oxford, on the Stoic determinism of Georgios Gemistos Plethon. While that thesis is not yet available online, I am looking into ways of making it available to readers- it remains the first and only of its kind.

5.) I continue to volunteer as a board member for the Mount Athos Foundation of America, the sister organization of the UK-based Friends of Mount Athos, of which I have also been a member for many years. Both organizations carry out charitable works to benefit the Athonite monasteries of northern Greece as well as scholarly research devoted to the Athonite tradition.

I am also happy to announce that my new essay on 20 years since my first visit to Athos will be featured in FoMA’s thirtieth-anniversary special publication, to be released in September 2020.

6.) Coming in October 2020: my new book, Entitled The History of Croatia and Slovenia, a part of Greenwood’s countries series, is an accessible yet comprehensive textbook that provides readers with a solid introduction to the political history of these neighboring Adriatic states.

The key events that shaped these nations, from Roman and medieval times to the birth of nationalism, Yugoslav and post-Yugoslav iterations are all covered, with three maps, helpful photos, timelines of key events and other data adding to the visual presentation.

An added benefit is the amount of peripheral historical introduction readers get to the civilizations, kingdoms and empires that interacted with the proto-Slovenes and Croats. Everyone from the Goths and Avars to the Byzantines, Ottomans and Habsburgs are encountered in my retelling, as well as some of the lesser-known but important actors, such as the swashbuckling Narentine pirates of the Adriatic.

Of course, coverage is mainly reserved for modern Croatia and Slovenia (during and after the two Yugoslavias), and all of this history is presented in the context of the 19th century ‘Illyrian Movement’ for South Slavic unity, the mortal showdown between communism and royalism, the wars of the 1990s. The book’s final chapter concludes by educating the reader on what has happened in Croatia and Slovenia since the wars and independence from Yugoslavia, including political affairs, social and economic trends, emerging attitudes to global issues like the environment, and the unusually prominent place these two relatively small countries continue to play in popular culture, music and sport internationally.

Finally, if you missed it, here’s a special new page devoted to a key aspect of my work: major speaking engagements, conferences and other teaching activities that I have conducted over the past 15 or so years in Europe and the US. I will continue to participate in such events in 2020. Click here to see the page.