Sharon E. J. Gerstel’s work focuses on the intersection of ritual and art in Byzantium and the Latin East. Her books include Beholding the Sacred Mysteries (1999) and Rural Lives and Landscapes in Late Byzantium: Art, Archaeology and Ethnography (2015), which was awarded the 2016 Runciman Prize by the Anglo-Hellenic League, the inaugural book prize by the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA), and the Maria Theocharis Prize from the Christian Archaeological Society in Greece. Gerstel has also edited A Lost Art Rediscovered: The Architectural Ceramics of Byzantium (with J. Lauffenburger) (2001); Thresholds of the Sacred: Art Historical, Archaeological, Liturgical and Theological Views on Religious Screens, East and West (2007); Approaching the Holy Mountain: Art and Liturgy at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai (with Robert S. Nelson) (2010); Viewing the Morea: Land and People in the Late Medieval Peloponnese (2012); and Viewing Greece: Cultural and Political Agency in the Medieval and Early Modern Mediterranean (2016). Gerstel has been the recipient of numerous awards, including a J. Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2011-2012). As an archaeologist, she has worked at numerous excavations in Greece, both as a field director and as a ceramics specialist. Her comprehensive study (with M. Munn) of the medieval village of Panakton appeared in Hesperia in 2003. Her publications on ceramic tiles produced in Nicomedia (modern-day Izmit, Turkey) have appeared in the Journal of the Walters Art Museum and elsewhere. Publications on Byzantine women, including empresses, village widows, and rural nuns, can be found in The Art Bulletin, the Deltion tes Christianikes Archaiologikes Hetaireieas, and the Wiener Jahrbuch für Kunstgeschichte. Gerstel currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Hesperia, Gesta, Viator, and Zograf and of the series Studies in the Visual Culture of the Middle Ages. Her current research focuses on the intersection of music, architecture, and monumental decoration. She is co-director, together with Chris Kyriakakis (USC) of the project “Bodies and Spirits: Soundscapes of Byzantium,” which has been featured on Atlantic.com and on CBC radio. She is also the Acting Director of the UCLA Stavros Niarchos Foundation Center for the Study of Hellenic Culture, and Associate Director of the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.
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