Dr. Tamar M. Boyadjian (Michigan State University)
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In "The City Lament: Jerusalem Across the Medieval Mediterranean," Dr. Boyadjian will examine how various ethnoreligious cultures across the medieval Mediterranean world lamented the loss of the city of Jerusalem, and in what ways these lamentations are informed by reinscribing models from the ancient world. The critical objectives of her work is to expose cross-cultural exchange and interaction across the medieval Mediterranean through an examination of the lament tradition across Arabo-Islamic, Cilician Armenian, and Western European literary sources. Dr. Boyadjian will demonstrate how each of these cultures share similar modes of lamenting cities, all of which also coming from ancient prototypes. By understanding the loss of the city, each tradition further its political objectives of reconquering Jerusalem by simultaneously envisaging their own Jerusalem through a textually surrogate geography of the city, also informed by the theological and spiritual tradition of the significance of the city for that particular faith. It is through these city laments that these cultures allow for their own Jerusalems to live anew - through this very paradoxical mourning of its loss and destruction.