Sharon E. J. Gerstel
Fellow: Awarded 2010
Field of Study: Medieval History
Competition: US & Canada
Sharon E. J. Gerstel is Professor of Byzantine Art and Archaeology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Trained in art history and religious studies, Gerstel’s work focuses on the intersection of ritual and art. She has written, edited, and co-edited several books, including Beholding the Sacred Mysteries: Programs of the Byzantine Sanctuary (1999), A Lost Art Rediscovered: The Architectural Ceramics of Byzantium (2001), Thresholds of the Sacred: Architectural, Art Historical, Archaeological, Liturgical and Theological Views on Religious Screens, East and West (2007), and Approaching the Holy Mountain: Art and Liturgy at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai (2010), and has published numerous articles. As an archaeologist, Gerstel has worked extensively in Greece on both field excavations and surface surveys. Her current project, Landscapes of the Village: The Devotional Life and Setting of the Late Byzantine Peasant, supported by the Guggenheim Fellowship, is the culmination of a decade of archaeological and ethnographic fieldwork in Greece. Her book analyzes the devotional lives of the area's Eastern Orthodox Christian villagers between the 13th and 15th centuries. One of the leading scholars of late Byzantine social history and archaeology, Gerstel investigates in this study how medieval villagers lived, farmed, worshiped, and interacted within sacred and secular landscapes.