Curtis Lisle

Curtis Lisle

Centre for Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies
Doctoral Researcher

Contact details

Title of thesis:  Broaching Frontiers, Shattering Boundaries: Interaction and Identity along the Byzantine-Islamic frontier (629-1050 AD)

Supervisors: Professor Leslie Brubaker and Dr. Daniel Reynolds.


  • BA Ancient History (University of Birmingham)
  • MRes Byzantine Studies


My interest in Byzantium and its eastern frontier progressed during my BA and MRes degrees. Studying the Late Antique phases of statuary and pottery in Western Asia Minor, I discovered literature relating to this borderland phase of Anatolia and instantly became fascinated. I have previously engaged with topics of cultural hybridity, performative identity, and social practice in my BA and throughout my MRes.

Doctoral research

PhD title
Broaching frontiers, shattering boundaries: interaction and identity along the byzantine-islamic frontier (629-1050 AD)
Professor Leslie Brubaker and Dr Daniel Reynolds
Byzantine, Ottoman and Modern Greek Studies PhD/MA by Research (On-Campus or by Distance Learning)


This project aims to address, for the first time, the dynamics of material culture and related cultural behaviour of interactions along the frontiers of the Byzantine and Islamic Empires (c. 629 – 1050 AD). The importance of this project rests on its ability to counter-act traditional perspective of the frontier as ‘wilderness’, ‘empty space’, or arenas for civilizational struggle: Christian vs Islamic, West vs East. Those who populated such areas are traditionally seen as passive spectators to titanic, ideological struggles subsumed and abstracted in rhetoric. The frontier has proven fertile ground for polemical and ideological topoi, invoked by contemporary and modern writers alike. Dispelling these ahistoric notions therefore has academic and modern relevance. The people at the cutting edge of even the seemingly-mechanistic institutions of the Byzantine and Islamic empires were just that–people, engaged in a range of relationships with others. Attempting to capture some of their specific stories is a necessary counter-weight to the traditional grand narratives of imperialism that haunt modernity still. 

Other activities

Study trips:


  • Curtis Lisle, ‘Performing the City: Suggestions for an Archaeological Understanding of ‘The City’ and Urban Transformation in Pisidian Sagalassos’, Diogenes, 6 (2017), pp. 49-60.