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History of Art
Bryn Mawr College
101 North Merion Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010-2899
Phone: (610) 526-5053/5334
Fax: (610) 526-7955

Alicia Walker

Associate Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture
Director of the Center for Visual Culture

Telephone: 610-526-5405
Thomas Hall - Room 229
Office hours by appointment; please e-mail

Ph.D. Harvard University, 2004
MA Harvard University, 1998
BA Bryn Mawr College, 1994

Professor Walker’s primary fields of research include cross-cultural artistic interaction in the medieval world from the ninth to thirteenth centuries and gender issues in the art and material culture of Byzantium. She is co-editor of the essay collection Negotiating Secular and Sacred in Medieval Art. Christian, Islamic, Buddhist (Ashgate, 2009), and recently completed her first monograph, The Emperor and the World: Exotic Elements and the Imaging of Middle Byzantine Imperial Power (Cambridge, 2012). She has published essays on topics including medieval inter-cultural artistic transmission, the role of women in Byzantine art and culture, and the function and meaning of early Byzantine marriage jewelry. Her work has appeared in journals including Muqarnas, Gesta, Ars Orientalis, and The Art Bulletin.

Courses offerings

Professor Walker leads courses on Byzantine, medieval Islamic, and western medieval art, including the following:


Introduction to Medieval Art


Sacred Spaces of Islam

Constantinople, Queen of Cities

Select Publications

with Amanda Luyster, “Introduction: Mapping the heavens and treading the earth: negotiating secular and sacred in medieval art,” in eds. Walker and Luyster, Negotiating Secular and Sacred in Medieval Art. Christian, Buddhist, Islamic, pp. 1-16 (Williston, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 2009).

“Globalism,” Medieval Art History Today – Critical Terms, special issue of Studies in Iconography 33 (2012): 183-96.

“The Iconography of Early Byzantine Marriage Jewelry and Its Numismatic Models: Visual and Functional Parallels,” Mélanges Cécile Morrisson, Travaux et Mémoires 16 (2010; published 2011): 1-14.

 “Middle Byzantine Aesthetics and the Incomparability of Islamic Art: The Architectural Ekphraseis of Nikolaos Mesarites,” Muqarnas 27 (2010): 79-101.

“Patterns of Flight: Middle Byzantine Appropriation of the Chinese Feng-Huang Bird,” Ars Orientalis 37 (2010): 188-216.

 “Cross-cultural Reception in the Absence of Texts: The Islamic Appropriation of a Middle Byzantine Rosette Casket,” Gesta 47/2 (2008; published 2009): 99-122.

“Meaningful Mingling: Classicizing Imagery and Islamicizing Script in a Byzantine Bowl,” The Art Bulletin 90/1 (2008): 32-53.

 “Myth and Magic in Early Byzantine Marriage Jewelry: The Persistence of Pre-Christian Traditions,” in Anne McClanan and Karen Encarnación, eds., The Material Culture of Sex, Procreation, and Marriage in Premodern Europe, pp. 59-78. New York: Palgrave, 2002.

Recent awards, grants, and fellowships:

International Center for Medieval Art Harvey Stahl Lecture Grant Recipient, 2009-2010

Dumbarton Oaks Short-Term Post-Doctoral Research Grant, 2009

Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow, 2008 to 2009

Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Scholar, Program of Hellenic Studies, Princeton University, fall 2008

Recent papers and lectures:

“Inscribing Sacred Space: Pseudo-Arabic and Holy Power at Hosios Loukas,” ­Daniel H. Silberberg Lecture Series, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, December 2011.

“‘The Art That Does Not Think’: Byzantine “Decorative Arts”, History and Limits of a Concept,” Symposium on the Historiography of Byzantine Art, Index of Christian Art, Princeton University, October 2011.

 “The Art of Cultural Exchange and Change: Byzantine-Seljuq Relations as Articulated through Artistic and Architectural Production.” For the session The Contribution of Eurasian World in the Development of Byzantium, 22nd International Byzantine Congress, Sofia, Bulgaria, August, 2011.

“Women’s Ethical Formation through Byzantine Secular Art.” For the session Representing the Sexuality of Women in Medieval Europe and Byzantium, Seventeenth International Medieval Congress, University of Leeds, UK, July 2010.

“The Emperor as Cosmopolitan Ruler: Imaging Middle Byzantine Imperial Power.” Second International Sevgi Gönül Byzantine Studies Symposium, Istanbul, Turkey, June 2010.

 “Shifts in Byzantine Attitudes toward Pagan Imagery in Female Bodily Adornment, Fourth to Twelfth Centuries.” Medieval Association of the Pacific Forty-fifth Annual Meeting, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, March 2010.