Senior Research Fellows
Cecilia Olovsdotter,PhD Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Fellow, Swedish Research Institute
Tel: +90 (0) 212-252 41 19
Dr Cecilia Olovsdotter is a Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Fellow at the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul, where she conducts the project Victoria Romana in late-antique visual culture: tradition and transformation in the representation of victory, empire and eternity, c. 250-700. The project investigates the prominent function of the Roman victory goddess, Victoria, in Late-Roman and Early-Byzantine visual culture, focussing on the representational and contextual diversification and functional universality that characterise her image and nature in the last transformative centuries of the Roman Empire.
Cecilia Olovsdotter received her doctorate in Classical archaeology and ancient history from the University of Gothenburg, where she defended her PhD dissertation on the consular diptychs in 2003, published in a slightly revised version as The consular image. An iconological study of the consular diptychs (Oxford) in 2005; she also holds an MA degree in art history. In 2005-2006 she was a Post-doctoral Fellow in archaeology at the Swedish Institute of Classical Studies in Rome with the project The sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia at Praeneste: a study of the correlations between architectural structure and cultic function, a project she subsequently developed further during a sojourn as Visiting Scholar at the Department of Classics, University of Texas at Austin in 2007-2009. Between 2010 and 2014, Olovsdotter conducted the project Virtue, status, immortality: on the applications and meanings of architectural motifs in Late Roman and Early Byzantine imagery (c. 180-600) as part of a Senior Research Fellowship at the SRII, co-funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities.
Olovsdotter’s research interests revolve around Roman and Early Byzantine commemorative — triumphal, official, funerary — and religious art and architecture (2nd c. BCE-7th c. CE), with a special emphasis on repertorial, structural and contextual aspects of Roman and late-antique image composition: the development of context-specific vs. universal iconographies in Roman art tradition; continuities in the visual language of power, status, immortality and eternity (transcendence) between secular—religious and polytheistic—Christian contexts and over time; and the systematic employment of symbolic motifs, configurations and conformations in Roman and Early Byzantine art and architecture.
Olovsdotter, C., The consular image. An iconological study of the consular diptychs, (BAR S 1376), Oxford 2005.
Olovsdotter, C., ’Konsulardiptychon’, in Der heilige Schatz im Dom zu Halberstadt, H. Meller, I. Mundt & B.E.H. Schmul (eds), Regensburg 2008, 164-165.
Olovsdotter, C., ‘Representing consulship: on the conception and meanings of the consular diptychs’, Opuscula 4, 2011, 99-124.
Olovsdotter, C., ‘Anastasius’ I consuls: ordinary consulship and imperial power in the consular diptychs from Constantinople’, Valör. Konstvetenskapliga studier 1-2, 2012, 33-47.
Olovsdotter, C., ‘Kejsarmakt och stat i tidigbysantinsk tid: konsulardiptykerna från Konstantinopel’, Dragomanen. Årsskrift för Svenska Forskningsinstitutet i Istanbul / Annual of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul 13, 2011, 46-53.
Olovsdotter, C., ‘Arkitektursymbolik i senromersk och tidigbysantinsk bildkonst’, Dragomanen. Årsskrift för Svenska Forskningsinstitutet i Istanbul / Annual of the Swedish Research Institute in Istanbul 14, 2012, 157-166.
Olovsdotter, C., ‘”To illustrate the history of art.” John Brampton Philpot’s photographic collection and the study and mediation of late antique and early medieval ivories in the mid nineteenth century’, in J. Papp & B. Chiesi (eds), John Brampton Philpot’s photographs of fictile ivory / John Brampton Philpot fényképsorozata elefántcsont faragványok másolatairó, Budapest 2016, 43-54 / 109-122.
Olovsdotter, C., ‘Victory universal and eternal: prolegomena to the study of Victoria Romana in late-antique visual culture’ (forthcoming)
Olovsdotter, C., Virtue, status, immortality: conceptions, functions and meanings of architectural motifs in Late Roman and Early Byzantine visual culture (c. 180-700) (in preparation)
Olovsdotter, C. (ed.), Bridging spheres: new perspectives on abstraction and symbolism in Late Roman and Early Byzantine visual culture (in preparation)
Olovsdotter, C., ‘Architecture and the spheres of the universe in late antique art’, in C. Olovsdotter (ed.), Bridging spheres: new perspectives on abstraction and symbolism in Late Roman and Early Byzantine visual culture (in preparation)
Olovsdotter, C., ‘The sanctuary of Fortuna Primigenia at Praeneste: towards a new synthesis of the evidence’ (in preparation)
Sofie Bedford, PhD
Tel: +90 (0) 533 689 04 28
Dr. Sofie Bedford is a researcher at Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University (UCRS), affiliated with SRII since September 2015. She defended her PhD dissertation in Political Science with the title Islamic Activism in Azerbaijan. Repression and Mobilization in a post-Soviet Context at Stockholm University in 2009 and in her subsequent postdoctoral project she was studying the phenomena of Internet activism, also in the Azerbaijani setting. She is currently involved in two research projects.
Project: Security, Equality and Mindsets in South Caucasus (SEMS)
South Caucasus has experienced prolonged conflicts that have proven to be hard to mitigate. SEMS aims at better understanding the severe and locked-in security situation in the South Caucasus, primarily by investigating the mindsets of key actors and groups in these societies (Russia excluded), with a focus on social dominance orientation, perceptions on gender equality and LGBT-rights, and perceptions on the specific security issues facing the countries. SEMS consists of a number of case studies to this end. Dr. Bedford will be contributing to the project through a comparative study of the diplomatic relations between Turkey and Azerbaijan and Georgia respectively. The research will focus on perceptions of Turkey’s role in the region and foreign policy of these countries, as well as possible scenarios for future development. She will also be in charge of the case study Securitization, Politicization and Mobilization of Religion in Azerbaijan, analyzing how religion is securitized (and de-securitized), politicized and mobilized by various religious and secular actors. Understanding how these roles, either real or envisioned sometimes can be very conflicting will provide better understand the dynamics of the religion-state-society relationship and the larger regional security situation. The four-year project started in 2016 and is financed by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet). The project leader is Professor Li Bennich-Björkman.
Project: Building Sustainable Opposition in Electoral Authoritarian Regimes
The study’s focus is ‘opposition’ in harsh political climates that, not being able to achieve any concessions from the state, has come to be written off as ‘failed’ in much of the previous literature. Finding this approach unconstructive the project strives to problematize what successful opposition in electoral authoritarian regimes is, as well as highlighting the dynamism of opposition in these types of contexts. Hence, the project pursues an indebt comparative study of opposition as ‘work in progress’ in two electoral autocratic regimes – Belarus and Azerbaijan where ‘opposition’ is generally described as having ‘failed’. The main aims of the study are to investigate the recent organizational changes within Azerbaijani and Belarusian oppositions, observe and analyze the new opposition dynamics in action and theoretically elaborate on how to build constructive opposition in these types of political settings. Dr. Bedford is the leader of this three-year project that started in 2015 and is financed by the Swedish Research Council (Vetenskapsrådet).