Research Area: Byzantine Art
Advisor: Dr. Lynn Jones
Dissertation Title: “Yılanlı Kilise: Meaning and Identity in a Byzantine Rock-Cut Church”
Doctoral candidate Sarah Mathiesen specializes in the art of Byzantium, with a research focus on constructions of identity and meaning. Her dissertation examines the monumental decorative program of Yılanlı Kilise, a rock-cut church located in the Ihlara Valley of Cappadocia, Turkey, and seeks to recontextualize Yılanlı as part of a rich contact zone between multiple cultures of the eastern medieval world, from Byzantium to the Islamic Caliphates, Georgia, and Armenia.
Sarah graduated with her MA from Tulane University in 2015, where she completed a thesis examining a 14th-century Byzantine manuscript of the Alexander Romance. At FSU, Sarah is a Legacy Fellow in Art History and a member of the Graduate Fellows Society. She currently serves as Co-Director of the Medieval Studies Workshop and previously as a Program for Instructional Excellence (PIE) Teaching Associate. In 2022, she was awarded one of six university-wide Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards (OTAA). Outside of FSU, Sarah serves as a member of the Student Committee of the International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) and co-chairs the ICMA’s new Oral History Project.
Sarah’s work has been supported by several institutions, including the Medieval Academy of America’s Robert and Janet Lumiansky Dissertation Grant and the ICMA’s Student Travel Grant. A winner of FSU Art History’s I.N. Winbury Essay Award, she has presented papers nationally and internationally, including at the International Congress of Byzantine Studies, the North American Byzantine Studies Conference, the International Congress of Medieval Studies, and the Middle East Studies Association annual meeting. Her publications include “Effective Objects: Ethiopian Pectorals and the Body” in Peregrinations: Journal of Medieval Art and Architecture and a review of Robert Ousterhout’s Eastern Medieval Architecture.