My research examines relationships between Byzantine-era provinces and capitals by addressing ways that visual practices varied over time throughout the eastern Mediterranean. In my dissertation, “Rising Above the Faithful: Monumental Ceiling Crosses in Byzantine Cappadocia,” I argue that the extensive use of monumental, overhead paintings and relief carvings in Cappadocia (the area that is now central Turkey) between the sixth and tenth centuries represents a regional manifestation of the Cult of the Cross. I treat monumental ceiling crosses as designed objects, arguing they were functional tools used by artists and patrons to manipulate viewing experiences beneath.
From the dissertation research I am preparing an article on a newly identified cluster of monuments called the Four-Quadrant Ceiling Group, which I will to submit to Gesta. I am also constructing a 3D digital visualization of a tomb in Cappadocia, modeling the space as it looked before modern vandalism. By using digital models as interpretative rather than representative evidence, I am able to conduct a phenomenological examination of the space as an immersive, kinesthetic viewing experience.
My current book-length project, Mapping the Cult of the Cross, examines the use of ritual space across the Mediterranean and neighboring regions (including Cappadocia, Georgia, and Armenia) from late antiquity through the medieval period. Using spatial analysis and visual studies methodologies, I address monumental images of the cross in both architectural and environmental contexts. This research finds that the use of sacred space was socially constructed and indicates regional practices that were used by Christian populations to form local identities. These identities point to broader issues of center and periphery in geographically and ethnically diverse areas.
Research Travel + Fieldwork
Invited Talks + Participation
Institute for Digital Archaeology Method and Practice, NEH funded, organized by Michigan State University’s Department of Anthropology and MATRIX: The Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences, invited participant (August 2015 and August 2016)
“Renderings: Encounters and Translations,” panelist, part of Exchange Rates: The Bushwick Expo (October 2014)
Department of Medieval Art and The Cloisters, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, talk for medieval docents, “Byzantine Material Culture in Cappadocia,” (May 2014)
THATCamp CAA 2014, Chicago, lightening talk with Meredith A. Brown “Upcycling:” Building a Professional Online Presence Through Digital Publishing,” (February 2014)
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, public gallery talk, “Divine Light: Capturing the Holy in the Middle Ages,” (December 2013)
Linked Ancient World Data Institute (LAWDI), NEH-sponsored, hosted by New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, invited participant (May 2012)
Centotto: galleria [simposio] salotto (in conjunction with SITE Fest 2011) “Star Chasers: Visual Evolution of the Magi,” (March 2011)
Hunter College and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, guest lecturer and museum guide for Prof. Thomas Head’s undergraduate medieval history classes, “Byzantine Icons and Iconoclasm” (Fall 2009-Fall 2010)
GC Digital Initiatives and CUNY DHI event, organizer and moderator, “Evaluating, Valuing, and Promoting Digital Scholarship” (April 2015)
Fellows Colloquium: Reading the Sacred, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, “Monumental Ceiling Crosses and Material Culture in Byzantine Cappadocia” (April 2014)
2014 Graduate Student Conference on Byzantine Studies, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture, Hellenic College Holy Cross, “Rising Above the Faithful,” dissertation report (February 2014)
2013 Byzantine Studies Conference, Byzantine Studies Association of North America, Yale University, “Commemoration in Cappadocia: A Reexamination of the Tomb Chamber in Karabaş Kilise,” (November 2013)
7th Annual Medieval Studies/Pearl Kibre Medieval Study Interdisciplinary Graduate Student Conference, “Documenting Cappadocia: Building a Community Through Digital Scholarship” (March 201
CUNY IT Conference, panelist and panel organizer, “Building and Collaborating: Case Studies in Digital Scholarship,” (November 2012)
46th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, “Secular Travel Narrative and Medieval Christian Society as Represented in Marco Polo’s Livre des Merveilles in Morgan Manuscript 723,” (May 2011)
McMichael, Alice Lynn. “Rising Above the Faithful: Monumental Ceiling Crosses in Byzantine Cappadocia.” PhD dissertation, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, 2018. CUNY Academic Works.
“Photogrammar,” CAA Reviews, College Art Association, (April 23, 2018). DOI: http://www.caareviews.org/reviews/3246
“The Byzantine Scholar’s Digital Portfolio,” in Brad Hostetler and Sarah Blick, eds., Peregrinations, vol. 6, no. 2 (Autumn 2017).
“Byzantine Cappadocia: Small Data and the Dissertation,” in Thomas Elliott, Sebastian Heath, and John Muccigrosso, eds., “Current Practice in Linked Open Data for the Ancient World,” ISAW Papers 7 (2014). DOI: http://doi.org/2333.1/gxd256w7