Byzantine history concentrates on the study of the history and civilization of the Byzantine Empire and related polities primarily between the early fourth century AD and the fifteenth century. Constantinople is important, but provincial and minority perspectives receive attention. Byzantine history includes political, military, social, economic, and cultural dimensions. Its documentation derives from literary, epigraphic, and archaeological sources. Its historiography has changed significantly in recent years. Byzantine civilization's genesis and duration are subjects in their own right that deserve serious investigation without imposing criteria and frames of reference from other historical periods or regions. A self-contained Hellenic worldview permitted the relatively undisturbed continuity and survival of Hellenic culture in a Christian context for more than a millennium. Yet it cannot be studied in complete isolation from other fields, with which it overlaps. Every student should seriously prepare a second and related historical field. Students need to understand Byzantine history in broader frameworks. Knowledge of Greek is essential, although other languages may be indispensable for specific topics.
In 1975 Walter Kaegi cofounded the interdisciplinary Byzantine Studies Conference, which meets each autumn at a different university or museum. It welcomes papers from graduate students. Loyola University in Chicago holds an annual patristics conference in the spring, which contain a number of papers of interest to Byzantinists. The annual spring International Congress of Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, Michigan, offers diverse papers and opportunities for graduate students. Students have occasionally presented papers at the annual Midwest Medieval History Conference, which meets at different midwestern institutions, and at graduate student conferences at the Newberry Library.