For the Study of the History, Languages, and Cultures of Azerbaijan, the Caucasus and Central Asia
Benjamin is a DPhil student in the Faculty of History. He has previously achieved a BA in History from the University of Birmingham (2019) and an MPhil in Late Antique and Byzantine Studies from the University of Oxford (2021). During his MPhil he completed research on Christian conversion among Central Asian nomads in the seventh to eleventh centuries and thesis work on a corpus of thirteenth to fourteenth century Syriac gravestones from the Chu Valley, Kyrgyzstan.
Benjamin's DPhil works explores the minority experience of Central Asian Christians in urban and semi-urban environments between the ninth and fourteenth centuries. In scope, his research continues to examine the gravestones of the Chu Valley community, and has expanded to include the Christian manuscript collection from Turfan, and textual and archaeological material from Samarqand.
Through his exploration of this material, Benjamin seeks to better understand the nature of these minority Christian communities, their position within the context of their wider societies, and the role of networks of connectivity with other communitites and their engagement with Christian stories in preserving their resilience and vitality. His exploration of the experiences of Christian minorities in Central Asia aims to provide a lens on the experiences of minorities and groundlevel society through an important and neglected period of religious and political change in this key region.