Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Call for Sessions
5. Forum Medieval Art

The fifth Forum Medieval Art will take place in Bern on 18th-21st September 2019. Bern – looking out to peaks Eiger, Mönch, and Jungfrau, situated at the border to the Romandy, and having a long-standing tradition in bridge-building – embodies certain notions of translations, entanglements, and interactions. The conference will highlight such themes, focusing on forms and means of exchange, infrastructure, political and religious relationships, and the concrete reflections of these connections through objects. Methodological challenges will also be paramount, such as questioning how to write a history of encounters between artists, artworks, materials, and traditions.

Many mountain regions, and especially the Alps, have a long history as sites of transfers and interferences. Today, mountains and glaciers are the locations revealing most rapidly the consequences of climate change. They raise our awareness of similar changes in the past. Mountain regions were and are traversed by several ecological networks, connecting cities, regions, and countries, as well as different cultures, languages, and artistic traditions. Mountains, with their difficult passages and bridges, structured the ways through which materials and people were in touch. Bridges were strategic targets in conduct of war, evidence of applied knowledge, expression of civic representation, and custom points—both blockades and gates to the world.

Peaks in the historiography of Art History mark moments of radical change within artistic developments, the pinnacles of artistic careers, and high moments in the encounters of different traditions. Since the unfinished project of Walter Benjamin, who obtained his PhD in Bern, the passage has also been introduced as a figure of thought in historiography. The passage describes historical layers as spatial constellations, in which works of art, everyday culture, religious ideas, definitions of periods and theories of history encounter. 

Please send your submission until June 1, 2018, to

Friday, April 20, 2018

Internationale Konferenz am Institut für Kunstgeschichte der Universität Leipzig
Gefördert durch die DFG, die Freunde und Förderer der Universität Leipzig und die Research Academy Leipzig
Picturing the Present: Gegenwart im Bild und Bild in der Gegenwart (ca. 200–1500 CE)
14 Juni 2018 9–19 Uhr, Universitätsbibliothek Albertina, Vortragssaal
15 Juni 2018 9–16 Uhr, Universitätsbibliothek Albertina, Vortragssaal
When an image is made to depict the present moment, how do people engage with it? And, once that present moment is past, can that image ever again regain its claim to depicting the present or reclaim the immediacy it once held? Or will it then forever become merely a gateway to the past, only accessible through analogy, the imagination, or historical inquiry? This conference investigates how images originally made to depict the present function as they transition from contemporary depictions to historical ones, asking how the present remains ‘present’ over time.
TeilnehmerInnen: Benjamin Anderson (Ithaca), Hans Belting (Berlin), Roland Betancourt (Los Angeles), Armin Bergmeier (Leipzig), Rika Burnham (New York), Matthew Champion (London), Ivan Foletti (Brno), Beate Fricke (Bern), Andrew Griebeler (Berkeley), Sarah Griffin (Oxford), Stefan Hanß (Cambridge), Nadja Horsch (Leipzig), Heba Mostafa (Toronto), Keith Moxey (New York), Nathaniel Prottas (Wien), Katharina Schüppel (Dortmund), Stefanie Seeberg (Leipzig), Johannes Tripps (Leipzig), Simone Westermann (Zürich)

Vortragsreihe: Byzanz und der Westen: Kolloquium zur materiellen Kultur im Mittelalter
Lecture Series: Material Culture in Byzantium and the Medieval West
Institut für Kunstgeschichte der Universität Leipzig in Kooperation mit dem GWZO, der HTWK und dem Handschriftenzentrum
29 Mai, 19 Uhr, Department of Art HistoryDittrichring 18–20, Raum 5.15
Branka Vranesević (Belgrad), Reflections on Late Antique Visual Culture on the Territories of Present-Day Serbia and Macedonia: Continuity and Change
14 Juni, 17 Uhr, Universitätsbibliothek Albertina, Vortragssaal
Hans Belting (Berlin)Iconic Presence and Real Presence: A Neglected Aspect From the History of Religious Images
26 Juni, 19 Uhr, GWZO, Reichsstr. 4-6, Conference Room
Olga Karagiorgou (Athen)The Dumbarton Oaks and the Venice Tondi: Products of a Cultural Osmosis?

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

We are inviting papers for our panels at the Christianity and Politics Conference (University of Turku, 22–23 November 2018):
3. Heresy and Politics (more information below)
7. Schisms, Saints, and Power in the Middle Ages (more information below)

To propose a paper:
Follow the instructions found at:

30 April 2018

We look forward to receiving your paper proposals!
Best wishes,
Marika Räsänen & Reima Välimäki

3. Heresy and Politics
Panel Convenor:
Dr. Reima Välimäki, University of Turku, Finland

Panel Abstract

If the study of pre-modern heresy once was a theological and doctrinal question, since the twentieth century it has primarily belonged to the field of history. After the seminal work, ‘The Formation of a Persecuting Society’ by R.I. Moore (1987), the intimate connection of persecution of dissidents and contemporary politics has been a point of departure for the vast majority of scholars. More recently, the view has been balanced by scholars who have pointed out that to the inquisitors the persecution was very much a question of piety, faith and devotion (e.g. Ames 2009). The entanglement of politics and faith, power and heresy, is a thus a very complicated question, and its instances range from mock trials perceived entirely political by contemporaries to extreme expressions of piety and faith defying all political calculation.

The panel “Heresy and politics” calls for papers treating different aspects of heresy, its persecution and politics from the ancient world to the eighteenth century. The possible topics can include but are not limited to

– role of secular rulers and lords in the persecution of dissidents
– misuse of power by inquisitors and other persecutors, and critique against them
– heresy in papal or imperial politics
– heresy, inquisition and colonial politics (e.g. in medieval Languedoc or early modern South America)
– heresy accusations as a tool against political opponents
– ancient, medieval and early-modern judicial, theological and philosophical discussions about the Church’s right to persecute dissidents

7. Schisms, Saints, and Power in the Middle Ages
Panel Convenor:
Dr. Marika Räsänen, University of Turku, Finland

Panel Abstract

Pre-modern people lived in a world in which the presence of saints and their relics intertwined with society at many levels. Saints and relics were involved and used both in devotional practices and secular tasks. It is commonly recognized that the functions of saints’ relics were ideologically loaded: popes, bishops, kings, barons, monks and friars drew on the sacral power of these objects and used them to transmit political values and agendas.

In times of ecclesiastic and political crisis, the demand for such heavenly intercessors and political legitimators increased. But at the same time, the construction and control of sacred authority became glaringly problematic, as the apparent unity of the Catholic Church was shattered by schism and secular rulers, lords, and cities rallied to the support of competing popes.

Despite the central position of saints in premodern societies and the recent flourishing of studies devoted to saints and society, relics themselves — the tangible remains that carried the physical presence of the saint — have been relatively neglected by cultural historians. Likewise, the role of the relics in medieval schisms is an understudied area. For a scholar, studying relics can make visible the effects of schisms not only at the courts of ecclesiastical and secular lords, but among lower levels of the social hierarchy. Relics, saints, and their cults open avenues to explore how divisions between religious and political elites were manifested and understood in local communities.

This panel calls for papers in which the influence of cults of saints and relics, and their relationship to schisms, are approached from new perspectives. We encourage papers that discuss the political strategies of popes, the ways that ecclesiastical schisms played out in individual communities, how ordinary laymen and women experienced and navigated these crises. The organization of the panel is connected to the special paper of Professor Daniel Bornstein, “How Great Was the Great Western Schism?”

Friday, April 6, 2018

The 94th Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy will be held in Philadelphia on the University of Pennsylvania campus from March 7-9, 2019. The overall theme of the conference is “The Global Turn in Medieval Studies.” As a co-chair of the organizing committee, I would especially like to invite members of the dm- list to propose papers or sessions relating to the thread “Digitizing the Global Middle Ages: Practices, Sustainability, and Ethics.” While this thread can be broadly interpreted, our aim is to further conversations on the role and value of digitization in the preservation of our shared cultural heritage and on the practices and ethics of digitizing across cultural and geographic boundaries.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal, please consult the CFP, available here:

Individuals or groups may propose a poster, paper, full session, roundtable or workshop. Membership in the Medieval Academy is required to present at the conference, but special consideration will be given to individuals whose fields would not traditionally involve membership in the Medieval Academy. Proposals are due June 15, 2018.

Please feel free to distribute this announcement to other lists that may have interested members.

And please don’t hesitate to contact me or any member of the organizing committee (names appear on CFP) if you have questions.


Lynn Ransom, Ph.D.
Curator of Programs, Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
Project Director, The New Schoenberg Database of Manuscripts
Co-Editor, Manuscript Studies: A Journal of the Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies
The University of Pennsylvania Libraries

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Summer School in Scandinavian Manuscript Studies

1—10 August 2018University of Iceland
A 10-day intensive course in medieval and early-modern Scandinavian manuscript studies.

The course, which will comprise both lectures and practical sessions, is intended chiefly for graduate students (MA/PhD-level) but may also be of interest to more established scholars hoping to improve their manuscript reading and editorial skills. A sound background in Old Norse-Icelandic and/or Old Danish is essential. Familiarity with one or more of the modern Scandinavian languages, while a distinct advantage, is not required, as all teaching will be in English.

As in previous years there will be both a basic group, focusing on palaeography, codicology, manuscript description and transcription, and an advanced group, focusing on editorial technique and the theory and practice of textual criticism; to qualify for the latter one must normally have successfully completed the former.

There will also be a Master class for those who have completed the basic and advanced groups and want to try their hand at preparing an edition of a previously unedited text.

Students enrolled at the University of Iceland pay 120 EUR. Other students pay 200 EUR. The tuition fee covers one-time participation in classes and lectures. A one-day excursion is included (bus ride and a light meal).

The deadline for registration for this year's summer school is 15 April 2018.

For further information please contact Margrét Eggertsdóttir ( or Haraldur Bernharðsson (

Haraldur Bernharðsson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Medieval Studies
University of Iceland -- The Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies
Árnagarði við Suðurgötu
IS-101 Reykjavík
- Skype: haraldur_bernhardsson
It’s taken more than 700 years, but the medieval villagers of Houghton in Cambridgeshire have had the last laugh: the foundations of their houses and workshops have been exposed again, as roadworks carve up the landscape they were forced to abandon when their woodlands were walled off into a royal hunting forest.
Their lost village has been rediscovered in an epic excavation employing more than 200 archaeologists, working across scores of sites on a 21-mile stretch of flat Cambridgeshire countryside, the route of the upgraded A14 and the Huntingdon bypass.
Much of it is now flat and rather featureless farmland, but the excavations have revealed how densely populated it was in the past, with scores of village sites, burial mounds, henges, trackways, industrial sites including pottery kilns and a Roman distribution centre. The archaeologists also found an Anglo-Saxon tribal boundary site with huge ditches, a gated entrance and a beacon on a hill that still overlooks the whole region.
Site of the Huntington bypass excavation. Site of the Huntington bypass excavation. Photograph: Guardian Design Team
Finds include prehistoric flint tools, seven tonnes of pottery, and more than 7,000 small personal objects including a Roman jet pendant carved with the head of Medusa, a brooch in the shape of a chicken, a beautifully carved Anglo-Saxon bone flute – and a startlingly well preserved timber ladder, radio carbon dated to about 500 BC, found with a wooden paddle in a pit several metres deep.
“There is not one key site but a whole expanse – the excavation has given us the whole of the English landscape over the past 6,000 years,” said Steve Sherlock, head archaeologist for Highways England. “The Anglo-Saxon village sites alone are all absolute bobby dazzlers. The larger monuments such as the henges and barrows show up in crop marks and geophysics, but you can only really see things like the post marks of timber buildings by getting down into the ground and digging.”
One of the finds from the dig: An Anglo-Saxon flute carved from bone.
Among the finds: An Anglo-Saxon flute carved from bone. Photograph: Mola Headland Infrastructure
“The workshops and animal enclosures give you an impression of the hard grind of everyday life, but when you get something like the bone flute you suddenly see into a world that also had art and music, dancing and entertainment.”
At Houghton the archaeologists have been walking along alleyways first used centuries before the Norman Conquest. The deserted medieval village, with remains of 12 buildings, had even earlier – and completely unsuspected – origins. The buildings overlay remains of up to 40 Anglo-Saxon timber structures including houses, workshops and agricultural buildings.
Among the finds: A Roman broach shaped like a chicken.
Among the finds: A Roman broach shaped like a chicken. Photograph: Highways England/MOLA Headland Infrastructure
“The medieval village was occupied between the 12th and early 14th centuries, and the most likely explanation for its abandonment was that they lost the use of their woods when they were enclosed as a royal forest,” said Emma Jeffery, senior archaeologist from Mola Headland Infrastructure, who has been working on the site. “At a stroke they lost their grazing, foraging and bark for uses such as tanning leather, so the economic justification for the village was gone.”
The distribution of sites suggests that many were aligned along a lost stretch of Roman road now under the A1. Others are clustered around the ancient barrows and henges, suggesting they remained significant features in the landscape long after their original use as gathering and burial places ended. Major centres of Roman and later pottery production were found around Brampton and on the banks of the Great Ouse.
The excavation of around 350 hectares has been one of the largest archaeology projects in the UK. Work continued through one of the coldest winters in decades, with the diggers pulled off the sites only when the recent blizzards and sub-zero temperatures hit. Work will continue into the summer and there will be open days at several of the sites, including the deserted village.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Call for papers

XXV Finnish Symposium on Late Antiquity:
Tvärminne, Finland, 26.-27.10.2018

The 25th multidisciplinary Finnish Symposium on Late Antiquity will be organized on 26-27 October 2018. The symposium will bring together scholars and postgraduate students with an interest in Late Antiquity from a variety of universities and disciplines (philology, archaeology, history, theology, religious studies, art history etc.). The theme of this year’s symposium is Seafaring, Mobility, and the Mediterranean in Late Antiquity (ca. 150-700 CE), which will be approached from a wide perspective, including social, economic, cultural, religious, ideological, and literary aspects; the symposium will be divided into thematic sessions broadly structured around archaeological, literary, and historical frames of inquiry.

We welcome papers discussing Late Antique seafaring, mobility, and the Mediterranean from any viewpoints, but encourage especially the following themes:
1.      Networks of Communication and Commodification in the Late Antique Mediterranean
2.      Sea as a Metaphor in Late Ancient Literature
3.      The Mediterranean as ‘Mare Nostrum’

Please send a short abstract of 250–300 words words, with your name, affiliation, e-mail and paper title, by 7th of May 2018 to Dr Ville Vuolanto: ville.vuolanto(at) Applicants will be informed by the beginning of June 2018 at the latest whether they have been accepted. We have reserved 20 minutes for each presentation, plus 10 minutes for discussion.

The symposium will be organized at the zoological research station of the University of Helsinki at Tvärminne, on the southern coast of Finland ( – a suitably maritime venue. The symposium will have a participation fee (20€ from students, 60€ from others), which will include accommodation (one night) at the symposium venue, as well as meals for two days. We offer also the transportation from Helsinki to Tvärminne and the return journey. Registration for the symposium will start on 20 August and will close on 28 September 2018.

There are three invited keynote lectures in the symposium:

Professor Greg Woolf, director of the Institute of Classical Studies, University of London:
Changes in Traffic Volume across Mediterranean Maritime Networks in the first millennium CE.

Professor Rebecca Sweetman, University of St Andrews
Sailing the Wine Dark Sea: Communication, Complexity and Christianization in the Aegean

Professor Arja Karivieri, director of the Institutum Romanum Finlandiae, Rome
The Ways to Control Mobility in Ostia and Portus

The symposium is organized by Raimo Hakola (, Antti Lampinen ( and Ville Vuolanto ( and funded by the following research projects: Reason and Religious Recognition (The Academy of Finland's Centre of Excellence, Faculty of Theology, University of Helsinki; headed by Risto Saarinen); Segregated or Integrated? – Living and Dying in the Harbour City of Ostia, 300 BCE – 700 CE (The Academy of Finland research project, University of Tampere; headed by Arja Karivieri); Law, Governance and Space: Questioning the Foundations of the Republican Tradition (European Research Council, Consolidator Grant, Kaius Tuori).

Please distribute further to potentially interested people. Follow also our facebook page:
On behalf of the organizing committee,

Ville Vuolanto

Ville Vuolanto
PhD, Lecturer in History
Faculty of Social Sciences
University of Tampere, Finland