Thursday, July 20, 2017


“Manuscripts in the Curriculum": New Perspectives on Using Medieval Manuscripts in the Undergraduate Classroom from Special Collection Librarians, Faculty, and Booksellers (A Roundtable)

Integrating medieval manuscripts into an undergraduate curriculum changes the game.  Students are transformed from passive learners to active scholars; observing objects and seeking to understand and interpret their context teaches critical thinking.  Implementing programs to give students this opportunity requires the cooperation of special collection librarians and faculty, two disciplines that speak slightly different languages. Inspired by Les Enluminures's new program Manuscripts in the Curriculum, this session will also introduce a third perspective and explore the practical issues of how to build collections for teaching. 

The session organizers wish to bring people together from these communities to share their experiences, to discuss successful results, to analyze problems, and to envision future directions.  We invite papers that explore efforts to bring manuscripts into the  classroom, and the challenges of implementing these programs at specific institutions from the perspectives of librarians, faculty, and booksellers.  The session will be structured as a roundtable with a series of short ten- and fifteen-minute papers (the number and duration to be determined depending on response), with ample time for discussion.

Please send abstracts of no more than a page, along with a current CV and the Participation Information Form (available on the Medieval Congress Submissions page: to by September 10, and sooner if possible.

Please feel free to circulate and post this CFP.

Emily Runde
Text Manuscripts Specialist
Les Enluminures

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

 CALL FOR PAPERS:  Celtic Studies at Kalamazoo, May 2018
   On behalf of the Celtic Studies Association of North America, Professor Frederick Suppe is organizing two panels of papers for presentation at the annual International Medieval Studies Congress which will meet at Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA during May 10-13, 2018.  The general topics for these two panels are:
   "Interactions between Celtic and non-Celtic Societies: Juxtapositions, Connections, Confrontations, and Cross-Influences,"
   "New Work by Young Celtic Studies Scholars."
Paper proposals are welcome which treat any topic relevant to Celtic Studies and which are based on any relevant academic discipline(s).  Papers should be written for a presentation time of approximately 20 minutes.  Presenters are required to be members of CSANA at the time of the Congress and to present their papers in person.  (CSANA dues are very reasonable, especially for students.)  A proposal should include both a succinct one-page summary of the topic and methodology of the paper and a "Participant Information Form," which can be accessed via the website of the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University (the academic host for the Congress) at: .  Paper proposals should be submitted to Professor Suppe before the deadline of Friday, September 15, 2017. They may be submitted as e-mail attachments to   or by FAX to (765) 285-5612  or by regular mail to:
      Professor Frederick Suppe
      History Department
      Ball State University
      Muncie, IN  47306
Please circulate this Call for Papers to any scholars who may be potentially interested and feel free to post the CFP on other locations.

CFP: Venice, Materiality, and the Byzantine World

by Brad Hostetler

CFP: Venice, Materiality, and the Byzantine World
Sponsored by the Italian Art Society
53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies
May 10-13, 2018, Western Michigan University
The Dumbarton Oaks Byzantine Symposium leading to the 2010 publication of San Marco, Byzantium, and the Myths of Venice introduced new perspectives on Byzantine and Venetian visual and material culture that extended Otto Demus’s survey of Saint Mark’s basilica. The authors’ application of more recent approaches—such as the social function of spolia, the act of display, the construction of identity, and cultural hybridity—brought fresh analyses to a complex and richly decorated monument. This panel seeks to expand this methodological discourse by taking into account questions related to materials, materiality, and intermediality between Venice and Byzantium. The arrival of material culture from the Byzantine world to Venice as gifts, spoils, or ephemera during the centuries surrounding the Fourth Crusade allowed for both appropriation and conceptual transformation of material culture. In light of the renewal in interest of Venice’s Byzantine heritage, this panel seeks to reflect on the interaction of material culture between la Serenissima and the Byzantine world, especially during the eleventh through fifteenth centuries. Topics may be wide-ranging, including, but not limited to: issues of reception and cultural translation; changing concepts of preciousness; different valuation of materials between Venice and Byzantium; the fluctuating simulation of material visual effects; the transformation of Byzantine objects incorporated into Venetian frames; intermedial dialogue between Byzantine and Venetian art; and the process and technique of manufacture of works between Byzantium and Venice. Some points of departure may include: the building of San Marco itself; Byzantine objects in the Treasury; Byzantine manuscripts included as part of the Cardinal Bessarion gift to the Republic; the monuments on Torcello; or issues raised as a result of recent conservation projects. New cross-cultural methodologies from art historical, anthropological, or sociological fields are welcome.
Please submit a 300-word abstract and a completed Participant Information Form ( by September 15 to the session organizers:
Brad Hostetler, Kenyon College,
Joseph Kopta, Pratt Institute,
In addition to the travel awards available to all Congress participants (, the Italian Art Society offers competitive travel grants:
1.       Anatomizing Melancholy and Reliving Depression (a roundtable)
This session will be open to a diverse range of approaches, but we will be particularly interested in medievalists’ open experiences of mood disorders and how their work on the Middle Ages has helped, hindered, or informed their experience of depression—and, naturally, if and how modern experiences of depression help us understand the experience of melancholia. By exploring these issues transhistorically, I hope that this roundtable will both further our understanding of medieval melancholia and contribute to efforts among contemporary medievalists to foreground mental health issues in the academy that are increasingly affecting our colleagues and students.

2.       Getting Down with Anglo-Saxons: Depression and Related Conditions before the Conquest
 The second session will be a panel of three or four papers that focuses on the phenomenology of “depressive states” in Anglo-Saxon England. Our goal will be to identify, if possible, commonalities between negative mental/emotional states in Anglo-Saxon society and culture that allow us to formulate and perhaps explain a pathology of mood disorders that is specific to this time and place, just as modern-day depression is thought to be a product of our social and cultural environments. Following on from the work of scholars like Leslie Lockett and Antonina Harbus, this session builds upon recent work in cognitive approaches to Anglo-Saxon culture, as well as tapping in to current trends in the burgeoning field of the “history of emotions.”

Please contact Chris Abram ( with proposals or requests for further information.

Associate Professor of EnglishUniversity of Notre Dame 
International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo 2018
CFP: Bede and Material Culture (I and II)
Sponsored by:
 Organized by: Paul Hilliard, University of St. Mary of the Lake, Sharon M. Rowley, Christopher Newport University, Peter Darby, University of Nottingham,  Máirín MacCarron, University of Sheffield
 Fueled by recent discoveries and benefiting from over 70 years of meticulous labor, the study of insular material culture has become essential to any scholar seeking to understand the societies located in early medieval Britain and Ireland.  The relationship between Bede, the primary textual source, and that material record continues to be a source of dialogue and debate.  While both the study of insular material culture and the understanding of Bede have greatly developed over the past thirty years, these new perspectives have not always been brought together.  It seems fitting then to facilitate further dialogue and integration by focusing our two sessions on Bede and material culture.
 For these sessions the theme of Bede and material culture is broadly understood and may include the impact of material culture on Bede and the use of material culture for understanding the age of Bede.  Additionally, papers are also welcome which place Bede himself in a thick context of early Anglo-Saxon material culture and/or advance ways in which the study of material culture helps us to read better Bede’s own scholarly writings.  In short, these sessions are dedicated to explore what things have to tell us about Bede and his world. Please contact Paul Hilliard at with questions and submissions. 

Dr. Sharon M. Rowley
Department of English
Director of Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Christopher Newport University
1 Avenue of the Arts
Newport News, VA 23606
fax 757.594.8870

Identifying Creative Impulses in Early Medieval Art and Culture

Special Sessions organized by Eric Ramírez-Weaver ( and Lynley Anne Herbert (

I. Creative Modes of Activating the Early Medieval Manuscript
The way a manuscript behaves when used “in the flesh,” so to speak, can at times reveal layers of creativity built into them, which must be actively experienced rather than passively seen. Often as modern scholars we work from digitized images of individual folios, or at best openings, and “page flipping” technologies (such as the Walters’s “Ex Libris” platform or the British Library’s “Turning the Pages” program) provide a false sense that we are experiencing the physical book. Evidence of the performative qualities of a manuscript can at times be rediscovered, not just in the sense of how a reader might perform the text written in the book, but how the user activated the book as an object during use.  Does an image show through a page and become part of the visual experience on the other side, and was there intentionality there? Do images interact across an opening? Does imagery function together from recto to verso? How is the artist creating an experience for the user, or conversely, how did the user alter the book to create a personal experience? This session seeks papers that explore creative approaches that open up new possibilities regarding how early medieval manuscripts functioned as objects.

II. Creative Strategies of Intellectual Engagement with Tradition and the Auctores
Recent scholarship (consider Benjamin Anderson, Lynda Coon, Paul Edward Dutton, Rosamond McKitterick, Lawrence Nees, Eric Ramírez-Weaver, and Immo Warntjes), has increasingly emphasized the creative strategies for intervention and manufacture of meaning that were acutely linked to early medieval eastern and western engagements with various aspects of the liberal art traditions. From star pictures to poetic acrostics, devotion to erudition and pious personal reform transformed the possibilities for innovation that proliferated during the Carolingian period. Interlocking networks of artists, chroniclers, historians, and poets communicated their translations, textual redactions, and visual records of classical tradition and contemporary study with one another, engaged in debate or collaboration, but advancing science. This session seeks papers willing to reconsider methodologically apposite ways to reinterpret the various brands of early medieval creativity manifest in texts pertaining (as broadly as possible) to the seven liberal arts, including texts of astronomical, computistical, rhetorical, geometric, arithmetic, musical, lyrical, philosophical, diagrammatic, or historical significance.
Eric M. Ramírez-Weaver, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Director of the Undergraduate Program (Office Hours: Fridays, 9am-1pm)
University of Virginia
McIntire Department of Art
Carl H. and Martha S. Lindner Center for Art History
303 Fayerweather Hall
P.O. BOX 400130
Charlottesville, VA 22904-4130
[T] 434-924-7710
[F] 434-924-3647
[C] 434-227-2910

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Sponsored by the Research Group of Manuscript Evidence

Abstracts to: Linde M. Brocato, linde.brocato AT 


Alfonso X, “the Wise,” of Castile was a polymath himself and sponsored many more across the various communities of Iberia.  His court was the political center of Castile, at least until the rethinking of law and politics he promulgated in the Siete Partidascombined with his (invited) Ghibelline bid for the Holy Roman Emperorship to provoke a civil war in his realms, led by his second son Sancho IV.  Iberia was also a crossroads of travelers – scholars, pilgrims, diplomats, merchants – from all over the world, with destinations like the courts of Castile and of the Crown of Aragon.  

Among the vast corpus of works he either directly or indirectly composed, Alfonso X’s book on games and gaming, the Libros de ajedrez, dados y tablas (also known as the Libro de los juegos), likely finished in the early to mid-1280s at the end of his life, seems to have reflected these intellectual and political dynamics, and recorded many such travelers and dwellers of his court.  In spite of a facsimile from the late 1980s, it has until recently garnered very little attention, particularly attention that considered it beyond the domains of chess and gaming, and art history.  

With Sonja Musser Golladay’s 2007 dissertation and Olivia Remie Constable’s article of the same year, however, and more recent studies, analysis of the book and its context have begun to contribute to our understanding of many other aspects of the 13th century, due to its incredibly rich representation of layers of information, ranging from the portraits in its miniatures to the intertextual networks of translation in multiple domains.  

In this era of “big data” and datamining, the Libro de los juegos offers a very interesting counter-case: one specific manuscript of only moderate length that provides insight into multiple domains.  It is “small data,” but data so rich that it produces big results when placed in productive tension across domains and disciplines.  It is a book that lends itself to interdisciplinary conversation, and to conversations that trace its contents and its effects over time, as part of a particular corpus and part of a concrete library. 

The purpose of this session is to encourage a lively interdisciplinary discussion of its texts, images, and the physical book from a variety of domains, perspectives, and methods in order to address a broad array of questions both related to and beyond its explicit topic, games and aristocratic leisure, and, as such, invites participants from all quarters interested in cross-disciplinary analysis and discussion of the Libro de los juegos.

A pdf of the CFP is also available on my page: