Call for Papers – Architectural Representation in the European Middle Ages

Architectural Representation in the European Middle Ages
Edited by Hannah Bailey, Karl Kinsella, and Daniel Thomas

The architectural remnants of the Middle Ages—from castles and cathedrals to village churches—provide many people’s first point of contact with the medieval period and its culture. Such concrete survivals provide a direct link to the material experience of medieval people. At the same time, exploring the ways in which architecture was conceptualized and depicted can contribute to our understanding of the ideological and imaginative worldview of the period.

This volume seeks to investigate all aspects of architectural representation in the medieval period, encompassing actual, symbolic, or imaginary architectural features, whether still standing today, observable in the archaeological record, or surviving only through depiction in literature or art. Topics of interest might include (but are not limited to) the social and symbolic value of architecture, architectural metaphor or imagery, architecture in visual representations, architecture in the depiction of other spaces, memory and architecture, and architectural style.

The volume is interdisciplinary in outlook and we welcome contributions from across the spectrum of academic disciplines, including literature, history, art, theology, and archaeology.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words, with a brief biographical blurb, to the editors at: by 1st November, 2017.

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MAA News – From the President

The following stories are all true. I am used to such claims, as my focus is on the study of saints, their lives, their liturgical veneration, and the purposes underlying their contents, be they textual, musical, iconographical, gendered or political. So then, onto the narratives, which are about our institution – that is the scholarly discipline of Medieval Studies – and inscribed to offer encouragement as well as warning. I myself have seen and heard these things.

A junior medievalist and I sat over dinner. After discussing forays into the wondrous world of medieval liturgiology, I asked, “So why aren’t you more involved with the Medieval Academy?” Reasons came as swift as swords: 1) the three-year rule, and you got rid of that; it was keeping lots of people away from the Annual Meeting; 2) it seems the professional meetings of my discipline are mandatory, and I don’t have time and money for the MAA too; 3) there is no opportunity to participate in governance as you have to be a Fellow to run things or serve on committees; 4) and lastly, then, the MAA is elitist and stodgy.

Exegesis: Yes, there is no longer a wait before a scholar can speak or participate in the Annual Meeting: gone, done. Yes, the professional meetings of the disciplines in these hard financial times are upstaging the MAA, hurting membership and attendance at our annual meeting. We are tackling this problem now, and ideas are welcome. But as to 3 and 4, no and no. Election to fellowship in the MAA is honorary, and Fellows have no direct responsibilities for governance of the MAA. Fellows pay for their own ways to the meeting, for their housing, and pay for their own dinner. Your dues do not subsidize them. They are senior scholars who want to help the field they have spent their lives serving. As to no. 4, the MAA works tirelessly to engage all those who study the Middle Ages: seniors; juniors; independent scholars; unaffiliated scholars; students; Europeanists; global medievalists. We give out $100,000 in scholarships and awards every year. We are passionate about post-docs, having recently funded a new one. So run for something! Ask to be on a committee! We solicit volunteers by interests from the members every year. But do keep up your membership, for when we try to tap you, if your name isn’t there, we can’t. So I asked my friend, “Do you keep up your membership?” “Yes.” “Then go for it. It’s a great way to build the field, and your CV!”

Two other tales. At another dinner last week, this with a visiting PhD student to discuss the upcoming dissertation research, questions were asked of me and a colleague. Answers were given of the kind that save time and energy for someone starting out. All were involved in the sheer delight of sharing information, discussing the best ways to find things out: “who is out there writing about these topics now, and where are the best writings, editions?” “Oh, I know that person, and that one, and that one too. Would you like an email-introduction?” Another meeting with an undergrad from a nearby college concerning research on a saint’s office, working with a wonderful MS, and he been studying for a year (now we’re talking!). “Have you seen these tools, these, these?” “What should I do now?, he asked.” “Here’s a possible plan for you, one that might work and not overwhelm you, and lead to something concrete. Here’s where you could publish this eventually. I know the editor, would you like an introduction? Come by the conference in September and we’ll have coffee. Email me, let me know how it’s going.”

Exegesis: There is nothing like a fruitful exchange between an undergrad or grad student and a senior scholar with no skin the game (not an advisor or a professor in the school or university; neither a grade giver or ref writer). Say anything you want; ask any question, especially the one that is really bugging you and that you didn’t dare raise in class. “How do you figure out X, I mean how can you?” And the answers are there, just as they would be if you wanted to build a dinghy and have it cross the lake, without taking on any water; and then, later, a ship to sail the seas. Senior medievalists are craftspeople of thought; we know how to build in our field; our ships sail. What do we seniors get out of such exchanges: EVERYTHING. We are the lucky ones, actually, to meet young people starting out who can use the craftsmanship that we have spent our lives refining. And we are learning too, for the fresh and new questions make us think in ways we hadn’t before. New innovations! How can we build these exchanges in to the MAA, for the MAA can do this most successfully. The Zoo is wonderful, swirling, whirling, but just too big for this kind of deliberate intimate exchange. We are going to try something, this year even, continuing to build on mentorship ideas from the past. Anyone want to help? Email me!

The third set of tales, these very personal. The first I put in my textbook Music in the Medieval World because it was so astounding, and, in my mead hall, it will always be front and center. I was on a plane coming back from the MAA, and I happened to sit with a historian who was coming from his professional meeting, too. “So what do you work on?: he asked. “Oh, I start in the 400’s, with a long-time interest in Augustine, and a lot in-between, and I stop in the late Middle Ages, around 1400.” “Wow, so narrow!” “So how about you? What do you work on?” “1945.” (Stunned silence before I spoke.) “Well, it was a good year.” Another short narrative: I was at a wedding reception, and met a grad student in the field of musicology, and I knew she was working in the twentieth century. So I told her about a job I had just read about and she: “no, that’s for someone who works in the early twentieth century, and I work in the middle twentieth century. You need three, one for each part of the century.” And not unrelated: “Mom, you know all the stuff you and Dad know (my husband is a medievalist).” “Yes.” “Well, you have to teach it to our generation, because we don’t know anything.” I laughed uproariously. “Mom, it’s not funny.” This is a young man who loved The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings; his juniors in high school now are hooked on the “Game of Thrones” and Rowling. They love the Middle Ages, but they don’t know it. And all this in a time when our field is hemorrhaging positions, supposedly, it’s said, because students just aren’t interested.

Exegesis: We live in a presentist world, the quick buzz, and the decade seems too long a unit of time. People say, “you can’t study ‘the nineties,’ gotta be ‘the early nineties.'” Time gets shorter and shorter spiraling inward, until we are only looking at ourselves, blogging the moment without past or future. Augustine’s view of memory has imploded, and we have uncovered an eternal present, but one that does not move because it has no future and no past. It is indeed hard to know anything, to acquire wisdom in the short time frames now imposed on education, and complexity has been lost, or at least minimized.

It used to be that scholars were accused of knowing more and more about less and less. But now, there is so much information in every field, that we seemingly know less and less about more and more. I was recently wondering again about all the handbooks that Brill, Brepols, Oxford, and Cambridge are publishing. I’ve been asked to write for at least 20 and said yes to 6 or 7. Why? It is because there is so much misinformation out there, especially on the Internet, that you need to find responsible scholars to offer guides. It is time for medievalists, alone or in groups, to reach out with their knowledge and their materials to the young people in our communities. Two things are most heartening to me: our new standing committee on the digital humanities and multimedia studies; and our new standing committee on K-12 education. The sessions and the plenary we had in Toronto on these subjects were enlightening, as was the CARA meeting. There is so much joy, so much hope! But if we don’t do the hard work of organizing and of reaching out, it won’t happen, and the MAA is here to facilitate just that. We need small grants for innovative medievalists, especially for lone medievalists, showing eager young eyes a manuscript facsimile; putting on a play; singing a troubadour tale. Now it’s time for something completely different, and something different could change a life by inspiring the new ways of thinking so needed in today’s world.

Margot E. Fassler, University of Notre Dame
President, Medieval Academy of America

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MAA News – MAA@Leeds

Jeffrey J. Cohen (George Washington Univ.) presented the Medieval Academy Annual Lecture at the Leeds International Medieval Congress on 4 July. His paper, titled “Outside Noah’s Ark: Sympathy and Survival as the Waters Rise,” explored medieval ideas about those left behind by the Great Flood and considered how Noah and his family were thought to have responded to the dead and dying. The Medieval Academy reception afterwards was well-attended and gave our European colleagues an opportunity to meet members of the Academy staff and governance and to learn more about who we are and what we do. The Graduate Student Committee hosted a successful reception on Monday evening.

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MAA News – Upcoming Grant Deadlines

The Medieval Academy of America invites applications for the following grants. Please note that applicants must be members in good standing as of September 15 in order to be eligible for Medieval Academy awards.

Birgit Baldwin Fellowship
The Birgit Baldwin Fellowship provides a grant of $20,000 to support a graduate student in a North American university who is researching and writing a dissertation for the Ph.D. on any subject in French medieval history that can be realized only by sustained research in the archives and libraries of France. It may be renewed for a second year upon demonstration of satisfactory progress. (Deadline 15 November 2017)

Schallek Fellowship
The Schallek Fellowship provides a one-year grant of $30,000 to support Ph.D. dissertation research in any relevant discipline dealing with late-medieval Britain (ca. 1350-1500). (Deadline 15 October 2017)

Travel Grants
The Medieval Academy provides a limited number of travel grants to help Academy members who hold doctorates but are not in full-time faculty positions, or are contingent faculty without access to institutional funding, attend conferences to present their work. (Deadline 1 November 2017 for meetings to be held between 16 February and 31 August 2018)

Please feel free to print and post this announcement.

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MAA News – Call for Prize Nominations

The Medieval Academy of America invites submissions for the following prizes, to be awarded at the 2018 MAA Annual Meeting (Emory University, 1-3 March). Submission instructions vary, but all dossiers must complete by 15 October 2017.

Haskins Medal
Awarded to a distinguished monograph in the field of medieval studies.

Digital Humanities Prize
Awarded to an outstanding digital research project or resource in the field of medieval studies.

Karen Gould Prize [NEW]
Awarded to a monograph of outstanding quality in medieval art history.

John Nicholas Brown Prize
Awarded to a first monograph of outstanding quality in the field of medieval studies.

Van Courtlandt Elliott Prize
Awarded to a first article of outstanding quality in the field of medieval studies.

Please feel free to print and post this announcement.

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MAA News – New Program: MAA/CARA Conference Grant

The MAA/CARA Conference Grant for Regional Associations and Programs will be awarded for the first time in 2017. The $1,000 award will help support a regional or consortial conference taking place in 2018.

Applications are due by 15 October 2017. Click here for more information:

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MAA News – Kalamazoo 2018 Call for Papers

At the 2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the Medieval Academy plenary lecture will be delivered by Prof. Sara Ritchey (University of Tennessee, Knoxville). We invite submissions for two sessions related to Prof. Ritchey’s lecture as well as sessions sponsored by the GSC and CARA:

Plenary-related sessions:
1) Medical Texts in Manuscript Culture

2) Saints as Therapy

Contact: Monica Green
Arizona State Univ.
SHPRS, Box 874302
Tempe, AZ 85287-4302
Phone: 480-965-5778
Fax: 480-965-0310

The Medieval Academy Graduate Student Committee will sponsor a roundtable titled “Meet the Editors: Tips and Techniques on Article Submission for Graduate Students” (Contact: Katherine Sedovic,

Finally, the MAA’s Committee for Centers and Regional Associations (CARA) will sponsor two roundtables:

1) The Twenty-First-Century Medievalist: Digital Methods, Career Diversity, and Beyond

2) Teaching a Diverse and Inclusive Middle Ages

Contact: Sarah Davis-Secord
Univ. of New Mexico
Dept. of History, MSC06 3760
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
Phone: 505-277-2451 Fax: 505-277-6023

Proposals must be received by the session organizers by 15 September. For more information and the full Call for Papers, click here:

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MAA News – Good News from our Members

We are very pleased to announce the 2017 ACLS fellowship recipients who are members of the Medieval Academy of America:

Mohamad Ballan – Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship Doctoral Candidate, History, University of Chicago
“The Scribe of the Alhambra: Lisān al-Dīn ibn al-Khaṭīb, Sovereignty, and History in Nasrid Granada”

Andrew J. Collings – Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship Doctoral Candidate, History, Princeton University
“The King Cannot Be Everywhere: Royal Governance and Local Society in the Reign of Louis IX”

Helen Cushman – Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship Doctoral Candidate, English, Harvard University
“Producing Knowledge in the Middle English Mystery Plays”

Claire L. Fanger – ACLS Fellowship Program Associate Professor, Religion, Rice University
“Prophecy in Practice: The Everyday Life of Divine Knowledge in the Twelfth Century”

Samantha Kelly – ACLS Fellowship Program Professor, History, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
“Crucible of Christian Cultures: Ethiopian and European Scholars in Reformation Rome”

Paolo Squatriti – ACLS Fellowship Program Professor, History, Romance Languages and Literatures, and the Environment, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
“Pleasing Plants and Worrisome Weeds: Botanical Change in Early Medieval Europe”

Congratulations! If you have good news to share, please contact Executive Director Lisa Fagin Davis at

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On Race and Medieval Studies

As part of the Medieval Academy of America’s ongoing mission to create “an environment of diversity, inclusion, and academic freedom for all medievalists“, we encourage our members to read and carefully consider “On Race and Medieval Studies: A Collective Statement by Medievalists of Color“.

The Academy is embarking on a series of discussions and policy considerations that will begin to address these issues and lead us towards a Medieval Studies where all are truly welcome and treated with dignity.

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Frankel Institute Fellowship Announcement

Fellowship Opportunity
Theme 2018-2019
Sephardic Identities, Medieval and Early Modern

The Frankel Institute for Advanced Judaic Studies at the University of Michigan provides residential fellowships for scholars to conduct research around an annual theme. We are currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 theme, “Sephardic Identities, Medieval and Early Modern.”

Applications are encouraged from scholars of all ranks (Ph.D. required) working on topics related to Sephardic identities in the medieval and early modern periods, broadly conceived. Topics can include, but are not limited to, expulsion and diaspora, ghettoization and emancipation, the interactions between Sephardic and other Jewish and non-Jewish identities, the origins of Sephardic claims to exceptionalism within medieval Sephardic communities themselves, and the evolution of such notions under pressure from forced conversion and inquisition.

The major goal of the Frankel Institute is to provide an intellectually stimulating environment, promote an atmosphere of openness, and encourage constructive criticism. It seeks to advance Jewish Studies globally and considers diversity and pluralism as fundamental characteristics of a public university and emphasizes such principles in all endeavors. Additionally, the Institute offers a broad range of events to the public, including lectures, symposia, art exhibitions, and musical performances.

Applications due October 9, 2017

For more information, and complete application materials go to • 734.763.9047

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