Call for Papers – Inside Out: Dress and Identity in the Middle Ages

Inside Out: Dress and Identity in the Middle Ages

38th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies, Fordham University, March 24-25, 2018
Dress was a primary expression of identity in the European middle ages, when individuals made strategic choices about clothing and bodily adornment (including hairstyle, jewelry, and other accessories) in order to communicate gender, ethnicity, status, occupation, and other personal and group identities. Because outward appearances were often interpreted as a reliable reflection of inner selves, medieval dress, in its material embodiment as well as in literary and artistic representations, carried extraordinary moral and social meaning, as well as offering seductive possibilities for self-presentation.

This conference aims to bring together recent research on the material culture and social meanings of dress in the Middle Ages to explore the following or related questions:

  • Given that very little actual clothing survives from the Middle Ages, how does our reliance on artistic, documentary, and literary representations affect the study of dress and its meaning?
  • What aspects of medieval dress were most effective in communicating identity and what messages did they send? What strategies were served by dress, either embodied or in representation?
  • How did religious, cultural, and economic factors, such as cross-cultural contact and trade and/or technology influence dress and its uses?
  • Did ‘fashion’ or the so-called ‘Western fashion system’ actually begin in the Middle Ages? If so, what social and cultural changes did it inspire or reflect?

Please submit an abstract and cover letter with contact information by September 15, 2017 to Center for Medieval Studies, FMH 405B, Fordham University, Bronx, NY 10458, or by email to, or by fax to 718-817-3987

Saturday March 24 –Sunday March 25, 2018
Fordham University, Lincoln Center Campus
113 W. 60th St., New York, NY 10023

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Workshop: East Syriac Christianity in the Mongol Empire, April 7, 2017

Workshop: East Syriac Christianity in the Mongol Empire, April 7, 2017

The Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, are pleased to announce the final workshop in the Studying East of Byzantium II workshop series:

Friday, April 7, 2017, 10:00 am–12:00 pm

Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

East Syriac Christianity in the Mongol Empire

A workshop for students focusing on East Syriac Christianity in the Mongol Empire. Led by Mark Dickens, University of Alberta

RSVP required. Registration closes April 5. Additional information and registration at

East of Byzantium is a partnership between the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, that explores the cultures of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine empire in the late antique and medieval periods.

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Lecture – Christian Bodies, Pagan Images, April 3, 2017

The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, is pleased to announce the final lecture in its 2016–2017 lecture series:

Monday, April 3, 2017, 6:15 pm
Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

Christian Bodies, Pagan Images: Women, Beauty, and Morality in Byzantium

Alicia Walker, Bryn Mawr College, explores how Byzantine women’s bodies were put in dialogue with visual and textual portrayals of pagan goddesses and heroines, and how these practices changed in fundamental ways from the early to middle Byzantine eras.

Details at

Mary Jaharis Center lectures are co-sponsored by Harvard University Standing Committee on Medieval Studies.

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Nicky B. Carpenter Fellowship in Manuscript Studies

These Fellowships in Manuscript Studies were established in 2012 by Nicky B. Carpenter of Wayzata, Minnesota, a Lifetime Member and former chair of the HMML Board of Overseers.

The purpose of the Fellowship is to support residencies at HMML for research by senior scholars using the digital or microfilm manuscript collections at HMML. (Graduate students and recent postdoctoral scholars should apply for the Heckman Stipends or the Swenson Family Fellowship for Eastern Christian Manuscript Studies).

Two to three fellowships of $5,000 will be awarded each year in support of a residency of at least two weeks. Funds may be applied toward travel to and from Collegeville, housing and meals at Saint John’s University, and costs related to duplication of HMML’s microfilm or digital resources. Fellowships may be supplemented by other sources of funding but may not be held simultaneously with another HMML award. Holders of the Fellowship must wait at least two years before applying again.

Applications must be submitted by April 15 for residency between July 1- December 31, or November 15 for residency between January 1-June 30.

Applicants are asked to provide:

  • a letter of application with current contact information, the title of the project, length of the proposed residency at HMML and its projected dates
  • a description of the project to be pursued, with an explanation of how HMML’s resources are essential to its successful completion of the project; applicants are advised to be as specific as possible about which resources will be needed (maximum length: 1,000 words)
  • an updated curriculum vitae
  • a confidential letter of recommendation to be sent directly to HMML by a scholar with knowledge of both the applicant and the subject area of the project

Please send all materials as email attachments, with “Carpenter Fellowship” in the subject line. Letters should be sent by the referees directly to the same email address. Questions about the Fellowship may be sent to the same address.

Note: Those who are not United States citizens or permanent residents who plan to stay on the Saint John’s University campus or at the College of Saint Benedict will be expected to purchase health insurance in advance of their visit, and will be asked to show proof of coverage. Insurance plans for travelers to the United States are available from numerous online providers at reasonable cost.

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Call for Papers – The Shape of Return Progress, Process, and Repetition in Medieval Culture

International Conference

29-30 September 2017 

The Shape of Return
Progress, Process, and Repetition in Medieval Culture

ICI Berlin

Organized by
Francesco Giusti and Daniel Reeve

Keynote speaker
Elizabeth Eva Leach (University of Oxford)

Call for Papers

In his Convivio, Dante claims that ‘the supreme desire of each thing, and the one that is first given to it by nature, is to return to its first cause.’ Yet this formulation is marked by a tension: return is both a destination and a process. To put it in terms of an Augustinian distinction: does each thing simply desire to arrive in/at its patria (homeland, destination, telos), or is its desire also directed towards the via (way, process, journey)? On the one hand, the desire for return is teleological and singular; on the other, it is meandering, self-prolonging, perhaps even non-progressive. And return itself can also be errant, even when successful: to take one important example, medieval theology frequently conceptualizes the sins of heresy and sodomy as self-generating returns to unproductive sites of pleasure or obstinacy.

Return, then, is an uncanny thing, with a distinctive temporality that conjoins recollection, satisfaction, and frustration. It plays an important role in shaping many kinds of medieval cultural artifact. Return is a basic component of pseudo-Dionysian (and later, Thomistic) theories of intellection; for Boethius, it is inherent to the process of spiritual transcendence. Return also shapes literary texts: for instance, romance heroes desire to return to their homeland, but the obstacles placed in their path, or the digressions they undertake, are the basic preconditions of the stories in which they find themselves. In such cases, only a deferred return can satisfy; and even a return is not inevitably satisfying — it can also be a frustrating repetition of a well-trodden path. This is true of lyric texts as much as narrative ones: medieval lyric poems are often concerned with the human inclination to go back to an unfruitful site of pain, loss, or even dangerous enjoyment.

Return is also embedded in the very texture of medieval poetic and musical forms: the sestina, the refrain, and the terza rima all embody different kinds of recursivity. Dante’s re-use of rhyme sounds in the unfolding of the Divine Comedy — a poem that, at various crucial points, thematizes return as a transcendent symbol — performs a spiraling movement that combines repetition and progressive ascent. Reiteration can disrupt linear and teleological progress, but also empower it. How does medieval culture cope with this ambivalence?

The conference will explore the ways in which medieval literary, artistic, musical, philosophical, and theological texts perform, interrogate, and generate value from the complexities of return, with particular reference to its formal and temporal qualities. Reconsidering the practical and theoretical implications of return — a movement in time and space that seems to shape medieval culture in a fundamental sense — we will investigate the following questions:

  • What shapes does return take, and how does it shape cultural artifacts of the Middle Ages?
  • How does return (as fact or possibility) regulate the flow of time and the experience of human life?
  • How can return as a final goal and return as a problematic repetition coexist?
  • Is repetition simply identified with a state of sin, or can it lead somewhere?

The conference will provide a forum for an interdisciplinary discussion of medieval temporality: we welcome participants working in any academic discipline. Areas of investigation might include:

  • Neoplatonic emanation and return to the self / God; the temporality and shape of religious self-perfection
  • Refrain and/or repetition in musical and literary forms such as lyric, lyric collections or narrative verse incorporating refrains or concatenation
  • Ulyssean return in romance, theology, hagiography; return as resolution and/or disruption
  • The processes of return inherent in the use and experience of literary topoi and loci classici; exegetical return; the tension between innovation and tradition in biblical commentary
  • Religious conversion as return: teleology, retrospection, spatial metaphors
  • Return as related to medieval conceptions of originality and reproduction
  • The experience of return in daily life: liturgy, ritual, diurnal and seasonal cycles, the mechanical clock
  • Return in medieval temporal theory: for example, the medieval reception of circular time in Stoic philosophy or the book of Ecclesiastes
  • The geometry of return in (for instance) mystical writing
  • The queerness and/or conservatism of return
  • Return from digression; return as a regulatory mechanism
  • Return theorized as a constitutive process of subjectivity and/or intellection
  • Return as a psychoanalytic concept related to obsession, repression, Nachträglichkeit

Papers will be given in English, and will be limited to 30 minutes. Please email an abstract of no more than 300 words and a short bio-bibliographical profile (100 words maximum) to by 15 April 2017. An answer will be given before 1 May 2017. A full programme will be published on the ICI Berlin website ( in due course. As with all events at the ICI Berlin, there is no registration fee. We can provide assistance in securing discounted accommodation for the conference period.

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University of Cambridge Medieval Studies Summer Programme

The University of Cambridge Medieval Studies Summer Programme will run in Cambridge from 6 – 19 August 2017:

The programme is open to adults of all ages, backgrounds and nationalities and attracts undergraduates, professionals, retirees and college teachers. Participants can opt to study for one or two weeks.

Daily classroom sessions allow for close discussion with course directors and are complemented by morning lectures and evening talks. All are taught by leading Cambridge academics and guest subject specialists.

This year Professor Nigel Saul, Professor Michelle P Brown, Dr Rowena E Archer, Dr Elizabeth Solopova, Professor Mark Bailey, Dr Frank Woodman and Professor Carole Rawclifffe are amongst those who will be teaching and lecturing for us. Participants can choose to stay in one of four Cambridge Colleges, take part in social events, join weekend excursions and enjoy all that Cambridge has to offer.

Our twitter details are: @Cambridge_ISP

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Act Now! Trump Calls for the Elimination of NEH, Other Humanities Programs

This morning, President Trump released a budget blueprint that calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Humanities, along with the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Education’s International Education Programs, the Institute for Museums and Library Services, and the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

This is an assault on the humanities research, education, and programming that are essential to the cultivation of our national heritage and civic culture.

Congress will ultimately be responsible for writing the bills that fund the federal government. Members of Congress must receive the message that the humanities benefit us all.

Click here to urge your Members of Congress to oppose these proposals!

If you have already contacted your elected officials about NEH in recent months, please also urge them to oppose this specific proposal by contacting them again now.

You can read more about the proposal and our campaign here.

National Humanities Alliance

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East of Byzantium Symposium: Cultural Heritage Across the Christian East

The Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, are pleased to announce CULTURAL HERITAGE ACROSS THE CHRISTIAN EAST, a symposium exploring the challenges of preserving the cultural heritage of the Christian East.

Friday, March 31, 2017, 9:30 am–5:00 pm
Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA

Alison E. Cuneo, American Schools of Oriental Research Cultural Heritage Initiatives
ASOR CHI’s Role in the Cultural Heritage of the Christian East

Laurent Dissard, University College London
The Presence-Absence of Arapgir’s Armenian Heritage in Present-Day Eastern Turkey

Karel C. Innemée, University of Amsterdam
Deir al-Surian, A Monastery on Cultural Crossroads

Anton Pritula, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and The State Hermitage Museum
Chaldean Manuscript Collections. ʽAdbīshōʽ of Gazarta: Patriarch, Poet, Scribe and Commissioner

Seating is limited. Additional information and registration at

East of Byzantium is a partnership between the Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, that explores the cultures of the eastern frontier of the Byzantine empire in the late antique and medieval periods.

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Jobs for Medievalists

Position Announcement: Curator of Rare Books, Washington University in St. Louis

Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2017 13:09:39 -0600

Washington University Libraries are currently recruiting for a Curator of Rare Books. See the job description below for more details; and please feel free to contact me with any questions.

To apply, visit: and search Job ID 35921.
Job Title: Curator of Rare Books – Olin Library
Job Opening ID: 35921
Job Type/Schedule: This position is full-time and works approximately 37.5 hours per week.

Department Name/Job Location: This position is in the Olin Library at the Danforth Campus.

Essential Functions


The Curator of Rare Books is responsible for stewardship and promotion of the Washington University Libraries’ Rare Books collections. Under the direction of the Head of Curation for Special Collections, this position oversees the collection development, access/use, reference/instruction, and outreach for the Rare Books collection. The Curator works closely with library staff, faculty, and students to promote the accessibility and use of special collections for teaching, learning, and scholarship.


– Working with the Head of Curation for Special Collections, the Curator engages in collection development activities including establishing and maintaining a collection development policy in coordination with acquiring new collections, both purchased and donated, which fall within designated collecting areas, and cultivates relationships with potential donors.

– The Curator manages access to the collection by providing in depth reference and instructional sessions. He/she gives presentations related to the collection as well as works with the curatorial team to evaluate and establish access and use policies, ensuring copyright provisions are upheld. The Curator works with Special Collections staff to create plans for processing, cataloging, preserving, and digitizing collection materials based on professional best practices.

– The Curator promotes the collection and engages the community at large through various outreach initiatives and activities including, but not limited to, film screenings, speakers, panel discussions, teacher workshops/seminars, and exhibitions. Working closely with the Curator of Exhibitions, the Curator plans for both physical and digital exhibitions.

– The Curator seeks to improve efficiency by pursuing grant funding and strategic partnerships for the area of activities described above.

Required Qualifications

– Master’s degree in relevant field.

– At least three to five years experience in rare books collection, research, management, and development.

– Demonstrated knowledge of bibliography, book history, and the book arts.

– Experience working effectively and collaboratively with donors, collectors, and scholars.

– Ability to work effectively with a culturally diverse population of staff, faculty, students, community members, and new audiences.

– Ability to work with non-English languages and non-Roman alphabets.

– Familiarity with the antiquarian rare book and manuscript trade.

– Familiarity with best practices and procedures for acquiring, organizing, describing, preserving, digitizing, and making accessible special collection materials, including rare books, manuscripts, archives, art, illustration, and digital assets, among other formats.

– Excellent written and verbal communication skills. A demonstrated ability to speak with authority and enthusiasm on critical issues within special collections.

– Knowledge of intellectual property issues related to archives, libraries, and special collections and copyright issues associated with print and digital technologies.

– Knowledge of library preservation and conservation issues and practices.

– Ability to work in a team environment.

– Ability to lift 40 lbs.

– Ability to work weeknight and weekend hours.

– Ability to travel to on- and off-campus locations.

– Occasional travel.

– Must be able to work in an environment in which exposure to materials containing dust and mold is possible.

Preferred Qualifications

Experience teaching and interpreting rare books in an academic setting, integrating collections into formal curriculum and informal learning opportunities, including an understanding of how print materials fit into digital scholarship.

Salary Range

The hiring range for this position is $49,881 – $64,837 annually.


– Retirement Savings Plan

– 22 vacation days

– 8 Paid Holidays

– Sick Time

– Tuition benefits for employee, spouse and dependent children

– Free Metro Link/Bus pass

– Free Life Insurance

– Health, Dental, Vision

– Health Savings Account (HSA)

– Long Term Disability Insurance

– Flex Spending Plan

– Other Benefits

Human Resources website:

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Apply Now for Latin Paleography and Codicology

2018 Winter Program

Latin Paleography and Codicology
American Academy in Rome
Deadline for application: May 30, 2017

The AAR will offer a two-week intensive course in Latin Paleography and Codicology in collaboration with the Vatican Library and the University of Notre Dame from 8 to 19 January 2018. The course will introduce participants to various aspects of manuscript studies and offer an interactive dialogue between theory and practice. Applications from graduate and postgraduate students of Classics, History, Theology/Religious Studies, and Byzantine Studies are welcome to apply here.

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