Call for Papers – Forty-First Annual Conference Southeastern Medieval Association

 Forty-First Annual Conference Southeastern Medieval Association
Little Rock, AR October 22-24, 2015
“Heaven, Hell, and Little Rock”

Call for Papers

You are cordially invited to participate in the 2015 meeting of the Southeastern Medieval Association. This year’s meeting will take place at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock, Arkansas on Thursday, October 22, 2015 through Saturday, October 24, 2015, and is sponsored by the University of Central Arkansas.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Heaven, Hell, and Little Rock,” in celebration of a host of anniversaries celebrated this year (the Fourth Lateran Council, the 750th anniversary of Dante’s birth, the burning of Jan Hus, the signing of the Magna Carta). We welcome submissions and encourage panels related to these anniversaries or on other medieval topics.

Further, recognizing the pivotal role that Little Rock, this year’s conference location, played in the American civil rights movement, we would like to encourage for this conference an emphasis on the “Other” Middle Ages, and encourage panels on East Asia, South Asia, and Islam at the time of the European Middle Ages, as well as panels on the “Other” within medieval Christendom (e.g., Jews and other non-Christians, Norse encounters with “Skraelingas,” or the treatment of the disabled, diseased, sexually “deviant,” or “mad” in Christian society).

In addition, this year’s meeting will include several sessions devoted to undergraduate research. Please encourage students who have done especially good work to submit abstracts. Please submit proposals for sessions and individual papers using the link at  no later than July 1, 2015.

Plenary Speakers:

Dr. Peter S. Hawkins of the Yale Divinity School (author of Dante’s Testaments: Essays on Scriptural Imagination and Dante: A Brief History among others) will give a plenary address called “Dante’s ‘Other': Thinking outside the Christian Box.”

Dr. Thomas A. Fudge of the University of New England (author of Heresy and Hussites in Late Medieval Europe and The Trial of Jan Hus: Medieval Heresy and Criminal Procedure, among others) will give a plenary address on Hus and his martyrdom.

Dr. Stephen Owen of Harvard University (author of The Late Tang: Chinese Poetry of the Mid-Ninth Century (827-860) and The Making of Early Chinese Classical Poetry among others) will give a plenary address on Tang poetry and culture.

Posted in Call for Papers | Leave a comment

Jobs for Medievalists

Organization:  The Society for Classical Studies

Title:                Executive Director

The Society for Classical Studies, one of the oldest learned societies in the United States, seeks an accomplished nonprofit leader with a passion for Classics to serve as its next Executive Director. Founded in 1869 as the American Philological Association, the mission of the Society for Classical Studies is to advance knowledge, understanding, and appreciation of the ancient Greek and Roman world and its enduring value.

The next Executive Director will be expected to support the organization in all its ongoing activities, while also contributing to the development and implementation of new initiatives and exploring additional avenues for impact and engagement. The ideal candidate will possess knowledge and love for classical languages, history, and culture; experience managing a learned society or professional membership organization; technological acumen; and the ambition and strategic ability to forge new partnerships and new programmatic initiatives for the Society.

Isaacson, Miller, a national executive search firm, is assisting with this search. Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed to the firm as indicated at the end of this document. All communications will be treated confidentially.

Applicants are invited to submit their resume and letter of interest to:

Nanette M. Blandin, Associate Principal
Gregory Gallagher, Associate
Isaacson, Miller
1300 19th Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20036

The letter should address why the position and organization are of interest to the candidate and how the candidate assesses his/her abilities relative to the challenges and opportunities discussed earlier in this document. If an applicant is recommending an alternative host institution, preliminary information about the proposed arrangement should be included. Nominations can also be sent to the above address and should include a letter of recommendation and the nominee’s contact information.

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled. Electronic submissions are strongly preferred, and can be made at

The Society is an equal employment/affirmative action opportunity employer.

Posted in Jobs for Medievalists | Leave a comment

Call for Papers -Midwest Medieval History Conference

October 9-10, 2015
It Was a Very Good Year: The Impact of 1215 on the Medieval World
Keynote Speaker: Professor Richard Helmholz, University of Chicago

The year 1215 will be known forever among medieval historians for two groundbreaking events, the Fourth Lateran Council of Pope Innocent III and the creation of Magna Carta by the barons rebelling against King John of England. In light of recent events in the state of Indiana and elsewhere, MMHC fields this question:  Was the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215 and the creation of the Holy Inquisition responsible for the transformation of western culture into a “Persecuting Society”? This is a question that has excited vigorous debate since the publication of R. I. Moore’s The Formation of a Persecuting Society. MMHC welcomes papers on this topic from both graduate students and professionals, with the intention of developing sessions on both Friday (the grad session) and Saturday (the general session) of the conference.

MMHC welcomes papers on any topic of medieval history, especially proposals for papers on topics relevant to the theme of the impact of 1215.

Please send abstract (300 words maximum) via email attachment to Linda Mitchell, Program Chair, Deadline for paper proposals: June 30, 2015.

Graduate students presenting on the Friday sessions receive a modest travel stipend of $150. Indicate your affiliation, degree program, and academic status when submitting paper proposal.

For information about the conference or local arrangements, please email local host, Steve Stofferahn ( and/or program chair, Linda Mitchell (

Posted in Call for Papers | Leave a comment

Medieval Academy Response to Wisconsin Proposal

To the Members of the Medieval Academy,

This morning, the letter copied below was sent on behalf of the Officers and Council of the Medieval Academy to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents and the State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Finance, in response to the Joint Committee’s proposed policies that threaten to reduce tenure protections in the University of Wisconsin system.  The letter is also available online here.

We will keep you informed as this situation develops.

To the Wisconsin Board of Regents and Members of the Joint Finance Committee,

The Medieval Academy of America, the largest learned society in the world devoted to the study of the Middle Ages, joins with other scholars and learned societies to express our alarm and dismay that the Wisconsin legislature is considering proposals that will undermine shared governance, tenure, and academic freedom.

The U. S. system of higher education intentionally and for good reason situates control of hiring and internal policies within educational institutions themselves. Tenure, in particular, when granted after a rigorous evaluation period, ensures classroom independence and free speech by removing the threat of retributive termination. As the statement released by more than a dozen of our fellow learned societies so aptly put it, “Academic freedom is the foundation of intellectual discovery, including in the classroom. It nourishes the environment within which students develop critical habits of mind through encounters with diverse perspectives, experiences, and sources of evidence across disciplines. Our democracy depends on the educated citizens that this system is intended to produce: wide-ranging in their knowledge, rigorous in their ability to understand complicated questions, and dedicated to the public good.”

The policies recommended by the Joint Finance Committee, now under consideration as part of the Wisconsin 2016 budget, pose a serious threat to academic freedom by expanding the circumstances under which tenure can be revoked and removing its protection under state statute. In the name of improving the state’s fiscal situation (and without evidence that these policies will achieve this goal), the committee risks seriously damaging a distinguished educational system that has been the pride of Wisconsin – and of the United States – for more than a century and a half. The State of Wisconsin was among the first states to support the concept of academic freedom in 1894, when the Board of Regents refused to terminate the employment of economist Richard Ely who was under fire for teaching the benefits of labor unions. The Board supported his right to free speech and academic freedom. We now urge the State legislature to reject the proposals brought before it and show its support for the proud Wisconsin tradition of academic freedom and free speech.

– The Council and Leadership of the Medieval Academy of America

Posted in Announcements | Leave a comment

Call for Papers – Ancient Abbeys of Brittany Project Colloquium

Projet Anciennes Abbayes de Bretagne Colloque – 5-6 mai 2016
Université de Toronto, Toronto, Canada –

Appel à communications

Monastères, convergences, échanges et  confrontations dans l’Ouest de l’Europe au Moyen Âge/Monasteries, convergences, exchanges and confrontations in the West of Europe in the Middle Ages

Nous sollicitons des communications sur tous les aspects touchant à ce sujet.
Les langues du colloque sont le français et l’anglais.

Si vous désirez participer, veuillez envoyer un titre et un précis avant le 31 octobre 2015 à l’adresse suivante .


Ancient Abbeys of Brittany Project  Colloquium – May 5-6, 2016
University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada –

Call for Papers

Monasteries, convergences, exchanges and confrontations in the West of Europe in the Middle Ages/Monastères, convergences, échanges et confrontations dans l’Ouest de l’Europe au Moyen Âge

Papers are welcome concerning any aspect of this topic.
The languages of the conference are English and French.

If you would like to participate please send a title and a short abstract to  by October 31, 2015.

Posted in Call for Papers | Leave a comment

MAA News – From the President

bnewmanAs I announced at our Notre Dame meeting, I will use my bully pulpit as president to focus on K-12 outreach, especially secondary teaching. I had paid little attention to high school curricula until my niece and granddaughter, who were both taking AP (Advanced Placement) European History at different schools, confessed that their curriculum began with the Renaissance. It seems that Greece and Rome are covered briefly in World History; the Middle Ages, not at all.

To fill the thousand-year gap, my granddaughter was assigned William Manchester’s 1992 book, A World Lit Only by Fire, as summer reading. This notorious work, written as recreation by a journalist who actually boasts that he read no primary sources, peddles the stereotype that for a thousand years, “nothing of real consequence had either improved or declined.  … No startling new ideas had appeared, no new territories outside Europe had been exploited.  Everything was as it had been for as long as the oldest European could remember.” (Note the covert praise of colonialism.) Medieval stagnation continues until, with a heraldic blast of the trumpet, the Renaissance begins: “The mighty storm was swiftly approaching, but Europeans were not only unaware of it; they were convinced that such a phenomenon could not exist.  Shackled in ignorance, disciplined by fear, and sheathed in superstition, they trudged into the sixteenth century in the clumsy, hunched, pigeon-toed gait of rickets victims, their vacant faces, pocked by smallpox, turned blindly toward the future they thought they knew-gullible, pitiful innocents who were about to be swept up in the most powerful, incomprehensible, irresistible vortex since Alaric had led his Visigoths and Huns [sic] across the Alps, fallen on Rome, and extinguished the lamps of learning a thousand years before.”

Of course my husband and I protested this egregious assignment to the school board. That’s how we learned that the Manchester book is, or at any rate was, on a list of texts recommended by the national AP Development Committee. This is an arm of the College Board, with close ties to the Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton. Its guidelines state explicitly that the European History course begins in 1450. Clearly, some intervention by medievalists is needed!

While it may be difficult to infiltrate the AP curriculum because of state and national standards, it’s worth a try. We may have more leeway with curricula in English, as well as Honors History, which is not bound so tightly to the Common Core standards. Needless to say, private and charter schools also afford more liberty for curricular innovation than public ones.

In conjunction with TEAMS and CARA, the Academy has now formed a Committee on K-12 Outreach to pursue a variety of issues. Its members are:

  • Tom Burman (Chair) (University of Tennessee at Knoxville), CARA committee
  • Kara Crawford (Bishop’s School, La Jolla), TEAMS curricular award winner
  • Tom Goodmann (University of Miami), TEAMS board member
  • Anne Lester (University of Colorado at Boulder), CARA committee chair
  • Beth Morrison (J. Paul Getty Museum), MAA Councillor
  • Anita Obermeier (University of New Mexico), president of TEAMS
  • Barbara Newman (Northwestern University), President of the Medieval Academy of America, ex officio
  • Lisa Fagin Davis (Medieval Academy of America), ex officio

We held an initial, highly productive meeting at Kalamazoo, which led to several action items. First, our annual meeting in Boston next year will begin with a pre-session for high school teachers, coordinated by Anita Obermeier on behalf of TEAMS. The session will take place late Wednesday afternoon (24 Feb. 2016), and discounted registration will be offered to any K-12 teachers who want to attend the annual meeting itself. This session-and similar ones in the future-may draw higher attendance if we can arrange for local public school teachers to receive professional development credit for participating. Kara Crawford, who is on the program committee for the New Chaucer Society’s London meeting (June 10-15, 2016), will look into secondary school outreach at that biennial extravaganza.

The National Council of Teachers of English, a huge organization that includes teachers at primary, secondary, and collegiate levels, meets annually in November. Tom Burman will investigate the possibility of a Medieval Academy presentation at its meeting this year in Minneapolis. Finally, Tom Goodmann has volunteered to see how members of the Academy might engage with ETS itself and seek to have an impact on AP and Common Core standards.

TEAMS already offers three prizes for curricular innovation at the K-8, secondary, and collegiate levels. Their “Once and Future Classroom” website ( offers ample resources to promote the teaching of the Middle Ages in grades K-12. The Academy itself could do more to bring these superb materials to the attention of our own members, as well as primary and secondary teachers who are unaware of them.

If you would like to join this committee or have any additional ideas for outreach, please contact Tom Burman at, or drop a line to Lisa or me.

Barbara Newman, President

Posted in MAA Newsletter | Leave a comment

MAA News – MAA @ Kalamazoo

MaatableThe 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo was boisterous as always, and the Medieval Academy was an active participant. Cary J. Nederman’s MAA plenary was well-attended and -received, as were the associated sessions on the theme of Tolerance and Toleration. Our three roundtables (two sponsored by CARA and one by the GSC, which also sponsored a crowded reception) covered topics of current import and sparked lively discussions about new developments in digital humanities, being a public medievalist, and medievalists in the media.

Friday’s CARA Luncheon was attended by nearly forty representatives of medieval studies programs, departments, associations, and libraries, focusing this year on small-group discussions of topics such as fundraising, public engagement, international collaboration, and curriculum development. The MAA table in the exhibit hall was the sight of impromptu meetings, recruitment of new members, and chocolate distribution. If you didn’t stop by this year, we hope you’ll visit next time!

Posted in MAA Newsletter | Leave a comment

MAA News – MAA and Leeds

IMCIf you’re going to be at the International Medieval Congress at Leeds this year, please join the Medieval Academy on Tuesday evening (7 July) at 7 PM for the MAA Annual Lecture, to be delivered by Sara Lipton (SUNY – Stony Brook): “The Vulgate of Experience – Preaching, Art, and the Material World.” Afterwards, join Executive Director Lisa Fagin Davis for the Medieval Academy’s open-bar wine reception. For more information, click here. We hope to see you there!

Posted in MAA Newsletter | Leave a comment

MAA News – MAA/GSC Grants Awarded

Tripoli, Bohemond VI or VII, gold bezant, 1251-87. Courtesy of Princeton University Numismatic Collection.

Tripoli, Bohemond VI or VII, gold bezant, 1251-87. Courtesy of Princeton University Numismatic Collection.

The inaugural MAA/GSC Grants in Innovation in Community Building and Professionalization have been awarded to three collaborative projects:

“English Manuscript Rolls 1200-1600: A Collaborative Digitization Project” (Anya Adair, Yale University; Katherine Hindley, Yale University; Jessica Henderson, Univ. of Toronto; Micah Goodrich, Univ. of Connecticut)

“Methods and Middle English” (Graduate Student conference) (Zachary Stone, Univ. of Virginia; Ryan D. Perry, Univ. of California, Berkeley; Spencer Strub, Univ. of California, Berkeley)

“15th annual Vagantes Medieval Graduate Student Conference” (Kyle G. Sweeney, Rice Univ.)

These projects, conceived and developed by teams of graduate students, are models of collaboration and innovation. The Academy is very pleased to be able to support these initiatives.

Posted in MAA Newsletter | Leave a comment

MAA News – MAA/CARA Summer Scholarships Awarded

This is the first year that the Academy has offered support to an expanded group of summer programs, and we are pleased to announce that scholarships to support summer coursework in languages or paleography have been awarded to:

Casey Ireland (Univ. of Virginia): London International Palaeography Summer School

Sun Young Lee (Arizona State University): London International Palaeography Summer School

Rachel McNellis (Case Western Reserve Univ.): The MARCO Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Matthew Parker (St. Louis Univ.): Michelangelo Italian Language and Culture School, Rome

Hilary Rhodes (Univ. of Leeds): The Rare Book School, Univ. of Virginia

Jonathan Sapp (Duke Univ.): University of Notre Dame

Courtney Selvage (Sweet Briar College): University of Toronto

Posted in MAA Newsletter | Leave a comment