Rare Book School: manuscript courses this summer

Rare Book School is currently accepting applications for its summer 2019 courses. Following are just a few of our offerings on medieval and early modern manuscripts:

The Book in the Manuscript Era (H-20) with Raymond Clemens: Learn about the manuscript book in the West from late antiquity to the beginning of the sixteenth century, using the manuscript resources of Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Topics include the book form; its materials and construction; the writing and decorating of books; different types of books: biblical, theological, historical, poetic, legal, classical, liturgical, and devotional; the histories of books; the manuscript book in the digital age. H-20 runs June 9–14 at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Advanced Seminar in Medieval Manuscript Studies (M-90) with Barbara A. Shailor: Deepen your understanding of the varied approaches to medieval and Renaissance manuscripts. Students will use hands-on analysis and discussion of manuscript fragments and codices in the collections of Yale’s Beinecke Library to improve their paleographic and codicological skills. Previous coursework and experience with manuscripts, and very good or excellent knowledge of Latin are required for this course. M-90 runs June 9–14 at Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

The Medieval Manuscript in the Twenty-First Century (M-95) with Will Noel & Dot Porter: An introduction for students of both the digital humanities and manuscript studies to the concepts and realities of working with medieval manuscripts. Students will discuss digital surrogacy and best practices when digitizing medieval manuscripts as well as current publication technologies and resources for digitized medieval manuscripts. Those interested in manuscripts and digital technologies are welcome to apply! Advanced technological experience is not required. M-95 runs June 23–28 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Visit www.rarebookschool.org for course details, previous student evaluations, and instructions for applying. We hope to see you and fellow bibliophiles in an RBS course soon.

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Conference – Invasion 1169

Invasion 1169

The National Conference on the Occasion of the 850th Anniversary of the Anglo-Norman Invasion, 2–4 May 2019

About this Event

May 2nd, 2019, marks, perhaps to the very day, the 850th anniversary of the first landing in County Wexford in 1169 of the Anglo-Norman adventurers enlisted by the king of Leinster, Diarmait Mac Murchada. Their arrival marks the start of the Anglo-Norman Invasion of Ireland.

Within two years, Henry II would become the first reigning English monarch to set foot on Irish soil. In what was arguably the single most formative event in Irish history, King Henry formally brought the island under the lordship of the English crown, a constitutional relationship that endures to the present day in the case of Northern Ireland.

To mark the 850th Anniversary in May 2019 of this foundational moment in the shared history of Ireland and Britain, Trinity College Dublin will host the national conference on the history of the Invasion, which will take place on 2nd to 4th May 2019. By assembling a platform of world experts, the conference will communicate the latest findings in historical scholarship on the 1169 Invasion and its aftermath to the widest possible audience. This conference also marks the third meeting of the biennial Trinity Medieval Ireland Symposium, a series that seeks to make cutting-edge historical scholarship accessible to all people and promote a wider public understanding and enjoyment of medieval Irish history.

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Fires at Notre-Dame and Al-Aqsa Mosque

To the Members of the Medieval Academy of America:

If, like me, you were stunned by the images of Notre-Dame in flames and were shocked a second time to hear that fire also broke out yesterday at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, there is better-than-expected news to share today.

The fire at Al-Aqsa was quickly extinguished and resulted in no injuries and no significant damage to the interior or exterior of the complex.

The medieval vaults at Notre-Dame did what they were meant to do: with the exception of a section at the crossing, the vaulting held firm as the wooden beams above it collapsed, protecting the interior of the Cathedral. The great rose windows survived. Even so, the damage and loss is significant, and one firefighter was injured.

Many members have asked me how they can help with the restoration of the Cathedral. Here are some immediate initiatives:

1) The French Heritage Fund has set up a special fund for the restoration of Notre-Dame. 100% of all donations will go towards the Cathedral’s restoration – there will be no administrative fees charged, and your donation is tax deductible. Click here to donate.

2) If you have particular expertise regarding the Cathedral or Gothic art and architecture in general, please contact me explaining your expertise and detailing any special resources you may have (photographs, data, measurements, etc.) so I can add your name to a growing list of experts that will be forwarded to the relevant French authorities as they begin their work.

I know that for many of you, the destruction at Notre-Dame feels personal. We all know that the Cathedral is more than stone and mortar. For many of you, it is a life’s work of study. By pooling our collective expertise, I hope that the Medieval Academy can play a small part in bringing Notre-Dame back to life.


Lisa Fagin Davis
Executive Director
Medieval Academy of America

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Katherine Jansen (The Catholic University of America) appointed Editor of Speculum

Editor of Speculum

Katherine Ludwig Jansen has been appointed the new editor of Speculum, beginning 1 July 2019.

Jansen will continue as Professor of History at the Catholic University of America, where she has chaired the Department of History, served as interim director of the Center for Medieval and Byzantine Studies, and cofounded the university’s Rome Center. She received her PhD from Princeton University, and has held visiting professorships both at Princeton and at Johns Hopkins University. Her first book, The Making of the Magdalen: Preaching and Popular Devotion in the Later Middle Ages (2000), won several prizes; her second monograph, Peace and Penance in Late Medieval Italy, was published last year. She has also co-edited three volumes: Medieval Italy: Texts in Translation; Charisma and Religious Authority: Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Preaching, 1200-1500; and Center and Periphery: Studies on Power in the Medieval World in Honor of William Chester Jordan. She has held NEH, ACLS, and Fulbright fellowships as well as residential fellowships at the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton), Villa I Tatti, and the American Academy in Rome.

During her tenure, Catholic University will house the editorial offices of Speculum on its campus. Books for review should continue to be sent to the Medieval Academy offices in Cambridge until further notice; please check the Speculum web page for updates. Sarah Spence, the current editor, continues in her role until 31 August and will handle the production of issues that are already in process, while Jansen will deal mainly with new submissions until that time.

The Medieval Academy welcomes Kate, and thanks Sallie for her leadership and service, CUA for its support of Speculum and medieval studies, the search committee (chaired by David Wallace) for its hard work, and everyone involved for their patience.

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Jobs for Medievalists

Job Posting: Indexer for Bloomsbury Medieval Studies

Bloomsbury Medieval Studies is a new online resource launching in Autumn this year. To make the content more discoverable we are looking for someone with experience of keyword indexing to assign terms to book chapters and images. Ideal candidates will have had experience entering data into a database and working on online products or working with a library classification system.

Available via institutional access, Bloomsbury Medieval Studies will be a new interdisciplinary digital resource with a global perspective, bringing together high-quality secondary content with visual primary sources, a brand new reference work and pedagogical resources to support students and scholars across this rich field of study.

This work can be done remotely and will need to be completed by July 2019.

For more information, please contact Elizabeth.Hill@Bloomsbury.com

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Call for Papers -Writing Home: Literatures of Place & Belonging, c.1300-1600

Writing Home: Literatures of Place & Belonging, c.1300-1600

25th-26th July 2019, University of Liverpool

What makes a home? Is it as our four walls and families, neighbours and neighbourhoods? Our parishes, towns, cities, and countries? Our values, cultural practices, and experiences? Or is home where we have come from, where we are, and maybe, hopefully, where we are going? Join us in July at the University of Liverpool for a two-day conference exploring how home took shape in the literatures of the late medieval and early modern periods. We will consider how ideas of home changed over time in response to religious, political, and economic upheaval, civil unrest, and human and cultural migration.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Physical and conceptual parameters of home.
  • How these parameters shifted during translations & redactions
  • Migrant experiences & home-building practices.
  • Writing home abroad or in exile.
  • The relationship between smaller and larger units of home & belonging (e.g. the household and the parish; the parish and the city; the city and the country, etc.).
  • Sensing home: somatic experiences of belonging.
  • Literary representations of domesticity and the household.
  • Reading homes in miscellanies (patronage, organising principles, signs of readership and manuscript culture).
  • The ‘beginnings’ of home in origin narratives, foundation myths, and genealogies.
  • Legendaria and folktales: literatures that enrich the history of home.
  • Performing home on stage and at court.

We welcome abstracts for 20-minute papers related to the themes outlined above. Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and a short biography of around 100 words to homeuol@liverpool.ac.uk. The deadline for submissions is Tuesday 30th April 2019.

We are hoping to receive funding for a limited number of small bursaries available for early career researchers to contribute to travel and accommodation costs. If you could like to be considered for these, please put a note in your bio and we will contact you with further information. Applicants must not have access to institutional funding.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Deadline for “The Medieval Book

May 1 is the application deadline for Western Michigan University’s 2-week intensive course “The Medieval Book” (June 10-21, 2019). Admission to the course, which is offered for professional or personal development without credit or for 2 graduate credit hours, is by competitive application. https://wmich.edu/professional/medieval-book

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Call for Papers – “Materials and materiality in Medieval image”

November 2019: Call for papers: “Materials and materiality in Medieval image”. – The Workshop will last two days at the Centro de Investigación en Arte, Materia y Cultura, UNTREF (Av. Antártida Argentina 1355, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires). 

The submitting of proposal in Spanish, English, French and Portuguese will be until 1st June 2019.

For more informations: https://rmblf.be/2019/04/04/appel-a-contribution-materials-and-materiality-in-medieval-image/

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California Rare Book School to offer course on Scientific and Secular Medieval Manuscripts

California Rare Book School at University of California, Los Angeles will be offering an intensive course on Scientific and Secular Medieval Manuscripts this year. The course will be taught by Drs. Melissa Conway and Cynthia White, from August 12-16, 2019, on the UCLA campus. The class is limited to twelve students. Applications and further information can be found on the CalRBS website: www.calrbs.org.

The course description follows:  While biblical, liturgical, and devotional manuscripts survive in the greatest number, religious texts tell only one part of the vibrant intellectual history of the Middle Ages in Europe. This course will focus upon the varieties of scientific and secular manuscripts, among which are medical, astronomical, and mathematical texts; bestiaries and natural histories; herbals and agricultural manuals; itineraries, chronicles, romances, and collections of poetry. Usually illustrated and often lavishly illuminated, these manuscripts were major sources of information and entertainment for several centuries. Using a combination of the extensive holdings in UCLA’s Special Collections, online sources, and field trips to the UCLA Biomedical Library, and the Getty Museum, this course will provide an overview of the too-often overlooked history, production, distribution, and survival of scientific and secular manuscripts.  This year the class will receive an exclusive curator’s tour of the Getty’s exhibition “Book of Beasts: The Bestiary in the Medieval World.” By the end of the class students will be familiar with important examples in each genre, and the range of resources for continuing study.

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Call for Papers – International Conference: “V Medieval Europe in Motion: Materialities and Devotion (5th-15th centuries)”

International Conference:V Medieval Europe in Motion: Materialities and Devotion (5th-15th centuries)” – Mosteiro de Santa Maria da Vitória (Batalha, Portugal), 7-9 November 2019

Org. Instituto de Estudos Medievais (NOVA FCSH) – Mosteiro da Batalha / Direção Geral do Património Cultural – Centro de Estudos de História Religiosa (UCP).

Call for papers

Deadline: 15th May 2019

The last decades have witnessed the development of studies on material culture, favouring an inter- and multidisciplinary approach. This has enabled a more cohesive reading of the way in which the medieval Man related to his material environment, manipulating, adapting and transforming it, of the uses given to the objects he produced, the meanings attributed, how he interacted with them in cognitive and affective terms.

Summoning this dimension in the relationship with religion, devotional practices, sensibilities and representations, carries a new set of questions and necessarily calls for different knowledge in order to deepen understanding and the interpretation of the relationship between medieval religiosity and their material translations. From the images carved and painted to the buildings edified, from liturgical objects to reliquaries and tombs, from books to personal objects of piety, from temples to the inscription of the various forms of religious life, there are many domains where the relation between materiality and devotion can be a prospect and a problem. It intersects the material, functional, performative and aesthetic dimensions with the different readings it calls for, the cognitive and emotional apprehensions, the representations (erudite and popular) it associates with, the practices that it sustains, the memories that polarize and legitimize, the powers that were affirmed through it. It discloses the diversity of variants such as wealth and social position, more or less literate training, and gender differences.

The colloquium thus aims to be a broad space for debate, both in the plurality of knowledge and in the diversity of sources, historical, geographical and religious contexts (Christian, Jewish, Islamic and other), and in analytical perspectives.


(scholars of all disciplines are welcome to apply with proposals for sessions or individual papers):

Official languages: English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, Italian

Deadline for the submission of proposals: 15th May 2019

  1. Proposals for sessions of 3 speakers:

Each session will have three papers of 20 minutes. The organizer should submit the session proposal with all the relevant elements: name and affiliation of the organizer, title of the session, names and affiliation of speakers and moderator, title of the individual papers and abstracts.

  1. Proposals for individual papers:

Individual proposals should be offered considering papers of up to 20 minutes and include: speaker’s name and affiliation, title and abstract of the paper.

All applications must be sent along with a title and abstract of no more than 250 words as well as a short CV of the applicants to: materialities@fcsh.unl.pt

Successful applicants will be notified by 15th June 2019.

A peer-reviewed volume of selected proceedings will be published in 2020.

Conference registration fees (per person):

Registration fee includes:

Documentation, Coffee-breaks – € 30

Documentation, Coffee-breaks and Gala dinner – € 50

Documentation, Coffee-breaks, Gala dinner and three lunches at the Conference – € 100

Accommodation should be booked and payed for by the participants; information about hotels and other accommodations will be given, as required, by the organizing committee.

Organizing committee: Institute for Medieval Studies of the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences of NOVA University of Lisbon (IEM-FCSH/NOVA) / Centre of Studies on Religious History (Catholic University – CEHR-UCP): Carla Varela Fernandes, Catarina Fernandes Barreira, Diana Martins, João Luís Inglês Fontes, Maria Filomena Andrade, Maria João Branco, Mário Farelo and Miguel Metelo Seixas.

Batalha Monastery / Direção-Geral do Património Cultural: Joaquim Ruivo and Pedro Redol

Municipality of Batalha: Rui Cunha

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