CARA News: University of Missouri-Kansas City

University of Missouri-Kansas City, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program, 2016-2017

The Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program (MEMS) at the University of Missouri-Kansas City sponsored several events and participated in a number of regional programs in AY 2016-2017.  MEMS faculty had a very productive year in terms of major publications, but also taught a number of innovative courses and collaborated with colleagues at several near-by universities.

MEMS was able to welcome two speakers to campus this academic year.

First, in late September, Dr. Logan Whalen, Professor of French at the University of Oklahoma, presented a talk entitled: “Medieval Manuscripts

Enlightened: The Legacy of Marie de France in the 18th Century.”  The lecture brought the medieval and the early modern together in new and fascinating ways, even as it addressed student interests at UMKC by focusing particularly on the manuscripts involved in Dr. Whalen’s new research project.

In Spring 2017, MEMS once again took advantage of the richness of medieval scholarship in the plains to present a lecture by Dr. Anne D.

Hedeman, Judith Harris Murphy Distinguished Professor of Art History at the University of Kansas.  Keeping the manuscript focus from the previous semester, Dr. Hedeman offered a stimulating talk on “Visualizing the Past in the manuscripts of the Grandes Chroniques de France.”  The talk was followed by the opportunity for graduate students and faculty from both UMKC and KU to socialize and discuss medieval matters on a perfect spring evening in Kansas City.  MEMS at UMKC looks forward to many more fruitful collaborations with the new MEMS at KU!

Indeed, collaboration with regional partners is a focus of MEMS at UMKC, and we are extremely fortunate to count a number of significant programs in medieval and early modern/Renaissance studies among our neighboring institutions.  For example, in Summer 2017, Dr. Virginia Blanton, Professor of English at UMKC and Dr. Rabia Gregory, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia team taught an innovative, interdisciplinary intercampus course on “Monastic Worlds”

for students of both campuses.  Combining distance and experiential learning (a short-term immersion in monastic life at Mount Saint Scholastica and Conception Abbey), the course was the fruit of intense collaboration between numerous medieval faculty at UMKC and MU.  The course will be offered again in Summer 2018, and visiting students are very welcome.  More information is available at: or interested students may contact Dr. Blanton ( or Dr. Gregory ( directly.

In other regional activities, MEMS faculty members participated in the spring MARS (Medieval and Renaissance Studies) symposium at the Univ. of Missouri-Columbia (always a wonderfully stimulating day of intellectual discussion). Earlier in the fall, MEMS was a strong presence at the Mid-American Medieval Association’s annual conference; graduate students, undergraduate students, and faculty all “came to MAMA” on September 17th, at Emporia State University to help celebrate her 40th anniversary.  MAMA XL was a great success, and we warmly thank the organizer, Professor Mel Storm, for all his efforts.  MAMA 41 will be held on September 16, 2017 at UMKC with the theme “Networks”; the president (and conference organizer) is MEMS director Dr. Kathy Krause, and the plenary speaker will be Dr. Cynthia Brown, Professor of French at UC-Santa Barbara.  The deadline for proposals is June 2, 2017, to Dr. Krause at

More locally, MEMS faculty, Professors William Everett, Virginia Blanton, Kathy Krause, and Massimiliano Vitiello reached out beyond the campus and offered a panel discussion on aspects of medieval history and culture before a Friends of Chamber Music performance by Benjamin Bagby and Sequentia entitled “Monks singing Pagans”.

Finally, individual faculty members in MEMS published articles, monographs, and book chapters, edited special volumes of journals and collections of essays, gave conference presentations, organized panels, gave public lectures, and, in general, continued their excellent record of research and scholarship.  A few highlights include monographs published by two History Department faculty: Linda Mitchell, Voices of Medieval England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales (ABC-Clio/Greenwood

Press) and Lynda Payne, The Best Surgeon in England: Percivall Pott,

1713-88 (Peter Lang), as well as two books imminently forthcoming:

Massimiliano Vitiello, Amalasuintha: The transformation of queenship in the Post-Roman world (University of Pennsylvania Press) and Virginia Blanton, Veronica O’Mara, and Patricia Stoop, Nuns’ Literacies in Medieval Europe: The Antwerp Dialogue 2017 (Brepols).  In addition, both Kathy Krause and Linda Mitchell edited special issues of journals in

2016 (Medieval Feminist Forum 51.2 Beyond Women and Power and Historical Reflections/Réflexions Historiques 43.1on Women, Gender, and Law in honor of Shona Kelly Wray, respectively).

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