Like many of you, we’ve just returned from another splendid International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo. Speculum Editor Sarah Spence, Associate Editor Laura Ingallinella, and Executive Director Lisa Fagin Davis all enjoyed chatting with current and potential members at our table in the exhibit hall. We are particularly pleased to welcome the new members who benefited from our annual “Fifty Free” program, in which we give away fifty one-year introductory MAA memberships at Kalamazoo.
The Friday morning plenary, sponsored by the Academy, was delivered to a large crowd by Bissera Pentcheva (Stanford Univ.), who spoke on “Icons of Sound and the Exultet Liturgy of Southern Italy.” This interdisciplinary lecture brought together music, art, architecture, manuscripts, and performative liturgy in a way that was both edifying and inspiring. The lecture was introduced by Alfred Andrea (Univ. of Vermont) and was live-Tweeted by Damian Fleming here: https://bit.ly/2Jh5FRx. The two related sessions were also well-attended, expanding on themes introduced in Prof. Pentcheva’s lecture.
The Graduate Student Association’s roundtable at this year’s International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan was a great success. The roundtable, entitled “Stepping into the Professions: Tips on Navigating a Variety of Career Paths for Medievalist Graduate Students and Early Career Scholars (ECSs),” was co-sponsored by the GSC and the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and focused on providing graduate students and ECSs with information on the variety of professional positions available to medievalists and the best strategies for pursuing them. With nearly a full-house, the roundtable presented graduate students and ECSs with a venue to learn, inquire, and discuss the challenges faced by medievalists once they have completed their graduate studies and may be left, so to speak, without a safety net. We believe that this roundtable provided much-needed – and often-neglected – guidance for young medievalists who are keen to enter professional fields that capitalize on their graduate training and to provide them with the tools and resources to excel in careers as medievalists – be that within or outside the academy. The reception following the roundtable was likewise well attended and afforded a more casual setting to further expand on the discussions started during the roundtable. Overall, it was a wonderful and enlightening experience for all present and we cannot wait to continue the discussion at Leeds in a few short months (with thanks to Courtney Krolikowski for this report)
The Committee on Centers and Regional Associations (CARA) sponsored one session at ICMS 2019, a panel discussion on the topic of “Teaching a Diverse and Inclusive Middle Ages.” Specifically aimed at addressing undergraduate education in a variety of educational contexts, the panel was composed of five educators who are working actively to engage students in understanding the Middle Ages beyond the image of a monolithically heterosexual, white, Christian, European society. Panelists discussed teaching medieval studies to Native students, at an HBCU, and at a university with a high percentage of veterans and other returning students. Topics included how to deal with students who resist being educated about the diversity of the past, how students can make connections between medieval traditions and their own cultural traditions, and how to help students of non-European backgrounds feel connected to medieval studies. This was the third year in a row that CARA has sponsored a session on this topic. The session was very well attended and advanced an important conversation about how students can be taught about the diversity of the premodern world in a way that responds to their needs and interests. (with thanks to Sarah Davis-Secord for this report)
The annual CARA Luncheon enjoyed a record attendance of more than fifty delegates who participated in discussions of practical topics such as Curriculum Development and Teaching; Public Programming and Outreach; Building International Collaborations; Libraries, Museums, Special Collections, and Other Resources; and The Job Market. If you would like to participate in the networking and advisory opportunities afforded by CARA, please join us at the annual CARA Meeting (on the Sunday after the MAA Annual Meeting) and at the CARA luncheon at the ICMS in Kalamazoo.