CARA News – The Medieval Institute at Notre Dame

The 2023–24 year was a blockbuster one for the Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame.

We welcomed a number of visiting scholars to the institute, including John Mulhall (Assistant Professor of History, Purdue University) as our Mellon Fellow, Wiebke-Marie Stock (University of Bonn), and Manolis Ulbricht (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Global Postdoctoral Fellow).

The year brought a number of events and speakers, including a February alumni lecture by Jonathan Lyon (Ph.D. ’05), on “Corrupt Officials and the Problem of Medieval ‘Government’.” Our annual Robert M. and Ricki Conway Lectures were on the theme of “Women and Knowledge in the Middle Ages,” with speakers Sara Ritchey (“Notes on Performed Knowledge in Late Medieval Women’s Religious Communities”), Linda G. Jones (“Contested Female Authority and the Transmission of Knowledge in Medieval Sunni Islam”), and Leonora Neville (“Wisdom, Virtue, and Intellectual Women in the Eastern Roman Empire”). The third annual Mathews Byzantine Lecture was given by Theodora Antonopoulou (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece) on “Religion, Politics, and Identities in Byzantium: Aspects of Medieval Greek Homilies.” Finally, our annual Mellon Colloquium featured the work of John Mulhall, joined by discussants Charles Burnett (The Warburg Institute), Peter Adamson (King’s College, London), and Thomas Burman (University of Notre Dame) on the topic of “The Republic of Translators: Latin, Greek, Arabic and a New Age of Science, Philosophy, and Theology in the Twelfth Century.” All talks are available on our YouTube channel (

In addition to these lecturers, our working groups hosted numerous other speakers and discussion meetings throughout the year. This year the institute funded five working groups on a range of topics: Medieval Liturgy, Religion and Pluralism in the Medieval Mediterranean, The Digital Schoolbook, Unknown Ancient Greek Homilies in an Ambrosiana Palimpsest, and The Papacy and Eastern Christian Traditions.

Our community work also continued, led by Christopher Miller, director of community engagement, with the help of our second Public Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow, Anne Le (UCLA). In the fall we hosted three medieval-themed tailgates on Gameday Saturdays: an Irish Music & Dance workshop with performer Shannon Dunne and the Notre Dame Céilí Band; a workshop on medieval combat with Theatrica Gladiatoria; and a visit from the Cedarlore Forge blacksmith, who demonstrated how to forge a medieval-style sword. In the spring, our Public Humanities Fellow offered a third run of our high school course, “Why the Middle Ages Matter.”

The biggest highlight was, of course, hosting the 99th Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy here on campus for our colleagues and friends. The themes for the meeting were “Mapping the Middle Ages,” “Bodies in Motion,” and “Communities of Knowledge.” Five speakers delivered plenary addresses: Bissera V. Pentcheva (Professor of Art History, Stanford University), Zrinka Stahuljak (Professor of Comparative Literature and French, UCLA), Robin Fleming (Professor of History, Boston College, and MAA president) co-presenting with Samantha Leggett (Lecturer in Computational Archaeology, University of Edinburgh), and Jack Tannous (Associate Professor of History and Hellenic Studies, Princeton University).

Sixty concurrent sessions represented a range of threads, including “Digitally Mapping the Middle Ages,” “Sacred Interiors,” “Islamic Epistemology,” “Mapping Real and Imaginary Travel,” “Mobile Bodies,” and “Border Crossings,” and covered topics addressing material culture, literary studies, cosmology, architecture, liturgy, and pandemics, to name a few. Roundtables and workshops highlighted union organizing in higher education, writing for a public audience, and publishing on the Middle Ages. Over 350 attendees, plus many book sellers and exhibitors, joined us from all across the world. We were delighted to hear that conference-goers had a wonderful time and found the program stimulating.

You can read more about these events, our visitors, and the Institute on our website [], and you can follow us on Twitter [], Facebook [], and YouTube [].

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