MAA News – From the Editor’s Desk

Greetings from the editor’s desk at Speculum: A Journal of Medieval Studies. As always, I am delighted to introduce the research articles published in the new issue of the journal, in this case October 98/4 (2023). We again have an issue chock full of work by early career scholars. The issue opens with the article of Georgios Makris, “Jewelry and People in the Byzantine Cemetery of Parapotamos, Epiros,” which shows what jewelry interred in grave sites can tell us about gender, status, trade, and society in one small Greek community.  From archaeology and material culture in Byzantium, we turn to Mary Channen Caldwell’s essay, “Multilingualism, Nova cantica, and the Cult of Saint Nicholas in Medieval England and France,” which moves us to the musical landscape of northwestern Europe to examine multilingualism as it emerges in songs written to honor Saint Nicholas in the high Middle Ages.  Ethan Yeong Lee’s “Instruments of Penance: The Role of Testaments in the Penitential Economy of Thirteenth-Century Italy” reveals how a study of last wills and testaments can throw new light on spirituality and religious devotion of the period. Joshua Easterling’s “Idolatry of Feeling: Walter Hilton and the Inner Life of Heresy” contributes to the history of emotions with his reading of Hilton’s Latin and vernacular writings on heresy. And finally, Matthew Champion’s “Saint Catherine and the Clock: Possible Histories of Sound and Time in Fourteenth- and Fifteenth-Century France” offers a thought experiment about the sonic landscape of Rouen. The issue, then, presents exciting new research and methodologies by scholars representing the fields of art and archaeology; music; English and Latin literature; and history.

I would also like to draw your attention to a new section of the journal, inaugurated in this issue, that will become a feature every October, called “Recognition of Our Peer Reviewers.” Here we acknowledge the work of our unsung peer reviewers—those who have consented to be listed and those who wished to remain anonymous—for the uncredited but important work they do for the journal. Their labor is fundamental to peer review and their feedback serves to strengthen the quality of the articles we publish in Speculum. With this small token, we thank those who have freely given their expertise to the profession.

On a different note, I hope you have had the opportunity to listen to our new podcast, “Speculum Spotlight,” a collaboration with the crew at “The Multicultural Middle Ages.” As I noted in my last column, the scope of the podcast is (ordinarily) to introduce the work of an early career scholar, taking you behind the scenes in the making of a research article. Staying true to that mission, this month, Reed O’Mara, a PhD candidate in the Department of Art History and Art at Case Western Reserve University, engages in a far-reaching conversation with Georgios Makris on his research article cited above, but also taking you behind and beyond it. You can listen here.

New research is the journal’s lifeblood, so we take special pride when Speculum articles have received recognition in their respective fields. Four authors of articles published lately in the journal have been awarded top disciplinary prizes. In alphabetical order, they are:

Petros Bouras-Vallianatos, “Cross-cultural Transfer of Medical Knowledge in the Medieval Mediterranean: The Introduction and Dissemination of Sugar-based Potions from the Islamic World to Byzantium,” Speculum 96/4 (2021): 963–1008. November 2021 Article of the Month for The Mediterranean Seminar and Winner of the 2022 J. Worth Estes Prize, American Association for the History of Medicine.

Mary Harvey Doyno, “Roman Women: Female Religious, the Papacy, and a Growing Dominican Order,” Speculum 97/4 (2022): 1040–72. Runner-up for 2023 Hagiography Society Article Prize.

Elizabeth Papp Kamali, “Tales of the Living Dead: Dealing with Doubt in Medieval English Law,” Speculum 96/2 (2021): 367–417. Winner of the 2022 Sutherland Prize, American Society for Legal History.

Peter V. Loewen, “A Rudder for The Ship of Fools?: Bosch’s Franciscans as Jongleurs of God,” Speculum 96/4 (2021): 1079–1138. Winner of the 2022 H. Colin Slim Award, American Musicological Society.

Congratulations to all our authors on these richly deserved prizes. If your recent Speculum article has won a prize, please do let us know so that we can congratulate you too.

Finally, the editorial collective for Speculations, the upcoming centenary issue of the journal, emphasizes that the call for proposals is an open call. The issue will include 50 short articles, and the collective is committed to a broad and diverse representation of topics, subjects, methods, and medievalists. Our deadline for proposals is 1 December 2023. You can review the call for proposals below in this newsletter. We’d love to have yours among them!

Till next time,

Katherine L. Jansen

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