Medieval Matters: Week 0

Here we are, at the beginning of a new term, and a new academic year. It gives me great pleasure to extend a warm welcome to those of you new to our Medievalist community at Oxford! You are now part of a network of over 200 medievalists across a wide range of disciplines and faculties. This weekly Medieval Matters Newsletter is you first port of call for all of Oxford’s rich and diverse medieval happenings, from CFPs and job opportunities to weekly seminars and reading groups.
I am thrilled to be returning as your Communications Officer for this year. Unfortunately we are running short on uplifting Old English wisdom, so this year I will be providing you with wisdomous tidbits from Alcuin of York (c. A.D. 732 to 804). As a polymath who taught and studied an exceptionally wide curriculum on both sides of the English channel and promoted education as a goal in and of itself, Alcuin embodies everything that we celebrate here at OMS. Here to get us started is his call for people to make good use of his work collecting sources:

Ne pereat labor noster in librorum collectione
[Don’t let the work I did building up the library go to waste!, Ep. 167]

This is a particularly relevant call for this week’s email, as I have been carefully compiling a ‘library’ of all of Oxford’s medieval seminars, events, reading lists and opportunities, for your perusal: the Medieval Booklet is now available! You can browse it at your leisure here. Please make good use of it: do not let my work go to waste! I will attach a “hard copy” to next week’s email, so if you have any last-minute changes or additions, please email them to me during this week.

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • St Edmund Hall Old Library Exhibition: Poem, Story, and Scape in the work of Kevin Crossley Holland’. This exhibition explores the work of Kevin Crossley-Holland (Honorary Fellow and 1959, English), prize-winning children’s author, translator, poet, librettist, editor and professor. Kevin engages creatively with language and poetry, place, history and legend. He captivates us by telling stories deeply rooted in past cultures, which he remakes to be compellingly contemporary and relevant. For this exhibition, Kevin has generously loaned items from his private collection to add to material from St Edmund Hall’s Archives and Special Collections. The exhibition will run from Friday 8 September – Monday 31 October. Visit by arrangement with the Librarian: library@seh.ox.ac.uk or 01865279062. Public opening on Monday 24 and Friday 28 October 10am-4pm.
  • Booking is now open for Oxford Latinitas 2022/23 online classes in both Latin and Ancient Greek. The Autumn Term runs from 10th October to 2nd December, and classes are available at all levels in both languages; bookings may also now be made for two terms or for the whole year. Students new to Oxford Latinitas (or new to our courses in either language) will have a short diagnostic call with one of our teachers in order to make sure they are placed in the right group. Full details and link to application sign-up can be found here.
  • Booking is now open for the Oxford Latinitas Septimana Latina Hiemalis, to be held at Palazzola, Rome, from 3rd-9th December 2022. Whatever your current level of Latin, from beginner to advanced, this week offers you the opportunity to make real progress towards fluency, while enjoying like-minded company in a beautiful location. Full details and link to application sign-up can be found here.
  • Medieval Postdoctoral Network: The Medieval Postdoctoral Network is a small group of postdocs, new and returning, who work on various aspects of medieval studies. We meet once a month to discuss the development of our work, set goals, and share skills and tips which may be helpful for Early Career Researchers. All are welcome – please email Rebecca Menmuir (r.menmuir@qmul.ac.uk) or Julie Mattison (j.r.mattison@rug.nl) to be added to the mailing list.
  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning is back! We kick off properly next week with a Mini-Medieval Roadshow. Join us at 10.30-11.30am next Friday, 14 October to meet all of the OMS Team and to hear more about events, seminars and reading groups taking place this term! If you would like to present your event/seminar etc, please do come along to advertise it! There might actually be manuscripts…

EVENTS THIS WEEK:

Monday 3rd October:

  • The Invisible East Lecture takes place at 4pm in the Faculty of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, Lecture 1. The speaker will be Jonathan L. Lee, The History of the Armenian Community of Afghanistan. More information here.

Thursday 6th October:

  • The Invisible East Lecture takes place at 5pm online. The speaker will be Majid M. Mahdi, Islamisation, a closer look. Register for the webinar here.

Friday 7th October:

  • The Medievalist Coffee Morning takes place at 10:30-11.30am in the Visiting Scholars Centre in the Weston Library (access via the Readers Entrance on Museum Road: straight ahead and up two floors!).

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • CFP: The German Historical Institute Medieval History Seminar invites proposals from all areas and periods of medieval history and is not limited to historians working on German history or German-speaking regions of Europe. All methodological approaches are welcome. Applications from neighbouring disciplines are welcome if the projects have a distinct historical focus. The seminar is bi-lingual and papers and discussions will be conducted both in German and English. Participants must have a good reading and listening comprehension of both languages. Successful applicants must be prepared to submit a paper of approximately 5,000 words by August 15, 2023. They are also expected to prepare and present a commentary on the papers of another session. For full details, see our blog post.
  • Claudio Leonardi FELLOWSHIP for a critical edition of a medieval latin text (deadline November 7, 2022): The scholarship offered is aimed at the purpose of supporting research on medieval Latin culture and texts and especially to produce critical editions. The scholarship, in the amount of €30,000.00 is for one year from January 1, 2023. The critical edition produced will be published by the publisher SISMEL Edizioni del Galluzzo (www.sismel.it) after passing the usual peer-review procedures. The fellow agrees to present his/her research during the General Assembly of S.I.S.M.E.L. (Florence, April 1, 2023) and to give three lectures at S.I.S.M.E.L. during the term of the fellowship. Applications, addressed to the president of S.I.S.M.E.L, must be received by e-mail at presidenza@sismelfirenze.it no later than 10. 00 on November 7, 2022.
  • Call For Papers – Contesting Authenticity in Literature, 1200-1700. Proposals are warmly welcomed for this two-day conference, which aims to bring together speakers from across languages, disciplines, and period boundaries. The conference will explore literature which engages with ‘contesting authenticity’ in some way: pseudotexts, forgeries, imitations, narrative authenticity, the practice of contesting authenticity, and many more interpretations of the conference scope. The conference will take place on 30-31 March 2023 at Senate House, University of London; speakers will present in-person. A limited number of bursaries will be available for speakers and attendees. The Call For Papers and further conference information can be found at: https://authenticity2023.wordpress.com/.

I started this email by extending a welcome to our new members, so it seems fit to end on a ‘welcome back’ for those returning. For those of you returning to Oxford, whether from summer holidays or from careers elsewhere, we are delighted to have you back! If you (like me) managed to get less work done over the summer vac than you had hoped, some reassuring words:

Fervor mensis Augusti desidem, non voluntatis efficatia pigrum efficit
[It is the heat of August that has made him idle, not his desire to be lazy, Ep. 119]

Now we are in the cold of October, I am sure we will all get lots of productive research done! I am so looking forward to seeing many of you at events and seminars throughout the term. Wishing you all a successful and enjoyable term, filled with exciting research discoveries and the joys of medievalist community.

[Stepping into the RadCam after a summer away, a Medievalist shakes off their summer “idleness” and begins to feel much more like themselves again!]
Ashmole Bestiary, Bodleian Library MS. Ashmole 1511, f. 84r.
Viewable in full at Digital Bodleian

Queer and Trans Medievalisms: A Reading Group

Michaelmas: Mondays at 3pm, weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8, Univ College (room TBC)

This informal reading group will explore queer and trans themes in medieval texts. In Michaelmas, we’ll be thinking about queer/trans sanctity across medieval Christian, Jewish and Sufi traditions.

Week 2: Queer longings for God

Week 4: Transfemme prayer: Kalonymus ben Kalonymus

Week 6: Transmasc sainthood: Euphrosyne/Smaragdus

Week 8: The trial of Joan of Arc

All extremely welcome! To join the mailing list and get texts in advance, or if you have any questions, email rowan.wilson@univ.ox.ac.uk                                                     

CFP: German Historical Institute Medieval History Seminar

The German Historical Institutes in London and Washington, D.C., are excited to
announce the thirteenth Medieval History Seminar, to be held in London from 5 to 7
October 2023. The seminar will bring together Ph.D. candidates and recent Ph.D.
recipients (2022/2023) in medieval history from American, Canadian, British, Irish, and
German universities for three days of scholarly discussion and collaboration. Participants
will have the opportunity to present their work to their peers and distinguished scholars
from both sides of the Atlantic.

Conveners for the 2023 seminar will be Fiona Griffiths
(Stanford University), Michael Grünbart (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster),
Jamie Kreiner (University of Georgia), Simon MacLean (University of St Andrews), Len
Scales (Durham University), and Dorothea Weltecke (Humboldt-Universität Berlin).


The Medieval History Seminar invites proposals from all areas and periods of medieval
history and is not limited to historians working on German history or German-speaking
regions of Europe. All methodological approaches are welcome. Applications from
neighbouring disciplines are welcome if the projects have a distinct historical focus.
The seminar is bi-lingual and papers and discussions will be conducted both in German
and English. Participants must have a good reading and listening comprehension of both
languages. Successful applicants must be prepared to submit a paper of approximately 5,000
words by August 15, 2023. They are also expected to prepare and present a commentary on
the papers of another session.


Travel and accommodation expenses of the participants will be covered.
Applications may be submitted in German or English and should include:

  • § a CV (including institutional affiliation, postal address, and e-mail)
  • § a description of the proposed paper (4–5 pages, double-spaced)
  • § one letter of recommendation


Please e-mail a single PDF-file with all application documents to: events@ghil.ac.uk
The deadline for submissions is 31 January 2023.


For further information, please contact Stephan Bruhn: s.bruhn@ghil.ac.uk
German Historical Institute 17 Bloomsbury Square
Tel. +44–(0)20–7309 2050 London WC1A 2NJ (UK)

New Book by Oxford Medievalist

OMS is delighted to announce a new publication by Byzantine scholar Dr Lucy Parker (Christ Church):



Symeon Stylites the Younger and Late Antique Antioch: From Hagiography to History

Oxford Studies in Byzantium



  • Offers the first detailed modern study of the cult of Symeon Stylites the Younger
  • Tackles barely-known texts including Symeon’s sermons and the Life of Martha, his mother
  • Offers a new perspective on the crises of the sixth-century Roman empire
  • Explores new ways of writing history on the basis of hagiography, a problematic body of source material
  • Rethinks the position of the holy man in late antiquity

Medieval Matters: Is It Nearly Term Yet?

0th Week is approaching at a rate of knots, which means that this is the final announcement email before Medieval Matters resumes in full force! I’m excited to more formally welcome everyone back to Oxford and, of course, to unveil which manuscript will be gracing your inboxes every week, but for now, here are a few upcoming events, announcements, and three exciting job opportunities for graduate students:

ANNOUNCEMENTS:

  • Medieval Booklet Submissions. Thank you very much to all who have sent these to me so far! For those of you who still have submissions pending, a gentle reminder that you must send them to me by October 1st if you wish to ensure that they are included in the booklet for its 0th week release. Also a gentle reminder that your submission should include, wherever possible, a time and location for your events / seminars.
  • Medieval Blog Submissions. If you have a new book release / media appearance / new research project funding, we would love to advertise it on our blog! The OMS blog is seen by medievalists in and outside of Oxford and is a great place to showcase the achievements of our medieval community.

SAVE THE DATE:

Monday 10th October:

  • Black History Month lecture at St John’s College: St Johns College Auditorium, 2pm. Professor Michael Gomez from New York University will be speaking about “West Africa’s Mansa Musa: An Enigma for the Apogee of the Age.”. Mansa Musa is arguably West Africa’s most famous luminary, representing the region’s most illustrious period. Revisiting the sources, however, challenges conventional and pervasive notions about him and his acclaimed pilgrimage, raising critical questions about the import of his reign for West Africa and beyond. All are welcome to attend.

Monday 31st October:

  • Medieval Studies and Astor Visiting Lecture: Lecture Theatre 2, English Faculty, 5.15pm Followed by drinks. Prof. Ardis Butterfield (Yale) will be speaking on ‘Do we mean lyric or song?’.

OPPORTUNITIES:

  • Graduate Students: OMS is hiring!: OMS is one of the largest forums in the world for interdisciplinary research on the Middle Ages, bringing together over 200 academics and a large body of graduate students. If you would like to be involved behind the scenes, we have three exciting (paid) opportunities to get involved! We are looking for 1) OMS Social Media Officer, 2) OMS Events Coordinator and 3) Graduate Convenor for the Medieval Mystery Cycle 2023. Though these are advertised as three separate posts, we welcome applications from students who would like to combine two or even all three posts. Please send expressions of interest to Co-Directors Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith by 30 September 2022, 12noon, at medieval@torch.ox.ac.uk, including a one-page CV and a cover email explaining why you are interested in the job(s) and what experience you bring to it. For full details, see our blog post here.

Graduate Students: OMS is hiring!

OMS is one of the largest forums in the world for interdisciplinary research on the Middle Ages, bringing together over 200 academics and a large body of graduate students. If you would like to be involved behind the scenes, we have three exciting (paid) opportunities to get involved! Though these are advertised as three separate posts, we welcome applications from students who would like to combine two or even all three posts:

1) OMS Social Media Officer: The Social Media Officer is in charge of connecting all of Oxford’s medievalists via the OMS Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts and also occasionally posting on here, the OMS blog. You will be responsible for posting across these platforms to advertise OMS events, opportunities and news. You will work closely with the OMS directors (Profs Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith), the Communications Officer (Dr Luisa Ostacchini) and the Events Coordinator. Familiarity with social media advertising is beneficial but not essential: this is an ideal way to gain technical know-how about social media, advertising and marketing that can be used in your academic career and beyond. The post usually comprises an hour or two a week. To read more about the post from the out-going postholder, Llewelyn Hopwood, including tips and tricks for social media success, see his blog post here.

2) OMS Events Coordinator: The Events Coordinator ensures that all of our in-person and online OMS events run smoothly. You will organise the google calendar, oversee the OMS Teams and YouTube Channels, respond to email queries about events, set up Zoom streaming events, assist in the real-time running of events (mostly hybrid and online, but also in-person), and serve as a point of liaison point between events organisers and the rest of the OMS Team. You will work closely with the OMS directors (Profs Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith), the Communications Officer (Dr Luisa Ostacchini) and the Social Media Officer. Some familiarity with Teams and Zoom is necessary, but you by no means need to be an expert in these software packages as you can learn on the job. The post usually comprises an hour or two a week. To read more about the post from the out-going postholder, Tom Revell, including insight into the exciting range of events he helped to facilitate, see his blog post here.

3) Graduate Convenor for the Medieval Mystery Cycle 2023: the graduate convenor will take the mantle of the operation from Dr Eleanor Baker by organising the Medieval Mystery Cycle, which takes place on 22 April 2023. You will liase with the various Mystery Players and directors, help to coordinate workshops, and ensure that the plays run smoothly on the day. Experience in events organisation and a love of theatre are beneficial, but not essential. You will work closely with the OMS directors (Profs Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith), the Communications team, and Mystery Players from across the university and beyond. To get a sense for the scope of the project, and to see the plays performed in previous years, see seh.ox.ac.uk/mystery-cycle.
Payment for all of these roles is at the standard rate for graduate students, and is billed by timesheet — up to a maximum of six hours per week per role, although actual hours will usually comprise one or two hours per week per role.

Please send expressions of interest to Co-Directors Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith by 30 September 2022, 12noon, at medieval@torch.ox.ac.uk, including a one-page CV and a cover email explaining why you are interested in the job(s) and what experience you bring to it.

Header image: Matthew Paris Elephant from Parker MS 016II fol 152v (See the manuscript online via Parker Library on the Web)

Medieval Matters: sigelbeorhte dagas

Trinity Term has ended, and with it, the academic year! Since this is the final Medieval Matters of the year, on behalf of everyone at OMS I would like to take the opportunity to thank everyone who has enabled our many wonderful seminars, reading groups and events this year to happen. The Medievalist community at Oxford is incredibly fortunate to have such a diversity of scholarship and such a wealth of goings-on, and all of your contributions have made this year richer and more enjoyable! Here is some wisdom on doing good things, from Beowulf:

Lofdædum sceal
in mægþa gehwære man geþeon.

[By praiseworthy deeds one shall prosper among peoples everywhere.]

Wherever your summer is taking you, I am sure that your praiseworthy organisation, convening and paper-giving will lead you to prosper! Safe travels to those of you leaving Oxford and congratulations to our Masters students for finishing their studies. Please see below for the roundup of summer events, save the dates, and some important tasks to do:

Important To-Do:

  • For those leaving Oxford/changing college: if you would like to continue to receive Medieval Matters emails, please make sure to sign up with your new email address. You can do it yourself via https://medieval.ox.ac.uk/about/ or contact me. Please also alert any medievalist visitor or new student to this! For postgraduate course convenors: when your incoming students have their Oxford email addresses, please register them for the mailing list or contact me with a list of addresses and I can do this for you.

Summer events:

  • Coffee Morning with Professor William Chester Jordan, 23rd June 10.30-12 noon. The Faculty of History and Oxford Medieval Studies are pleased to invite you to an informal meet and greet coffee morning with William Chester Jordan (Professor of Medieval History, Princeton University) on the occasion of his reception of an honorary degree of the University of Oxford, in the garden of Harris Manchester College (Mansfield Road), or in the Warrington Room in the case of rain. Coffee and croissants will be provided. For catering purposes, please register your attendance if possible: https://forms.gle/AkvPUsX2Ur1hbgTU7
  • Mandeville 700 Conference, 30 June 2022. In 1322, Sir John Mandeville left his native England to travel through Europe, to the pilgrim sites of Jerusalem, and beyond to the Far East, where he served as a mercenary in the Great Khan’s army before returning home 34 years later to write an immensely popular and influential account of his travels. Or not: historical research has been unable to find any John Mandeville who can be firmly identified either as traveller or author, and the book itself was largely adapted from other sources. To mark the 700th anniversary of his supposed departure, this conference will bring together scholars working on one of the most striking and enduring inventions of the late Middle Ages. For further information and to book, please click here.
  •  Medium Ævum Annual Lecture taking place on Saturday, 2 July (4:30-6pm BST): Dr Ryan Perry (University of Kent) will deliver the annual lecture on ‘Middle English Books of Devotion and Liturgical Privatisation in Fifteenth-century England’, as part of the ‘Pfaff at 50’ conference at the University of Nottingham marking 50 years since the publication of Richard W. Pfaff’s ground-breaking New Liturgical Feasts in Later Medieval England. Registration details for in-person and online attendance are available at the following link: https://pfaff50.wordpress.com/keynote/
  • The Oxford Festival of the Arts has a smorgasbord of exciting events of interest to medievalists:
    -The Art of Illumination: makers and users of medieval manuscripts (June 25, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, 2pm – 4.30pm)
    -Illuminated Manuscript Workshop with Patricia Lovett MBE (June 26, Magdalen College School Studio, 10am – 5pm)
    -Professor Robert Bartlett: The Middle Ages and the Movies (June 27, Festival Marquee, 8pm)
    -Treasures from Around the World at New College Library (July 2, 11am-4pm, Lecture Room 4, New College)
    -British Society of Master Glass Painters Centenary Touring Exhibition (The Chapter House, Christ Church Cathedral (throughout the festival))
    -Dr Janina Ramirez in discussion with Peter Frankopan (July 5, 7.30pm, Festival Marquee, Magdalen College School, Oxford)
    -John Leighfield: Atlases and Maps (July 6, 5pm-7pm, Magdalen College School Studio)
    For full details of these events, and links for booking, please consult our blog here.

Save the Date:

  • Prof. Ardis Butterfield giving the Michaelmas Medieval Studies Lecture: ‘Do we mean lyric or song?’ We’re very pleased to announce that Prof. Ardis Butterfield (Yale) will give the Medieval Studies Lecture in Michaelmas Term, as part of her stay in Oxford as an Astor Visiting Lecturer. She will be here in week 4 of term (31 October to 4 November), taking part in a number of events and seminars and working with students in a number of medieval disciplines, in particular on medieval lyric and song. The lecture itself is planned for Monday 31 October, and its provisional title is ‘Do we mean lyric or song?’.
  • Medieval Mystery Cycle 2023. Following the successful Medieval Mystery Cycle 2.0, plans are underway for the third iteration of what has fast become an Oxford tradition. Please reserve the date of 22 April 2023 (Saturday before Trinity Term) and spread the word! 

Opportunities:

  • Oxford Medieval Commentary Network Second Conference, 29 September 2022: Call for Papers and Sign-up. Proposals are invited for the second conference organised by the Oxford Medieval Commentary Network, following the successful launch of the Network last year. The one-day conference will take place at Christ Church, Oxford, on 29 September 2022. For full details, please see our blog.
  • Graduate Convenor for the Medieval Mystery Cycle 2023: we are looking for a graduate convenor who will take on the mantle of Eleanor Baker in masterminding the operation. Have a look at seh.ox.ac.uk/mystery-cycle for getting a sense of the scope and watching the plays performed in 2019 and 2022. Please send expressions of interest for the Graduate Convenor by 30 June 2022 to Co-Directors Henrike Lähnemann and Lesley Smith under medieval@torch.ox.ac.uk.
  • CFP: Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity. We invite papers for a conference (and planned edited volume) on Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity. This conference is designed as a pre-publication workshop for a planned edited volume on Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity. The deadline for proposals is 30 June 2022. Please send a title and an abstract (no longer than 500 words) to robin.whelan@liverpool.ac.uk. If you have questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the organisers. For full details, click here.
  • CFP: Early Book Society University of Limerick, 11th-15th July 2023: Meaning, Memory, and the Making of Culture: Manuscripts and Books, 1350–1550. The 18th biennial conference of the Early Book Society will be hosted by Carrie Griffin and Eleanor Giraud at the University of Limerick from 11th to 14th July 2023, with an excursion on 15th July. Confirmed keynote speakers include John Thompson, Emeritus Professor, Queen’s University Belfast, and Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director, Medieval Academy of America. Planned activities include an early music concert and hands-on use of the university’s printing press. Please mark your calendars.  We invite proposals for 20-minute papers, themed panels (three papers and a chair), roundtables, and 5-minute lightning papers (ideal for work-in-progress updates). Scholars at all levels, including graduate students and early career researchers, are cordially invited to participate. 

Finally: It has been an honour and a delight to be your guide to all things Medieval in Oxford this academic year. Here is my final piece of Old English wisdom for the academic year, taken from the Old English Maxims:

Ræd biþ nyttost,
yfel unnyttost.

Good advice is the most useful, bad the least useful.

I hope that some of this year’s Old English Wisdom has fallen into the former category! I am delighted to be remaining in my role as Comms Officer for 2022-23, so I will be back in your inboxes come September. Until then, I wish you all a productive and restful summer – may you enjoy these ‘sigelbeorhte dagas’ (sun-bright days)!

Medievalists leaving Oxford for the summer encounter some strange adventures…
Merton College, MS 249, f. 7r.
View image and text in the Taylor Edition by Sebastian Dow

Call for Papers: Early Book Society

Early Book Society
University of Limerick
11th-15th July 2023 

Meaning, Memory, and the Making of Culture: Manuscripts and Books, 1350–1550 


The 18th biennial conference of the Early Book Society will be hosted by Carrie Griffin and Eleanor Giraud at the University of Limerick from 11th to 14th July 2023, with an excursion on 15th July. Confirmed keynote speakers include John Thompson, Emeritus Professor, Queen’s University Belfast, and Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director, Medieval Academy of America. Planned activities include an early music concert and hands-on use of the university’s printing press. Please mark your calendars.  

We invite proposals for 20-minute papers, themed panels (three papers and a chair), roundtables, and 5-minute lightning papers (ideal for work-in-progress updates). Scholars at all levels, including graduate students and early career researchers, are cordially invited to participate. 

Papers can consider any of the following, with an emphasis on physical aspects of the manuscript or book: 

  • Manuscripts and books as memorial artifacts 
  • Manuscripts and books as shapers of literary or historical culture 
  • Study of a specific manuscript or book that memorializes a family (or promotes a dynasty) 
  • Women makers or owners  
  • Readers or networks of readers 
  • Makers of manuscripts and books  
  • Manuscripts and books commissioned as memorials for persons or events  
  • Sammelbände, collected volumes, and early libraries 

We are also particularly interested in hearing about Irish collections and books with Irish connections.  

Abstracts (up to 250 words for papers, 500 words for panels, or 100 words for lightning papers) should be sent to earlybooksociety2023@ul.ie by 1st December 2022.  

Any preliminary queries should be addressed to: earlybooksociety2023@ul.ie. Further information will be posted at www.earlybooksociety.com and www.ebslimerick2023.wordpress.com in due course.  

Call for Papers: Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity 

University of Liverpool

Wednesday 21st-Thursday 22nd June 2023

Deadline for Proposals: 30 June 2022, to robin.whelan@liverpool.ac.uk

We invite papers for a conference (and planned edited volume) on Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity. The remarkably homogeneous ways of thinking about Christian political authority across the Roman world in late antiquity (c. 250-700 CE)—so carefully reconstructed in classic mid-20th century accounts—mask the immense diversity of the social and institutional contexts in which those ideas mattered. The character of Christian governance could look very different to an official placed at the centre of power as against an ordinary Christian standing in the nave of an urban basilica, a civic grandee sitting in the plush seats of a provincial town council, or an ascetic keeping vigil in a remote monastic cell. In fact, widely divergent visions of what the divine sanctioning of earthly rule meant in practice are visible even across the many different (and sometimes competing) institutions of late ancient states.

This workshop and subsequent volume will build off an increasing tendency to investigate Christian political thought ‘in action’ and root it in the lived experience of governance in the late ancient world. Taking inspiration from recent work on the centrality of social relationships and identities to Roman political thought (esp. notions of gender, family and freedom/unfreedom), it will also seek to develop a more plural notion of Christian political discourse which moves beyond the narrowly constitutional analysis of the relationship between emperors and bishops (or ‘church’ and ‘state’). Above all, the volume will seek to consider the ways in which distinctive Christian political cultures shaped (and were shaped by) specific institutions, environments, and communities, and were made meaningful through concrete interactions between the late ancient people who inhabited them.

We particularly invite papers on:

1.     Distinctive forms of Christian thought or practice (and, indeed, thinking about the importance or otherwise of Christian thought and practice):

  1. within particular political institutions and configurations in specific times and places. (e.g. imperial or royal palaces, official bureaux, army units, governor’s residences, town councils, elite households, villages, estates and peasant communities etc)
  2. amongst the members of those political institutions (e.g. under/around particular empresses/queens, generals, or governors, or amongst chamberlains, soldiers, or office staffs)
  3. amongst non-Christians serving within, or subject to, those political institutions and configurations

2.     Distinctive forms of thought and practice regarding politics and governance within particular Christian communities, institutions and settings (e.g. church factions, episcopal sees, monasteries, ascetic communities)

3.     The interplay of these divergent institutional and communal assumptions as seen in particular events, episodes or moments of conflict (e.g. petitions to court, legal and doctrinal disputes, urban riots)

This conference is designed as a pre-publication workshop for a planned edited volume on Christian Political Cultures in Late Antiquity. Participants will be expected to submit their papers in advance for pre-circulation, read the other papers in advance of the workshop, and be willing to act as the designated respondent for another paper. Each paper will receive a dedicated session with a short presentation from the author, a response, and a general Q&A session/discussion. The deadline to submit draft essays for the edited volume will be 31 July 2024.

The primary format of this conference is in person at the University of Liverpool, but remote participation will be possible for those unable to make it to Liverpool for whatever reason. For those who can travel, we will fund accommodation and meals in Liverpool. We will also be able to pay for UK and international travel for those who need it, although, given the increased costs of travel since the original funding application, we may ask those with access to institutional research funding to pursue support from those sources to help to contribute to those costs.

The deadline for proposals is 30 June 2022. Please send a title and an abstract (no longer than 500 words) to robin.whelan@liverpool.ac.uk. If you have questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with one of the organisers.

Organisers

Dr Richard Flower (r.flower@exeter.ac.uk)

Dr Meaghan McEvoy (meaghan.mcevoy@mq.edu.au)

Dr Robin Whelan (robin.whelan@liverpool.ac.uk)

Medievalist Events at Oxford Festival of the Arts

The Art of Illumination: makers and users of medieval manuscripts

Prof Michelle Brown, Patricia Lovett MBE, Dr Andrew Dunning

June 25, Lecture Theatre, Weston Library, 2pm – 4.30pm

It is the brilliance of yellow gold set off by jewel colours that makes so many mediaeval manuscripts so eye-catching.”

Join us for fascinating insight with our festival triumvirate of experts on illuminated manuscripts. Fresh from her involvement in the British Library’s journey from East to West through the dazzling beauty of fifty spectacular manuscripts across cultures for their exhibition
‘Gold’, world-renowned scribe and illuminator, Patricia Lovett MBE will talk about the origin and use of pigments and the mediaeval craft processes that enabled these luminous manuscripts to ‘catch the light’. Professor Emerita of Medieval MS Studies (SAS, University of London) and former Curator of Illuminated Manuscripts at the British Library, Michelle Brown will discuss these wonders from an historical perspective, using the manuscripts as windows into the lives of those who made and used them, and into the age in which they were made. This evening of medieval wonder is made whole by the display on manuscripts curated by Dr Andrew Dunning, R.W. Hunt Curator of Medieval Manuscripts; Supernumerary Fellow in Book History (Jesus College), who will speak to the manuscripts.

This event was curated to coincide with Sensational Books – a Bodleian Libraries exhibition at ST Lee Gallery, Weston Library.

Details & Booking for THE ART OF ILLUMINATION.



Illuminated Manuscript Workshop with Patricia Lovett MBE

June 26, Magdalen College School Studio, 10am – 5pm

Patricia Lovett MBE is a world-renowned scribe and illuminator who has taught and lectured at many prestigious institutions in the UK and abroad.

This is your chance to join the Festival Glitterati! Spend a day illuminating with real gold leaf and painting an animal from a medieval bestiary (book of beasts). You will be able to choose your own animal to copy from a small selection and be shown how to prepare calfskin vellum for painting, how to apply gold leaf and the sequence of medieval painting for miniatures using a fine Kolinsky sable brush. You will go home with your illumination on vellum ready to frame.

Since this workshop is one which will have a focus on one-to-one instruction, it is restricted to 16 people. We suggest early booking. Anyone taking part in this workshop will need to be contacted by Patricia in advance of the session, so please be aware that email and/or other contact will be required.

Details & Booking for ILLUMINATED MANUSCRIPT WORKSHOP.


Professor Robert Bartlett: The Middle Ages and the Movies

June 27, Festival Marquee, 8pm

 ‘This book will entertain and intrigue historians and film buffs alike. In a wide-ranging critical study of the creative process that tackles head-on the exchange between historical fact and artistic licence, Robert Bartlett shows how twentieth-century cinema’s variously imagined Middle Ages speak as much to modern sensibilities as to any reconstructed past.’ – Professor Christopher Tyerman

How was Umberto Eco’s Name of the Rose translated from page to screen? Why is Monty Python and the Holy Grail funny? And how was Eisenstein’s Alexander Nevsky shaped by the Stalinist tyranny under which it was filmed?  These, and many more questions will be answered tonight by eminent historian Robert Bartlett, who takes a fresh, cogent look at how our view of medieval history has been shaped by eight significant films of the twentieth century: from the concoction of sex and nationalism in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, to Fritz Lang’s silent masterpiece Siegfried; the art-house classic The Seventh Seal to Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev and the epic historical drama El Cid.

Robert Bartlett is Bishop Wardlaw Professor of Mediaeval History Emeritus at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. His many books include the Wolfson Prize-winning The Making of Europe: Conquest, Colonization and Cultural Change, 950–1350 (1994), and he has written and presented three television series for the BBC, Inside the Medieval Mind, The Normans and The Plantagenets.

Details & Booking for ROBERT BARTLETT.


Treasures from Around the World at New College Library

July 2, 11am-4pm, Lecture Room 4, New College

More manuscripts survive from the medieval library of New College than from that of any other Oxford or Cambridge college. Today, New College Library holds what is probably the finest collection of medieval manuscripts of any of the Oxford colleges, also holding more incunabula (15th-century European imprints) than any other undergraduate college at Oxford. The Library’s collections of rare and early printed books are likewise spectacular.

View some of the Library’s fabulous manuscript and rare book treasures from around the world. Our world tour starts from 13th-century Catte Street, Oxford with one of the world’s great illuminated manuscripts (now housed just a few hundred metres away from where it was first created), and it takes in gorgeous and resplendent manuscripts and printed books from China to Constantinople, by means of Arabic, Armenian, Belgian, Dutch, English, French, German, Greek, and Syrian treasures, which date from the 11th century onwards.

Details & Booking for TREASURES FROM NEW COLLEGE. Entrance is free


British Society of Master Glass Painters

Centenary Touring Exhibition

The Chapter House, Christ Church Cathedral (throughout the festival)

Coming to Oxford from the cathedrals of Ely, Winchester, Wells and Worcester, this touring exhibition of stained glass panels celebrates the centenary of the British Society of Master Glass Painters. Over 90 artists from across the UK and overseas contributed to the exhibition. The tour highlights 60 of these panels that celebrate the unique art of glass. The works have been created using both traditional and modern glass techniques, demonstrating the extraordinary range of stained glass currently practiced.

The artists explore a variety of subjects such as the environment and the beauty of nature. The exhibition portrays an understanding of the concerns of glass artists a hundred years after the society was established to help stained glass remain relevant today. Displayed in the Chapter House of Christ Church Cathedral, this exhibition will also give the visitor the chance to explore the Romanesque doorway and interior.

Founded in 1921, the British Society of Master Glass Painters is the UK’s leading organisation
devoted exclusively to the art and craft of stained glass. In collaboration with Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford.


Dr Janina Ramirez in discussion with Peter Frankopan

July 5, 7.30pm, Festival Marquee, Magdalen College School, Oxford

We look forward to a stimulating and lively conversation between two brilliant Oxford historians; Dr Janina Ramirez, cultural historian, broadcaster and author, whose passion for communicating ideas about the past is always conveyed with an infectious enthusiasm, as exemplified in her brand new book FEMINA: A New History of the Middle Ages Through the Women Written Out of It; and the acclaimed historian Peter Frankopan, Professor of Global History and Director of the Centre for Byzantine Research at Oxford University, who is particularly interested in ‘exchanges and connections between regions and peoples’. Peter’s seminal book The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, (Dazzling – The Guardian; Phenomenal – Die Welt) was an international bestseller, topping the non-fiction charts all around the world, followed by The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World, a ‘masterly mapping out of a new world order’ (Evening Standard).

Join us tonight to see the medieval world with fresh eyes and discover why the remarkable women ‘rediscovered’ in Janina’s Femina were removed from our collective memories. This book is a ground-breaking reappraisal of medieval history revealing why women were struck from our historical narrative, and restoring them to their rightful positions as the power-players who shaped the world we live in today.

Details & Booking for DR JANINA RAMIREZ IN DISCUSSION WITH PETER FRANCOPAN.


John Leighfield: Atlases and Maps

July 6, 5pm-7pm, Magdalen College School Studio

Join John Leighfield CBE, for his highly illustrated talk about how the maps of Oxford have developed from the 16th century until the present. Highly respected for his knowledge of the maps of the county and city of Oxford, John has had a passion for maps since his schooldays and has built a marvellous collection, some of which will be on display after the talk.

Details & Booking for ATLASES AND MAPS.