Wednesday, 29 October 2014

CFP: Telliing Tales: Manuscripts, Books and the Making of Narrative

The biennial conference of the Early Book Society 2015

The next biennial conference of the Early Book Society will take place at the University of Oxford, from lunchtime on Thursday 2 July 2015 to early afternoon on Sunday 5 July 2015. Abstracts of 300 words or fewer for 20-minute presentations should be sent to the organizers by 30 November 2014 to the conference e-mail address. Abstracts should include your name, affiliation (where relevant) and email address. Computers and data-projectors will be available for all sessions; speakers would need to bring presentations on a memory stick / USB plug-in device. People who have other AV needs should specify this on their abstract.

The theme, which may be interpreted narrowly or broadly, invites special attention to the material records of different genres of narrative, such as verse, romance, chronicle, biography or history. It might consider the ways that manuscripts, printed books and other media serve a narrative function: whether page layouts were modified for chronicles and annals, whether collections of documents were compiled to tell stories, whether images in books are important components of storytelling, whether poems on monuments recount lives.

The topic also invites participants to tell different kinds of stories about early books. In particular, we may reflect on our storytelling as scholars. What is the role of biography – of the author, of the ‘celebrity’ scribe, of the idiosyncratic reader – in the study of early books? How sure can we be of cause and effect, of chronology and dating, of different kinds of paleographical, codicological and bibliographical evidence, in studying these books? Are history and narrative the best models for ‘book history’ or might studies of manuscript and print serve literary criticism, linguistics or philology in other ways?

Finally, papers which concern books in or around Oxford are also encouraged. But, in general, proposals for papers on any aspect of the history of manuscripts and printed books from 1350 to 1550, including the copying and circulation of models and exemplars, style, illustration, and/or the influence of readers and patrons, artists, scribes, printers, are welcome.

Accommodation and most meals will be available at St Anne’s College, Oxford. Most lectures will take place there too, but part of the conference will take place in the newly renovated Weston Building of the Bodleian Library, which reopens officially in March 2015. There will be ‘masterclasses’ with manuscripts on show, a visit to the exhibition and some optional visits, on a first-come-first-served basis, ‘behind the scenes’ to departments of the library. We are grateful to the Centre for the Study of the Book in the Bodleian for co-hosting the conference and sponsoring these events.

The website with details of registration and accommodation will go live later this winter and will be announced on the EBS listserv, Facebook, and also on the EBS website.

For those making travel plans, there are some preliminary points to bear in mind.

Depending on availability, accommodation might be in St Anne’s or other Colleges for extra nights before or after the conference. Oxford is about an hour from central London by rail. The closest international airport is London Heathrow, and from there and from London Gatwick there is a convenient coach service, The Airline, which can be booked in advance. Birmingham International Airport is also close and has direct train connections to Oxford every half an hour.

People planning to combine the conference with a research trip might be reminded that the Special Collections department at the Bodleian Library and the Colleges’ libraries tend to be busy with visitors in the summer months, so planning is advised, given that dozens of early book enthusiasts will be in town!

Also, Leeds International Medieval Congress begins the day after our conference, on Monday 6 July 2015. Travel from Oxford to Leeds on Sunday evenings takes three and a half hours by rail, direct or with one change, and if booked far enough in advance (up to three months in advance) can cost (at this year’s rates) as little as £45.

Winchester Seminars on Comparative Medieval Cultures 2014-2015

The Winchester Seminars on Comparative Medieval Cultures is organized and sponsored under the aegis of the Centre for Applied Archaeology and Heritage Management, Department of Archaeology, University of Winchester. This series seeks to foster a greater dialogue from a broad range of researchers working in the medieval period.

Please find below and attached the 2014-2015 schedule for the Winchester Seminars on Comparative Medieval Cultures. All sessions are free and open to the public. Feel free to pass along this schedule to your friends and colleagues.

2014-2015 Schedule

November 20, 2014; 6pm, Medecroft 15: Controlling the Past
Dr Eric Lacey (Winchester): The Vera Lex Historiae: Remembering and Recounting Edwin’s Conversion in Anglo-Saxon England
Dr Katherine Weikert (Winchester): Narration and Curation: Objects and Memory in the Central Middle Ages

December 4, 2014; 6pm, Medecroft 16: Towns and People
Dr Matt Tompkins (Leicester): The Material Possessions of Late Medieval Peasants: Felons’ Chattels in the Escheators’ Rolls
David Ashby (Winchester): A Collapsed Medieval Town of Modern Oxfordshire: Stanford in the Vale

February 19, 2015; 6pm, Medecroft 15: Space and the City
Prof. Catherine A.M. Clarke (Southampton): Walking in the Medieval City: Spatial Encounters in the Middle Ages and Today

March 26, 2014; 6pm, Medecroft 15: Gendering Spaces
Gabriela Cavalheiro (King’s College London): The Materialities of Intimacy: Men, Women and Space in Medieval Insular Romances
Dr Amanda Richardson (Chichester): A Woman’s Place? Space, Place and Gender in Late Medieval History and Historiography
*this session is organized in conjunction with the University’s Centre for Gender Studies

Special session: April 30, 2015; 10am-4pm, West Downs 2
University of Winchester Medieval Research Day
Staff and research students at the University of Winchester will be presenting short papers on current research and research-in-progress on medieval topics. Schedule tba.
*this session is organized in conjunction with the University’s Research & Engagement Week

Capstone lecture: April 30, 2015; 6pm, Stripe Lecture Room
Dr Paul Readman (The Redress of the Past Project, King’s College London): Performing the Medieval Past: Historical Pageantry in Twentieth-Century Britain

All lectures will take place in the Medecroft building at the King Alfred Campus of the University of Winchester except when noted. Please email Katherine Weikert for further information or to be added to our email list. Find us on Facebook

Friday, 17 October 2014

Medieval Hispanic Research Seminar (Queen Mary, University of London)

Please find below the 2014-15 programme of the Medieval Hispanic Research Seminar at Queen Mary, University of London.

For more information about the MHRS, see our website.

All sessions are held in ArtsOne 1.36, (Mile End Road, London E1 4NS), with refreshments served from 3pm in the gallery and talks beginning at 3:30pm.

Semester One

Friday 21st November 2014
Kati Ihnat, University of Bristol
'Mother of the Visigothic “Nation”: The Virgin Mary in Early Medieval Iberia'

Friday 12th December 2014
Francisco Bautista, Universidad de Salamanca/Cambridge University
‘Don Juan Manuel y la herencia literaria de Alfonso X’

Semester Two

Friday 23rd January 2015
Aengus Ward, University of Birmingham
‘Digital editing and the Estoria de Espanna: of xml and crowdsourcers’ Friday 27th February 2015
Sizen Yiacoup, University of Liverpool
‘Movement, Stasis and the Translation of Power in El Viaje de Turquía’

Friday 6th March 2015
Rosanna Cantavella, Universitat de València/Cambridge University
‘The concept of “worthy rhymes” within the Troubadour poetic tradition’

Friday 27th March 2015
Rachel Scott, QMUL
‘“Esenta y señora”: The Paradox of the Prostitute in Celestina’

CFP: Crossing Borders in the Insular Middle Ages, c. 900-1500

Keltologie, Philipps-Universität Marburg
8-10 April 2015

Keynote speakers: Prof. Helen Fulton (University of York), Prof. Dr. Erich Poppe (Philipps-Universität Marburg) and Dr Sif Rikhardsdottir (University of Iceland)

We are delighted to announce a symposium at Philipps-Universität Marburg on the role of cross-border literary borrowings in the construction of political, national, regional and cultural identities in the British Isles, Ireland and Iceland across the long period c. 900-1500. Proposals for papers are invited on processes of translation and adaptation across insular vernacular languages and/or Latin; discussions of broader cross-border thematic influences and correspondences; lines of transmission and textual distribution; the role of ecclesiastical and secular institutions in cross-border insular literary contact; perceptions of other insular peoples and constructions of otherness/ similitude; cross-border manuscript and book circulation; literary engagements and intersections with cross-border material and visual culture; linguistic borrowings across insular languages.

This is intended to foster discussion about contemporary methodologies in comparative literary studies by international scholars working in Celtic Studies, English and Norse. We hope that these conversations will make an important contribution to a growing field of research into the shape of pre-modern cultural and political mentalities.

Proposals are also welcomed from doctoral students and early career scholars, and we hope to have small subsidies available for accommodation costs.

Please send proposals of no more than 300 words by 2 January 2015 to Dr Victoria Flood.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

CFP: Masculinities in the British Landscape

14-17 May 2015

A multi-disciplinary, multi-period conference to be held at Harlaxton College, the British Campus of the University of Evansville, outside of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

Keynote Speaker: Professor Howard Williams (Chester): ‘From Stonehenge to the National Memorial Arboretum: Megaliths and Martial Masculinity in the British Landscape’

This conference seeks to explore current and historical concepts of masculinities in the British landscapes. From depictions of masculine control to landscapes of masculine employment, the conference wishes to explore the ways masculinity has been marked on the landscape and expressed in landscape terms.

Proposals will be accepted from all eras from the prehistoric to the contemporary. The geographic area covered will be not only England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but also the historic scope of ‘Britishness,’ including former British Empire states in their colonial and post-colonial periods.

Proposals are encouraged from any discipline, including (but not limited to) archaeology, art history, criminology, folklore studies, history, literature, philosophy, sociology and theology. Topics might include:

- The naval seascape
- Sculpted and symbolic landscapes
- Agricultural landscapes
- Ritualized landscapes
- Gender, crime and urban topography
- Employment and land
- Geographic concepts of masculinity
- Masculinity, empire and the landscape
- Religious masculinity and the monastic landscape
- Landscapes of masculinity through war, rebellion and protest
- Textual depictions of masculinities and landscapes

Please send 200-word proposals for 20-minute papers or 600-word proposals for 3-paper panels to the conference convenors by 1 December 2015. Informal queries can be made to Dr Edward Bujak or Dr Katherine Weikert.

Please click here for the conference website.

The Conference is generously supported by the Economic History Society.

Manchester Dress and Textile Discussion Group Programme 2014-15

Venue: Seminar Room 2, The Graduate Suite, Ellen Wilkinson Building, University of Manchester
Time: 5pm – 6pm

Thursday 13th November 2014
The Worcester Embroideries: The Missing Link Between Anglo-Saxon and Opus Anglicanum Embroidery Techniques?
Alexandra Lester-Makin

Thursday 4th December 2014
Dressing Up in Rome’s Northern Provinces
Dr Ursula Rothe

Thursday 5th February 2015
Types of Weaves Represented Among the Viking-Age Textiles Excavated in Dublin
Frances Pritchard

Thursday 12th March 2015
The Bayeux Effect
Anna Henderson

Thursday 21st May 2015
Inscriptions on the Bayeux Tapestry (title TBC)
Maggie Kneen

For more information about the discussion group, please contact Alexandra Lester-Makin.

Events at the Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies, King's College London

Some information about upcoming events at KCL. For the full programme for the year, please visit the CLAMS website

Upcoming events include:

Monday 29 September, 18.00-20.00
Meet the Medievalists Drinks
Council Room (K2.29), King's Building, Strand Campus
The CLAMS welcome event. All welcome.

Tuesday 7 October, 18.00-20.00
Writing Anglo-Saxon England & Hild
River Room, King's Building, Strand Campus
Nicola Griffith in conversation.
For more information, please click here.

Tuesday 7 October, 17.45-19.45
DigiPal Launch Party
Council Room (K2.29), King's Building, Strand Campus
With guest speakers Elaine Treharne (virtually) and Donald Scragg. In collaboration with the Department for Digital Humanities.
For more information, please click here.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Guest Post: ‘Weaponed’ men, impotent men, and ‘not-men’: sex and manhood in Anglo-Saxon England.

by Dr Chris Monk

It’s a great pleasure to be invited to guest blog for the Manchester Medieval Society blogspot, for which I’d particularly like to thank the Treasurer, Hannah Priest. Hannah suggested I write something about my specialism – medieval sex – as a previous post with ‘sex’ in the title had proved rather popular. Well, I’ll do my best to hold your interest.

What I want to talk about is as much about gender as it is about sexual intercourse, and my idea was prompted by the title of next year’s MANCASS conference: ‘Manhood in Anglo-Saxon England’.
The Arundel Psalter (Canterbury, between 1012-1023), British Library, Arundel 155, fol. 93r
Detail of historiated initial: David slays Goliath
This image is identified by the British library as free from known copyright restriction.
What did it take to be a man? A big weapon, apparently.

So manhood ... umm. A rather loaded term, wouldn’t you say? Is it a status or an identity? A taxonomy, perhaps? Is it even a reality?

The Anglo-Saxons, as you may know, generally used the word mann, the etymological root of present-day English ‘man’, to mean a person of either sex; and the word had, from which ‘hood’ derives, had the sense of rank, status, or position, something that was conferred and indeed could be lost. So, for example, a priest or a monk who seriously strayed from his vow of celibacy could have his had removed.

Today, the word ‘manhood’ is distinctly gendered. We’re not talking ‘personhood’ here. But the idea of status – legitimate or otherwise – seems to be integral to the concept. However, we often question manhood, we challenge it, and we even laugh at it at times. We may see ourselves or others as either living up to or not living up to one’s manhood. And, of course, at times we link manhood directly to sexual performance, which is often where the humour creeps in.

So what about the Anglo-Saxons? Did they have a concept of manhood that shares any of our preoccupations? How important, for example, was sexual performance in defining manhood?

One of the most useful resources for understanding Anglo-Saxon ideas of sex and gender is the collection of texts known as the penitentials. These handbooks of penance contain lists of various sins with a corresponding ‘tariff’ of penance: usually specified amounts of fasting.

In the past, scholars were somewhat scathing of the penitentials, thinking of them, especially when they dealt with matters of sex, as prurient taxonomy, an obsession with categorising all sin, and therefore not representative of what medieval people actually got up to. This is rather a narrow perspective, I would suggest, and one which speaks more about mid-twentieth-century prudery than it does a desire to accurately understand the past.

I think it is fair to say that we can gain much insight into the Anglo-Saxon world by carefully considering what the penitentials have to say about sex. It is helpful to think of the penitentials as narratives of life, in the sense that they capture in condensed form the many interviews between confessor (priest) and sinner that took place for centuries in England, as well as in Ireland and on the Continent. In other words, though the penitentials are not actual transcripts of dialogue, their form and content evolved out of innumerable conversations between priests and laypersons.

During the tenth and eleventh centuries, vernacular penitentials were produced to reflect English needs to equip priests with usable pastoral tools (the priesthood at the time was not considered especially skilled in Latin). Earlier Latin penitentials were not simply translated but were adapted to meet indigenous needs. The following two judgements, or canons, reflect a particular Anglo-Saxon take on manhood.

The first canon is arguably not even about penance, as no fasting is prescribed. This canon explains what a woman may do if her husband is impotent:
Wer 7 wif gif hig geþeodde beoð 7 se wer mid hire hæman ne mæge, þæt wif hine mot forlætan 7 hire oþerne niman, gif þæt on þone ceorl cuð byð.

Man and woman, if they are joined [in marriage] but the man is not able to have sex with her, the woman may abandon him and take for herself another, if that is known about the man.
This canon may well be about unconsummated marriage, rather than about impotence after initial consummation, though this is not explicitly stated. The reason I say this is that Anglo-Saxon versions of Canon Law did not permit a man to leave his wife once they had sex, even if she was barren. (The presumption here was that barrenness was always seen as an issue of female infertility.) If the penitential statement above meant a woman could divorce her husband at any time that he was impotent, even if they had already had intercourse, then it would fly in the face of both Canon Law and Christian Scripture, which forbids divorce other than on the grounds of adultery. So it does seem that this penitential ruling anticipated later medieval laws in England that insisted on consummation as a requirement of marriage.

So what do we learn here about manhood? Well, imagine the scenario suggested by the language: if it is known about the man (here the word ceorl is used, by the way, meaning a freeman but not a man of nobility). A woman may well have had to prove somehow that her husband was impotent. A parallel canon in another penitential states just that – that the burden of proof was with the woman. How would she prove it? Would she have to subject herself to a physical examination of her hymen, for example? Whatever the case, the situation would have led to the husband’s status – his ‘hood’ we might say – coming under scrutiny. Since the Church’s model of marriage was that God created humans male and female, and that is why they were joined together, it is possible that an impotent man was not really seen as truly male. So it made no difference if the couple had been ‘joined’ in marriage: from the woman’s perspective the union was no longer viable or authentic. And as long as she could prove the man’s impotence, she would suffer no disapprobation from the Church should she choose to take another man as husband.

It is interesting that the word wæpnedman (literally, ‘weaponed man’) was not the choice of word by the writer of the penitential, but rather the basic word for man, wer, was selected. The euphemistic quality of wæpnedman (I assume I don’t need to spell out the euphemism) is important in another canon that relates to masculinity, where both virile men and ‘not-men’ are discussed:
Se þe mid bædlinge hæme, oþþe mid oþrum wæpned men, oþþe mid nytene, fæste x winter.

He who has sex with a bædling, or with another virile male, or with an animal, should fast 10 years.
This is one strange canon! First, what is a bædling? A number of scholars have discussed this very rare Old English word, for which there is no direct corresponding word in Latin. It may derive from OE bæddel which probably means ‘hermaphrodite’, thus making a bædling a descendent of a bæddel (the suffix –ing is used in Anglo-Saxon genealogies to mean ‘the son of’). The writer of the penitential above later explains that bædlings are ‘soft like a harlot’. The baedling thus seems to be considered effeminate in some way, which is the sense here behind ‘soft’ (OE hnesclic). David Clark considers bædlings as ‘not-men’, part of a continuum of gender including women, boys and effeminate men. There may be a clue of sorts to their identity in an earlier Anglo-Saxon text, Liber monstrorum (Book of Monsters), which refers to ‘the person of both sexes’ who looks physically more masculine than feminine in the upper body but loves feminine occupation (not specified), and who also goes around fooling ignorant men ‘in the manner of a whore’. Perhaps there is a link between this so-called ‘monster’ and the bædling.

I believe the bædling was probably understood as a person of problematic gender, one who didn’t fit into the Anglo-Saxon ideal of manhood but was not exactly a woman either. What we can say for sure is that the penitential canon above does not show the bædling to be a wæpnedman, a virile man.

The curious thing, however, is that the sinner under consideration here – the ‘he’ of the sentence – can have sex with ‘another wæpnedman’. Scholars, mistakenly I feel, often tend to emphasize that in terms of sexual sin this canon is about penetrator and penetrated. Yet here we are told about a ‘he’ having sex with another virile man, or with a bædling, or indeed with a beast. Confused yet? Well the canonist goes on to also speak about baedlings having sex with each other!

What are we to deduce? The point I want to make is that though this canon is about ‘deviant’ sex (deviant from the Anglo-Saxon Church’s perspective), it’s also as much about gender. I would suggest that in Anglo-Saxon society, there was a perceivable ‘virile man’, a kind of default figure of manhood but whose status was not entirely, or simply, determined by the one with whom he had sex. Two wæpnedmen could have sex together and still be men, we might say. However, there existed (in the mind of at least the writer of the penitential) another type of person who was effeminate or soft and probably thought of as promiscuous like a female prostitute. These bædlings, it may well be inferred, would have sex with virile men or with each other – it wasn’t their sexual acts per se that defined them.

So manhood? Anglo-Saxon manhood? Umm ... a difficult one, that. Perhaps I should sum it up like this:

If you couldn’t quite manage it on the wedding night, then from your new wife’s perspective – and perhaps from the local community’s perspective too – you were not viable as a ‘true’ man. But if you didn’t need the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Viagra, and no matter with whom you had sex, you could still be viewed as He-man. However, if you happened to be ‘a son of a hermaphrodite’, then you weren’t to even bother applying for ‘manhood’!

Useful reading: David Clark, Between Medieval Men: Male Friendship and Desire in Early Medieval English Literature (Oxford: OUP, 2009); R. D. Fulk, ‘Male Homoeroticism in the Old English Canons of Theodore’, in Sex and Sexuality in Anglo-Saxon England, ed. Carol Braun Pasternack and Lisa M. C. Weston, pp. 1-34; Allen J. Frantzen, ‘The “Literariness” of the Penitentials’, in Frantzen’s The Anglo-Saxon Penitentials: A Cultural Database; Christopher Monk, ‘Framing Sex: Sexual Discourse in Text and Image in Anglo-Saxon England’ (unpublished PhD dissertation, Manchester, 2012), esp. pp. 127-40.

About the Author: Dr Chris Monk is a freelance consultant, researcher and writer. He obtained his PhD at the University of Manchester in 2012, where until recently he also lectured on medieval literature and narrative art. His area of research is broadly Anglo-Saxon culture, and his specialism is the history of sexuality in early medieval England (c.700-c.1100). He is presently a consultant for Rochester Cathedral’s ‘Hidden Treasures, Fresh Expressions’ project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, carrying out research on its great treasure, the twelfth-century manuscript Textus Roffensis. His monograph, Sex, Genesis and the Anglo-Saxons is presently under review at Manchester University Press. He also writes feature articles for magazines, most of which to date have not been about the Middle Ages, though he has a few medieval themed pieces in the pipeline. Over the next few months Chris will be producing ‘The Sex Lives of the Anglo-Saxons’, a series of video blogs for his website.

Monday, 8 September 2014

CFP: Gaming the Medieval: Medievalism in Modern Board Game Culture (Leeds 2015)

Since the early 1980s, the medieval has proven to be a fertile source of narrative concept, artwork and play structure in popular board and card game culture. In recent years, games with medieval subject matter such as Carcassonne, Dominion and Shadows Over Camelot have increasingly graced the top of European and American board game award tables.

Yet the ‘Middle Ages’ of the game world is a broadly defined concept. Games taking a historical approach might chart the economical and political landscape of Medieval Europe during a set period of time, while others base their play around a specific event or series of events. In other cases, the medieval operates as a flexible cultural genre for games set in otherwise indeterminate times and places. Although board and card games frequently engage with concepts of medieval warfare, conquest and expansion, they also hold the ability to promote a rich understanding of medieval cultural, literary and social practices such as courtly love and chivalric narrative, Arthurian legend, guild, mercantile and political hierarchy, and alchemical motifs such as the magic circle.

While the role of the game in medieval society and literature commands a strong critical legacy (for example, in the works of Clopper, Huizinga and Vale), this session aims to evaluate what happens when the medieval is made present within modern game culture. This is an area that has been largely neglected by studies of medievalism, which have tended to chiefly focus on the use of the medieval in computer gaming. This session therefore intends to expand the cultural medievalism debate by drawing attention to the ways in which the materiality of board and card games produces new methods of intersecting with the medieval past.

Possible themes might include:

• What is a ‘medieval’ board game?
• Courts, cities, fields, monasteries
• Chivalry, courtly love and other ‘medieval’ ideals
• Materiality and play, medieval artwork, and the game as artefact
• Gender, power and characterisation
• Performance, roleplay, and crossplaying
• Narrative and playing structures
• Place, space and time
• Games and pedagogy – using games to teach ‘medieval’ concepts
• Figuring the medieval ‘orient’ in game culture

Please send abstracts of 250 words to Daisy Black and James Howard before the 15th September 2014.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

CFP: Manhood in Anglo-Saxon England

Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies (MANCASS)
Easter Conference 2015

Hulme Hall, University of Manchester, UK
7-9 April 2015

Proposals for 20 minute papers on this topic are invited. Topics that the conference will include, but are not limited to:

• Male identities and constructions of masculinity
• Literary presentations and representations of manhood
• Laws and Penitentials
• Male sexualities
• Manhood and Archaeology
• Representations of masculinity in art

We are looking for submissions (approx. 300 words) on these and related subjects to reach us by 30th November 2014. Please send submissions, and direct enquiries to the conference director, Dr Charles Insley, Department of History, University of Manchester.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

CFP: Gender and Medieval Studies Conference 2015

Gender, Dirt and Taboo

7-9 January 2015
Bangor University

‘to embrace a woman is to embrace a sack of manure’
Odo of Cluny

The Middle Ages are synonymous with dirt – bodily, spiritual, linguistic and literary. People lived in closer proximity to the material reality of filth: privies, animal waste, the midden, and while walking city streets. Keeping one’s body and clothes uncontaminated by filth would have represented a challenge. The Church took great pains to warn about the polluting effect of sin, and the literal and metaphorical stains that it could leave upon body and soul. The Middle Ages remains (in)famous, to some, due to the perception that its comedy is simply ‘latrine humour.’ Women, with their leaky and pollutant bodies, lie at the heart of the medieval materiality of filth. Throughout her life course, a woman engaged with dirt; in bearing children, caring for the sick, working within the household and outside of the home, listening to sermons in church and to literature in a variety of contexts. In the misogynist discourse of Churchmen such as Odo of Cluny, woman was little more than dirt herself. Odo of Cluny did not acknowledge that manure is, of course, essential to healthy new growth.

We welcome abstracts from postgraduates and colleagues on all aspects of gender, dirt and taboo and from a broad range of disciplines, including history, archaeology, book history, literature, art history, music, theology and medicine.

Papers are particularly welcome on, but are not limited to:

The language of dirt
Dirt in texts/‘dirty’ texts
Landscapes of dirt
Bodily dirt
Dramatising dirt
Dirt and spirituality
Dirt and sexuality
Controlling/cleansing dirt
The comedy of dirt
The science of dirt

Please send abstracts of 200-300 words, for papers lasting 20 minutes, no later than 30 September 2014 to Dr Sue Niebrzydowski (School of English, Bangor University) for consideration. Please also include your research area, institution and level of study in your abstract.

It is hoped that The Kate Westoby Fund will be able to offer a modest contribution (but not the full costs) towards as many student travel expenses as possible.

Friday, 13 June 2014

WIN 3 BOOKS! Wolf-Girls Competition (International Entry)

A fantastic new competition from Hic Dragones, the Manchester-based small press run by our treasurer...

Enter now via the Rafflecopter widget below for a chance to win 3 wonderful paperbacks PLUS an exclusive WOLF-GIRLS tote bag!

Wolf-Girls: Dark Tales of Teeth, Claws and Lygogyny
edited by Hannah Kate

Feral, vicious, fierce and lost… the she-wolf is a strange creature of the night. Attractive to some; repulsive to others, she stalks the fringes of our world as though it were her prey. She is the baddest of girls, the fatalest of femmes – but she is also the excluded, the abject, the monster. The Wolf-Girls within these pages are mad, bad and dangerous to know. But they are also rejected and tortured, loving and loyal, avenging and triumphant. Some of them are even human…

Seventeen new tales of dark, snarling lycogyny by Nu Yang, Mary Borsellino, Lyn Lockwood, Mihaela Nicolescu, L. Lark, Jeanette Greaves, Kim Bannerman, Lynsey May, Hannah Kate, J. K. Coi, Rosie Garland, R. A. Martens, Beth Daley, Marie Cruz, Helen Cross, Andrew Quinton and Sarah Peacock.

In addition to this lycanthropic anthology, the prize also includes novels by two of the contributors: Kim Bannerman and Beth Daley!

The Tattooed Wolf
by K. Bannerman

Morris Caufield thought he’d seen it all…

Until the moment Dan Sullivan walked into his office. Dan needs a divorce lawyer he can trust, and he thinks Morris is the man for the job. The thing is, Dan wants Morris to represent his wife. Who tried to kill him. Twice. And as if that wasn’t enough, Dan expects Morris to buy some crazy story about werewolves…

As Dan reveals the truth about his life and his marriage, Morris listens to a captivating tale of lycanthropy, love and betrayal. It’s lunacy, he’s sure of that, but there’s something about Dan Sullivan that makes it all very easy to believe.

Blood and Water
by Beth Daley

Dora lives by the sea. Dora has always lived by the sea. But she won’t go into the water.

The last time Dora swam in the sea was the day of her mother’s funeral, the day she saw the mermaid. Now she’s an adult, a respectable married woman, and her little sister Lucie has come home from university with a horrible secret. Dora’s safe and dry life begins to fray, as she is torn between protecting her baby sister and facing up to a truth she has always known but never admitted. And the sea keeps calling her, reminding her of what she saw beneath the waves all those years ago… of what will be waiting for her if she dives in again.

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CFP: 'Profitable and spedful to use': Medieval and Early Modern Prayer

A Postgraduate Conference

Friday 19th September 2014, Cardiff University

Generously funded by Cardiff University Graduate College, this one-day conference will address the theme of prayer in the Medieval and Early Modern periods. Given its pervasive nature as an element of Medieval and Early Modern culture, prayer is often overlooked by scholars as a discrete topic of enquiry. Prayer’s very ubiquity in the literature, historical record and material culture of the time has led, perhaps counterintuitively, to a lack of sustained critical attention, at least in some disciplines. In the context of a religiously-literate society, prayer performs many functions beyond its role in worship, with its artistic, rhetorical and performative aspects often used for propagandistic, interrogative or subversive means, among others.

The topic of prayer has of late gained momentum amongst Early Modern scholars, but in Medieval Studies it is only just beginning to emerge as a field of enquiry. This conference aims to bring together researchers in this up-and-coming area. This theme is, by its nature, interdisciplinary, encompassing literature, history and religion, and we are seeking to reflect this interdisciplinarity throughout the day’s events. By inviting speakers from these, and related, disciplines, we hope that the day will offer a broad and rich insight into Medieval and Early Modern prayer.

We are delighted to announce that Dr Alastair Bennett (Royal Holloway, University of London) will be giving a keynote lecture.

We invite papers from researchers in the fields of archaeology, architecture, art history, history, language, literature, music, philosophy, politics, religion, and other relevant disciplines to submit abstracts of 300 words. Topics can include:

- Literary prayer
- Theory of prayer
- Prayer in liturgy
- Prayer and music
- Prayer and Biblical translation
- Prayer and rhetoric
- Prayer and violence
- Language of prayer
- Prayer as protest
- Prayer manuals
- Prayer books
- Prayer and politics
- Teaching on prayer
- Private devotion
- Prayer as magic
- Physical manifestations of prayer (e.g. objects, buildings, art, etc.)
- Any other related topic

Please send abstracts for papers of 20 minutes by the 9th of July 2014 to Judith Dray and Sheri Smith.

Monday, 19 May 2014

CFP: Seventeenth Biennial Meeting of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists

University of Glasgow, 3–7 August 2015 (post-conference excursion to Iona, 8–9 August 2015)

Call for Papers

The conference theme is “The Daily Life of the Anglo-Saxons”. Ordinary Anglo-Saxons are often less visible to us than the key political and religious figures, but their lives shaped and were shaped by the wider events of the early medieval period. The theme encompasses all aspects of life, whether mundane or glamorous, covering activities such as farming and cooking, trade and craftsmanship, child-rearing and education, as well as government and administration, religion and devotional practices, travel and communication, medicine, art and leisure. The theme is a broad one by design to accommodate not only archaeological and historical investigations, but also explorations of the language, literature and place-names of the period. Papers on open topics are also welcome.

Proposals will be evaluated “blind” by members of the ISAS Advisory Board. Decisions regarding which proposals are accepted will be announced by January 2015.

Papers should be no more than 20 minutes in length, and will be grouped into 3-paper sessions of one hour and 30 minutes in length so as to leave time for questions and discussion. Proposals are welcome for individual papers or for complete sessions. Abstracts, whether for papers or for sessions, should be no more than 500 words in length (including bibliography). Abstracts are also required for individual papers within a proposed session.

Proposals are also welcome for project reports, which should be no more than 10 minutes in length and will be grouped into 5-report sessions of one hour so as to leave a short time for factual questions. Abstracts for project reports should be no more than 250 words in length (including bibliography).

All sessions will be held in a room that is fully equipped with audiovisual and computer equipment.

Abstracts can be submitted from 15 June 2014 to 15 October 2014 via the submission site (note: this link will not be active beforehand). There you will receive instructions as to how to submit your proposal. To submit an abstract within the permitted amount of time online, you might wish to prepare it first as a word-processing document, then copy and paste it in. Please note that the deadline of 15 October is necessary to allow time for the reviewing process, and will not be extended.

Please note that in order to present at ISAS Glasgow, it is necessary to be a current member of ISAS. Information on joining ISAS or updating membership can be found on the ISAS website.

Questions or problems relating to the submission of proposals may be directed either to the conference host, current ISAS President Carole Hough or to Executive Director Martin Foys.

CFP: Mid-American Medieval Association XXXIX: Collectivity and Exchange

with a keynote by Dr Pamela Sheingorn

Papers are invited on a range of topics, including the conference theme of ‘Collectivity and Exchange’ for the annual meeting of the Mid-America Medieval Assn, which will convene on Saturday, 28 February 2015, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Collectivity might be imagined expansively to include not just temporal but also ephemeral and spiritual communities. Exchange might also be considered in various forms, from economic and material to ideological and philosophical.

Please send proposals of 250 words by 1 December 2014 to:

Dr Virginia Blanton 
Department of English, CH106
University of Missouri-Kansas City
5121 Rockhill Road
Kansas City, Missouri 64110 USA

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

OUT NOW: Wounds in the Middle Ages, ed. Anne Kirkham and Cordelia Warr (Ashgate, 2014)

A new collection of essays on wounds and wound treatment in the Middle Ages, co-edited by our president, Cordelia Warr, and including an essay by our treasurer, Hannah Priest.

Wounds were a potent signifier reaching across all aspects of life in Europe in the middle ages, and their representation, perception and treatment is the focus of this volume. Following a survey of the history of medical wound treatment in the middle ages, paired chapters explore key themes situating wounds within the context of religious belief, writing on medicine, status and identity, and surgical practice. The final chapter reviews the history of medieval wounding through the modern imagination.

Adopting an innovative approach to the subject, this book will appeal to all those interested in how past societies regarded health, disease and healing and will improve knowledge of not only the practice of medicine in the past, but also of the ethical, religious and cultural dimensions structuring that practice.


Part I: Medical Overview

1. The Management of Military Wounds in the Middle Ages
Jon Clasper

Part II: Miraculous Wounds and Miraculous Healing

2. Changing Stigmata
Cordelia Warr

3. Miracle and Medicine: Conceptions of Medical Knowledge and Practice in Thirteenth-Century Miracle Accounts
Louise Elizabeth Wilson

Part III: The Broken Body and the Broken Soul

4. The Solution of Continuous Things: Wounds in Late Medieval Medicine and Surgery
Karine van 't Land

5. Medicine for the Wounded Soul
M.K.K. Yearl

Part IV: Wounds as Signifiers for Romance Man and Civil Man

6. Christ's Wounds and the Birth of Romance
Hannah Priest

7. Wounding in the High Middle Ages: Law and Practice
Jenny Benham

Part V: Wound Surgery in the Fourteenth Century

8. Medicines for Surgical Practice in Fourteenth-Century England: The Judgement Against John le Spicer
Ian Naylor

9. The Medical Crossbow from Jan Yperman to Isaak Koedijck
Maria Patijn

Part VI: The Modern Imagination

10. The Bright Side of the Knife: Dismemberment in Medieval Europe and the Modern Imagination
Lila Yawn

About the Editor: Dr Anne Kirkham is a research associate at the University of Manchester. She obtained her PhD in 2007 and has published an article on St Francis of Assisi in Revival and Resurgence in Christian History (Studies in Church History, vol. 44, 2008). Since 2008, she has taught in the department of Art History and Visual Studies and researched, with Cordelia Warr, medieval wounds and has also co-supervised medical students researching dissertations in the history of medieval medicine.

Dr Cordelia Warr is senior lecturer in Art History and Visual Studies at the University of Manchester. She has published on Dressing for Heaven (2010), has co-edited two books on art in Naples with Janis Elliot (The Church of Santa Maria Donna Regina, 2004, and Art and Architecture in Naples, 1266-1714, 2010), and is currently working on the representation of stigmata between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries.

For more information about the book, please visit the publishers' website.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Dress and Textile Discussion Group

Details for the last Dress and Textile Discussion Group meeting at the University of Manchester for this academic year:

Dr Elizabeth Coatsworth will be speaking about Grace Christie one of the pioneers of medieval embroidery research. Her paper is entitled, 'Mrs. Christie and English Medieval Embroidery'.

The meeting will take place on Thursday 1st May at 5 pm.

We will be meeting in Seminar Room 1 of the Graduate Suite in the Ellen Wilkinson Building.

For more information, please contact Alexandra Lester-Makin.

Monday, 7 April 2014

The Brook Lecture in Middle English

Prof. Andrew James Johnston (Freie Universität, Berlin)

Chaucer’s Postcolonial Renaissance

Thursday, 1 May, 5.30pm
John Rylands Library, Christie Seminar Room, Deansgate, Manchester

The Brook Lecture, part of the English and American Studies seminar series, honours the memory of G.L. Brook, Professor of English Language and Medieval English Literature at Manchester University, 1945–77. We are pleased to welcome as this year’s speaker Andrew James Johnston. Professor Johnston is the author of Robin Hood: Geschichte einer Legende (2013), Performing the Middle Ages from Beowulf to Othello (2008) and Clerks and Courtiers: Chaucer, Late Middle English Literature and the State Formation Process (2001), as well as of many articles and two novels.

Enquiries: Contact David Matthews

Thursday, 3 April 2014

In Memoriam

At our AGM on 20th February, the committee asked members to remember colleagues that have passed away this year.

Gale Owen-Crocker spoke of economic historian Richard Britnell of Durham, who was one of our speakers last year. She also paid tribute to Helen Maclean of the English department here in Manchester, who was a long-time supporter of the Medieval Society. Dorothy Clayton remembered Professor Fanni Bogdanow of the French department, whose particular interest was the Arthurian cycle; she especially remembered Professor Bogdanow’s elderly mother, a Holocaust survivor who spoke no English, sitting in on her daughter’s lectures at the University.

The committee asks that our colleagues be remembered for their commitment to the study and teaching of medieval literature, history and culture, and for the valuable contributions they made to their respective fields.

CFP: 'To Die Would be an Awfully Big Adventure': The Glory and the Gore of Death and Horror Through the Ages

Bangor University, UK
Friday 6 June 2014

Abstracts are now being invited for the 10th annual Medievalism Transformed conference at Bangor University, a one-day interdisciplinary event sponsored by the School of English Literature. We will be convening to explore the medieval world and its sustained impact on subsequent culture and thought.

Papers are welcome from all disciplines related to medieval studies as well as modern expressions of medievalism. All topics within the general scope of the conference will be considered, including:

• Preparing for death
• Dying well
• Limbo / Purgatory
• Underworld
• Disease / Black Death / Medicine
• Ghosts
• The Occult / Cults
• The grotesque
• Apocalypse
• Saints / Martyrdom
• Theme of horror in medieval literature

Your proposal for a 20-minute paper should be no longer than 300 words. Please make submissions electronically to the conference convenors by 18 April. Proposals should be accompanied by your name, institutional affiliation, email address, and contact information. Please also specify any audio / visual requirements.

Letters of acceptance will be sent via email unless a hard copy is requested.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

CFP: Fons Luminis: Using and Creating Digital Medievalia

Fons Luminis, a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary journal edited and produced annually by graduate students at the Centre for Medieval Studies in the University of Toronto, provides a forum in which to address, challenge, and explore the content and methodologies of our various home disciplines. We invite current graduate students to submit papers relating in some way to the 2015 journal theme, “Using and Creating Digital Medievalia.”

Since the mid-twentieth century, computing has been and continues to be a major factor in the medievalist’s research. From Father Busa’s creation of the Index Thomasticus in the 1940’s to current library and archival digitization projects, computational methods are essential aspects of the medievalist’s occupation. Papers are encouraged to address: medievalist use of digitally stored information; social scientists and librarians as creators and/or curators of knowledge about the Middle Ages; future directions of digital humanities; the importance of digital humanities to work in paleography, codicology, diplomatics, and text editing.

Articles may also focus on topics including (but not limited to) mapping and space, the impact of digitization on concepts of the archive, and digital tools in teaching.

Contributions may take the form of a scholarly essay or focus on the study of a particular manuscript. Articles must be written in English, follow the 16th edition (2010) of The Chicago Manual of Style, and be at least 4,000 words in length, including footnotes. Quotations in the main text in languages other than English should appear along with their English translation.

As usual, we continue to accept other submissions on any aspect of medieval studies and welcome longer review articles (approximately 1,500 words) on recent or seminal works in medieval studies.

Submissions must be received by July 1, 2014 in order to be considered for publication.

Inquiries and submissions (as a Word document attachment) should be sent to the editors.

Events at the University of Manchester

Some upcoming events at the University of Manchester that may be of interest to medievalists...

Wednesday 26th February 2014
5.15pm, 4.05 Mansfield Cooper

Art History Visual Studies Seminar Series 2013/4
Pilkington Visiting Lecturer

Horst Bredekamp, Professor of Art History (Humboldt University, Berlin): Charlemagne and the Image Politics of the Body

Monday 3rd March 2014
6pm, Historic Reading Room, John Rylands Library Deansgate

The Toller Lecture
Professor John Hines (University of Cardiff): A New Chronology and New Agenda: The Problematic Sixth Century

Followed by a free wine reception, and then dinner (at own expense). If you wish to attend the post-lecture dinner, please book by Monday 24th February with Gale Owen-Crocker.

Tuesday 15th - Thursday 17th April 2014
Hulme Hall

Registrations are now being taken for the MANCASS Easter Conference 2014 on Womanhood in Anglo-Saxon England. Programme and enrolment information is available from Brian Schneider.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Next Medieval Society Meeting

Merchants and Makers: an Analysis of the Suppliers Named in Great Wardrobe Accounts of Henry VII and Henry VIII

Maria Hayward, Professor of History at Southampton University

Thursday 20th February 2014 at 6 p.m
Venue: Samuel Alexander A112, University of Manchester

Miri Rubin Lectures at the University of Manchester (May 2014)

The Sherman Lectures in Jewish Studies 2014

Centre for Jewish Studies
University of Manchester

Thinking about Jews in Medieval Europe: Explorations with Text, Images and Sounds
Miri Rubin

Prof. Miri Rubin is professor of Medieval and Early Modern History at Queen Mary University of London. The dates of the University Lectures are 12-15 May 2014. Time: 5:15pm. Venue: Kanaris Lecture Theatre, Manchester Museum (located centrally on the University campus). There will also be a community lecture at 8pm on 11 May 2014 at a venue tbc.

Community Lecture: Jews in Medieval English Culture (Sunday 11 May)

Jews were embedded in the ideas and practices of every community of which they formed a part. Yet the experience of living as a Jew or with Jews varied greatly between European regions and over time. This lecture will consider the circumstances surrounding the settlement of Jews, and the intera_ctions and attitudes that developed towards them. It will point out, in particular, the diverse attitudes and interactions experienced in different milieus: monastic, urban, scholastic, courtly, as well as in Latin, English and French.

Thinking about Jews in Medieval Europe: People and Places (Monday 12 May)

Who created ideas about Jews in medieval Europe, and how were these transmitted and recorded? Why did some periods display an intensity of interest in Jews compared to others? This lecture will consider the challenge posed by the presence of Jews to those who managed, taxed, led and educated medieval communities. It will probe the directions of change over time, as well as regional variation across Europe.

The Jewish Body (Tuesday 13 May)

Difference between social groups is always marked by external signs and often by the attribution of physical difference. The Middle Ages saw the development of some powerful ideas about the Jewish – usually male – body. This lecture will explore these ideas and their relation to prevailing concepts of well-being and virtue. It will probe how the Jewish body came to be seen as threatening and indeed predatory, and an enduring obstacle to true conversion.

Jews and Children (Wednesday 14 May)

One of the most horrific accusations born in medieval Europe was that of child murder. This lecture will explore the conditions that made the birth of such slander in twelfth-century Norwich possible. It will also consider how Christians viewed childhood and attempted making sense of Jewish kinship and family life.

Jews and Material Christianity (Thursday 15 May)

Everywhere they turned Jews saw and heard the signs of Christian religious culture: cathedrals, statues at street corners, shrines, processions, and bells. The final lecture explores the ideas Jews developed towards these pervasive images and sounds, and explores the rejection – as well as attractions – experienced towards what Caroline Bynum has called Material Christianity.

For more information, see the Centre for Jewish Studies website or email.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Dress and Textile Discussion Group Meeting

Below are details of the next Dress and Textile Discussion Group meeting at the University of Manchester.

Our speaker is Dr John-Peter Wild who will be talking about: 'Cotton - the New Wool. A Developing Tale from Roman Egypt'. The meeting will take place on Thursday 13th February between 5-6 pm. The room is Seminar Room 1 in the Graduate Suite, Ellen Willkinson Building, University of Manchester.

To find the room you will need to enter the building via the north entrance. The Graduate Suite is on the left of the foyer. You will need to swipe your university card to gain access. If you do not have a card, the person on duty will know about the meeting and will let you in. They will also be able to guide you to the room which is on the ground floor.

John Rylands Medieval Research Seminar

(including information on Manchester Medieval Society lectures)

Semester 2, 2013-2014

February 6th 2014 – John Rylands Medieval Research Seminar (5.30pm) Professor Gale Owen-Crocker, English, University of Manchester, ‘The significance of the Bayeux Tapestry’ (Venue: John Rylands Library Deansgate, Christie Seminar Room)

February 20th 2014 - Manchester Medieval Society Lecture (6.00pm) Professor Maria Hayward, Southampton University, ‘Merchants and Makers: An analysis of the suppliers named in Great Wardrobe accounts of Henry VII and Henry VIII’ (Venue: Samuel Alexander A112, University of Manchester)

March 6th 2014 – John Rylands Medieval Research Seminar (5.30pm) Dr Charles Insley, History, University of Manchester, ‘Ottonians with Pipe Rolls? Kingship and symbolic action in the kingdom of the English’ (Venue: John Rylands Library Deansgate, Christie Seminar Room)

March 20th 2014 – John Rylands Medieval Research Seminar (5.30pm) Dr Georg Christ, History, University of Manchester, ‘Age of Empire: Information and knowledge management in the Venetian and Mamluk empires during the fifteenth century’ (Venue: Samuel Alexander A112, University of Manchester)

April 3rd 2014 - Manchester Medieval Society/MANCASS Lecture (6.00pm) Kevin Leahy, University of Leicester, ‘New Finds of the Staffordshire Hoard’ (Venue: TBC)

May 1st 2014 - John Rylands Medieval Research Seminar/Brook Lecture (5.30pm) Professor Andrew James Johnston, Freie Universitaet Berlin, ‘Chaucer's Postcolonial Renaissance’ (Venue: John Rylands Library Deansgate, Christie Seminar Room)

Supported by the John Rylands Research Institute

CFP: North Texas Medieval Graduate Student Symposium

8th Annual University of North Texas
Medieval Graduate Student Symposium

October 2nd, 2014

Interdisciplinarity in the Age of Relevance

We are happy to announce that the College of Visual Arts and Design of the University of North Texas in Denton Texas will be sponsoring our 8th Annual Medieval Graduate Student Symposium on Thursday October 2nd, 2014. Details can be found on the UNT symposium website.

This year the Symposium will be held in conjunction with the annual conference of the Texas Medieval Association, October 3-4, 2014. All Symposium participants are invited to attend TEMA’s meetings free of charge.

General Theme: “Interdisciplinarity in the Age of Relevance”

Keynote Speakers:

· Dr. Barbara Rosenwein, Loyola University, Chicago: "Jean Gerson's Interdisciplinary Theory of Emotions"

· Dr. Bruce Holsinger, University of Virginia: "Voice/Text/Character: Historical Fiction in the Archives"


· Dr. Joan Holladay, University of Texas, Austin

Call for Papers

While we will entertain papers on any topic, from any discipline of Medieval Studies — Art History, Religion, Philosophy, English, History, Foreign Languages, Music — we particularly welcome those that engage the multifaceted topic of “Interdisciplinarity in the Age of Relevance.” We encourage submission of papers that have been submitted and/or delivered elsewhere.

Travel subvention of $300 will be awarded to the best paper.
Deadline for submission of a 300 word abstract is June 1, 2014. Selected full papers will be due September 15th, 2014.
Paper Abstracts of 300 words should be sent to Mickey Abel