Online Lecture: Responding Icons and Miraculous Images? Is There a Theology for Mosaics? by Liz James, 9 February 2023, 12:00pm EST

Mosaic, Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. Photo: Liz James

The Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture is pleased to announce the next lecture in its 2022–2023 lecture series.

The ‘theology of icons’ is well-discussed in Byzantine Studies: the role that religious images played in Byzantine life; the relationships between the icon, the worshipper and the divine; debates about the representation of the divine. How do these ideas play out with mosaics however, which are not easy to understand as live lines of communication with the divine in the same way that icons (when understood as panel paintings) are? How can we think about mosaics as icons, or is this the wrong question?

Liz James is a Professor of Art History at the University of Sussex

Advance registration required at https://maryjahariscenter.org/events/responding-icons-and-miraculous-images

This lecture is co-sponsored by the Harvard University Standing Committee on Medieval Studies. Contact Brandie Ratliff (mjcbac@hchc.edu), Director, Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture with any questions.

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Call for Papers – Cultures of Skin: Skin in Literature and Culture, Past, Present, Future (Deadline: 1 February 2023)

This conference brings together scholars working on literary and cultural representations of skin, across historical periods and transnational contexts, to create new dialogues on the cultural meanings of skin from the past through to the present day, and consider the current and future state of the field(s) of skin studies.

Building on an earlier set of enquiries that initiated skin studies in the early 2000s – with key works including Claudia Benthien’s Skin: On the Cultural Border Between Self and the World (1999); Sara Ahmed and Jackie Stacey’s Thinking through the Skin (2001); and Steven Connor’s The Book of Skin (2004) – in recent years there has been renewed interest in examining the cultural representations of skin within a variety of cultural texts and media. Scholars have worked across historical and contemporary time periods, engaging with key concepts around identity and embodiment, agency and performativity, temporality and spatiality, and in relation to discourses of race, class, gender, and sexuality, health and illness. Literary and cultural scholarship has been instrumental in advancing theoretical and methodological approaches to the skin as historically variable and culturally constituted, building up a rich picture of “cultures of skin” from the past to the present day. This represents an exciting moment to consider the state of skin studies now, and to anticipate future directions for the field.

In this conference we seek to establish international dialogue among scholars working on a range of contexts and concepts around the skin, to consider thematic and conceptual avenues as well as methodological and theoretical approaches to the skin. We invite scholars working on literary and cultural representations of skin, from any historical period or national/cultural perspective, to submit abstracts on themes including but by no means limited to:

  • skin as text, texts as skin
  • skin and/as the self, skin and identity
  • skin texture, porosity, permeability
  • skin colour and race
  • skin as thing/material object and in relation to the material world
  • animal/nonhuman skins
  • skin care and cosmetics throughout history
  • technologies of the skin, future skin
  • skin as a medium of artistic representation/performance
  • skin damage and modification – wounding, scarring, tattoos
  • skin in relation to health and illness
  • the geographies of skin moving through space
  • methodological and theoretical approaches to studying and working on skin
  • state of the field reflections, the future of skin studies

Abstracts of 250-300 words should be submitted by 1st February 2023 by emailing culturalskinstudies@gmail.com. Decisions will be communicated by early March. The conference is being planned on a hybrid basis, with in-person attendance at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) accompanied by virtual attendance options. We gratefully acknowledge funding support from the British Academy.

Organised by Dr Charlotte Mathieson (Surrey) and Dr Nicole Nyffenegger (Bern), co-convenors of the Cultural Skin Studies network: for more information and to join our mailing list or quarterly online reading group, please visit https://www.culturalskinstudies.com

News: Access to the Index of Medieval Art Database Will Become Free on 1 July 2023

Jongleurs from the Silos Beatus, 1091–1109 (London, British Library, MS Add. 11695), fol. 86r.

We’re very pleased to announce that as of July 1, 2023, a paid subscription will no longer be required for access to the Index of Medieval Art database. This transition was made possible by a generous grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation and the support of the Index’s parent department of Art & Archaeology at Princeton University.

Currently, the Index of Medieval Art database, accessed at this link https://theindex.princeton.edu/, can be browsed through its open access lists, as well as searched with keywords. Researchers can learn more about our coverage through the browse function on the database, including over twenty thousand unique terms for iconographic subjects in medieval art, and plan to attend one of our upcoming info sessions.

Stay up to date with our news by following us on social media at Facebook and Twitter: @imaprinceton. Index staff also remain available for researcher questions via our online form at https://ima.princeton.edu/research-inquiries/.

Please read more about our momentous shift to online open access in a recent blog post written by director Pamela Patton, “Access to the Index of Medieval Art Database Will Become Free on July 1, 2023.” The Index of Medieval Art (blog). January 12, 2023. Thank you for your ongoing support and interest in our activities!

Online Lecture: Imagining the Medieval City (Saturday 25 Feb 2023)

Join the London Medieval Society as we explore cities in the Middle Ages. The programme of the day is as follows:

  • 10:10 Virtual Meeting Room Opens
  • 10.20 Welcome and Introduction
  • 10.30 Catherine Clarke (IHR) ‘Bishop Ralph Baldock Visits Swansea: Creative Microhistory and the Medieval City’
  • 11:15 Break
  • 11:30 Keith Lilley (Queen’s University Belfast) ‘Founding a City, Founding a World: Imagining and Imaging ‘New Towns’ of the Middle Ages’
  • 12:15 Lunch
  • 13:15 Pietro Mocchi (Kent) ‘From Gate to Gate: City Life in Late-Medieval Milan and Public History’
  • 14:00 Christian Liddy (Durham) ‘Bayard of Walsall and his Thousand Colts: an English town goes European’
  • 14:45 Round Table
  • 15:15 End of Event

The event will take place over Zoom; tickets to the event can be booked here or by visiting EventBrite. Please note you will be sent an email with the Zoom link on the morning of the event.

Call for Applicants: Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Prize (Deadline: 31st January 2023)

ARTES invite submissions for the Juan Facundo Riaño Essay Prize for the best art-historical essay on a Spanish theme. The deadline is 31st January 2023

To encourage emerging scholars that are based in the UK, ARTES, in collaboration with the Embassy of Spain, awards an annual essay medal to the author of the best art-historical essay or study on a Spanish theme, which must be submitted in competition and judged by a reading Sub-Committee. The medal is named after Juan Facundo Riaño (1829-1901), the distinguished art historian who was partly responsible for a growing interest in Spanish culture in late nineteenth-century Britain. The winner is also awarded a cash prize of £400, and the runner-up is awarded a certificate and prize of £100 – both prizes are generously sponsored by the Office for Cultural and Scientific Affairs of the Embassy of Spain. Prize-winners also receive a year’s free membership to ARTES, and the winning essays are considered for publication in the annual visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal. See the information about eligibility and rules of competition. The deadline is 31st January 2023. 

Entering the Essay Competition

The judges will be looking for evidence of originality of thought and high academic quality. Submissions must focus on the production or reception of the art, architecture or visual culture of Spain. Alternative contributions in the form of photo or video essays will also be considered, provided that they demonstrate originality, high academic quality and high production standards.

As a permanent reminder of the winner’s achievement, an essay medal is awarded, together with a cash prize of £400. The winning essay will be considered for publication in the annual visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal. The runner-up receives a prize of £100, and an essay so commended may also be considered for publication in Hispanic Research Journal. Both prize-winners also receive a year’s free membership to ARTES.

Essays are submitted by 31 January each year, and are read by the Essay Medal Committee, appointed by ARTES. The decision of the Committee shall be final. Presentation of the medal is usually made at a special ceremony in London in Summer of the same year, and the result is announced on the ARTES website.

Previous Winners

  • 2022: Patricia Manzano Rodríguez, a PhD candidate at the University of Durham, for ‘The Upper half of Las Meninas’.
  • 2021: Diana Bularca, formerly a MA student at the Courtauld, for ‘Wilfredo Lam’s Strategic Language’
  • 2020: Dr Simon Park, an early career scholar at the University of Oxford, for ‘Chasing Wild Men (in Silver)’.
  • 2019: No award
  • 2018: Javier Vicente Arenas, a Masters student at the Warburg Institute, for ‘Constructing a “Transmediterranean” Identity: Rodrigo de Borgia’s Italian Angels in Valencia Cathedral (1472-81)’.
  • 2017: David Cambronero, a MA student at The Courtauld, for ‘Lighting the Great Mosque of Cordoba in the Caliphal Period’.
  • 2016: Leah McBride, a PhD student at Glasgow University, for ‘‘The grave is only half full; who will help us fill it?’: The Politics of Trauma in Alfredo Jaar’s Rwanda Project‘.
  • 2015: Rebekah Lee, a PhD student at the University of York, for ‘Catherine of Austria, Queen of Portugal and the Courtly Portrayal of Middle Age’.
  • 2014: Lesley Thornton-Cronin, a first year PhD student at Glasgow University, for ‘Image-Making by Means of Metaphoric Transposition in the Work of Joan Miró’.
  • 2013: Maite Usoz, a third year PhD student at King’s College, London, for  ‘Sex and the City: Urban Eroticism in Rodrigo Muñoz Ballester’s Manuel Series’.

Regulations for the Essay Medal

1. Entrants should ideally be resident or studying in the UK, but exceptions may be made if entrants can demonstrate sustained engagement with students, scholars, objects or materials in the UK.

2. There is no age limit for entrants, but the Essay Medal Committee reserves the right to give preference to entrants who have not previously published in the field of Hispanic visual arts. We welcome submissions from researchers in a variety of circumstances, but envisage that most essays will be submitted from early career scholars, post-graduate students or undergraduates with exceptionally good end-of-degree dissertations. Details of degrees or qualifications, as well as previous publications, must be submitted together with the submission (ie in the cover email, but not in the main text.

3. Visual arts are defined in their broadest sense to include all material and visual culture, including film and photography, but our collaboration with the Spanish Embassy means that essays must focus on the visual culture of Spain (or works originally produced in Spain or by Spanish artists).

4. The essay must not have been previously published and must not have been awarded any national or international prize. A note of any departmental prizes awarded to it should accompany the email by which the submission is sent.

5. Essays may be up to 10,000 words in length, including bibliography (though this is not not necessary if full footnotes are given), all notes and appendices. Shorter submissions will not be penalised on grounds of length, but overlength essays will be refused. A word count and a summary of up to 250 words (additional to the work total) must be included. Submissions in the form of photo essays or videos (up to 25 minutes in length) will also be considered.

6. The submission should demonstrate original thinking. It may be based on a dissertation, and may involve original research, although submissions based on a survey of secondary material will also be considered if they are of suitable quality. However, the submission should be self-contained and especially prepared for this competition.

7. Entries must be written in English and double-spaced. Diagrams or illustrations should be included and captioned. Sources of information and images must be acknowledged, together with information about image rights.

8. The winning essay may be  considered for publication in the visual arts issue of Hispanic Research Journal, subject to the usual process of refereeing, and to acceptance by the Editors, whose decision on this is final. In the event of the essay being accepted for publication, some reworking may be required. Essays may not be offered for publication elsewhere while they are sub judice.

9. In the case of any dispute about the award, the decision of the ARTES Essay Medal Committee shall be final.

10. ARTES reserves the right to make no award if none of the entries is considered worthy.

11. The closing date for entries is 31st January each year. Essays received after this date will not be considered.

12. A PDF of the essay, including images, should be sent to tom.nickson@courtauld.ac.uk  To ensure anonymity please do not put your name on the essay.

Any queries should be directed to tom.nickson@courtauld.ac.uk

New Publication: Natural Light in Medieval Churches, edited by Vladimir Ivanovici and Alice Isabella Sullivan, published by Brill

Inside Christian churches, natural light has long been harnessed to underscore theological, symbolic, and ideological statements. In this volume, twenty-four international scholars with various specialties explore how the study of sunlight can reveal essential aspects of the design, decoration, and function of medieval sacred spaces. 

Themes covered include the interaction between patrons, advisors, architects, and artists, as well as local negotiations among competing traditions that yielded new visual and spatial constructs for which natural light served as a defining and unifying factor. The study of natural light in medieval churches reveals cultural relations, knowledge transfer patterns, processes of translation and adaptation, as well as experiential aspects of sacred spaces in the Middle Ages. 

Contributors are: Anna Adashinskaya, Jelena Bogdanović, Debanjana Chatterjee, Ljiljana Čavić, Aleksandar Čučaković, Dušan Danilović, Magdalena Dragović, Natalia Figueiras Pimentel, Leslie Forehand, Jacob Gasper, Vera Henkelmann, Gabriel-Dinu Herea, Vladimir Ivanovici, Charles Kerton, Jorge López Quiroga, Anastasija Martinenko, Andrea Mattiello, Rubén G. Mendoza, Dimitris Minasidis, Maria Paschali, Marko Pejić, Iakovos Potamianos, Maria Shevelkina, Alice Isabella Sullivan, Travis Yeager, and Olga Yunak.

This volume is number 88 in the ‘East Central and Eastern Europe in the Middle Ages, 450-1450’ series.

For more information and to order a copy, visit the Brill website.

Fellowships: Herzog August Bibliothek, Wolfenbüttel, 2024, deadline: 31 January 2023

The Herzog August Bibliothek is an independent research centre funded by the State of Lower Saxony. The scope of the library’s holdings constitutes a unique archive of European culture. Manuscripts, incunabula, rare books and special collections such as engravings, maps and 20th-century artists’ books, enable almost unlimited studies of cultures of knowledge in a global perspective. The library conducts its own research projects in the fields of medieval and early modern studies. 

Fellowships are open to all researchers who have already received their PhD. The international programme welcomes applications from all historically oriented disciplines. Fellowships have a residence.

There are two categories of fellowships:

  1. Post-doc Fellowships: Early career scholars who are within 6 years of receiving their PhD, may apply for a long-term fellowship of between 6 and 10 months. The library will award from 4 to 6 such fellowships annually. For applications submitted in January 2023, the PhD must have been awarded in 2017 or later.
  2. Short-term Fellowships: The fellowships are addressed to a broad range of scholars of all career stages (from post-doc to emeriti) wishing to make a short visit in order to gather source material. Applications can be made for stays of between one and three months.

Next application deadline: 31 January 2023
Start: 1 January 2024

Post-doc Fellowships
Early career scholars who are within 6 years of receiving their PhD, may apply for a long-term fellowship of between 6 and 10 months. The library will award from 4 to 6 such fellowships annually. The monthly fellowship is € 2.200. The fellowship holder will receive a one-time reimbursement for the cost of travel to and from Wolfenbüttel (max. € 2.000). Fellows who bring their families to Wolfenbüttel may apply for a monthly child supplement (one child: € 300; two children € 400; three or more € 500).
*for applications submitted in January 2023 the PhD must have been awarded in 2017 or later.

Short-term Fellowships
The fellowships are addressed to a broad range of scholars of all career stages (from post-doc to emeriti) wishing to make a short visit in order to gather source material. Applications can be made for stays of between one and three months. The monthly fellowship is € 1.800. A travel subsidy will also be paid (between € 150 and max. € 650, depending on country of origin).

Visit the website for more information and to request an application form.

Fellowship: Public Humanities Postdoctoral Fellowship 2023-2025, The Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame. Deadline: 1 February 2023

The Medieval Institute at the University of Notre Dame invites applications for a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in public humanities. The fellow will devote the majority of the fellowship time to working closely with the Institute’s staff, especially its director of undergraduate studies and engagement, in the Institute’s outreach and engagement efforts directed at local schools as well as potential donors, alumni, and undergraduate majors and minors. The fellow will also work with the institute’s Assistant Director to prepare public humanities marketing and communications materials. The remainder of the fellow’s time may be devoted to research and/or teaching. 

The fellow will be provided with a workspace in the Medieval Institute, enjoy full library and computer privileges, and have access to all the Institute’s research tools.

The position is anticipated to run from August 16, 2023, through August 15, 2025, with a stipend of $49,440 per year plus benefits.

Applicants must hold a Ph.D. (or equivalent) in some area of the humanistic study of the Middle Ages, or have it in hand by the beginning of the fellowship term. Applicants must have relevant experience in public engagement in the humanities; highly effective people skills; and multimedia digital literacy. Experience with digital humanities is highly desirable. 

Application Instructions

Applicants should submit a letter of application that includes reflection on how this postdoctoral position would fit into their broader career goals, a current C.V., and three confidential letters of recommendation.

Digital portfolios and similar supporting materials may also be uploaded for consideration. We recommend you add your URL(s) to the “additional documents” section (the Interfolio application will walk you through these steps; you can also contact customer service for help if needed).

The deadline for applications is 1 February 2023.

For further information and to apply, visit the Interfolio website.

Hybrid workshop: Realism in Hagiography, online / University of Cologne, 12-13 January 2023

Saints lives, martyrdoms, and miracle stories comprise a large and challenging body of primary source material for historians of the First Millennium and Middle Ages. Elements of these texts resemble historiography, but these are blended with subjective experience, mystical truth, and theology. Modern scholars interested in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and particularly scholars who do not come from cultural backgrounds where the veneration of saints is part of their personal lived experience, are faced with difficult questions. Can one confidently differentiate “fact” from “fiction” among the mundane and miraculous details in hagiography? Is it possible to read and interpret these texts as coherent works according to the shared understanding of their pious ancient or medieval writers and readers?

The workshop will bring together a group of pre-circulated papers which focus on the setting of hagiography (broadly defined), viewing its diverse literary components as part of a realistic structure and narrative.  By focusing on the thread of realism within hagiographical texts, the papers given in this workshop will provide a collection of perspectives about how to read and interpret such narratives. These contributions will form a collection of conceptual tools which will be helpful for students and historians alike in analyzing hagiography-like sources.

With contributions from:

Stephanos Efthymiadis (Keynote)

Niels De Ridder – Giulia Gollo – Sven Günther – Christian Høgel – Mihail Mitrea – Leif Inge Ree Petersen – Daria Resh – Julie Van Pelt – Marijana Vukovic – Julia Weitbrecht – Douglas Whalin

Programme:

Thursday

Session 1

09.15 Sven Günther  – Framing taxes in Theodoret of Cyrrhus’ Religious History

10.00 Douglas Whalin  – Realistic miraculous landscapes from Late Antique Syria

Session 2

11.15 Leif Inge Ree Petersen  – Warfare and society in hagiography

12.00 Julie Van Pelt  – Magic and fiction in Greek hagiography: real and unreal wonders

Session 3

14.30 Christian Høgel  – The saint as a young person: pre-conversion portraits in Greek/Byzantine hagiography

15.15 Niels De Ridder  – Stereotypes or individuals? Jewish characters in middle Byzantine hagiography

16.00 Julia Weitbrecht  – Paradisiacal evidence: materiality and temporality in the legend of the True Cross

Keynote Lecture

17.00 Stephanos Efthymiadis – Realism in middle and late Byzantine hagiography


Friday

Session 4

09.15 Daria Resh  – What is in the bath? Space and ritual in the Byzantine legends of St Barbara 

10.00 Giulia Gollo  – Writers as painters, texts as (colourful) icons: the life of St Blasios of Amorion (BHG 278)

Session 5

11.15 Mihail Mitrea  – ‘Glorified from above’: the miraculous as legitimizing device in late Byzantine hagiography

12.00 Marijana Vukovic  – The Principle of minimal departure and the ‘realistic’ in hagiography: weather in Byzantine and Old Slavonic saints’ stories

Place & Time: International House, Kringsweg 6, 50931 Köln & virtual | 12./13.01.2023

For further details visit the website.
To join the online workshop, contact abteilungbzkoeln@gmail.com.

New publication: ‘Bringing the Holy Land Home: The Crusades, Chertsey Abbey, and the Reconstruction of a Medieval Masterpiece’ edited by Amanda Luyster

This volume, published by Brepols, reveals the impact that art objects manufactured in the Islamic and Byzantine Mediterranean had on the medieval visual culture of England.  It also addresses the complex phenomenon of the Crusades, in which both violence and dynamic cultural interaction coexisted.

A carefully integrated group of studies begins with the so-called “Chertsey” ceramic tiles, depicting combat between King Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. Found at Chertsey Abbey not far outside London and admired since the nineteenth century, we present here a new reconstruction of both the tiles and their previously-undeciphered Latin texts. The reconstruction demonstrates not only that the theme of the entire mosaic is the Crusades, but also that the overall appearance of the tiles, when laid as a floor, draws from the composition and iconography of imported Islamic and Byzantine silks. Essays illuminate specific material contexts that similarly witness western Europe’s, and particularly England’s, engagement with the material culture of the eastern Mediterranean, including ceramics, textiles, relics and reliquaries, metalwork, coins, sculpture, and ivories.

Contents

Foreword 
Michael Wood

Director’s Foreword
Meredith Fluke

Preface: “For we who were Occidentals have now become Orientals”
Amanda Luyster

Violence, Persecution, and Cultural Borrowing during the Crusades
Amanda Luyster 

The Chertsey Tiles, Reassembling Fragments of Meaning
Amanda Luyster 

A Clash of Civilizations? Diverse Motivations, Multiple Actors, and the Hidden Richness of Muslim Historical Sources
Suleiman Mourad 

The Crusades: A Short History
David Nicolle

“So much national magnificence and national history”: The Foundation, Structure, and Fall of Chertsey Abbey
Euan Roger 

Epic Sensibilities in French art of the Crusader Period
Richard A. Leson

Recreating the Holy Land at Home: Relics from the East in England
Cynthia Hahn

The Mobility of Fabric: Textiles in and around Medieval Eurasia
Elizabeth Dospel Williams 

Crusaders in Jerusalem: Frankish Encounters with Idols, Holy Monuments, and Portable Objects
Eva R. Hoffman

Oliphants and Elephants: African Ivory in England
Sarah Guerin

A Cupbearer Crosses Cultures: Figural Ceramic Traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean
Scott Redford 

Citizens and Invaders: Encounters with Sculpture in Constantinople during the Fourth Crusade
Paroma Chatterjee

Object Biographies – Select Bibliography – Index

For more information, visit the Brepols website.