Call for papers for an edited book on ‘Female religion and practices in Late Antiquity and early Medieval Christianity’, deadline 14th November 2022

This edited volume aims to bring an interdisciplinary view on how women were living and practicing Christianity from Late Antiquity to the Early Middle ages (from the III to XII century). The volume expects to bring together articles dealing with how women perceived and practiced Christianity in their own or shared spaces; how their practices differed from the norm, or were perceived by their peers or religious authorities; and how women can be perceived as agents of religious transformations.

The aim of the volume is to demonstrate the diversity of what could have been the female religious identity of Late Antique and Early Medieval individuals through their own practices (as perceived by others or described by themselves). Therefore, the book will focus on the religious experience of lay and religious women.

Possible approaches:

  • Prescriptions for female behaviour from religious rules and ecclesiastical text: how a women should behave in the Church, what a virtuous Christian women should and should not do;
  • Female heretics: the role of women in heresies (Priscillianism, Montanism, Manichaeism, ecc.);
  • The space and role of women in private religion;
  • Female spaces and places of cult;
  • Female iconography and material culture related to Christian practices (everyday objects, epigraphy, ecc);

• Female Christian burials, funerary practices and their social and cultural meanings;

• Female martyrs and hagiography;

• The involvement of women in Christian practices: their presence in Mass, preaching as a women, female priesthood, women and the cult of saints and martyrs (in early Christianity women were often associated with these cults and were reputed as responsible for their excesses), women pilgrims;

• Unorthodox female practices as perceived by Christian authorities and their condemnation: magic, poisoning, curing practices, ecc;

  • Hybrid practices (Christian practices that incorporated influences from other religions).

Abstracts of 200-300 words and a short bio should be sent to lilian.goncalves@fu-berlin.de by 14th of November 2022.

Please note that if your abstract is retained to be a fit contribution to the volume, it will be part of a book proposal. Even though a preliminary draft of the book received a positive feedback from the editorial board, an official proposal still need to be sent. Therefore, the book will need to receive an official thumbs up in order to really happen.

Submission of accepted chapters, of 7000-9000 words including bibliography, are provisionally anticipated for Late Summer-Early Autumn 2023.

Conference: ‘Performance, Perception & Devotional Experiences in Medieval Sacred Spaces’, Universitat de Barcelona, 13-14 October 2022

Conference programme

13 October 2022 (Facultat de Geografia i Història. Sala Jane Addams)

9.00am: Núria Jornet (Universitat de Barcelona), Fabio Massaccesi (Università di Bologna), Zuleika Murat (Università di Padova): Welcome and Opening of the Conference

9.20am: Olivia Robinson (University of Birmingham), Performance and Pleasure in Convent Spaces: Practice-based Research and the Medieval Convent Drama Project

Session I: Creating, Sanctifying and Experiencing Space: Architecture, Objects and Paintings
Chaired by Maria Soler Sala (Universitat de Barcelona)

10.00am: Fabio Massaccesi (Università di Bologna), Seeing and Believing: How the Triumphal Cross Shaped the Sacred Space (11th-14th century)

10.30am: Maddalena Vaccaro (Università degli Studi di Salerno), Sanctifying Spaces: Transmedial Interactions, Relics, and Apsis (9th-13th century)

Coffee break

11.00am: Cristina Guarnieri (Università di Padova), Pilgrims, Cripples, and Worshippers: Patterns of Devotion and Experience in the Shrine of St. Anthony in the Basilica del Santo

11.30am: Marta Crispí (Universitat Internacional de Catalunya), Los coros altos de los
monasterios femeninos como espacios litúrgicos y devoción: los monasterios de Sant Pere de les Puelles, Sant Antoni i Santa Clara i Santa Maria de Pedralbes de Barcelona


12.00pm: Davide Tramarin (Università di Padova), The Death of Christ in German Nunneries: Liturgical Spaces and Sensorial Dynamics

12.30pm: Discussion

Session II: Sight and the Other Senses: Interferences, Synergies, Synaesthesia
Chaired by Silvia Pérez (Universidad Pablo de Olavide)

14.30pm: Zuleika Murat (Università di Padova), Scenting the Blood of Christ: Material and Immaterial Aspects of Eucharistic Devotion in Late Medieval Venice

15.00pm: Micol Long (Università di Padova), Liturgical Combs or Liturgical Use of Combs?An Evaluation of Textual and Material Evidence 10th-13th century

Coffee break

16.30pm: Valentina Baradel (Università di Padova), Sensing the Saint, Experiencing the Resurrection: the Shrine of Saint Lazarus in Autun

17.00pm: Sara Carreño (Università di Padova), Tactile Discourse: Material Transmission of Theological Ideas in 14th Century Castile

17.30pm: Discussion


14 October 2023 (Museu Monestir de Santa Maria de Pedralbes)

9.30am: Anna Castellano (Director of Museu Monestir de Pedralbes), Welcome

Session III: Performances in a Monastic Space: Legal, Devotional and Liturgical Rituals
Chaired by Marta Sancho (Universitat de Barcelona)

10.00am: Silvia Pérez (Universidad Pablo de Olavide), Alberto Ruiz Berdejo (Universidad Pablo de Olavide), Muerte conmemorada y muerte ritualizada en las cofradías andaluzas de finales de la Edad Media

10.30pm: Jordina Sales (Universitat de Barcelona), Crimen y castigo en los primitivos cenobios hispanos (s. VI-VII): escenificaciones y performances

11.00pm: Sergi Sancho (Università di Padova), Monastic Performances, a Database. Conclusions on Perception and Categories

Coffee break

12.00 Núria Jornet-Benito (Universitat de Barcelona); Anna Castellano (Museu Monestir de Pedralbes), La ritualización de la obediencia a la abadesa: capellanes beneficiados y campesinos. Conventos de clarisas en la Barcelona de los siglos XIV y XV

12.30pm: Delfi Nieto (Queen Mary University of London), The Abbot, the Prior and the Destitute: The Washing of the Feet in Medieval Catalan Cloisters

13.00pm: Discussion and Closing Remarks


Organising Committee:

  • Núria Jornet (Universitat de Barcelona)
  • Fabio Massaccesi (Università di Bologna)
  • Zuleika Murat (Università di Padova)

Contact Details: Núria Jornet (Universitat de Barcelona): jornet@ub.edu

Those who wish to attend online are requested to send an email to Núria Jornet to get the link to connect via Teams.

The conference is sponsored by Universitat de Barcelona – Monastic Landscape PG2018-095350-B-100; Università di Bologna; Università di Padova – ERC StG Project “The Sensuous Appeal of the Holy. Sensory Agency of Sacred Art andSomatised Spiritual Experiences in Medieval Europe (12th-15th century) – SenSArt”. This project has received funding from the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme (grant agreement No 950248)

Online Lecture: ‘Medieval Formalism: The Corona-Crown in the Chants & Images of Ste. Foy at Conques’ with Dr Bissera V. Pentcheva, Institute of Historical Research, 3 October 2022, 5:30PM-7:30PM (GMT)

Medieval art is silent in modern times. It is neither displayed nor analytically considered within the envelope of sound, chant, prayer, and recitation. Excising this aural atmosphere in which these images once lived, has drained them of their energy to signify and to elicit affect. This paper turns to and recuperates the sonic environment of one famous imago – the late ninth-century golden statue of Holy Faith or Sainte Foy at Conques. Focus is on the eleventh-century Office of Ste. Foy, its design, and its interaction with the golden statue, with the narrative reliefs, and with the architecture at Conques. The analysis uncovers the figure of the crown, which signals the glorification of the saint, in the ring compositions of the chants and in the visual program. This audiovisual manifestation of the corona invites an engagement with the medieval fascination with form.

Find out more information and book your tickets here.

Online Lecture: ‘Opening the Case: The Giant Bible of Mainz at the Library of Congress’, Rare Book & Special Collections at the Library of Congress, 6 October 2022, 11am-12:30pm (EST)

On October 6, 2022 from 11:00am-12:30pm EST, the Rare Book & Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress will be hosting an online event: ‘Opening the Case: The Giant Bible of Mainz at the Library of Congress’. This virtual event celebrating the digitization of the Giant Bible of Mainz will present new research about the context and significance of one of the Library’s greatest treasures.

Given to the Library of Congress by philanthropist and bibliophile Lessing J. Rosenwald in 1952 as a part of the Rosenwald Collection, the Giant Bible of Mainz has captured the imagination of scholars and visitors to Library for more than half a century. Now, through digitization, a new level of public access has been achieved. In keeping with Rosenwald’s commitment to encouraging broad cultural engagement with the history of the illustrated book, these images allow anyone interested in medieval manuscripts to encounter each and every page of this singular codex.

One of the great illuminated manuscripts, the Giant Bible of Mainz represents an amazing moment of transition within the history of European book production. A magnificent Middle-Rhenish manuscript copied between April 1452 and July of 1453, the Giant Bible was written at the same time as Johann Gutenberg was printing his famous bible using moveable metal type. Join us on October 6th, 2022 to learn more about this fascinating moment in book history!

For more information and how to register click here.

New Publication: ‘Fotografare Bisanzio’ by Antonio Iacobini and Livia Bevilacqua

“Fotografare Bisanzio” addresses a hitherto unexplored topic, namely Italian archives that hold photographic images relating to the art of Byzantium and the Mediterranean East. As early as the end of the 19th century such collections were started by institutions and individual scholars in the wake of research, missions, and archaeological campaigns. This invaluable heritage offers unique testimony to the afterlife of monuments, the integrity of which has often been altered or lost due to restoration work, natural disasters, and wars. From page to page, from photograph to photograph, the reader is taken on an itinerary that moves across a vast geographical latitude, in the footsteps of prominent Italian and foreign scholars: from the Balkans to Anatolia, from Caucasus to Syria, from Egypt to Italy. In addition to presenting visual repositories of great historical importance, the book draws attention to a more general theme of pressing topicality: the fate of documents on physical supports in the digital age and the need to safeguard them as irreplaceable treasures of cultural memory.

Find out more information about the book here.

CFP: ‘Faites vos jeux: game and space in texts and of texts’, Universities of Udine and Trieste, 22-23 March 2023, deadline: 30 September 2022

The XXXVI PhD cycle of the course in Language and Literary Studies of the University of Udine and University of Trieste (Italy) is pleased to announce the doctoral conference “Faites vos jeux: game and space in texts and of texts”, which will take place on March 22-24, 2023 in Udine (on-site).

During the three-day conference participants will reflect and analyse how the concepts of ‘play/game’ and ‘space’ interact and contribute to constructing meanings in literary, linguistic, philological and medieval studies.

The conference is interdisciplinary and includes all periods, but a significant strand is dedicated to philology and medieval studies (see below).

Deadline for submission: September 30, 2022.
Communication of acceptance: November 16, 2022

More information (and the whole version of the CfP) can be found at https://sites.google.com/view/giocoudine2023.

  • Strand 3: Philology and medieval studies:
  • Lexicon and semantics of ‘play’ and ‘game’ (plega vs gamen in Old English or ludus vs iocus in Latin);
  • Game representation in the space of medieval texts: for instance, Alcuin’s propositiones or
  • ‘mathematical games’; the swimming contest between Breca and Beowulf; game and competition in Hemings þáttr Áslákssonar;
  • Texts as spaces where authors play with the meaning as well as with the ‘visible’ and/or phonic aspect of language (kenningar or heiti, runic acrostics and cryptography, anagrams, wordplays, puns, alliteration, rhyme, formulas, and other rhetorical-stylistic aspects);
  • ‘Intellectual’ games in the space of texts: riddles and enigmas;
  • Aspects of textual criticism, such as the interplay between authors and copyists in text transmission;
  • Playing beyond the borders of texts: medievalism (‘Neo-medievalism’ or Middle Ages in Popular Culture, for instance the roleplay Dungeons & Dragons, the imaginary Middle Ages in Game of Thrones, the riddle-game between Bilbo and Gollum in The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien), Digital Humanities (see, for instance, the paper by Karen Arthur titled Playing the Editing Game with an Electronic Sir Gawain and the Green Knight).

Lecture: ‘“So shall the king greatly desire thy beauty”: on the sculptures of knights and ladies at Santa María la Mayor de Toro (Zamora)’, with Marina Aurora Garzón Fernández, Courtauld Institute of Art, 23rd November, 5pm-6.30pm GMT

During the second half of the 12th century sculptures of knights and ladies started populating churches across the Iberian North. Particularly interesting is the case of Santa María la Mayor de Toro (Zamora) because it features three capitals carved in successive construction stages that can be linked to different traditions. First, in the apse, a victorious knight facing a lady, similar to scenes found in Lleida, León and Santillana del Mar, could be read as a representation of Psalm 44. Later, a capital with a knight and a lady in a farewell embrace was sculpted at the transept, an iconography that can be traced back to a cycle of the Song of Songs from the portal of San Pedro de Villanueva (Asturias). Finally, decades later, another victorious knight with lady was carved at the tower quoting the earlier sculptures. Traditionally interpreted as images of the fight against evil, a reading of these scenes based on Psalm 44 and the Song of Songs, biblical passages alluding to the marriage between Christ and the Church, offers a new perspective on the sculpture program of Santa María la Mayor de Toro.

Marina Aurora Garzón Fernández studied Art History at the University of Santiago de Compostela (2011) where she earned a Masters in Medieval Studies (2013) and obtained her Phd in Medieval Studies (2019) with the thesis “Santa María la Mayor de Toro (Zamora): Church and City (1157-1312)” focusing on the study of Visual Culture in Leon and Castile during the 12th and 13th century. She is currently pursuing her post-doctoral project about paper-cut calligraphy in the Middle Ages at the CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” at the University of Heidelberg.

Organised by Dr Tom Nickson (The Courtauld). 

Find out more information and to book tickets here.

CFP:  ‘Art Binds Communities in Medieval Europe’, IMC Leeds 2023, deadline 22 September 2022

“L’opera non sta mai da sola, è sempre un rapporto” (The artwork never stays alone, it is always a relationship). This enlightening sentence by the Italian art historian Roberto Longhi (1950) emphasizes how every artwork is embedded in a network of relationships with other artworks and the social context where it is placed.

Since Joachim Wollash (1965), medieval historians have already formulated the category of “Verbände” (associations) or “Verbandsbildung” (creation of associations) for monastic orders. However, art historians can helpfully extend this concept to the relationships between artworks and demonstrate how they materially express and reinforce networks (“Verbände”) not only within monastic orders but in all kinds of communities, both religious and lay.

We aim to organise two sessions intended to investigate how entanglements among medieval artworks, here understood broadly (book illuminations, paintings, sculptures, buildings, etc…) channelled existing social networks within communities, e.g., monastic, and mendicant orders, lay confraternities, guilds and foreigners sharing the same homeland.

Papers will focus on cases that analyse the production, organization, and decoration of either sacred spaces or objects in different areas of Medieval Europe as vehicle for relationships, for reflection of the attachment of people to places and culture, and for the creation of a new shared history that transcends differences.

Papers on any topic regarding these issues in Christian western and eastern areas c. 300–1500 (Late Antiquity to International Gothic) are welcome. The fields where these themes may be addressed may include, but are not limited to:
– Spatial networks, architecture, and liturgical installations
– Patronage
– Artistic practices
– Circulation of objects, models, and artists
– Iconographic and/or stylistic entanglements

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words along with your short CV and the information below (required by IMC) by 22 September 2022 to Gianluca del Monaco (gianluca.delmonaco2@unibo.it), Fabio Massaccesi (fabio.massaccesi3@unibo.it), and Maddalena Vaccaro (mavaccaro@unisa.it).

Information to include with abstract and short CV:
• Full name
• Email address
• Postal address
• Telephone number
• Affiliation details (department, institution)
• Title (e.g. Dr, Ms, Mr, Mx, Professor etc)

Organized by: Gianluca del Monaco (Università di Bologna), Fabio Massaccesi (Università di Bologna), Maddalena Vaccaro (Università degli Studi di Salerno).

Deadlines Extended! CFP: ‘Premodern Parchment’ and ‘Concertina-Fold Books Across Premodern Cultures’, IMC Leeds 2023, deadline 23 September 2022

Call for papers: ‘Premodern Parchment’

Parchment is a familiar medium to medievalists. Animal skin, specially prepared, and employed primarily as a substrate for written communication, it is a substance that many researchers across fields of study regularly scrutinise and handle. There is now no shortage of scholarship that refers to parchment’s experiential qualities—its varied textures, smell, even sound—and its symbolic, especially Christological, significance as skin when bound in books. We seek proposals for papers that build on and move beyond this work, focusing on aspects of the medium that have been somewhat taken for granted including its (quasi) two-dimensionality, sidedness, relative opacity, colour and pliability; and/or delving into the uses of parchment outside the codical context. Our aim is to better understand the perceived possibilities and limitations of parchment in the premodern world and the qualities for which it was valued.

We plan for the session to be in-person and for papers to be 15–20 minutes long. Proposals from individuals in the academic, museum and library sectors; at any stage of their careers and from all disciplines and fields are welcome. If interested, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words along with your CV and the information below (required by IMC) by 23 September 2022 to Megan McNamee: mmcnamee@ed.ac.uk.

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Postal address
  • Telephone number
  • Affiliation details (department, institution)
  • Title (e.g. Dr, Ms, Mr, Mx, Professor etc)

Call for papers: ‘Concertina-Fold Books Across Premodern Cultures’

Accordion, concertina, pleated, screenfold—scholars use a variety of terms to describe the zig-zag- or ‘fan’-fold book format. Although not identical in structure, books of this type share at least one common feature: they (appear to) comprise a continuous, oblong surface broken by creases. Most are bound in such a way that they can be flipped through like a codex; some can be fully or partially extended to reveal multiple ‘pages’ at once. Just how and even what information was articulated across the surfaces of concertinas, the extent to which the different folded states were meaningfully exploited by premodern people—these are among the questions to be explored in this session.

We seek papers that consider the contents and mechanics of concertinas in various cultural contexts. By taking a comparative approach, we aim to identify commonalities that may signal formal imperatives whilst sharpening our understanding of particularities preserved in different traditions. Proposals by individuals in the academic, museum and library sectors; at any stage of their careers; and from any discipline and field of study are welcome.

Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words along with your CV and the information below (required by IMC) by 23 September 2022 to Megan McNamee: mmcnamee@ed.ac.uk. Information to include with abstract and short CV:

  • Full name
  • Email address
  • Postal address
  • Telephone number
  • Affiliation details (department, institution)
  • Title (e.g. Dr, Ms, Mr, Mx, Professor etc)

Organised by Sarah Griffin, Lambeth Palace Library and Megan McNamee, University of Edinburgh

New Publication: The Mineral and the Visual: Precious Stones in Medieval Secular Culture by Brigitte Buettner

Opulent jeweled objects ranked among the most highly valued works of art in the European Middle Ages. At the same time, precious stones prompted sophisticated reflections on the power of nature and the experience of mineralized beings. Beyond a visual regime that put a premium on brilliant materiality, how can we account for the ubiquity of gems in medieval thought?

In The Mineral and the Visual, art historian Brigitte Buettner examines the social roles, cultural meanings, and active agency of precious stones in secular medieval art. Exploring the layered roles played by gems in aesthetic, ideological, intellectual, and economic practices, Buettner focuses on three significant categories of art: the jeweled crown, the pictorialized lapidary, and the illustrated travel account. The global gem trade brought coveted jewels from the Indies to goldsmiths’ workshops in Paris, fashionable bodies in London, and the crowns of kings across Europe, and Buettner shows that Europe’s literal and metaphorical enrichment was predicated on the importation of gems and ideas from Byzantium, the Islamic world, Persia, and India.

Original, transhistorical, and cross-disciplinary, The Mineral and the Visual engages important methodological questions about the work of culture in its material dimension. It will be especially useful to scholars and students interested in medieval art history, material culture, and medieval history.

Brigitte Buettner is Louise I. Doyle ’34 Professor of Art at Smith College. She is the author of Boccaccio’s “Des cleres et nobles femmes”: Systems of Signification in an Illuminated Manuscript.

You can find The Mineral and the Visual: Precious Stones in Medieval Secular Culture on the Penn State University Press web site at this URL: https://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-09250-8.html

Take 30% off with code NR22 when you order through psupress.org