Call for papers: The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 25th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium: Working Materials and Materials at Work in Medieval Art and Architecture, The Courtauld Institute of Art, 7 February 2020
Deadline: 22 November 2017
Materials mattered in the Middle Ages. Only with the right materials could artists produce works of art of the highest quality, from jewel-encrusted crosses, gilded and enamelled chalices and ivory plaques to large-scale tapestries, wooden stave churches and stone cathedrals. This conference seeks to explore the qualities and properties of materials for the people who sourced, crafted and used them.
A critical examination of the physical aspect of materials, including stone, wood, metal, jewels, and textiles, can lead art historians to a deeper understanding of objects and their context. Medieval materials did not function as frictionless vehicles for immaterial meaning: materials, their sourcing, trade and manufacture all contributed to the reception and value of the object. In the vein of scholars like Michael Baxandall (The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany, 1980) and more recently Paul Binski (Gothic Sculpture, 2019), this conference asks participants to ground their papers in the messy realities of crafting materials, and to situate the object and its materials within a network of social, political and economic factors.
The Courtauld Institute of Art’s 25th Annual Medieval Postgraduate Colloquium invites speakers to build out from the object and consider the ways in which physical materials were used, manipulated and interpreted by craftspeople, patrons and audiences throughout the medieval world (understood in its broadest geographical and chronological terms). The colloquium encourages contributions from a range of backgrounds including but not limited to the art historical, technical, scientific and economic. Speakers are invited to consider the following and related questions:
Sourcing and Trade
- What economic factors determined the value of medieval materials?
- How did geography and trade impact the availability and use of materials?
- How and in what quantities were materials sourced and did that affect the form and function of the art object?
- How was the quality of materials determined and controlled?
- Was trade in certain materials restricted to certain classes or groups of people?
Crafting and Making
- How did the physical and technical requirements of working with different media shape objects for artists and how attuned were viewers to those requirements?
- What technical virtuosity and experience did different materials demand and how did craftspeople learn and pass on these skills?
- Did technical virtuosity affect the value of the object?
- What do we know of the tools craftspeople used? Were the same tools used in different places and in different periods? What effect does this have on the use and shape of materials?
- Medieval craftsmen occasionally manipulated certain materials to resemble others. Was this process of imitation always obvious to medieval viewers and how did they interpret this?
Function and Manipulation
- How did the spaces or locations for which objects were intended shape the choice of materials?
- Did the function of an object determine the materials of which it was made?
- Were certain materials more attractive to certain patrons than others and why?
- Do some medieval objects reveal deliberate references to their facture?
- How did different materials cater to each of the senses?
- Did materials always matter – is there a competitive/contested relationship between material reality and immaterial imagination?
The colloquium offers an opportunity for research students at all levels from universities across the United Kingdom and abroad to present, discuss and promote their research. To apply, please send a proposal of up to 250 words for a twenty-minute paper, together with a CV, to Harry.Prance@courtauld.ac.uk, Nicholas.Flory@courtauld.ac.uk and Charlotte.Wytema@courtauld.ac.uk no later than 22 November 2019.
This panel seeks to explore new methodologies for studying the art of women’s religious communities in global and cross-cultural perspective from about 500 to 1525 CE.
In the last few decades years, art historians have put women back on the map of European medieval art history. Harnessing the second-wave feminism, scholars, such as Caroline Walker Bynum and Madeline H. Caviness, paved the way for this radical shift. The generation that followed, most influentially Jeffrey Hamburger, has consolidated the study of the art and architecture of female monasticism, as manifested in the landmark exhibition of Crown and Veil (Essen and Bonn, 2005). In the process, art historians expanded our knowledge of the role of religious women as makers, commissioners, and recipients of art. The corpus of works of art has exponentially enlarged, fully encompassing the range of media engaged in women’s religious life, including objects previously relegated to margins of art history as crafts. To do so, art historians have employed a variety of methodologies, using interdisciplinary approaches.
Now, it is time to refresh the methodological foundations and broaden the scope of inquiry of this field. To this end, we invite speakers working on topics of the art of religious women and communities in any cultural, religious, and geographic context. In particular, we encourage the submission of papers that examines the methodological challenges and/or engage in innovative approaches in the field.
Potential questions may include, but are not limited to:
- New insights into the role women’s religious communities played in the production and commission of art.
- Is the art of female monasticism a productive category of inquiry? If so, what can we learn from examining medieval art through this lens and what are its boundaries? If not, what are the other venues for studying the art of religious women?
- What new venues do interdisciplinary collaborations open up for the study of female monastic art?
- Do we need to reassess gender-specific approaches to the art of women’s religious communities in light of recent scholarship on gender?
- What lessons might be learned from examining other cultural and religious traditions? What methods have proven productive in examining non-Christian/non-Western cultural and religious communities?
- Case studies of inter-religious and/or inter-cultural exchange, interchange, influences, and entanglement among women’s religious communities
- Are there media specific to or preferred by female audience? Are there any of these universal?
- New technological/digital approaches to studying the art of women’s religious communities
The session seeks to provide a forum for scholars at different career stages, across different art historical geographies. This session, we hope, will foster a dialogue across regions and religions of women’s religious communities, providing a fertile ground for discussion
We invite interested applicants to submit a 250 word abstract and a short c.v. to Kristina Potuckova (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Orsolya Mednyánszky (email@example.com) by September 10, 2019.
1. Prologues in Learned Texts of Medieval Magic
Deadline for abstracts: 15 Sept 2019
Although the prologues of learned books of magic could take many forms, nearly all share at least one common characteristic: the claim to transmit a secret and pristine branch of knowledge. Such claims are frequently couched in the form of a narrative describing how this secret knowledge was originally revealed. Many employ the same actors (Hermes Trismegistus, King Solomon, Aristotle), the same objects (a tablet or disk made of precious material and inscribed with divine wisdom), and the same locations (a hidden cavern or lost pagan temple). These narratives helped to establish the authority of their texts, broadcast their affiliation with specific discourses, and signal how they should be read. Moreover, the prologues served to highlight the erudition of their authors through the use of classical and biblical references and often sophisticated word-play.
The aim of this session is to explore these still largely understudied prologues which testify to the variety of medieval approaches to “magic”. What do these prologues have to tell us about the institutional, cultural, and political milieux in which they were produced? How do certain recurring mythemes found in these prologues stand in relation to the various magical and divinatory arts, specifically those classified as natural or demonic? And to which philosophical, mystical, or religious beliefs do they appeal in order to justify the magical practices that they introduce?
Other potential topics relating to magical prologues include, but are not limited to
— the rhetoric of authority and the relation between power and secret knowledge
— the intersection of diverse intellectual traditions
— the continuity and reception of the Classical Tradition
— the appropriation of Jewish and Arabic traditions
— the relation between the tropes and mythemes found in magical prologues and those in other literary genres, such as prophecies and romances
— the assimilation of philosophical and medical texts
— the use of the Bible and biblical traditions
— philological and text-critical studies of magical prologues.
Please send your proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 September 2019.
Contact: Vajra Regan: email@example.com
55th International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan University Kalamazoo, May 7-10 2020
Cave churches, monasteries and dwellings can be admired throughout the Mediterranean, where they often appear next to and even intertwined with the built environment. And yet, with the exception of southern Italy and Cappadocia, they are rarely included in studies of the art and architecture in the Mediterranean (broadly understood). This session seeks to explore the role of cave architecture and art in the urban topography of Eurasia and Africa.
With the exception of Ethiopia and Cappadocia, caves structures are often dismissed because of their small size and simplicity. However, caves and other underground spaces played essential roles in medieval cultures, as demonstrated by their mural decorations and how they appear in hagiographies, pilgrimage accounts and other genres of literature. We are looking for multi-disciplinary papers that argue for the integration of cave architectures within our understanding of the broader Mediterranean during the medieval period. Papers from all disciplines are encouraged.
Please send paper proposals of 300 words to the session organsier, Maria Harvey (firstname.lastname@example.org), by 15 September 2019, together with a short C.V. and a completed Participant Information form.
Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract.
All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to Congress administrators for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.
The BAA invites proposals by postgraduates and early career researchers in the field of medieval history of art, architecture, and archaeology.
Papers can be on any aspect of the medieval period, from antiquity to the later Middle Ages, across all geographical regions.
The BAA postgraduate conference offers an opportunity for postgraduate students and early career researchers at all levels from universities across the UK and abroad to present and discuss their research, and exchange ideas.
Proposals of around 250 words for a 20-minute paper, along with a CV, should be sent by 6th May 2019 to email@example.com
St Andrews Institute of Medieval Studies Graduate Conference
6 – 8 June, 2019
Deadline: 31 March, 2019
We are announcing a call for papers for the second St Andrews Institute of Medieval Studies (SAIMS) Graduate Conference. This three-day conference is aimed at graduate students and early career researchers in any area of Medieval Studies. The second day of the conference will be devoted to the theme Politics and Political Thought and we would particularly welcome abstracts related to this topic from scholars working in any of the fields mentioned below. We aim to encompass a range of historical perspectives, from art to archeology, law to literature.
The keynote addresses will be delivered by Professor Carole Hillenbrand (Edinburg & St Andrews) and Dr Charles West (Sheffield).
Proposals relating to the following fields of research are especially welcome:
- Eastern Mediterranean studies
- Art and architecture
- The church and religious life
- Late Antiquity
- Latin poetry
- Middle Eastern studies
- Rulership and lordship
- Scottish history
- Texts and manuscripts
It is anticipated that there shall be no registration free and that some travel bursaries will be available. Papers should be a maximum of 20 minutes in length.
Please email 250-word abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31st March 2019.