Tag Archives: representation

Call for Papers: ‘The Other Half of Heaven: Visualizing Female Sanctity in East and West (c. 1200-1500) I-II’, ICMS 2019 (Deadline: 1 September 2018)

untitled1An ICMA-sponsored session at the 54th ICMS (International Congress of Medieval Studies) Kalamazoo, 9-12 May 2019

Organizer: Ioanna Christoforaki, Academy of Athens

If, according to the well-known Chinese proverb, women hold half the sky, did medieval female saints hold half of heaven? In her book of 1998, Forgetful of their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society, ca. 500-1100, Jane Schulenburg calculated that of over 2200 female and male saints examined, only one in seven (or 15%) were women. Although documentation on medieval women is notably scarce, this gender-based asymmetry in the celestial realm clearly reflected the values and hierarchy of earthly society.


Female saints were exceptional women who gained social status, popular recognition

and enhanced visibility through sainthood. Medieval female sanctity is a multi-faceted

phenomenon, which has been mainly explored through words. Historians and literary

scholars have fruitfully mined historical and hagiographical texts not only to draw

‘facts’ about the lives of female saints but also to elucidate social mentalities and

highlight gender issues. Holy women, however, were also represented on a variety of

media, most notably on icons, frescoes, manuscript illuminations and other artworks.

Nevertheless, despite the wealth of historical and hagiographical scholarship on female saints, their visual representations have been exploited almost exclusively in stylistic or iconographic terms.

The aim of this session is to consider female sanctity in visual terms both in Western Europe and the Byzantine East. By exploring representations of women saints and their changing iconography, it aspires to shed light on their status and experience in late medieval society. It will examine images of holy women as embodiments of cultural models and explore the social and religious environment that shaped their visual constructions. In the highly symbolic world of the Middle Ages, representations of female saints can become a vehicle for multiple interpretations, including social status, gender, identity, ethnicity and collective memory.

Some of the issues to be addressed include but are not restricted to:

  • Visual narratives and iconographic attributes defining female sanctity
  • The corporeality of female saints and the representation of the holy body
  • The iconography of transvestite holy women
  • Out of sight, out of mind: forgotten saints and newcomers
  • The relation between female holy images and text in illuminated manuscripts
  • The influence of mendicant literature on picturing female sanctity
  • One saint, many images: changes in iconography and meaning
  • Iconographic variations of the Virgin in East and West

Participants in ICMA-sponsored sessions are eligible to receive travel funds, generously provided by the Samuel H. Kress Foundation. The Kress funds are allocated for travel and hotel only. Speakers will be refunded only after the conference, against travel receipts.


Please send paper proposals of 300 words to the Chair of the ICMA Programs

Committee, Beth Williamson (beth.williamson@bristol.ac.uk) by September 1, 2018,

together with a completed Participant Information Form, to be found at the following address: https://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions#papers. Please include your name, title, and affiliation on the abstract itself. All abstracts not accepted for the session will be forwarded to the Congress administration for consideration in general sessions, as per Congress regulations.

CFP FOR AN EDITED COLLECTION: Architectural Representation in the European Middle Ages

ramsey censerCFP FOR AN EDITED COLLECTION: Architectural Representation in the European Middle Ages, edited by Hannah Bailey, Karl Kinsella, and Daniel Thomas

Deadline: 1 November 2017

The architectural remnants of the Middle Ages—from castles and cathedrals to village churches—provide many people’s first point of contact with the medieval period and its culture. Such concrete survivals provide a direct link to the material experience of medieval people. At the same time, exploring the ways in which architecture was conceptualized and depicted can contribute to our understanding of the ideological and imaginative worldview of the period.

This volume seeks to investigate all aspects of architectural representation in the medieval period, encompassing actual, symbolic, or imaginary architectural features, whether still standing today, observable in the archaeological record, or surviving only through depiction in literature or art. Topics of interest might include (but are not limited to) the social and symbolic value of architecture, architectural metaphor or imagery, architecture in visual representations, architecture in the depiction of other spaces, memory and architecture, and architectural style.

The volume is interdisciplinary in outlook and we welcome contributions from across the spectrum of academic disciplines, including literature, history, art, theology, and archaeology.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words, with a brief biographical blurb, to the editors at: architecturalrepresentations@gmail.com by 1st November, 2017.

Conference: Society, Rule and Their Representation in Medieval Britain (13-14 November 2014)

v0_master[1]13-14 November 2014

German Historical Institute London • 17 Bloomsbury Square • London WC1A 2NJ


Official page


14:00-14:15 WELCOME


Torben Gebhardt (Münster): Self-Categorisation of Medieval Rulers between 1016-1138 – A Comparison between England and the Holy Roman Empire

Isabelle Chwalka (Mainz): Conception and Perception of England and the Empire in the Twelfth Century

Stephan Bruhn (Kiel): Of Suffering Kings, Unwise Bishops and Violent Abbots – Concepts of Elites in ‘Biographical Writings’

15:45-16:30 COFFEE BREAK


Grischa Vercamer (Berlin): Descriptions of Power and Rulers in the High Middle Ages: English Chronicles in European Context

Bastian Walter-Bogedain (Wuppertal): “I ́ve got him, I  ́ve got him!” Or: How to Capture a King on a Battlefield

Ulla Kypta (Frankfurt): The Power of Routines: The Emergence of the English Exchequer during the 12th Century

Martin Stier (Heidelberg): Barons, Lords, Peers. Rank in the English Baronage

in the 14th Century



Veronika Decker (Vienna): Planting the Vineyard of the Just: The Foundation of New College, Oxford and the Stained Glass of the College Chapel

Julia Crispin (Münster): French Treasures for an English Prince: John of Bedford, Regent of France, and his French Illuminated Books

Antje Fehrmann (Berlin): Courts or Concepts? Cultural Networks and Artistic Exchanges in 15th-Century England and Germany

10:45-11:15 COFFEE BREAK


Franziska Klein (Duisburg-Essen): The King’s Converts – Caritas, Conversion and Control in Late Medieval England

Tanja Skambraks (Mannheim/Rome): Children, Liturgy and Festive Culture in Medieval London

Ute Kühlmann (Mannheim): Celtic Fosterage