2019-2020 Upcoming Events

Monday, December 9th. 3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Medieval Tents as Locations of Power in the Context of Crusades. Professor Elizabeth Lapina. Monday Seminar at IRH, University Club 212

page from a manuscript
Miniature by an anonymous artist, c. 1287, from Boulogne-sur-mer – Bibliothèque Municipale – Ms 142 Guillaume de Tyr, Histoire d’Outremer, Saint-Jean d’Acre. Top: John II Komnenos in the siege of Shaizar (1138). Bottom: Raymond of Poitiers Count of Antioch and Josselin II Count of Edessa playing chess.

The Eastern Mediterranean during the period of crusades was a crucial “contact zone” where Western Christians, Eastern Christians, Muslims, and Jews interacted in a variety of ways, both on and off the battlefield. The talk will explore this “contact zone” from a new and perhaps surprising perspective: through an examination of the Western elites’ uses of tents. Made of cloth and hence highly perishable, medieval tents have not survived to this day. Perhaps for this reason, historians tend to underestimate the crucial role that they played in the lives of medieval aristocrats. This role was not merely practical, as protection from the elements, but also symbolic. The talk will address the question of how medieval nobility used tents to proclaim their power, to defend their authority and to undermine the prestige of their rivals and enemies.

Elizabeth Lapina is an Associate Professor at the History Department of the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her interests revolve around crusades, medieval historical writing, and visual culture. She is the author of a monograph, Warfare and the Miraculous in the Chronicles of the First Crusade, and is a co-editor of two volumes, The Uses of the Bible in Crusader Sources and The Crusades and Visual Culture.

April 3-4, 2020 The Seventh Annual Medieval Studies Colloquium hosted by the Graduate Association of Medieval Studies at UW-Madison.

The theme for this year’s colloquium is “Transcending Boundaries: Changes in Medieval Time and Space,” and will feature paper sessions, lunch workshops, and keynote addresses on both days, ending in a closing reception. Our keynote speakers this year will be Nicole Guenther Discenza (English, University of South Florida) and Karlyn Griffith (Art History, California Polytechnic University, Pomona). We welcome abstract submissions from all fields on this subject, broadly defined, though all submissions will be considered. For the first time this year, we will have one session of undergraduate papers as well! Abstracts of 300-500 words should be submitted to gams@rso.wisc.edu, by January 31st, 2020. Please direct questions to GAMS President, Mya Frieze, at frieze@wisc.edu.