Fall 2019 Events

Wednesday, September 11th, 5:30 p.m. Race, Religion, and Revisionism: Why the Middle Ages Matter Now. Panel discussion with Ahmed Abdelazim, Samuel England, Martin Foys, Elizabeth Lapina, Brenda Plummer, Jennifer Pruitt, Wisconsin Historical Society Auditorium, 816 State Street at 5:30 p.m. https://humanities.wisc.edu/events/entry/race-religion-and-revisionism-why-the-middle-ages-matter-now

Friday, September 13, 9:00-10:30 a.m. Presentation by Katerina Somers (GNS, UW Madison): “Metrical Choices as Cultural Turning Point: A Ninth-Century Case Study” in the symposium, RHYTHMS: 51st Wisconsin Workshop (https://gns.wisc.edu/event/rhythms-51st-wisconsin-workshop/?instance_id=217.)

Thursday September 26, 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Medieval Studies Reception, Memorial Union Terrace.

Thursday October 3 at 6:00 p.m. Public Lecture:

Photo of Prof. Jordan
Prof. William Chester Jordan (Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University)

William Chester Jordan (Dayton-Stockton Professor of History, Princeton University) will present the Hilldale Lecture in the Humanities on the topic ” ‘Now Avenge Us’: Jewish Martyrdom and the First Crusade” Thursday October 3 at 6:00 p.m. in the Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room L140. Reception prior to the Lecture in the University Club, 4:45-5:45. Co-Sponsored by The Medieval Studies Program, The Department of History, the Center for the Humanities, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities.

The lecture sketches out the background to the call for the First Crusade, narrates a few of the major events as context for the main story of the lecture, and then concentrates on what has been and can be learned from the Hebrew and Latin sources for the Jews’ responses. It concludes by raising the question of the appropriateness of the language of trauma to categorize the European phase of the crusade and its impact on the continent’s Jews.

Friday October 4 at 11:00 a.m. Workshop
Prof. Jordan will also lead a workshop discussion for graduate students and faculty on “Confrontation and Dialogue: Issues of Race and Racism in Medieval Studies” on Friday October 4 at 11:00 a.m. in the Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Hagen Room (150). To register for the workshop please contact medieval@letsci.wisc.edu.

“Initiated by a reaction a little more than a year ago to a not very funny joke at a session at one of the several large international conferences on medieval studies held annually, a soul-searching (absurdist in some understandings, deeply empathetic in other assessments) took place among medievalists. This soul-searching coincided with the publication of a number of important books on race and racism among medieval European peoples and a great deal of blogging about historic and present-day medieval studies as a racist enterprise and, of course, rebuttals to that view. Fortunately or unfortunately—for good reasons and for bad—I was drawn involuntarily into this not always temperate dialogue. I would like to describe what has happened and what the long-term consequences might be.”

Thursday October 3-6. American Boccaccio Association
American Boccaccio Association 4th Triennial Conference is hosted by the Department of French and Italian.

October 3
6:00 pm: Keynote Lecture [Pyle Center 213]:
Marco Cursi, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II
Black, White, Red and Blue: Spaces and Colors in Boccaccio’s Autographs

October 4
2:00 – 3:00 pm: Keynote Lecture [Pyle Center 213]
H. Wayne Storey, Indiana University
Material and Cultural Accretion in Boccaccio and Marco Guazzo’s Filocolo

October 5
11:30 – 12:30 pm: Keynote Lecture [Pyle Center 213]
Michael Papio, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Boccaccio as Philosophical Anthropologist

5:30-6:30 pm: Keynote Lecture [Pyle Center 213] Marilyn Migiel, Cornell University
Maidservants in the Decameron: A Story Waiting to Be Told

Please see the link for the full program:

Monday, October 7, 12 noon to 1 p.m. : “Race and Globalism in the Roman Empire and Medieval Venice: A Conversation” Institute for Research in the Humanities, University Club, Room 212. Prof. Nandini Pandey of CANES and Prof. Thomas Dale of Art History will discuss research in progress and compare approaches to race and globalism in the Roman Empire and thirteenth-century Venice.

Among the questions to be addressed are: How did these societies interact with and include diverse populations? How did they understand ethnic and racial difference? What are some visual and narrative ways they used to represent diversity, and what problems / questions do these raise? What do we learn by comparing / contrasting these two case studies and what are the ramifications for our understanding of race and globalization today?

Translation of Saint Stephen’s relics- Trier Ivory

Wednesday, October 16, 6:00 p.m. “The Contagion of the Gaze: A Persistent Motif in Medieval Art and Modern Theory” Prof. Anthony Cutler (Emeritus, Art History, Penn State) will give the Mike Clover Memorial Lecture on the topic, “The Contagion of the Gaze: A Persistent Motif in Medieval Art and Modern Theory” on Wednesday, October 16th, in the Conrad A. Elvehjem Building, Room L150 at 6:00.

This lecture will explore the artistic device in which one or more individuals depicted within an image regard us, even while we regard it from outside. Already extant in Greek red-figure vase painting, the motif recurs in the art of Late Antiquity, Western Medieval and especially Islamic miniatures, and the Renaissance. Following experiments of this sort in late nineteenth-century posters, the heyday of the form comes in the art of the mid-twentieth century, in Magritte’s Not to be Reproduced (1937), implicitly in Orson Welles’s film Citizen Kane (1941), and Jasper Johns’s Target with Four Faces (1965). Since there can be no question of “influence” across this huge field, some sort of theoretical scrutiny, emic or etic, of this all but perennial and universal motif is called for. Even sophisticated contemporary videogames, predicated on the aesthetics of mutual observation and the metaphysics of reciprocity, remain unhelpful in this respect. Free and Open to the Public. Sponsored by a Grant from the Anonymous Fund in the College of Letters and Sciences, The Medieval Studies Program, the Department of Art History, and the Department of History.

Thursday October 17 at 5:30 p.m. Professor Elena Boeck (History of Art, DePaul University) will give the public lecture “Re-Claiming The Original ‘Degenerate Art’: Disability, Alterity and Byzantine Studies” in the Chazen Auditorium, Chazen Museum of Art, on Reception to follow in the Chazen Lobby.

The infamous label of ‘degenerate art’ was not conceived in Nazi Germany of the 1930s. A full century earlier such terminology was regularly applied to Byzantine Art in western European stylological scholarship. The art historical field is still shaped by perceptions of the Orthodox world as yet another Other. This lecture analyses the narrative trajectories of Byzantine and ‘Post-Byzantine’ art. In recent decades the discipline has successfully challenged the frameworks imposed upon it by others, but has imposed those same prejudiced frameworks on the nebulous category and chronologically unending entity of ‘Post-Byzantine Art.’ This lecture touches upon alterity, disability, inclusivity and creativity while addressing challenges that still face the field.

Thursday October 17-19: Byzantine Studies Conference UW-Madison is hosting the Byzantine Studies Conference from Thursday October 17 to Saturday October 19. Most sessions are hosted in the UW-Madison Memorial Union. For conference program and registration see (https://uwmadison.eventsair.com/byzantine-studies-conference/)


manuscript page with canon tables
Canon Tables, Zeytun Gospels, Getty, fol. 6

Thursday October 24, 12:00 p.m. Public Workshop: “The Social Lives of Art Objects,” Heghnar Watenpaugh. University Club, Room 212, Institute for Research in the Humanities Seminar Room. For more information please click here. To attend the workshop and to receive PDF files of the readings, please RSVP to cvc@mailplus.wisc.edu

Thursday October 24, 5:00 p.m. “The Missing Pages: The Modern Life of a Medieval Manuscript from Genocide to Justice” Public Lecture by Heghnar Watenpaugh (Art History, University of California-Davis) for the Center for Visual Cultures, Conrad A. Elvehjem Building L150. Art history, histories of genocide, cultural heritage, and the questions of the continuity of the medieval and the modern intersect in the biography of a medieval Armenian Gospels manuscript. Eight of its illuminated pages were discovered in the J. Paul Getty Museum in 2010, prompting a lawsuit. The tale of the separation of the pages from the manuscript tells a story of genocide and survival, and makes the case for a human right to art.

Both of these events are possible thanks to the generous financial support of the UW Anonymous Fund. The Center for Visual Cultures would also like to thank the Department of Art History, the Buildings, Landscapes, Cultures Program, LACIS, the Middle East Studies Program, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

Friday, October 25, 2019. 12 noon, Medieval Studies Brown Bag Workshop: Mapping Postmedieval Race in Ezra Pound’s “The Music of Beowulf.” Maxwell Gray, (PhD/MLIS student, English, iSchool, UW-Madison.) Hagen Room (150), Conrad A. Elvehjem Building. A reflection on and discussion of a new digital critical edition on the Digital Mappa platform… Citation: Ezra Pound, “The Music of Beowulf”: A Digital Critical Edition and Introduction, edit. Maxwell Gray (Madison, WI: Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, 2019): https://uw.digitalmappa.org/57. DOI: 10.21231/5sh6-ga95. Description: Ezra Pound’s previously unpublished essay draft “The Music of Beowulf” represents the modernist American poet’s recollection of his personal experience of the sounds and senses of Old English poetry in the modern city of London. Written in Rapallo in 1928, the essay returns to the scene of a performance of Scottish Gaelic folk music at Aeolian Hall in London in 1918. This open-access digital critical edition presents the essay with other related archival materials from the Pound Papers collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library (Yale) that represent a fuller picture of the essay in the context of Pound’s early Old English. The edition introduction situates Pound’s essay among problems in the field of medieval literary studies of medievalism, affect and race. I coin the critical term “racial rhythms” to name interactions of early medieval sounds, senses, and affects of race and ethnicity in the essay.
Questions?: maxgray20@gmail.com

Thursday, November 7, 4:00 p.m. Helen C. White, Room 6191. Medieval Colloquium Work-In-Progress Panel. Graduate Student Association for the English Department will host their first Works-In-Progress event “How to Make a Medieval World,” featuring work by Max Gray, Aaryn Smith, Kyle Smith, and Alex Ukropen. This series will offer a regular opportunity for members of the department to share recent work with an audience of peers.

There will be food! Thanks to the support of the Wisconsin Experience Grant. If you have any questions, please reach out to Aaron (avieth@wisc.edu) or Robert (rcollins6@wisc.edu).

Thursday, November 14, 3:00 – 5:30 p.m. Saints and Spirituality in Medieval and Early Modern Iceland. 9th Floor, Memorial Library, 728 State Street, Madison. A small symposium chaired by Professor Kirsten Wolf hosted by the Nordic Unit of the Department of German, Nordic, and Slavic, University of Wisconsin-Madison. A viewing of Religious and Hagiographic Manuscripts and Books from Special Collections will take place at the venue from 3:00-4:00 p.m.

Assistant Professor Dario Bullitta “A Book for Spiritual Ascent: Scribes and Items of AM 624 4to”
Dario Bullitta received his PhD in Old Norse-Icelandic philology from the University of Siena in 2014 and is currently Assistant Professor of Germanic Philology in the Department of Humanities at the University of Turin, Italy. His research interests include Old Norse-Icelandic and East Norse philology, manuscript studies, apocrypha and pseudepigrapha, source and textual criticism, and medieval libraries. In early 2018, he published two philological surveys and critical editions of two well-known Old Norse apocryphal texts: Niñrstigningar saga: Sources, Transmission, and Theology of the Old Norse Descent into Hell and Pálz leizla: The Vision of St. Paul. Together with Kirsten Wolf, he is currently working on an early modern Danish/Icelandic synoptic edition entitled Three Humanist Compendia in Danish and Icelandic Translation. Moreover, he is editing a collection of essays on the saints in medieval Iceland.

Associate Professor Natalie M. Van Deusen “A Tale of Model Women: An Examination of Kvendæmaþáttr”
Natalie M. Van Deusen received her PhD in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012. She currently holds the inaugural Henry Cabbot and Linnea Lodge Scandinavian Professorship in the Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada, where she serves as Program Advisor for Scandinavian, Norwegian, and Swedish. Her research interests include Old Norse-Icelandic paleography and philology, manuscript culture, hagiography and religious literature, and women and gender studies. She has published a number of articles on these topics. Earlier this year, her monograph, The Saga of the Sister Saints: The Legend of Martha and Mary Magdalen in Old Norse-Icelandic Translation appeared in print. She also co-wrote The Saints in Old Norse and Early Modern Icelandic Poetry (2017) with Kirsten Wolf. At present, she is examining the composition and transmission of poetry on female saints in post-Reformation Iceland.

*The symposium will be followed by a reception in Special Collections*

Lecture and Workshop by Kathy Lavezzo cancelled.
Prof. Kathy Lavezzo had to cancel her visit to our campus on Friday. It is hoped that her visit can be rescheduled for the Spring semester.

Friday, November 22, 10:30 – 12:00 p.m. Department of English, Helen C. White, Room 7190. Workshop for faculty, academic staff, and graduate students. Professor Kathy Lavezzo (English, University of Iowa) will discuss the introduction to her recent book, The Accommodated Jew: English Antisemitism from Bede to Milton (Cornell, 2016) , as well as a short article about Stuart Hall, J.R.R. Tolkien, and racism in the recent past of medieval studies. To register and receive the readings for the workshop, please contact Lisa Cooper at lhcooper@wisc.edu.

Friday, November 22, 4:00 p.m. Helen C. White, Room 6191. Public lecture: Professor Kathy Lavezzo (English, University of Iowa). “The Wandering Woman in the Jewish Boy: Gender, Antisemitism, and the English City”

The Middle Ages witnessed two monumental spatial phenomena, the rise of the city and the emergence of the doctrine of separate spheres. This talk considers the presence of a crucial way of understanding gender and urban space in a group of highly offensive texts: medieval English antisemitic literature. Focusing on one of the most widely told and influential medieval libels about Jews—the legend of the Jewish Boy—this presentation analyzes what happens when a racial and intolerant culture, oddly, imbues a woman with a public voice and public authority.

Professor Kathy Lavezzo (English, University of Iowa) is a well-established scholar in the field of medieval literary studies. Her wide-ranging work is especially engaged with issues of community, nationhood and social hierarchy; cultural geography and medieval cartography; Christian-Jewish relations; economy and trade; race and ethnicity; and gender and sexuality. Her most recent, groundbreaking book, The Accommodated Jew: English Antisemitism from Bede to Milton (Cornell, 2016) understands the mapping of Jews in English texts as richly responsive to the appearance of a secular and market-driven urban society in a Christian milieu. She is also the author of Angels on the Edge of the World: Geography, Literature, and English Community, 1000-1534 (Cornell, 2006), and of multiple articles published in prominent venues (Studies in the Age of Chaucer, New Medieval Literatures, and PMLA, among others); she is the editor of Imagining a Medieval English Nation (2003) and Essays in Memory of Richard Helgerson (2011). With Lisa Lampert-Weissig, Professor Lavezzo is also the principal investigator for a digital humanities project, Remappings. Her scholarship has been supported by a Frankel Institute Fellowship at the University of Michigan and a Solmsen Fellowship at the Institute for Research in the Humanities here at UW-Madison.

Professor Lavezzo’s visit is made possible by the Anonymous Fund, the Department of English, the Program in Medieval Studies at UW-Madison and the Mosse/Weinstein Center for Jewish Studies at UW-Madison.

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.