Author Archives: Ann Buckley
Books in use generally reside in our hands or on our desks. This was not very different in medieval times. However, medieval and modern reading culture take different paths when it comes to books that are not in use. While both then and now the objects are commonly shelved after use, medieval readers had additional storing options: slipping the book into a box, bag or wrapper. Unfortunately, few of these exotic – and fascinating – storage devices survive today. However, the ones that do indicate that many were made with a specific purpose in mind, namely transportation. Here are some popular means of packing up your book to go in medieval times, including the precursor of our modern tablet sleeve.
Call for papers: Late Antique Hagiography as Literature
Colloquium at the University of Edinburgh, 20th-21st May 2015
Texts about ‘holy’ women and men grew to be a defining feature of the culture of Late Antiquity. There is currently an increasing interest among scholars from different disciplines (history, theology, languages, and literature) in these hagiographical writings. But more can be done to find ways to systematise our understanding of the literary affiliations, strategies and goals of these extraordinarily varied texts, which range from the prosaic and anonymous narrations of the martyr passions to the Classicising poems of Paulinus of Nola and the rhetorically accomplished sermons of John Chrysostom.
This colloquium is designed to bring together students and scholars working on a range of aspects of literary hagiography, to share insights, and to consider approaches for the future. We hope to situate late antique biographical production in relation to Classical literary sensibilities, as well as considering non-classical influences, and thus to identify areas of continuity and gradual development as well as areas of abrupt change in the form and function of such literature. While our emphasis is deliberately literary, historical and theological questions which feed into the significance of these works should not be ignored.
We understand ‘hagiography’ in the non-technical sense of ‘writings about (the lives of) saints’. The concept of ‘saints’, likewise, is here taken in a broad way to mean remarkable and exemplary Christian figures (whether real or fictional); the field is not restricted to those who at some point were officially canonised by the Church. This colloquium is seeking to explore issues like the following:
* The definition of sainthood, e.g. through comparisons with texts about non-Christian saint-like figures (the ‘pagan martyrs’, Apollonius of Tyana).
* The portrayal of a saint in different texts; how are saints portrayed in their own writings compared to those of other authors about them?
* Characterisation, e.g. individuality and stereotyping: to what extent can a reader empathise or identify with a saint?
* Life imitating hagiography and resulting problems.
* What can hagiography tell us about non-elite ‘popular’ literary culture?
* How have different genres given shape to hagiographical texts (from Damasus’ epigrams to the epic poems of Fortunatus and Paulinus of Périgeux), as well as texts resisting generic categorisation? E.g. is the so called Life of Malchus a vita or a diegesis?
* Intertextuality as an aesthetic and ideological strategy.
* The emergence of stable hagiographical conventions, whose influence grew so powerful that it is often difficult to distinguish one saint from another.
* What, if anything, can hagiography learn from panegyric?
* Literary approaches to un-saintly behaviour (trickery, committing suicide, etc.) of saints.
* To what extent does a text’s rhetorical purpose undermine the author’s credibility as an honest record-keeper?
* Assessing the historicity of hagiographical texts.
* Transmission and textual problems of hagiographical texts.
* Reception and changes in the perception of authority (e.g. saints who wrote about saints, such as John Chrysostom and Augustine).
Proposals for 25-minute papers, in the form of abstracts between 200 and 400 words in length, should be submitted to Thomas Tsartsidis (T.Tsartsidis@sms.ed.ac.uk) or Christa Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 15th January 2015.
Postgraduate students are particularly encouraged to contribute to this event.
New publication by the CARMEN-initiated ARC Medieval Press:
Postdoctoral Fellowship in Studies of Early Modern Europe
The Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas at McGill University seeks a Postdoctoral Fellow in Studies in Early Modern Europe with a demonstrable research interest in the public life of arts and ideas. The Fellow will join a research project—Early Modern Conversions: Religions, Cultures, Cognitive Ecologies.
PROJECT MANAGER: EARLY MODERN CONVERSIONS
Early Modern Conversions: Religions, Cultures, Cognitive Ecologies is a five-year, international, interdisciplinary project (2013-2018) that studies how early modern Europeans changed their confessional, social, political, and even sexual identities. These subjective changes were of a piece with transformations in their world—the geopolitical reorientation of Europe in relation with the Ottoman Empire and the Americas; the rethinking of Latin Antiquity; changes in the built environment; the reimagining of God. The research is growing together with a History Visualization Lab able to track the growth of multiple conversional forms, both geographically and historically. Among the partners taking part in the Conversions project are the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences, and Humanities (Cambridge), the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, and the Guildhall School for Music and Drama. Headquartered at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas (IPLAI), McGill University, and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, the project will develop an historical understanding that will also enlighten modern debates about corporeal, sexual, psychological, political and spiritual kinds of transformation.
Download full details here
Early Modern Cross-Cultural Conversions
Summer Research Seminar
University of Cambridge
June 28 to July 26, 2015
Iain Fenlon, Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge
Bronwen Wilson, Art History and World Art Studies, Sainsbury Institute for Art, University of East Anglia
Sponsored by Early Modern Conversions: Cultures, Religions, Cognitive Ecologies headquartered at the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, McGill University, and funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
“Early Modern Cross-Cultural Conversions” is a summer seminar that addresses the theme of conversion by focusing on the mobility of people, things, and forms of knowledge across religious, social, and geographical boundaries. Cross-cultural interaction generated a rich archive of material and immaterial forms—music, clocks, textiles, clothes, books, instruments, diagrams, drawings, miniatures, portraits, maps, antiquities, paintings, performances—and opens up understanding of ways in which artifacts activated conversations and creativity. By exploring cross-cultural interaction in cosmopolitan centers, across regions, and across bodies of water, the seminar will explore conversion not only as a religious phenomenon but also as a form of early modern imagination and thinking.
Doctoral students in their final year, postdocs, and junior faculty are invited to apply to take part in the research seminar by defining projects that range in time from the late fifteenth- through the seventeenth century. Projects may attend to cross-cultural interplay and its potential to foster imagination and expressiveness, as well as ways in which play is constrained. Projects might engage with soundscapes, diplomacy, scientific exchanges, manufacturing, patterns and motifs, architectural materials, urbanism, travellers, ships, guidebooks, collecting, alchemy, geography, botany, musical repertories, instruments, and theatre.
One premise of the seminar is that societies and cultures are always already entangled, and thus we aim to shift the focus away from terms of reference such as identity, otherness, and hybridity to processes of conversion—material and immaterial conversions, remediations, reorientations, and transformations. We will explore movement, wandering, migration, experimentation, improvisation, ornamentation, and sensation in dialogue with diverse media and spaces, as well as early modern social, religious, and political investments.
Usually meeting during the afternoons, the seminar will include discussions of readings and analysis of historical, literary, pictorial, material, and musical sources as participants refine their own projects. Cambridge allows for interaction with other researchers, including postdoctoral fellows associated with CRASSH. Fieldtrips during the seminar include King’s College Chapel and the Fitzwilliam Museum, with optional visits to Holkham Hall and the exhibition of artworks from the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, then on display at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich.
Travel and accommodation will be provided by the Early Modern Conversions Project. Seminar participants will have rooms at Selwyn College for the duration of the seminar and team meeting. At the end of the seminar, participants will participate in the annual team meeting of the Early Modern Conversions project, in Cambridge, 23-26 July. Cambridge offers rich resources for study including King’s College Library, the University Library, and the city’s museums. http://www.cam.ac.uk/museums-and-collections
Doctoral candidates in their final year of study, recent doctoral graduates, and junior faculty are invited to apply to participate. Candidates should send a cover letter, CV, research proposal (max 5pp) and article-length writing sample to email@example.com by 15 December 2014. Two confidential letters of recommendation should be sent to the same address by the same deadline; referees are asked to indicate the name of the candidate in the subject line of their email. At least one referee should confirm time to completion for applicants who have not yet graduated.