10 Interesting Sessions at the Fifty-Fourth International Congress on Medieval Studies

The annual International Congress on Medieval Studies – the largest conference about the Middle Ages in the world – is taking place at Western Michigan University from May 9–12, 2019.

The Sneak Preview of the congress programme has been released, and here are 10 sessions we think will be very interesting!


Session 19 – Late Antiquity I: Staying Pagan, Being and Becoming Christian

  • The Vestal Virgins of Fourth-Century CE Rome – Casey M. Stark
  • The Politics of a Beautiful Body: Antony, Constantine, and the Aesthetics of Christian Piety – Benjamin Hansen
  • Romans and Foederati: The Arabian Peninsula between the Fourth and Fifth Centuries – Valentina A. Grasso

Session 51 – Was There Capitalism in the Middle Ages?

  • Concepts of Capitalism, Old and New – Tim Barker
  • Capitalism and the Rise of an Abstract Mentality in Late Medieval France, Burgundy, and Flanders –  Suzanne Verderber
  • What Is Socially Distinctive of Modern Capitalism? Zach Wehrwein, Harvard Univ. Risky Business: Medieval Trade before Capitalism – Craig E. Bertolet

Session 85 – Well Connected Women in the Middle Ages

  • The Case of the Missing Countess: In Search of the Wealthiest Woman in Domesday – Elizabeth Dachowski and M. Wendy Hennequin
  • “Pro devote femineo sexu”: Queen Melisende and the Virgin as Alter Ego – Avital Heyman
  • Alice in the Looking Glass: Assessing Agency in Alice of Antioch – Phyllis G. Jestice

Session 204 – Scripts, Ciphers, Shorthands

  • Code-icology: Deciphering Cox Macro MS 5 – Kersti Francis
  • The Codex, the Cipher, and the Crow: Concealed Knowledge in Sloane MS 475 -Katherine S. Hindley
  • How Many Glyphs and How Many Scribes? Digital Paleography and the Voynich Manuscript – Lisa Fagin Davis

Session 263 – Head, Face, and Body: The Expressive Qualities of Hair in the Middle Ages (A Roundtable)

A roundtable discussion with Laura Michele Diener,  Martha Easton, John Block Friedman, Alexa K. Sand and Hanna Hopwood Griffiths

Session 304 – New Voices in Medieval History

  • A Slippery Currency: Eels in the Medieval English Economy – John Wyatt Greenlee
  • Into the Woods: Falcons as Evidence of Ecological Intervention in the High Middle Ages –  Kyle Madsen
  • Writing Hebrew, Speaking French: Hebrew Translations among Diglossic Jews in Medieval Northern Europe – Caroline Gruenbaum
  • Regulating Sex Trade in the Latin East: Comparative Perspectives –  Sean Loritz

Session 391 – Annual Journal of Medieval Military History Lecture 

  • Bella plus quam civila: Battle in the Context of Civil War and Rebellion under the Anglo-Norman and Angevin Kings – Matthew Strickland
  • Respondent – Craig M. Nakashian

Session 459 – Animal Crimes

  • Reading Legal Bodies: Interrogating the Animal Trials as Literary Scholars – Crystal N. Beamer
  • Objectification and Non-Human Execution in Fifteenth-Century Flanders – Mireille Pardon
  • Premodern Animal Trials and the Question of the Human-Animal Divide – Anna Czarnowus
  • The Green “Mayster Herte”: The Deer as Iconic Object and Perpetrator of Crime in Select Robin Hood Narratives and Film – Lorraine Kochanske Stock

Session 479 – Fixers and Go-Betweens in the Medieval Mediterranean and Medieval Iberian Worlds II

  • A Family of Spies: The Infiltration and Intelligence Experts of Alagón – Ariana Myers
  • An Honest Merchant? Arnau Ferrer, Accused of Piracy in 1340 –  David D. Terry,
  • The Go-Between of a Thousand Faces: Performance and Theatrical Resources Used in La Celestina (1499) by Fernando de Rojas – Francis Turco
  • Between Reconquest and Crusade: Late Medieval Crusade Planners’ Iter per Hispaniam – Michael J. Sanders

Session 546: The Justinianic Plague: An Interdisciplinary Discussion (A Roundtable)

  • The Emergence of Plague in Scholarship on Late Antiquity – Timothy Newfield
  • Why Biology Is Integral to Understanding the First Plague Pandemic – Michelle Ziegler
  • A Minimalist Account of the Justinianic Plague – Lee Mordechai
  • Comparative Insights on Plague Pandemics: The Justinianic Plague and the Black Death – Nükhet Varlık

Click here to read the sneak peak of the programme to see what else is happening at the International Congress on Medieval Studies




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