International Congress on Medieval Studies cancelled because of coronavirus

As much of the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, events among the medieval studies community are being cancelled. The latest conference that will no longer be taking place is the International Congress on Medieval Studies.

One of the largest gathering of medievalists in the world, this event was due to take place on the campus of Western Michigan University from May 7 through 10. The annual event usually brings in more than 3,000 scholars, and is home to many meetings for various medieval academic organizations.


A message on the congress website states:

The health and safety of our attendees and our community are our first priority. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the most recent recommendations of the CDC and the WHO regarding social distancing and public gatherings, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies (May 7-10, 2020).

The congress organizers add that those who have already registered and want refunds need to email them at [email protected] by April 22nd. They also hope that the sessions scheduled for this year can be rescheduled to take place in 2021.


The likelihood of a cancellation was already on the minds of many medievalists, as Western Michigan University has imposed measures to limit events and classes on the campus. The news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in which they call on all large events and mass gatherings not to be held for the next eight weeks seems to be a major factor in the cancellation.

People have already been reacting on Twitter, expressing their sadness:

Meanwhile, the 41st Annual Medieval and Renaissance Forum, which was to place next month at Keene State College, has also been cancelled. Conference organizers sent out a message:

Over the course of the past week, we have followed closely the development of the COVID-19 crisis in New England and at Keene State College specifically. Yesterday, Dr. Melinda Treadwell, the President of Keene State College announced that all courses were moving online from March 23rd to April 6th with the possibility of the campus remaining closed for the remainder of the spring semester. Not knowing whether the campus will be open on April 17-18 and, more importantly, not wanting our participants and their families to be at any risk, we believe it to be the safer course to cancel our gathering.

For more details, please see the Medieval and Renaissance Forum website.