The Department of Romance Languages is hosting a faculty / graduate colloquium on Thursday, September 21, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Romance Studies Lounge (Klarman Hall 164). Three Romance Studies faculty (all members of the Medieval Studies graduate field) will present their work: Simone Pinet, Marilyn Migiel, and Cary Howie.
The colloquium is a new Romance Studies initiative intended to foster faculty-graduate student discussion about research projects. It is informal: there are no papers or lectures or book talks, but rather open discussion about the kind of work and the kinds of questions guiding different faculty research endeavors. Each of the three faculty members has selected a short text that relates to teaching, research, or something that is essential for graduate education. The variety of these texts is eclectic.
If you plan to attend, please contact Patty Keller in Romance Studies or James Utz in Medieval Studies.
Andrew Hicks (Associate Professor, Music and Medieval Studies) will deliver a “Chat in the Stacks” about his recently-published book, Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos (Oxford University Press, 2017). The talk will take place Wednesday, September 13, at 4:30 p.m. in Olin Library room 107.
More details available here.
On Thursday, April 20, Kathleen Davis (Professor, English, University of Rhode Island) will present “From Periodization to the Autoimmune Secular State.” The lecture will take place in 142 Goldwin Smith Hall at 4:30 p.m.
Can we imagine history without the idea of the Middle Ages? Difficult as that may be, this talk suggests, we cannot adequately understand today’s divisive politics, particularly concerning the “secular” and the “religious,” without examining the fundamental premises that generated and sustain the Middle Ages as a historical period.
Kathleen Davis received her PhD in English and Medieval Studies from Rutgers University, where she found encouragement to work across disciplinary boundaries. She has worked in the fields of Old and Middle English literature, translation studies, and postcolonial criticism. Most recently, her engagement with colonial histories and postcolonial theory led her to examine the periodizing process that gave us the categories of the “medieval” and the “modern,” and to investigate the relation of that process to colonial rule. She is the author of Periodization and Sovereignty: How Ideas of Feudalism and Secularization Govern the Politics of Time; and co-editor, with Nadia Altschul, of Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of “the Middle Ages” Outside Europe. Professor Davis is continuing her work in this area with two book projects. The first, tentatively titled “The Fold of Periodization,” examines the structure of periodization; reassesses the historiography of the idea of the Middle Ages; and traces the role of medieval/modern periodization in the formation of academic disciplines. The second, which Davis began while a member of the Institute for Advanced Study, focuses on the relationship between medieval/modern periodization and the idea of a “secular” versus a “religious” society, particularly as this idea affects contemporary politics.
This event is co-sponsored by the Departments of English and History, the Jewish Studies Program, and the Society for the Humanities.
Benjamin Anderson (History of Art and Visual Studies) will present a Visual Culture Colloquium on Tuesday, March 14, at 4:30 p.m. in G22 Goldwin Smith Hall. Event listing here.
A robust tradition of oracular images – made in the past and understood to contain knowledge of the future – emerged in early medieval Constantinople; by the later middle ages it had split in two, with a Latin branch claiming to foretell future popes, a Greek branch future emperors (later sultans). The two strands were drawn back together ca. 1590 (and independently) by the Cretan artist Georgios Klontzas and the French essayist Michel de Montaigne. Both juxtapositions are forms of “critique,” but point to opposite conceptions of pictorial knowledge.
Anna Waymack, a 4th-year Ph.D. student in the Medieval Studies program, has received an Alice H. Cook and Constance E. Cook Award in recognition of her advocacy for victims of sexual violence and her work to promote better policies relating to sexual harassment and assault here at Cornell and across the United States. More Cook Award winners are listed here.
Benjamin Anderson [Assistant Professor, History of Art and Visual Studies] has published a new book, Cosmos and Community in Early Medieval Art [Yale University Press]. The book “uses thrones, tables, mantles, frescoes, and manuscripts to show how cosmological motifs informed relationships between individuals, especially the ruling elite, and communities, demonstrating how domestic and global politics informed the production and reception of these depictions.” Read more here.
Andrew Hicks [Assistant Professor, Music / Medieval Studies] has published a new book, Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos [Oxford University Press]. The book “charts [a] constellation of musical metaphors, analogies, and expressive modalities embedded within a late-ancient and medieval cosmological discourse: that of a cosmos animated and choreographed according to a specifically musical aesthetic.” Read more here.
On Monday, November 7, Monica Green (Professor, History, Arizona State University) will present “Medieval Plague, Modern Ebola, Invisible Africa: Genetics and the Framing of Global Health History.” The talk will take place in 165 McGraw Hall at 4:30 p.m.
There is a long historiography about health and medicine in Africa in the modern colonial and post-colonial periods. But genetics is helping us see beyond the limit of colonial encounters and the written archives they created. Plague, it is currently believed, is in origin a Eurasian disease. Its entry into Africa—at least three separate times in the past 2500 years—can now be traced, not by any new archival discoveries, but by the genetic trail left by its causative organism, Yersinia pestis. Genetics is the story of life itself, and it can help decipher the narratives of migrations, ecological transitions, and social change in Africa that, in the current state of evidence, are otherwise invisible to us. It provides hints more than answers. But those hints allow us not only to bring Africa into narratives of the medieval Black Death, but also to show the relevance of “medieval” narratives to the present day. The same genetics analyses that have driven new work on plague’s histories also drove epidemiological understandings of the West African Ebola outbreak in 2013-15. As “the story of life,” genetics allows us to integrate Africa into more truly global histories of disease.
Monica H. Green is Professor of History at Arizona State University, where she teaches medieval European history and the history of medicine and global health. She has held fellowships from, among others, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard, the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, All Souls College, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and most recently, the American Academy of Berlin. She has published extensively on various aspects of medieval medical history and recently edited the volume Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death (2014). She is interested in bringing new work in genetics and bioarchaeology into dialogue with traditional historical work in documentary sources, and is now expanding her work into the field of global health history, which uses the narratives of infectious diseases from leprosy to HIV/AIDS to tell of common threats to health that humans have shared the world over.
This event is sponsored by the Department of History and the Medieval Studies program.
Marilyn Migiel [Romance Studies] will discuss Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375) at noon next Wednesday, March 9, in Uris G24.
Migiel’s focus will be on work she has done and is currently doing on Boccaccio and the question of woman. She recently published published “Boccaccio and Women” in The Cambridge Companion to Boccaccio ). At the lunchtime discussion, she will present some of the current work that she is doing on Boccaccio’s De casibus virorum illustrium (On the Fates of Illustrious Men [1360-73]).
Refreshments will be served. All are welcome!
Announcing the return of the Brown Bag Lunch series, a monthly gathering where faculty in the Medieval Studies field discuss work in progress and current research topics. Talks will be held at noon on the second Wednesday of each month, beginning next Wednesday, February 10. All are welcome!
Feb 10 | noon, Uris G88
Andrew Hicks [Music], “Listening to Fragments: Editing a ‘New’ Fourteenth-Century Motet”
Mar 9 | noon, room t.b.a.
Marilyn Migiel [Romance Studies], “Reading Misogyny: Boccaccio ‘Against’ Women?”
Apr 13 | noon, room t.b.a.
Cynthia Robinson [History of Art], “Nasrid Visual Culture: Metaphor, Symbol, and Illumination”