Laurent Ferri Presents “The Proud Symbolism of Medieval Heraldry: Why It Matters; Why It Is Fun!”

Cutting on vellum from the Great Choir Book of Ferdinand and Isabella, Castile, ca. 1479-92 Cornell University Library, Division of Rare Books and Manuscripts, #6532 Map Case Folder 8 (New Acquisition)
Join us for a presentation by Laurent Ferri, curator of pre-1800 collections in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, adjunct associate professor of comparative literature, and member of the graduate field in the Department of Medieval Studies.  The presentation takes place on Thursday, September 24, from 4:30 to 6:00 p.m. in the Carl A. Kroch Library, room 2B48.

Rare and beautiful materials from the Cornell’s collections will be on display. They document the importance of heraldry to study wars, tournaments, family dynamics and structures, or social identification and control, but also—and perhaps, more unexpectedly—art patronage, cartography, finance, and even pharmacopoeia in Europe from c. 1150-1550, with particular emphasis on the following regions: England, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, and Spain.

This event is cosponsored by Medieval Studies and Cornell University Library.

For more information, contact or call (607) 255-3530.

image: Cutting on vellum from the Great Choir Book of Ferdinand and Isabella, Castile, ca. 1479-92. Cornell University Library, Division of Rare Books and Manuscripts, #6532 Map Case Folder 8 (New Acquisition)

The Medieval Brown Bag Lunch Series

Announcing 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 Thursday of each month, beginning next Thursday, September 10. All are welcome!

Sep 10 | noon, Goldwin Smith 181
David Powers [Near Eastern Studies]
, “Radio-Carbon Analysis and dating early Qur’an manuscripts”

Oct 8 | noon, McGraw Hall rm. 215
Ben Anderson [History of Art], “Byzantine Oracle Books”  

Nov 12 | noon, McGraw Hall rm. 215
Simone Pinet [Romance Languages], “Iberian Coins and Metaphor”  



The Medieval Roundtable – “A Moveable Feast: Eels and Spatial Construction in 17th-Century England,” September 4

In the first discussion in the monthly “Medieval Roundtable” series, John Wyatt Greenlee will discuss his paper, “A Moveable Feast: Eels and Spatial Construction in 17th-Century England.”

Starting in 1600, maps of the city of London began to include the addition of two Dutch eel ships, floating in the river, near Queenhythe.  The ships, called schuyts, are often labeled – a key and curious feature given that the maps on which they appear otherwise only attach labels to villages, neighborhoods, and immobile urban monuments such as St. Paul’s Cathedral.  The ships’ presence on the maps mirrored the growing presence of the Dutch eel men in London:  over the course of the 17th century the Dutch became a fixture of London’s urban landscape, carving out a permanent economic and political space in the heart of England’s capital.  Curiously, the eel men owed that space to changing English conceptions of national space and identity – in fine, the establishment of the Dutch space in London came about in no small part because of English efforts to drain the Fens of East Anglia, and to create more England in the midst of the wastelands’ waters.

The discussion will be held in the English Lounge, 258 Goldwin Smith Hall, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. on Friday, September 4. All are welcome!

The Medieval Roundtable: A Monthly Series of Graduate Presentations

The Ph.D. students in Medieval Studies begin a series of monthly work-in-progress discussions. These will be held on the first Friday of the month, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. All are welcome! This semester’s schedule is as follows:

Sep 4 | 2:30 p.m., Goldwin Smith 258
Wyatt Greenlee, “A Moveable Feast: Eels and Spatial Construction in 17th Century England”

Nov 6 | 2:30 p.m., Olin Library rm. 703
Rae Grabowski, “Rumination and Digestion: The Body of Christ and the Word”  

Dec 4 | 2:30 p.m., Olin Library rm. 703
Anna Waymack, “Maximianus and Chaucer’s Reeve”


Medieval Studies Fall Reception, Friday, August 28

Welcome to Fall Semester! Please reserve the date for our Fall Reception, Friday August 28 from 4:30pm, in the Ruth Woolsey Findley History of Art Gallery (in the Goldwin Smith Hall basement, just down the hall from Temple of Zeus). Meet Professor David Powers, the new Director of the Medieval Studies Program, as well as new and returning Medieval Studies students and faculty. Family and everyone welcome; some drinks and snacks will be provided.  We look forward to seeing everyone!


‘Unfashionable Creatures’: Tolkien’s 1931 Curricular Reform and the Fantastic Imagination

Dr. Maria Sachiko Cecire (Assistant Professor; Director, Experimental Humanities, Bard College) presents “‘Unfashionable Creatures’: Tolkien’s 1931 Curricular Reform and the Fantastic Imagination,” a lecture co-sponsored by Quodlibet and the Medieval Studies program, Friday, April 10 at 4pm in Goldwin Smith Hall G22. A reception follows; this event is open to the public.

Dr. Cecire’s areas of specialization include children’s literature and culture, medieval literature and its reception, media studies, and gender studies. Publications include the coedited volumeSpace and Place in Children’s Literature (Ashgate, 2015), and articles and essays in Medieval English Theatre, Shakespeare Bulletin, The Disney Middle Ages, Anglo-Saxon Culture and the Modern Imagination, Arthurian Literature, The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies, and Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism.

Ding Xiang Warner publishes “Transmitting Authority”


Ding Xiang Warner [Associate Professor, Asian Studies] has published a new book, Transmitting Authority: Wang Tong and the Zhongshuo in Medieval China’s Manuscript Culture [Brill]. The book “investigates the rise and fall of the cultural currency of the Confucian teacher Wang Tong (ca. 584–617), a.k.a. Master Wenzhong, in the five centuries following his death, by examining the textual and social history of the Zhongshuo, which purports to record Wang Tong’s teachings.” Read more here.

Near Eastern Studies Lecture: Paul M. Cobb (University of Pennsylvania) on Wednesday, February 11

Please join us on Wednesday, February 11th for the First Event of the Near Eastern Studies Spring 2015 Lecture Series.


Paul M. Cobb from the University of Pennsylvania will be presenting “Johann Schiltberger’s Excellent Adventure: Crusade, Captivity and the Marvelous East in the Later Middle Ages” at 4:30 p.m. in 110 White Hall.


“Order and Disorder in the Middle Ages”: 25th Annual Medieval Studies Student Colloquium, February 7

Saturday, February 7 marks the 25th annual Medieval Studies Student Colloquium in the A. D. White House. This year’s theme is “Order and Disorder in the Middle Ages.” The colloquium features three panels in which students from Cornell, Yale, UConn, Binghamton, and St. John’s will present current research. Additionally, Nino Zchomelidse (Johns Hopkins) will present the keynote address, “The Place of Ritual in the Visual Culture(s) of Medieval Southern Italy.”

MSSC Poster 2015

The MSSC is sponsored by: The Cornell Medieval Studies program; GPSAFC; The Society For the Humanities; and the Cornell Department of History.

The full schedule is below:

8:30 – 9:00 – Breakfast

9:00-10:20 – Panel 1: “Changing Projections of Kingship”
Spencer J. Weinrich (Yale), “A Saint in the Family: Richard II’s Image of Edward II”
Abby Sprenkle (Cornell), “The ‘Doom’ of Kings: Anglo-Saxon Law as Kingly Literature”
Patrick Butler (UConn), “You Can’t Always Get What You Want: Revisiting the Failed Second Anointing of Edward II”

10:20-10:30 – Coffee Break

10:30-11:50 – Panel 2: “Rhetoric and Style of Order and Disorder”
Danielle Reid (Cornell), “Historia Nova: New approaches to the history of Zosimus”
Mariana Bodnaruk (Cornell), “Administering the EmpireL  The Unmaking of an Equestrian Elite in the Fourth Century CE”
Camasin Middour Pedroja (Binghamton), “Politeness and Power: Feminine Rhetoric in the Stonor Letter and Papers”
Sam Barber (Cornell), “Constructing the Community in Late Antique Ravenna: The Arian Baptistery in its Ideological Context”

11:50-1:00 – Coffee & Lunch

1:00-2:30 – Keynote Address
Nino Zchomelidse (Johns Hopkins), “The Place of Ritual in the Visual Culture(s) of Medieval Southern Italy”

2:30-2:40 – Coffee Break

2:40-4:00 – Panel 3: “Physicality and Transformations”
Phillip Grayson (St. Johns), “‘Turn Me Back Into My Former Nature’: The Transformations of St Christopher”
Anna Waymack (Cornell), “When Aging Breaks Time: The Disordered Temporalities of Langland, Merlin, and the Wandering Jew”
Max McComb (Cornell), “Moral Order and Disordered Bodies: Healing Miracles in the Translatio et Miracula Sanctorum Marcellini et Petri


Matthew Giancarlo to deliver workshop and lecture, November 6-7

Matthew Giancarlo (Associate Professor, Engish, University of Kentucky) will host a workshop to discuss his article forthcoming in Exemplaria: “Mirror, Mirror: Princely Hermeneutics, Practical Constitutionalism, and the Genres of the English Fürstenspiegel,” in Olin Library rm. 403 at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 6.

He will also give a talk, entitled “Constituting Medievalism?: Historicist Literary Inquiry and the Pitfalls of Narrative,” at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, November 7, in Goldwin Smith 142.

Selected Publications:
“Chaucer and Contemporary Courts of Law and Politics: House, Law, Game.” Chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Chaucer. Forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
“Political Forms and Institutions in Piers Plowman.” Chapter in The Cambridge Companion to Piers Plowman. Cambridge University Press, 2014.
“Dressing up a ‘galaunt’: Traditional Piety and Fashionable Politics in Peter Idley’s ‘translacions’ of Mannyng and Lydgate.” In After Arundel: Religious Writing in Fifteenth-Century England.  Brepols, 2012.
“Troubling the New Constitutionalism: Politics, Penitence, and the Dilemma of Dread in the Digby Poems,” Journal of English and Germanic Philology 110 (2011).
Parliament and Literature in Late Medieval England. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
Other articles and reviews in journals such as Speculum, ELH: English Literary History, Representations, Studies in the Age of Chaucer, The Medieval Review, The Yearbook of Langland Studies, Modern Language Quarterly, and University of Toronto Quarterly.