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.

Carol Symes to present lecture and workshop, November 11-12

Carol Symes (Professor of History and Medieval Studies, University of Illinois) will deliver a lecture on Tuesday, November 11th, at 4:30 p.m. in the Guerlac Room of the AD White House, entitled “Performative Texts, Embodied Literacies, and the Documentary Revolution of Medieval Europe.”

On Wednesday, November 12th, from 10 to 11 a.m. in the English Lounge (258 Goldwin Smith Hall), Professor Symes has agreed to host a workshop for interested faculty and graduate students.  Participants will read, discuss, and comment on a pre-circulated chapter from her current book project.

Scott Gwara Lecture and Roundtable: “Medieval Meets Digital,” Thursday, October 16, 4:30 p.m.

“Medieval Meets Digital: the Manuscriptlink Project and the Cornell Manuscripts”:

Scott Gwara (Univ. of South Carolina)will present a lecture, “Manuscript Fragmentology: Restoring a Medieval Library Online, Page by Page,” in the Kroch Library (Olin), Rare Lecture Room 2B48.

Panelists include Prof. in MS Andrew Galloway, Prof. in MS Andrew Hicks, PhD candidate in MS Ruth Mullett, and digital expert Anne Sauer.

The event is sponsored by the Medieval Studies Program, the French Studies Program, the Cornell library, and the Society for the Humanities.

Thursday, March 13: Peter Casarella (Notre Dame)

Dr. Peter Casarella from University of Notre Dame will be giving a talk on March 13 at 4:30 at Lewis Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall, entitled “Vis vocabuli: Nicholas of Cusa’s Disputed Contesting of Nominalism.”

Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464) was a polymath who lived in a dynamic age in which scholasticism, humanism, and nominalism were often in fierce competition. His mystical theology leaned heavily on Neoplatonic sources and legitimated a turn to apophaticism in theology. He was thus categorized as a nominalist by early followers, a trend continued by a number of contemporary interpreters. A more careful study of his thinking about the nature of language and the expressiveness of the work of art, however, reveals a more complicated and interesting scenario.

F. Jamil Ragep to Deliver “Medieval Cosmologies” Lecture

The Medieval Cosmologies Working Group is pleased to announce the visit of F. Jamil Ragep, Canada Research Chair in the History of Science in Islamic Societies at McGill University. Professor Ragep will deliver a public lecture on Thursday, November 21st, at 4:30 PM in Goldwin Smith G22:

“The Astronomical Genre of Hayʾa: Cosmology without Philosophy?”

In the early history of Islamic astronomy, there arose a subdivision called hayʾa, which more than likely had its inspiration from Ptolemy’s cosmological work called the Planetary Hypotheses. But over time this genre took on a life of its own, eventually becoming the umbrella term for all astronomy and ostentatiously excluding astrology from its domain. It also became the locus for attempts to reform the Ptolemaic system and a contender to be the Islamic cosmology on religious grounds, something occasionally opposed on religious grounds as well. The story of hayʾa—its genesis, evolution, and relationship with philosophical cosmology—will be the subject of this talk.

On Friday the 22nd at 1:25, working group members are invited to join the seminar on medieval cosmologies in Goldwin Smith G19 for further discussion with the lecturer (1:25-3:00). Those planning to attend may contact Andrew Hicks ( for copies of the readings.

F. Jamil Ragep’s visit is made possible by the generous support of the Cornell Institute of European Studies Luigi Einaudi Chair Innovation Fund and the Department of Near Eastern Studies.

For more information on the working group: