2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies Program

November 26, 2017 in Abstracts of Conference Papers, Announcements, Conference, Conference Announcement, Index of Medieval Art, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Uncategorized

Sessions & Events
Sponsored and Co-Sponsored
by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies
10–13 May 2018

With the completion of our Call for Papers for the 2018 Congress, we prepare the Programs for our Sessions and other Events, Reception and Open Business Meeting included. In due course, we will, as customary, post the Abstracts of Papers and Response, as their Authors permit.

Background and Foreground

The course of announcements and reports about the 2018 Congress may follow the sequence of previous years. For example, for the 2017 Congress, we announced the Plans and the Call for Papers (which has a deadline of 15 September), the Program (once the Sessions are designed from the responses to the Call for Papers), then an updated version or versions of the Program with the addition of the Abstracts and other news (same URL), and, once the Congress is accomplished, a Report as well as, it may be, a Report Behind the Scenes.

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Logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence (colour version)As in recent years, we co-sponsor Sessions with the Societas Magica (3 Sessions), and we co-sponsor a Reception.

Also, like the 2017 Congress, we plan for

It will be the 13th year of our co-sponsorship with the Societas Magica, and our 3rd year of co-sponsorship with the Index of Christian Art at Princeton University, now (since 2017) known as the Index of Medieval Art at Princeton University.

As usual, we aim to publish the Abstracts for the accepted Papers as the preparations for the Congress advance. Abstracts for previous Congresses appear in the Congress Abstracts, listed by Year and by Author.]

Background and Foreground

Glimpses of our co-sponsored Receptions at the Congress appear in the souvenirs of our Celebrations and in the Reports for the individual Congresses (2016, 2015, and 2014 Anniversary).

Agenda for 2017 Open Business Meeting of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence. 1-page Agenda set in RGME Bembino.

2017 Business Meeting Agenda

The Agendas for our Open Business Meetings are available for your inspection and perusal:

These 1-page statements serve as concise Reports for our Activities, Plans, and Desiderata.

While we’re here: Interesting, isn’t it, that these Agendas have rapidly become one of our Most-Downloaded Offerings? Some of them now stand among the Top 5 Most Popular Downloads on our site.

The most popular downloads still remain our copyright and FREE multilingual digital font Bembino, and some Booklets from our Symposia and Colloquia. So far, those “best sellers” — they are FREE — include:

These publications, like most of our Publications, are FREE, but we welcome donations, both in funds and in kind, for our nonprofit mission, also with the option of tax-deduction for your Donations.

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And now, here is the plan for 2018 at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. We announce the Programs for our Sessions, describe their aims and scope, and outline our other Events.

Sessions for the 2018 Congress

Logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence (colour version)I. Sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence

1. Manuscript (Trans)formations: Transmission and Reception

This session will consider how manuscripts and their contents have changed over time, by focusing on transmission and reception history, so as to understand better how the material witnesses to these processes — including copying, scholia, glosses, marginalia, excisions, palimpsests — convey meaning. Guiding research questions include but are no means limited to, these issues:

  • How have transmission processes affected texts (and vice versa)?
  • How have the actions of readers and scribes contributed to the form in which manuscripts are currently preserved?
  • How are the history of ideas and texts related, as attested by extant manuscripts from the Middle Ages?

The session aims to provide a clearer understanding of the processes through which texts have been transmitted and preserved through and within manuscripts, resulting in a more dynamic conception of how material texts interact with the world. Examples might offer new discoveries and applicable methodologies.

Paris, BnF, MS latin 17987, folio 46 recto. Horaces 'Odes' (Carmina), Book IV.10-11 with commentary. Via gallica.bnf through Creative Commons.

Paris, BnF, MS latin 17987, folio 46 recto. Horaces ‘Odes’ (Carmina), Book IV.10-11 with commentary. Via gallica.bnf through Creative Commons.

Co-organizers

Derek Shank (Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)
Justin Hastings English Department, Loyola University Chicago)

Presider

Derek Shank

Presenters

Justin Hastings
“Allegoresis, Source-Text, and Paratextual Distortions:
Horace’s Ode 4.10 in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS Latin 17897

Rachael McNelis (Case Western Reserve University)
“A Labyrinthine Puzzle:
Musical, Textual, and Visual Discourse in En la maison Dedalus

Paris, BnF, MS latin 17987, first opening with front endleaf and folio 1 recto. Ownership marks and first page of Horace's 'Carmina', with commentary. Via gallica.bnf through Creative Commons.

Paris, BnF, MS latin 17987, first opening with front endleaf and folio 1 recto. Ownership marks and first page of Horace’s ‘Carmina’, with commentary. Via gallica.bnf through Creative Commons.

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2. Alfonso X’s Libro de los juegos: Big Results from Small Data

Libro de los juegos, folio 1 recto, detail. El Escorial, MS T.I.6, Folio 1 recto.

Libro de los juegos. Madrid, El Escorial, folio 1 recto, detail.

Alfonso X, “the Wise,” of Castile was a polymath himself, and sponsored many more across the various communities of Iberia. His court was the political center of Castile, at least until the rethinking of law and politics he promulgated in the Siete Partidas combined with his (invited) Ghibelline bid for the Holy Roman Emperorship to provoke a civil war in his realms, led by his second son Sancho IV.

Seal of Alfonso X of Castile. As reproduced by Otto Posse (1847-1921) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Seal of Alfonso X of Castile. As reproduced by Otto Posse (1847-1921) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Iberia was also a crossroads of travelers – scholars, pilgrims, diplomats, merchants — from all over the world, with destinations like the courts of Castile and of the Crown of Aragon. Among the vast corpus of works which Alfonso X either directly or indirectly composed, his book on games and gaming, the Libros de ajedrez, dados y tablas (also known as the Libro de los juegos), likely finished in the early to mid-1280s at the end of his life, seems to have reflected these intellectual and political dynamics, and recorded many such travelers and dwellers of his court.

In spite of a facsimile from the late 1980s (ISBN 84-85935-28-4), this book has until recently garnered very little attention, particularly attention that considered it beyond the domains of chess and gaming, and art history. With Sonja Musser Golladay’s 2007 dissertation and Olivia Remie Constable’s article of the same year, however, and more recent studies, analysis of the book and its context have begun to contribute to our understanding of many other aspects of the 13th century, due to its incredibly rich representation of layers of information, ranging from the portraits in its miniatures to the intertextual networks of translation in multiple domains.

In this era of “big data” and datamining, the Libro de los juegos offers a significant counter-case: one specific manuscript of only moderate length that provides insight into a multiple domains. It is “small data,” but data so rich that it produces “big results” when placed in productive tension across domains and disciplines. It is a book that lends itself to interdisciplinary conversation, and to conversations that trace its contents and its effects over time, as part of a particular corpus and part of a concrete library. The purpose of this session is to encourage a lively interdisciplinary discussion of its texts, images, and the physical book from a variety of domains, perspectives, and methods in order to address a broad array of questions both related to and beyond its explicit topic, games and aristocratic leisure, and, as such, welcomes participants from all quarters interested in cross-disciplinary analysis and discussion of the Libro de los juegos.

Organizer

Linde M. Brocato (University of Memphis)

Presider

Mildred Budny (Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)

Presenters

Lolla Bollo–Pandero (Colby College, Waterville, Maine)
“El Libro de los juegos como reproducción y recreación de la vision politica de Alfonso X”

Michael A. Conrad (Institute of Art History, University of Zürich, Switzerland)
“Prudence in Play:  Alfonso X’s Libro de acedrex e tablas as a Theory of Decision-Making”

Ulrich Schädler (Musée Suisse du Jeu, La Tour-de-Peilz; and University of Fribourg, Switzerland)
“Of Games, Man, and True Faith”

Respondent

Linde M. Brocato
” ‘The Most Dangerous Game’:  The Libro de los juegos, the Castilian Royal Library, and Aristocratic (Non-)Leisure”

Libro de los juegos. Madrid, El Escorial, MS T.1.6, folio 17 verso, detail.

Libro de los juegos. Madrid, El Escorial, MS T.1.6, folio 17 verso, detail.

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II. Co-Sponsored with the Societas Magica

Logo of the Societas Magica, reproduced by permission3 Sessions

3. Celtic Magic Texts

The medieval Insular Celtic cultures — particularly those of Ireland and Wales — have a variety of magical texts which survive, but often in literally marginal locations in manuscripts, or embedded within narratives and other literary contexts. While these are receiving increasing attention amongst the specialist audience of Insular Celticists, they are sadly unknown and relatively inaccessible to the wider academic attention of scholars of magic, as well as medieval academia generally. This session will feature the work of established and emerging scholars who are working on these primary sources and the issues raised by them, including how each of these cultures defines “magic,” specific issues in textual editing in the respective Insular Celtic languages, and particular themes and patterns observable in the content of these magical texts.

Organizer

Phillip A. Bernhardt-House (Skagit Valley College, Whidbey Island Campus, Oak Harbor, Washington)

Phillip at our 2008 Congress. Photograph by Larissa Tracy.

Phillip at our 2008 Congress. Photograph by Larissa Tracy.

 

Presider

Mildred Budny (Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)

Presenters

Phillip A. Bernhardt-House
“Christ and the Irish Gods:
Traces of Polytheism in Medieval Irish Magical Texts”

Ilona Tuomi (Department of Early and Medieval Irish, University College Cork, Ireland)
” ‘Three Nuts Which Decay, Three Sinews Which Weave’
The Language of Magic in Medieval Ireland”

Bridgette Slavin (Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, Medaille College, Buffalo, New York)
“Gendered Magic in Early Irish Texts”

You may glimpse the “Saint Gall Incantations” here, on the verso of a single despoiled leaf (via www.e-codices.unifr.ch/”, specifically at page 419).  First the recto with an illustration of the Evangelist Matthew as a scribal author, then the verso with the charms in Old Irish, presumably added to an originally blank page on the back of the illustration, offering an available space for the record.

Saint Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 1395, page 418 = recto with a framed illustration of the scribal evangelist Matthew with his winged symbol, a Man. Via Creative Commons.

Saint Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 1395, page 418 = recto with a framed illustration of the scribal evangelist Matthew with his winged symbol, a Man. Via Creative Commons.

Saint Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 1395, page 419 = verso with the Saint Gall Incantations. Via Creative Commons.

Saint Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 1395, page 419 = verso with the Saint Gall Incantations. Via Creative Commons.

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Logo of the Societas Magica, reproduced by permission4–5. Occult Blockbusters of the Islamic World (I–II)

I. The Picatrix (A Magical Bestseller)

The Picatrix, as is well known, was without question historically the most popular of all Arabic occult-scientific manuals—but only in Latin Europe. The first session of this pair will focus on the Picatrix at the intersection of the Latin and Arabic worlds, featuring new research based on a forthcoming new critical edition of the latter and a new scholarly translation with commentary on the former.

Organizer

David Porreca (Department of Classical Studies, University of Waterloo, Canada)

Presider

Claire Fanger (Department of Religion, Rice University)

Presenters

Dan Attrell (Department of Classical Studies, University of Waterloo, and The Modern Hermeticist)
“The Goal of the Sage: What’s It Take?”

David Porreca
“The Latin Picatrix:
A New English Translation, A New Assessment”

Liana Saif (Oriental Institute, University of Oxford)
“Pingree and Me:
Comprehending the World-View of Maslama al-Qurṭubī’s Ghāyat al-Ḥakīm

II. Arabic and Persian

While the original Picatrix [in Arabic the Goal of the Sage (Ghāyat al-ḥakīm or غاية الحكيم)] was certainly long prized in the Islamicate world as well, however, other Arabic and Persian manuals came to far outstrip it in popularity and influence from the 12th century onward, and circulated over geographical areas equally vast. Due to persistent Eurocentrism, these occult blockbusters of the Islamicate world remain virtually unknown to the scholarship on medieval and early modern Western (Islamo-Judeo-Christianate) occultism. To help rectify this gross imbalance, the second session presents four Islamicate occult-scientific manuals, three in Arabic and one in Persian, that too enjoyed blockbuster status over centuries.

Organizer

Matthew Melvin–Koushki (Department of History, University of South Carolina)

Presider

Liana Saif (Oriental Institute, University of Oxford)

Presenters

Michael Noble (Warburg Institute, London)
“Fakhr al-Din al-Razi’s Hidden Secret and Islamic Occult Soteriology”

Emily Selove (University of Exeter)
“A Sorcerer’s Handbook: al-Sakkaki’s 13th-century Complete Book”

Nicholas Harris (Department of Religious Studies, University of Pennsylvania)
“‘If You Don’t Learn Alchemy, You’ll Learn Eloquence’:
The Golden Slivers by Ibn Arfa’ al-Ra’s”

Matthew Melvin–Koushki
“Kashifi’s Qasimian Secrets:
The Safavid Imperialization of a Timurid Manual of Magic”

Note:  Glimpses online of Arabic manuscripts of the Picatrix appear, for example, here.

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Business Meeting and Reception

Our Open Business Meeting is scheduled for lunchtime on Friday 10 May 2018.  Through a donation, Lunch will be provided.  All are welcome.

Our co-sponsored Reception is scheduled for the early evening on Thursday 9 May 2018. As in recent years, the Reception is co-sponsored with The Index of Medieval Art at Princeton University.

It has an Open Bar (not a Cash Bar).  All are welcome.

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Please Contact Us with your questions and suggestions. For our nonprofit educational mission, with tax-exempt status, donations in funds and in kind (expertise, materials, time) are welcome.

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