2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies Report

May 22, 2018 in Abstracts of Conference Papers, Announcements, Business Meeting, Conference, Conference Announcement, ICMS, Index of Christian Art, Index of Medieval Art, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Manuscript Studies, Princeton University, Reception, Societas Magica

Report:  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

[Published on 23 May 2018, with updates]

20180514_131049 The Scene of the Time the Morning After cropped more

“The Scene of the Time” Photography by Mildred Budny.

With the completion of our Call for Papers for the 2018 Congress, we prepared the Programs for our Sessions and other Events — Reception and Open Business Meeting included. With the turn of the New Year, as customary, we began to add the Abstracts of Papers and Response, as their Authors permit, to our webpost announcing our activities for the 2018 Congress Program.  Next, with the publication of the full Congress Program in a “sneak preview” at the beginning of February, the allocated times and locations become known.  Also, as time progressed, more Abstracts joined our gathering Report.

Now we report the Congress activities as they occurred.  You Are Here.

A Behind The Scenes Report gathers momentum as well.  Coming Soon to a Screen Near You.  Watch This Place.

Background and Foreground

The course of announcements and reports about the 2018 Congress may follow the sequence of previous years. For example, for the 2018 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-sponsored Sessions with the Societas Magica (3 Sessions), and we co-sponsor a Reception.

Also, like the 2017 Congress, we held

It is 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 publish the Abstracts for the accepted Papers. Both they and the Abstracts for previous Congresses appear in our 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 our range for the 2018  International Congress on Medieval Studies. With the Congress accomplished, we describe the aims and scope of our Sessions, with most of their Abstracts, 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

Session 176
Friday 11 May at 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.
Schneider 1125

This session considered 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 aimed 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″
Abstract of Paper

Rachael McNelis (Case Western Reserve University)
Title in Congress Program:
“A Labyrinthine Puzzle:
Musical, Textual, and Visual Discourse in En la maison Dedalus
Revised Title:
“Traversing the Labyrinth in Song:
Textual, Musical, and Visual Discourse in En la maison Dedalus
Abstract of Paper

Jaclyn Reed (Western University, London, Ontario)
“Fashioning an Aristocratic Identity for Posterity:
Anne Clifford and the Rhetoric of Clothing”
Abstract of Paper

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.

'The Great Picture', commissioned in 1646 by Lady Anne Clifford, 14th Baroness de Clifford, Countess Dowager of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery (1590-1676). Kendal, Cumbria, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal. Image in the Public Domain, via Wikipedia Commons.

‘The Great Picture’, commissioned in 1646 by Lady Anne Clifford, 14th Baroness de Clifford, Countess Dowager of Dorset, Pembroke and Montgomery (1590-1676). Kendal, Cumbria, Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal. Image in the Public Domain, via Wikipedia Commons.

Posters2-1 MS Transformations Session with border

20180511_110422(0) The Speakers at Derek's and Justin's Session

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

Session 318
Friday 11 May at 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Bernhard 204

Libro de los juegos, folio 1 recto, detail. Madrid, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de El Escorial, MS T.I.6, Folio 1 recto.

Libro de los juegos. Madrid, Real Biblioteca del Monasterio de 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

Lola Bollo–Pandero (Colby College, Waterville, Maine)
“El Libro de los juegos como reproducción y recreación de la visión política de Alfonso X”
Abstract of Paper both in Spanish and in English Translation

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”
Abstract of Paper

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

[Note:  As reported in the 2018 Medieval Congress Corrigenda, Ulrich Schädler was unable to attend the Congress, nor present his Paper.]

Respondent

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

Note:  Our Session Organizer and Respondent presented a Paper of her own on this Subject at another Session at the Congress (Session 441 on Saturday 12 May)

Linde M. Brocato
‘ “The Most Dangerous Game”
The Libro de los juegos, the Royal Library, and Royal Repudiation”

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

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

Poster for our Sponsored Session on the " 'Libro de los juegos': Big Results from Small Data", organized by Linde M. Brocato and sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence at the 2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Poster set in RGME Bembino.

20180511_164108 Our Speakers at Linde's Session

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II. Co-Sponsored with the Societas Magica

Logo of the Societas Magica, reproduced by permission3 Sessions

3. Celtic Magic Texts

Session 127
Thursday 10 May at 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Bernhard 204

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 featured 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”
Abstract of Paper

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”
Abstract of Paper

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

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 (https://www.e-codices.ch)= 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 (https://www.e-codices.ch) = 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 (https://www.e-codices.ch) = verso with the Saint Gall Incantations. Via Creative Commons.

Saint Gall, Stiftsbibliothek, Cod. Sang. 1395, page 419 (https://www.e-codices.ch) = verso with the Saint Gall Incantations. Via Creative Commons.

Poster for our Session co-sponsored with the Societas Magica on "Celtic Magic Texts", organized by Phillip A. Bernhardt-House and sponsored by both the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence amd the Societas Magica at the 2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Poster set in RGME Bembino.

20180510_161552 Ilona Consults Her Notes

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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)

Session 439
Saturday 12 May at 1:30 – 3:00 p.m.
Bernhard 204

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 focused 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

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

Abstract of Paper

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

Abstract of Paper

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

Poster for our Session co-sponsored with the Societas Magica on "Occult Blockbusters of the Islamicate World", Part I: The Piccatrix (A Magical Bestseller)", organized by David Porreca and sponsored by both the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence amd the Societas Magica at the 2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Poster set in RGME Bembino.

20180512_144838

II. Arabic and Persian

Session 491
Saturday 12 May at 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
Bernhard 204

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 presented 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

David Porecca (University of Waterloo)

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 G. 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.

This session is announced also, for example, here.

Poster for our Session co-sponsored with the Societas Magica on "Occult Blockbusters of the Islamicate World", Part II: "Arabic and Persian", organized by Matthew Melvin-Kouschki and sponsored by both the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence amd the Societas Magica at the 2018 International Congress on Medieval Studies. Poster set in RGME Bembino.

 

20180512_155833

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Open Business Meeting

Thursday 10 May 2018 at 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.
Fetzer 1125

Through a donation, Lunch was provided.  All are welcome.

The Agendas for our Open Business Meetings are available for your inspection and perusal.  They outline our activities, aims, requests, and possibilities, with invitations for suggestions and contributions.

Invitation to the 2018 Open Business Meeting at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies. Invitation set in RGME Bembino.

20180511_131730

Reception

Thursday 10 May 2018 at 5:15 – 7:15 p.m.
Bernhard Faculty Lounge

As in recent years, the Reception was co-sponsored with The Index of Medieval Art at Princeton University.

This Reception had an Open Bar (not a Cash Bar).  All welcome.

Invitation to the 2018 Reception Co-Sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence and The Index of Medieaval Art at Princeton University at the 53rd International Congress on Medieval Studies. Invitation set in RGME Bembino.

20180510_191951 Gathering at the Reception cropped and enlightened

20180510_174429 Jack and Reed join our Reception

20180510_180517 Sean and David at our Reception

We’ll Drink to Them. Photography by Mildred Budny.

 

20180510_183815 The Directors at the 2018 Reception

The Directors as Hosts.

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And in Other News at the Congress

As customary, various Trustees, Associates, Volunteers, and Newcomers participated in the Congress, in both our and others’ activities.

For example, these sessions involved Associates, whether active or mourned.

1. Remembering Our Associate Roger E. Reynolds

2 Sessions were dedicated to the memory of our Associate Roger E. Reynolds.  Sessions 431 and 483:  “Order and Interpretation I and II:  New Insights . . . In Memory of Roger E. Reynolds (1936–2014)”, organized by Richard E. Gyug, who presented a paper in our Symposium on “The Bible and The Liturgy” (1998) in our series of Symposia on “The Transmission of the Bible”

At the 2018 Congress, Roger’s widow, the lovely Luba, returned to continue their shared tradition of offering selected and curated specimens of the art of “Amber Only” and to foster the scholarly discourse in his enduring honour. The generous and spirited jewelry display continues to manifest their presence.

20180513_101720 Amber Only Display at AZO 2018 cropped

The Display for “Amber Only” at the 2018 Congress, with pictures on the back wall recalling Roger E. Reynolds. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

20180513_101128. Amber Highlights 2018

2. Celebrating Collective Activities

Poster Announcing Bembino Version 1.5 (April 2018) with border for Web display

Poster Announcing Bembino Version 1.5

Session 364 on “Ethiopic Studies”, organized by our Associate Sean M. Winslow, featured presentations by our Associate Augustine Dickinson and others, including Meseret Oldjira.  All of these advised the additions to our multi-lingual digital font Bembino.

This 2018 Session demonstrated a vigorous, collaborative, approach to a rapidly expanding field.

Among many contributions, Augustine’s handout presented a first occurrence of the use of Bembino with its new Ethiopic components in Version 1.5. Note that this font, donated to the Research Group, is freely available for download on our website.

We observe, gladly, that Sean’s request, at an earlier Congress when we previewed the font before its launch, to include the diacritics for Ethiopic ensured — with thanks to our font designer (Interview here) — that, already with Version 1.0, Bembino recognizes elements of Ethiopic. We observe, gladly, that Augustine’s request over this past winter for full support for Ethiopic, numerals included, has resulted in that feature within Bembino, Version 1.5. Exciting to see Augustine’s handout, fully in Bembino, demonstrating the new version in earnest. Hurray!

20180512_112256 Sean Listens and Augustine Gesticulates

Sean M. Winslow and Augustine Dickinson respond at their 2018 Congress Session. Photography by Mildred Budny.

3. Manuscript Studies Included

As has become a tradition among our activities at the Congress, there arise — by generous arrangement — opportunities for manuscript consultation itself. It is a wonder, but surely not an accident, that, among our network of contacts and friends, we might bring together the opportunities for scholars to meet some materials, and for the stray leaves, fragments, or fuller manuscripts (complete or otherwise) dispersed into diverse collections to meet some experts able and willing to decipher their pages.

Manuscript Studies Included

Manuscript Studies Included. Photography by Mildred Budny.

"Having An Overlook". Our Manuscript Consultation Session at the 2018 Congress, Continued. Photography and Photo Op Arranged by Mildred Budny.

“Having An Overlook”. Our Manuscript Consultation Session at the 2018 Congress, Continued. Photography and Photo Op Arranged by Mildred Budny.

"Having a Look". Manuscript Consultation Session, By Appointment, at the 2018 Congress. Photography by Mildred Budny, organizer extraordinare.

“Having a Look”. Manuscript Consultation Session, By Appointment, at the 2018 Congress. Photography by Mildred Budny, organizer extraordinare.

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We warmly thank our Hosts, Sponsors, Donors, Organizers, Presiders, Presenters, Contributors, and Participants for their contributions and donations for this year’s activities at the Congress.  We also thank the staff of the Congress, the University, and the catering staff at both Fetzer and Bernhard, for their skill, professionalism, and assistance at various stages.

At this Congress, as always, we welcome Newcomers, and admire the manifest clarity of dedication and focus which they express in conversations and contributions towards further activities.  We welcome our new Associates, who joined our company at the Congress by invitation.  You can learn about them in our News & Views and About Us.

Already we begin to plan our activities for the 2019 International Congress on Medieval Studies.  Part of the excitement involves young scholars, dedicated to their chosen fields of study and receptive to generous observations from experience.  We plan for a series of events, both at the 2019 Congress and elsewhere, to celebrate our landmark anniversary next year. As described, for example, in our concise Agenda for this year’s Business Meeting:  2018 Agenda .

Watch this Space for Updates as they emerge.

Please also visit our Facebook Page for news and updates.

For our nonprofit educational mission, with tax-exempt status, Donations in Funds and in Kind (expertise, materials, time) are welcome.

Please Contact Us with your questions, suggestions, and offers to help our mission and activities.

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