2020 International Congress on Medieval Studies Call for Papers

July 9, 2019 in Announcements, Conference, Conference Announcement, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo

Sessions
Sponsored and Co-Sponsored
by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
at the 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies
7–10 May 2020

Call for Papers
Deadline for Proposals = 15 September 2019

[Published on 8 July 2019, with updates.]

Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, MS W.782, folio 15r. Van Alphen Hours. Dutch Book of Hours made for a female patron in the mid 15th century. Opening page of the Hours of the Virgin: "Here du salste opdoen mine lippen". Image via Creative Commons. At the bottom of the bordered page, an elegantly dressed woman sits before a shiny bowl- or mirror-like object, in order, perhaps, to perform skrying or to lure a unicorn.

Baltimore, The Walters Art Museum, MS W.782, folio 15r. Van Alphen Hours. Image via Creative Commons.

With the achievement of our Activities at the 2019 International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS), as announced in our 2019 Congress Program, we prepare the program for the 2020 Congress.  Accepting most of our proposed Sessions, the Congress Committee publishes the full 2020 Call for Papers for the 55th ICMS, with the list of Session Titles and Sponsors.  Here we announce our 4 sponsored and co-sponsored Sessions and describe their aims.

In 2019, the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence celebrates its 20th year as a nonprofit educational corporation and its 30th year as an international scholarly organization.  We have a tradition of celebrating landmark Anniversaries, both for our organization, with organizations which which we share anniversaries, and for other events, as described, for example, in our 2014 Anniversary Reflections.  We build upon this year’s multiple celebrations in designing the activities for 2020.

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This coming year, 2020, we prepare events at the Congress and elsewhere, as customarily, so as to represent, to explore, to promote, to celebrate, and to advance aspects of our shared range of interests, fields of study, subject matter, and collaboration between younger and established scholars, teachers, and others, in multiple centers.

Logo of the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence (colour version) As in recent years, we co-sponsor Sessions with the Societas Magica (2 Sessions). It will be the 15th year of this co-sponsorship.

Also, like the 2015–2019 Congresses, we plan for

  • an Open Business Meeting and
  • a Reception.

As usual, we aim to publish the Program for the accepted Papers, once the Call For Papers has completed its specified span. We will publish the Abstracts for these Papers as the preparations for the Congress advance and as their Authors permit. Abstracts for previous Congresses appear in our Congress Abstracts, conveniently Indexed both 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.

Interesting, isn’t it, that these Agendas are one of our Most-Downloaded Offerings? Some of them now stand among the Top 5 Most Popular Downloads on our site.

Poster 2 for 219 Anniversary Symposium, with symposium information and 2 images of cropped initials, from 12th-century Latin manuscripts, from the Princeton University Art Museum.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, with the option of tax-deduction for your Donations.

We look forward to your contributions.

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And now, here is the plan for 2019 at the International Congress on Medieval Studies. We announce the accepted Sessions, describe their aims and scope, and provide information for sending your questions and your proposals for papers to the Session Organizers. Herewith our Call for Papers for the 2019 Congress.

Sessions for the 2020 Congress

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

2 Sessions

1.  Prologues in Learned Texts of Medieval Magic

The prologues of learned books of magic served many functions.  The authorities that they name helped to establish the legitimacy of their texts, broadcast their affiliation with specific discourses, and signal how they should be read.  Prologues also served to highlight the erudition of their authors through the use of classical and biblical quotations and often sophisticated word-play.  The object of this session is to draw attention to these often overlooked prologues which testify to the variety of medieval approaches to “magic” and which often provide important coordinates for situating magical texts within the matrix of medieval intellectual culture.

Organized by

Vajra Regan
Centre for Medieval Studies
University of Toronto
125 Queens Park
Toronto, ON M5S 2C7
CANADA

vajra.regan@mail.utoronto.ca

Please send your proposals to vajra.regan@mail.utoronto.ca by 15 September 2019.

2.  Seal the Real:  Documentary Records, Seals & Authentications

Judgment of Arbitration by Philip I, Count of Savoy, of 28 May 1275 with Brown Wax Seal and with Docketing in French.  Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Judgment of Arbitration by Philip I, Count of Savoy, of 28 May 1275
with Brown Wax Seal
and with Docketing in French. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

This session explores the presentation and attestation of documentary records in the medieval and early modern periods, in the long transition to the modern custom of signatures as autographs — as distinct (partly) from earlier ‘signatures’ often made by proxy, whether by cross-signs, names inscribed by others on behalf of the signatory, personal or official seals, or other forms.  The fields of consideration include forgeries (‘signatures’, seals, and questionable documents), reported records of documents perhaps otherwise lost (as in cartularies, chronicles, and other narratives), and the occasional preservation of fingerprints upon the records themselves.

The time-honored human determination to establish recognized — that is, effective — modes of authenticating intentions and actions by individuals and institutions alike underpins the historical transmission (or disruption, willful and otherwise) of formal records of agreements, sales, transfers, decisions over grievances and feuds, and other impactful official arrangements across the centuries.   Examining case studies for this session, we encourage multiple approaches, subject matters, and methodologies for analyzing the strategies adopted (successfully or otherwise) in the pursuit of such a quest for authentication.

The desire effectively to express identity and authenticity as a matter of record may well resonate with many participants.  The Session considers aspects of the historical traditions, improvisations, inventions, and (it may be) occasional failures of earlier centuries in such a quest.  Perchance we might learn instructively from the past.

Organized by

Mildred Budny
Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
A New Jersey Nonprofit Educational Corporation
46 Snowden Lane
Princeton
New Jersey 08540

Please send your proposals to director@manuscriptevidence.org by 15 September 2019.

Equestrian Wax Seal of Philip I, Count of Savoy, Affixed to his Judgment of Abritration, 28 May 1275.  Photograph by Mildred Budny.

Equestrian Wax Seal of Philip I, Count of Savoy,
Affixed to his Judgment of Abritration, 28 May 1275. Photograph by Mildred Budny.

II. Co-Sponsored with the Societas Magica

Logo of the Societas Magica, reproduced by permission2 Sessions, in Parts I & II:  Revealing the Unknown

3.  Revealing the Unknown I:
Scryers and Scrying in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period

From the little boy on the lap of the priest to the astrologer physician Richard Napier, scryers have fulfilled a significant role in spirit communications throughout the Middle Ages and early modern period.  That children were instrumentalized by clergy doubling as ritual magicians has been known for a long time.  The activities of professional adult scryers, such as Edward Kelley and Sarah Skelhorn, are likewise well-documented.  Recently, however, attention has moved to the scrying activities of medical and astrological professionals, as Ofer Hadass’s study of Richard Napier bears out.  The autobiography of William Lilly and the manuscripts of Elias Ashmole suggest that early modern astrologer physicians utilized scrying in different ways from the medieval clerical underworld.

This session offers an opportunity to reassess older notions about scryers and scrying, and to engage with current research on the identity and activities of professional scryers.  Topics for papers could feature, for instance, the techniques used by scryers, the necessary instruments for this craft, as well as the goals for which a scryer’s services could be used.   Diachronic approaches to the topic are welcome, and papers that consider cross-cultural approaches, such as Jewish or Arabic scryers and scrying practices, are encouraged.

Magic mirror of Floron . Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Image via Creative Commons.

Magic mirror of Floron. Mathematisch-Physikalischer Salon, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Via Creative Commons.

Organized by

Sanne de Laat
English Department
Radboud University Nijmegen
sannede.laat@student.ru.nl

László Sándor Chardonnens
English Department
Radboud University Nijmegen
PO Box 9103
6500 HD Nijmegen
The Netherlands
s.chardonnens@let.ru.nl

Please send an abstract (200 words maximum) to both session organisers before 15 September 2019.

Baltimore, Walters MS W.782, folio 15r.  Van Alphen Hours.  Dutch Book of Hours made for a female patron in the mid 15th century.  Opening page of the Hours of the Virgin:  "Here du salste opdoen mine lippen".  Image via Creative Commons.  At the bottom of the bordered page, an elegantly dressed woman sits before a shiny bowl- or mirror-like object, in order, perhaps, to perform skrying or to lure a unicorn.

Baltimore, Walters MS W.782, folio 15r. Van Alphen Hours. Dutch Book of Hours made for a female patron in the mid 15th century. Opening page of the Hours of the Virgin: “Here du salste opdoen mine lippen”. At the bottom of the page, an elegantly dressed female figure gazes into a bowl- or mirror-like object, perhaps to perform skrying or to lure a unicorn. Image via Creative Commons.

4.  Revealing the Unknown II:
Sortilège, Bibliomancy, and Divination

From earliest times, humans have sought methods to contact supernatural entities to obtain knowledge of the present or future, known as divination.  In ancient and medieval contexts, two such methods that were sometimes connected were sortilege and bibliomancy:  for example, the Lots of Mary, the Sortes Astramphysychi, Homeric Oracles, Virgilian Oracles.

These practices involved numerological processes to select specific passages from canonical texts in order to divine on desired topics.  This session will focus on these and other methods of divination, so as to understand how textual and other authorities became invested with powers far greater than the impacts of their literary merits.

Organized by

Phillip A. Bernhardt-House
101 SE Ely Street, #D-102
Oak Harbor, Washington 98277
phillip.bernhardthouse@gmail.com

Please send your proposals to phillip.bernhardthouse@gmail.com by 15 September 2019.

Adèle Kindt (1804–1884), The Fortune Teller (circa 1835). Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten. Image via Wikimedia Commons. A young lady, brightly lit and beautifully dressed, looks outward as an older woman, beneath a dark hood, holds a set of cards and stares at them with intent.

Adèle Kindt (1804–1884), The Fortune Teller (circa 1835). Antwerp, Koninklijk Museum voor Schone Kunsten. Image via Wikimedia Commons.

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Please send your proposals for papers, along with the completed Congress Participant Information Form, to the Session Organizer(s) or to director@manuscriptevidence.org to reach us on or before 15 September 2019.

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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