2024 International Congress on Medieval Studies: Program

November 24, 2023 in Abstracts of Conference Papers, Announcements, Business Meeting, Conference Announcement, ICMS, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, POMONA, Postal History at Kalamazoo, Reception, Societas Magica

2024 International Congress on Medieval Studies: Program

59th ICMS (9–11 May 2024)

To be held in a transitional ‘hybrid’ form
with RGME Co-Sponsored Sessions,
an Open Business Meeting,
and Co-Sponsored Reception

[Posted on 23 November 2023, with updates]

Ravenna, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Mosaic. Artwork in the public domain; photograph provided by The Yorck Project / Wikimedia Commons (GFDL).

After the successful completion of our Call for Papers for the 2024 International Congress on Medieval Studies (ICMS), we announce the Program for our activities, with:

  • three Co-sponsored Sessions 
  • our Open Business Meeting and
  • a co-sponsored Anniversary Reception.

In stages, first (in November 2023) we announced the Sessions. Next (4 January 2024), with information from the ICMS, we could report their assigned times, days, and locations on campus in cases of the in-person events, along with our other activities at the Congress.

Now we can report the sequence of papers for the sessions; soon we will publish the abstracts for them.

Congress Information

Registration (required) for the Congress has opened in February:

‘Hybrid’ Facilities

Like last year (see ), the RGME offers Registration (without charge) for some of our events this year.  It will help us to learn how many to expect for our planning, for example for the catering for two events:

  • Open Business Meeting (In Person)
  • Co-Sponsored Reception (In Person)

(For information, see below.)

At ICMS for the RGME Anniversary Year

In 2024, the RGME celebrates its Anniversary Year to mark 25 years as a nonprofit educational corporation based in Princeton, New Jersey, and 25 years as an international scholarly society founded out of a major research project at Corpus Christi College in the University of Cambridge.

For our Anniversary Year, the theme is “Bridges”.

Ada Bridge pylon, Belgrade, Serbia

Ada Bridge pylon, Belgrade, Serbia. Photograph Petar Milošević (1 August 2021). Image via Wikimedia Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

RGME Sessions at the 2024 ICMS

For the 59th International Congress on Medieval Studies in 2024, with responses to our Call for Papers, the RGME co-sponsors these three Sessions.  Two of three are scheduled to take place in person, with the other online.

Locations on Campus

For the locations on campus, see these campus maps:

With the room- and time-assignments set in place in the 2024 Congress Program, we list our Sessions in their temporal sequence (Thursday morning, Friday afternoon, Saturday afternoon), then turn to our other activities (Thursday lunchtime, Thursday evening).

1. “Alchemical Manuscripts, Early Printed Books,
and Other Materials”

Logo of the Societas Magica, reproduced by permission

Societas Magica logo

With the Societas Magica, for the twenty-first consecutive year

Organized by David Porreca (Department of Classics, University of Waterloo)

Thursday, 9 May 2024: 10:00 – 11:30 am EDT (GMT-4)
Sangren Hall 4510


Session 26 (2024 Congress Program, page 10)


By the later Middle Ages, alchemy was a venerable tradition that had generated hundreds of texts that ranged from the practical (laboratory manuals and notebooks) to the mystical (alternative interpretations of the practical manuals written in cose) to the aesthetic (lavishly illustrated manuscripts of the first two types). There is at least one major critical edition project of alchemical texts that is in the planning stages at the moment (alchemical texts attributed to Hermes Trismegistus, as part of Brepols Publishers’ Hermes Latinus sub-series of the Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis). This session is intended partly to act as a spring-board for that project.

We seek papers that address the challenges of editing alchemical texts (palaeography, codicology, critical editing techniques), as well as the contents of those texts (history of science, mysticism, iconography), and the practica of using them (the material culture of laboratory equipment). The session will also embrace papers that study of alchemical allegories and symbolism when text and image interact.


David Porreca
De Septem tractatus seu capitula Hermetis Trismegisti:
Toward a Critical Edition”

Alexandra Ballová (Masarykova University)
“To Divide the Flesh from Soul”:
Hieronmus Brunschwig‘s Early Printed Book on Distillation and its Unique Czech Translation”
(Congress Travel Award Winner)

Page of text with image of a flask purifying a black substance to white or "aqua" (water).

London, British Library, Sloane MS 2560, folio 12r. Donum Dei (‘The Gift of God’), Germany or Austria, 15th century. Page of text with illustration of a flask with black at the top and white or aqua (water) below.

Note on the Image. London, British Library, Sloane MS , folio 12r.
Page of text with image of a flask purifying a black substance to white, or aqua (“water”).

Image via https://blogs.bl.uk/digitisedmanuscripts/2017/05/alchemy-the-great-art.html.


2. “Letters, Couriers, and Post Offices:
Mail in the Medieval World”

Co-sponsored, for the first year, with the newly founded organization “Postal History at Kalamazoo”

Organized by David W. Sorenson (Allen G. Berman, Numismatist)

Session 310 (2024 Congress Program, page 112)

Friday, May 10, 2024: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)
Student Center, 2207


The role of mail delivery systems was an important one in the medieval world, whether the West or in other literate parts of the world. Postal history has generally been studied largely as an adjunct to stamp collecting, or as an aid to reading the contents of letters, but not so frequently as a subject in its own right, particularly in conferences such as the ICMS. As such, it would perhaps be an appropriate time to consider the “moving of the mail” as a subject of study in its own right.

Mail has played an important part in human activity in literate societies, in the West as elsewhere, since the days of the Sumerians. Providing the primary means of conveying information at a distance, it functioned as a vital part of the pre-modern infrastructure. In this session we cover various technical aspects of medieval mail; rather than studying its contents, we will look at its delivery systems in their various aspects.  Whether private or governmental, whether involving “stamps” or postmarks, whether private or public, mail helped make the world, and we propose a session dedicated to studying its roles.


Michael Allman Conrad (University of Saint Gallen)
“When Mail Became Snail:
The First Postal Contracts and the Circulation of Information
between Spain and the Holy Roman Empire

David W. Sorenson
“Taking It to the Mailbox:
A Fragment of a Fifteenth-Century Lawyer’s Mail Ledger”

Eleanor A. Congdon (Youngstown State University)
“The Time It Takes:
Notations about the Time Merchant Letters Take to Reach Their Recipients”

A courier stands before a figure receiving a letter, with a landscape in the background.

Private Collection, Courier delivering letter. German translation of Petrarch (1559).

Note on the Image.  A courier delivering letters, from a German translation of Petrarch dated 1559.  From the text the news appears to have been bad.  The courier is wearing a long, military-style sword along with his mail-bag; presumably he has on a brigandine or similar armour as well, hence the bulky jacket.

Private Collection, Swiss Merchant's Single-Page Letter on Paper in Middle High German, circa 1400-1430: Address Panel.

Private Collection, Swiss Merchant’s Single-Page Letter on Paper in Middle High German, circa 1400-1430: Address Panel.

Private Collection, Swiss Merchant’s Single-Page Letter on Paper in Middle High German, circa 1400-1430: Text.


3. “Retrospect and Prospect for P.-O.M.o.N.A. . . .
As the Curtain Falls (A Roundtable)”

Co-sponsored with P.-O.M.o.N.A. (Polytheism-Oriented Medievalists of North America), for the fourth year

Organized by Phillip Bernhardt–House (Academic Vagabond)

Session 476 (2024 Congress Program, page 170)

Saturday, May 11, 2024: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)

Poster for 'Classical Deities' Session co-cponsored with Pomona at the International Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo 2019.

P.-O.M.o.N.A. Session ICMS 2019


P.-O.M.o.N.A. was founded to provide a specific and dedicated forum for what had been occurring for more than a century in various Medieval Studies disciplines: namely, discussing the use (and abuse!) of medieval sources for understanding the polytheistic practices of pre-Christian Europe. Our events have been varied, but as the organization comes to its final event, we ask: was it worth it, and is there a future need for this sort of specialized forum in relation to this topic? Our panel of experts will give their opinions, and the audience in attendance will be free to join in the discussion.


Mildred Budny (Director, Research Group on Manuscript Evidence)

Dan Attrell (Department of Classics, University of Waterloo)

Angela Puca (Leeds Trinity University)

Ravenna, Sant’Apollinare Nuovo, Mosaic depicting the Palace of Theodoric. Artwork in the public domain; photograph provided by The Yorck Project / Wikimedia Commons (GFDL).


RGME Activities at the 2024 ICMS

As customary, the RGME holds an Open Business Meeting at the Congress.  As frequently, the RGME co-hosts a Reception.

This year, in our Anniversary Year, the Reception is co-hosted by the Societas Magica, whose sponsorship we thank.

Like 2023, both these events take place on Thursday, the first day of the Congress.

1. RGME Open Business Meeting

All are welcome.  Lunch will be provided, with donations welcome to cover the expenses.

Thursday, May 9, 2024: 12:00 PM 1:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)
Student Center, 3205 

Presider: Mildred Budny, Director of the RGME

Arrangements for online attendance by RGME Zoom are available for Conference registrants.

Register by Eventbrite to attend our Open Business Meeting
In Person or Online

Notebook of "Recettes" in French, open at the front with inserted slips. Photography from Private Collection by Mildred Budny. Handlist Number 5.

Illustrated Handlist No. 5. Notebook of “Recettes” in French, open at the front with inserted slips. Photography by Mildred Budny.

You are welcome to attend our Open Business Meeting if you register for the Congress. The Meeting will take place in person, but we will provide online access to it by RGME Zoom, like last year.

You could attend in person without further registration, but we ask that you register to let us know that you will attend, so as to aid our planning for the catering for lunch. You must register for online attendance so as to receive the Zoom Link.

To register, please visit the RGME Eventbrite portal:

To register for this event, there are two modalities.

1) In-Person

2) Online

After registering, the Zoom Link will be sent to you a few days before the event.

(On the image at upper right here, see The Illustrated Handlist, Number 5.)

2. RGME Anniversary Reception

Logo of the Societas Magica, reproduced by permission

Societas Magica logo

Co-sponsored by the Societas Magica

Thursday, May 9, 2024: 6:00 PM 7:00 PM EDT (GMT-4)
Student Center, 3205

Please register to let us know how many to expect.

Via the RGME Eventbrite portal:

For this event:

About Donations and their purposes for our Anniversary and beyond, see

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art. Jacob van Walscapelle, Still Life with Fruit (1675). Image Public Domain via https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.119295.html.

Washington, D.C., National Gallery of Art. Jacob van Walscapelle, Still Life with Fruit (1675). Image cropped. Image Public Domain via https://www.nga.gov/collection/art-object-page.119295.html


Soon we will publish the Abstracts for papers in the Sessions.  Watch this space.


Please leave your Comments or questions below, or:

Donations and contributions, in funds or in kind, are welcome and easy to give.  See:

We look forward to hearing from you.