2021 International Congress on Medieval Studies Report

July 7, 2021 in Conference, Conference Announcement, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Reports


Activities of the
Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
at the
56th International Congress on Medieval Studies
(10–15 May 2021)

#kzoo2021 / #kazoo2021

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. Dutch Book of Hours. Image via Creative Commons.

We report the accomplishment of our activities at the 2021 ICMS, held entirely online. Individually and collectively, we have attended the Congress for many years.  Our ICMS blog records activities sponsored and co-sponsored by the RGME along the way.

This year’s Congress presented the first time for a totally “virtual” process.  Next year’s Congress will be the second.

The new format posed challenges, mostly surmounted.  Gladly we observe that, albeit with several technical glitches and scheduling issues, the activities of the RGME, both sponsored and co-sponsored, succeeded as we had wished.  The Sessions and Business Meeting proceeded smoothly, with time and scope for feedback and discussion.

How We Prepared

First, there was the cancellation of the 2020 Congress itself.  See our 2020 Congress Program Announced.

Then came the re-planning for the 2021 Congress.  Initially, it was designed to be held in person, like the 2019 Congress, and others before it.

Only after all the re-submissions of our intended 2020 Sessions to the Congress Committee, the completion of the 2021 Congress Call for Papers, the selection of the Session Programs, and the bookings for our Reception and Business Meeting (see our 2021 Congress Planning), did there come the decision that the 2021 Congress had to take place only online.

That choice led all 3 co-sponsors for our planned Reception —RGME, Societas Magica, and Index of Medieval Art — to agree that it makes sense to wait, instead, for such an event until a suitable occasion in person.  Likewise, a few rearrangements were required for the Sessions as had been planned.

Preparing for the 5 Sessions and our Open Business Meeting, we announced our Activities for the 2021 Congress Program.

Next came the Congress itself, as described in its own Program (plus Corrigenda), with further information on its website.


Recorded Sessions

Vajra Regan presents his Paper for his 2021 Congress Session on “Prologues”.

With the virtual format, some Congress events were recorded, so as to be available for viewing by Congress Registrants from 17 to 29 May.  According with the participants’ wishes, 2 of our Sessions were recorded.  

  • Medieval Magic in Theory:
    Prologues to Learned Texts of Magic

Congress Session 103

  • Revealing the Unknown, II

    Congress Session 279

Thus were available, for a time, the chances to view and to re-view, a few of our activities ‘there’ this year.  For them and the others, this Report describes the accomplishment of the plans, already for the 2020 Congress, which had to be cancelled.  This year’s Congress gave the opportunity to complete the plan, with some changes as appropriate.

Read the rest of this entry →