2021 Congress Program in Progress

October 14, 2020 in Announcements, Business Meeting, Conference, Conference Announcement, Index of Medieval Art, International Congress on Medieval Studies, Societas Magica, Uncategorized

Activities of the
Research Group on Manuscript Evidence
Planned for the
56th International Congress on Medieval Studies
(13–16 > 10–15 May 2021)


Following the Call for Papers due by 15 September 2020
and now the Announcement by the Medieval Institute on 16 October 2020

[Posted on 15 October 2020, with updates]

Update on 16 October 2020:

Today the Medieval Institute announced on its Congress page these changes for the 2021 Congress, which affect both the date-span and the activities, to occur only “virtually”:

Due to the ongoing health crisis, the 2021 International Congress on Medieval Studies hosted by Western Michigan University’s Medieval Institute will be held virtually, Monday to Saturday, May 10 to 15, 2021. More details will be released as they become available.

We will miss the camaraderie of the in-person experience. We look forward to hosting a vibrant and intellectually engaging virtual conference that offers plenty of opportunity for stimulating interaction at a distance. Please mark your calendar for these revised dates.

Watch this space.  We await instructions from the Congress Committee regarding the revised approach to Sessions.

Update on 5 November 2020:

As the plans advance for the now-virtual Congress, we announce that we continue to plan for the Sessions and the Open Business Meeting, but not for a Reception.  We co-sponsors for the Reception agree that it would make sense to wait for such an event under conditions in person.  We look forward to the new stages in preparing for a fully online presentation of the 2021 Congress.


After the cancellation of the 2020 Congress (see our 2020 Congress Program Announced), preparations for the 2021 Congress permitted re-submitting the sessions which had been designed to take place in May 2020.  By popular request, we performed that re-submission for all 5 Sessions.  With approval by the Congress Committee, these Sessions joined the listings of all sessions on call on the Congress website — with additional details on our website, in our own 2021 Congress Call for Papers.  #kzoo2021.

New for this year, all proposals (or re-proposals from 2020) had to be made through a Confex system, as directed on the Congress website.  The new system imposed some teething problems for prospective participants, Session Organizers, and Sponsors.  These challenges emerged in several forms at various stages, including close to the several deadlines for submission of proposals for papers and of the proposed programs of the Sessions.

Especially under such conditions, it was helpful to have the benefit of collaborative consultations, among all our Organizers, and with our Sessions Co-Sponsor.  We thank Dr. Elizabeth Teviotdale of the Medieval Institute especially for her swift responses directly along the way, when our Director had to turn to her repeatedly for help, information, and advice.

In time, we will announce the Programs which we have chosen for the Sessions, now that the Call for Papers has completed on 15 September 2020, and following our choices for those Programs by 1 October 2020.  Before announcing our plans in detail, we await their Confirmation or adaptation by the Congress Committee.  We thank our Participants and Organizers for their contributions.

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.

The Plan We Had for the 2020 Congress

The Announcement for our Sessions and other Activities at the 2020 Congress describes what we planned.  As customary, we published the Abstracts of Papers, so as to record the intentions of speakers for their presentations. The Abstracts are accessible both through that Announcement and through the Indexes of published Abstracts by Year and by Author.

The Sessions included 3 Sessions sponsored by the Research Group on Manuscript Evidence and 2 Sessions co-sponsored with the Societas Magica, in the 16th year of this co-sponsorship at the International Congress on Medieval Studies.

Like the 2015–2019 Congresses, we also planned for

  • an Open Business Meeting and
  • a co-sponsored Reception.

Even so, the Agenda for the postponed 2020 Business Meeting is available.  It takes into account the changes for Spring 2020:

The Plan We Have for 2021

We contemplate a similar approach to the 2021 Congress, conditions permitting.  [See Update above.]

For the 2021 Congress, we present the same Sessions, with a few changes.  Our pair of Sponsored Sessions dedicated to “Seal the Real I–II” remain as before.  The pair of co-sponsored Sessions dedicated to “Revealing the Unknown I–II” have some changes in the line-up.  One Session has a revised title (“Medieval Magic in Theory:  Prologues in Medieval Texts of Magic, Astrology, and Prophecy”).  For 2021, the Societas Magica has agreed also to co-sponsor this Session, so that the alignment of sponsorship has adapted to changing opportunities.

The 2021 Congress will be the 17th year of our co-sponsorship with the Societas Magica, in a constantly constructive partnership of friends, students, and colleagues.

As before, we have planned for an Open Business Meeting and a Co-Sponsored Reception.

For 2021, the co-sponsorship for a Reception joins the Research Group with the Societas Magica and The Index of Medieval Art, combining all 3 Sponsors in recent years.

[The virtual presentation of the Congress may allow for some form of Business Meeting and Reception.  Watch this Space.]

Read the rest of this entry →