Increase font size
Decrease font size

NEWs in medieval and early modern studies

Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Archiving Knowledge in Sacred Earth

Join us for a DFW lecture presented by Riyaz Latif (History of Art, Vanderbilt). Professor Latif will present his lecture “Archiving Knowledge in Sacred Earth: Madrasa in the Marinid Chella” on Nov. 4 at 6pm in Hamilton 569.







Fall 2016 Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture: The Devil You Know


Join us for the Fall 2016 DFW Crossroads Lecture, featuring speaker Pamela Patton (Princeton, History of Art & Architecture). Dr. Patton will present on “The Devil You Know: Darkness, Disguise, and Demonism in Twelfth-Century Spain.”

The lecture will be held on Thurs., Sept. 29 at 6pm in Hanes Hall Room 125.


Fall 2016 Dorothy Ford Wiley MEMS Compact Seminar: Interrogating the English Portrait

Compact Seminar Fall 2016 Poster

This year’s compact seminar, organized by Professor Tatiana String (UNC, Art History) is centered on the theme “Interrogating the English Portrait: Tudor and Jacobean Portraits in the North Carolina Museum of Art.” It will bring together an international panel of experts to explore topics related to early modern portraiture through close study of an extraordinary collection of late sixteenth and early seventeenth century English portraits in the North Carolina Museum of Art. This unique collaborative event will be held at the NCMA in its new exhibition, History and Mystery: Discoveries in the NCMA British Collection. Contributors to the seminar will include scholars from the National Portrait Gallery in London, the University of Sussex, the University of Southampton, the Yale Center for British Art, and UNC-CH.

The opening event will be a public lecture on Sunday, September 11 at 2:30 in the NCMA’s Auditorium, presented by Professor Maria Hayward (University of Southampton, History) and entitled: “the apparel oft proclaims the man: The significance of clothing in Elizabethan and Jacobean portraits.”

Fall Welcome Reception

MEMS Fall Welcome Reception

Mark your calendars!

MEMS will be holding its fall reception on Thursday, September 22, from 3:30 until 5:30pm in the Anne Queen room of the Campus Y.

Catering will be provided!


Blog Post: Ad tempo taci

Screen Shot 2016-08-16 at 9.48.50 AMI would like to offer you, my colleagues, a gift – not of madrigals and motets, but rather of frottole – in the form of a short film I made last year in Mantua, Italy, entitled Ad tempo taci: Songs for Isabella d’Este. My goal in making this film was to associate music, performance, architecture, literature, historical research, and what I think of as “paper culture” – early printing and manuscripts – in a meaningful way that mimics the fluid, conversational style of Baldassare Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier. Named for the phrase that Isabella d’Este’s secretary, Mario Equicola, ascribed to her musical symbol, the impresa di tempi e pause (“at times, hush”), the film’s release coincides with Mantua being named the Capitale Italiana della Cultura 2016.

In Ad tempo taci, you will find the incomparable musicians Marco Beasley and Franco Pavan discussing music and performing frottole by Marco Cara and Bartolomeo Tromboncino in Isabella d’Este’s apartments in the Corte Vecchia of the Ducal Palace. Professor Molly Bourne, Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Renaissance Art at Syracuse University in Florence, offers a guided tour of the art and architecture of various rooms in the Ducal Palace, and Dr. Daniela Ferrari, former Director of the State Archives in Mantua, introduces the historical figure of Isabella d’Este and takes us to the glorious rare books rooms of the Teresiana Library and into the stacks of the Archive. The interiors where we shot the film are generally unavailable to the public, and this is the first time that music has been recorded in Isabella d’Este’s apartments. I hope you will enjoy this offering, join in its conversation, and share it with your students and friends.

– Professor Anne MacNeil (Music History)

Congratulations to Marsha Collins

collinsProfessor Marsha S. Collins (English & Comparative Literature) has been appointed Caroline H. And Thomas S. Royster Distinguished Professor for Graduate Education. In April she also published a new book with Routledge, Imagining Arcadia in Renaissance Romance. From Theocritus’ Idylls to James Cameron’s Avatar, Arcadia remains an enduring presence in world culture and a persistent source of creative inspiration. Why does Arcadia still exercise such a powerful pull on the imagination? This book responds by arguing that in sixteenth-century Europe, a dramatic shift took place in imagining Arcadia. The traditional visions of Arcadia collided and fused with romance, the new experimental form of prose fiction, producing a hybrid, dynamic world of change and transformation. Emphasizing matters of fictional function and world-making over generic classification, Imagining Arcadia in Renaissance Romance analyzes the role of romance as a catalyst in remaking Arcadia in five, canonical sixteenth-century texts: Sannazaro’s Arcadia; Montemayor’s La Diana; Cervantes’ La Galatea; Sidney’s Arcadia; and Lope de Vega’s Arcadia. Collins’ analyses of the re-imagined Arcadia in these works elucidate the interplay between timely incursions into the fictional world and the timelessness of art, highlighting issues of freedom, identity formation, subjectivity and self-fashioning, the intersection of public and private activity, and the fascination with mortality. This book addresses the under-representation of Spanish literature in Early Modern literary histories, especially regarding the rich Spanish contribution to the pastoral and to idealizing fiction in the West. Companion chapters on Cervantes and Sidney add to the growing field of Anglo-Spanish comparative literary studies, while the book’s comparative and transnational approach extends discussion of the pastoral beyond the boundaries of national literary traditions. This book’s innovative approach to these fictional worlds sheds new light on Arcadia’s enduring presence in the collective imagination today.

Dissertation Workshop: Preternatural Knowledge in Shakespeare’s Macbeth

Suillivan and Walker PosterPlease join us for a dissertation workshop seminar led by Dr. Garrett Sullivan and featuring the work of Katherine Walker, a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and Comparative Literature at UNC. Dr. Sullivan is Liberal Arts Professor of Research in the Department of English at Penn State and author of such books as The Drama of Landscape: Land, Property, and Social Relations on the Early Modern Stage. 

Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP to Beth Hasseler at hasseler@live.unc.edu.

Spring 2016 Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture: Renata Holod (Art History, University of Pennsylvania), Lighting the Great Mosque of Cordoba

Join us for the 2016 Spring Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture. Renata Holod will present a talk proposing cognitive recall and the arts of memory as a source for the genesis of Cordoba’s famous intersecting polylobed arcades.

The lecture will begin at 5:30pm on April 18 in Sitterson Hall, Room SN014.


Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Dr. James Palmer, “Climates of Crisis? Apocalypse and Nature in the Early Medieval World”

Palmer PosterJoin us on Tuesday, March 1 for a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture by Dr. James Palmer (History, St Andrews). The lecture will be held in Hamilton 569 at 6pm.








Compact Seminar PosterDorothy Ford Wiley Compact Seminar: Premodern Diplomacy and the Arts

Join us on Friday, February 19 in the Incubator Room of Hyde Hall for the 2016 Dorothy Ford Wiley Compact Seminar. This seminar brings together scholars of history, literature, art, music, and theater to examine how fourteenth- through eighteenth-century diplomatic encounters shaped aesthetic productions, including texts, objects, and performances. The “rise” of diplomacy as a framework for global political relations provided a fertile context for creation and innovation in the arts. In this seminar, we will explore how the performing, visual, and literary arts played an important role in celebrating, commemorating, facilitating, and commenting on diplomatic encounters, furnishing objects for exchange, spaces for sociability and self-fashioning, and emotional content for international negotiations.

The seminar will begin with a public round-table discussion on “Diplomacy and the Arts, Then and Now,” on Thursday, February 18 at 5:00 in the University Room, Hyde Hall.

Please visit http://memsdiplomacyandthearts.web.unc.edu/ for the program and more information.

Second Annual MEMS Book Colloquium

Screen Shot 2016-01-05 at 10.57.12 AMJoin us for a discussion of The Islamic-Byzantine Frontier: Interaction and Exchange Among Muslim and Christian Communities (I.B. Tauris, 2014) by Asa Eger (History, UNC Greensboro) on January 15 at 12pm in the Seminar Room in Hyde Hall. Zayde Antrim (History, Trinity College) will lead the discussion.

Please RSVP to Beth Hasseler at
hasseler@live.unc.edu by January 13.



Jaroslav Folda: Byzantine Art and Italian Panel Painting: The Virgin and Child Hodegetria and the Art of Chrysography

foldaProfessor Emeritus Jaroslav Folda (Art History) has published a new book with the Cambridge University Press. The Virgin and Child Hodegetria was a widely venerated Byzantine image depicting the Virgin holding and pointing to her son as the way to salvation. In Byzantine Art and Italian Panel Painting, Jaroslav Folda traces the appropriation of this image by thirteenth-century Crusader and central Italian painters, where the Virgin Mary is transformed from the human mother of god, the Theotokos, of Byzantine icons, to the resplendent Madonna radiant in her heavenly home with Christ and the angels. This transformation, Folda demonstrates, was brought about by using chrysography, or golden highlighting, which came to be used on both the Virgin and Child. This book shows the important role played by Crusader painters in bringing about this shift and in disseminating the new imagery to Central Italy. By focusing on the Virgin and Child Hodegetria, Folda reveals complex artistic interchanges and influences extending across the Mediterranean from Byzantium and the Holy Land to Italy.

Professor Emeritus Michael McVaugh Publishes Three Collaborative Projects

The AVOMO EditorsThis spring, Professor Emeritus Michael McVaugh (History) saw the publication of three collaborative book projects, including Transmitting a Text Through Three Languages: The Future History of Galen’s ‘Peri Anomalou Dyskrasias,’ produced with Gerrit Bos (Professor Emeritus, Martin-Buber Institute, Cologne University) and Joseph Shatzmiller (Professor Emeritus, History, Duke) and published by the American Philosophical Society; Al-Rāzī, On the Treatment of Small Children (De curis puerorum): the Latin and Hebrew Translations, produced with Gerrit Bos and published by Brill; and Arnaldi de Villanova Opera Medica Omnia [AVOMO], XIV: Expositio super aphorismo Hippocratis “In Morbis Minus;” Repetitio super aphorismo Hippocratis “Vita brevis,” produced with Fernando Salmón (Universidad de Cantabria) and published by the University of Barcelona-Fundacio Noguera.

Congratulations to Jessica Boon

boonJessica Boon (Religion) will spend the 2015 calendar year as a Ryskamp Fellow. The Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship is offered through the ACLS and a full list of current fellows can be found here. Jessica will spend the year at work on her project Spanish Passion: Jesus, Mary, and the Jews in the Castilian Religious Imagination, 1480 – 1540. During Castile’s transition from a pluralistic Middle Ages to a strongly Catholic Golden Age, devotions focused on Jesus’ suffering body (his Passion) became the nexus linking popular culture and high theology, written narrative and oral performance, men’s and women’s spirituality, and Jewish-Christian cultural divides. Spanish Passion provides the first intensive study of the place of body, especially the bodies of Jesus, Mary and the Jews, in Castilian religious experience during the early empire, drawing on methodologies from literary studies, material culture, gender studies, Jewish studies, history of science, and postcolonial theory. The early modern Castilian devotional imagination focused on a tortured son, a divinized virginal mother, and a stereotyped religious “other,” a triumvirate of marginalized, wounded bodies foundational to the complex gender and racial/religious constructs exported across the globe in the first half of the sixteenth century.

See More Publications from the MEMS Community

Read More News in MEMS