2014-2015 News in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Increase font size
Decrease font size

MEMS Lecture on the Crusades by Nick Paul

Nicholas Paul Lecture PosterPlease join us in Hamilton 569, Thursday (4/23) at 5:30 for a lecture by Dorothy Ford Wiley Visiting Professor Nick Paul (Fordham), “Up From the Well: Recovering the Lost Legend of a Crusader and His Treasure.”

Dorothy Ford Wiley Spring 2015 Crossroads Lecture

Heller Crossroads Lecture Poster VERSION 2Our Spring 2015 Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture will be held on on April 9. We will be joined by Wendy Heller (Music and Italian Studies, Princeton) who will give a lecture entitled “Enchanted Gardens: The Locus Amoenus in Seicento Opera.” For more information click here.



 Congratulations to Jennifer Kosmin

Kosmin bio picJennifer Kosmin (PhD UNC-CH, History) has accepted a position at Bucknell University as an Assistant Professor of the History of Science, Technology, and Medicine. In the fall she will begin teaching classes on “Death, Disease, and the Body” as well as “Sex, Race, and Science.” Jennifer received her PhD in December 2014. Her dissertation,  entitled “Embodied Knowledge: Midwives and the Medicalization of Childbirth in Early Modern Italy,” explored the emergence of hospital maternity wards and formal schools for midwives in 18th-century northern Italy.



Glaire D. Anderson wins Eleanor Tufts Award for Islamic Villa

IslamicVillaInEarlyMedievalIberiaEvery year the American Society for Hispanic Art Historical Studies recognizes an outstanding publication in the area of Spanish or Portuguese art history. This year the committee has honored The Islamic Villa in Early Medieval Iberia: Architecture and Court Culture in Umayyad Córdoba, written by Glaire D. Anderson (Art History). To read more about the award and accolades for this book click here.




2015 NC Colloquium in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 10.27.09 AMThe 2015 NCCMEMS Graduate Colloquium was entitled “Imagining the Sacred.” For more information and to see the program for the conference click here (Feb 13-14).






2015 Dorothy Ford Wiley Compact Seminar

AG_b_2993_copialettere_11_c_39rThis year’s Dorothy Ford Wiley Compact Seminar was entitled “Big Data for Intimate Spaces: An Interdisciplinary Seminar in Renaissance Studies and Digital Humanities.” This multi-day seminar aimed to bridge the distance between the massive scale of the twenty-first century digital world and the intimacy of music-making, letter-writing, quiet contemplation, and dining at the Mantuan court of Isabella d’Este (1471-1539). The seminar was designed as a think-tank for problem-solving and project designs, paying particular attention to the uses of multimedia (Feb 25-28). For more information click here.



Congratulations to Kathleen Curtin


Kathleen Curtin (PhD English, UNC) is now an Assistant Professor of English at Concordia University Chicago. Kathleen teaches a range of courses in pre-1800 literature with particular interests in autobiography, the interpretation of the Bible in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and the religious changes and conflicts of the Reformation.




Workshop Presentations Available Online

Anderson Aghlabids Wkshp Qayrawan_minaretGlaire D. Anderson (UNC-Chapel Hill) organized a two-day conference held at UNC’s Winston House in London with Corisande Fenwick (Leicester University) and Mariam Rosser-Owen (Victoria & Albert Museum). This conference was entitled “The Aghlabids & Their Neighbors: An Interdisciplinary Workshop on Art & Material Culture in Ninth-Century North Africa.” All presentation from the workshop are now available on the UNC Global Vimeo Channel. See our Digital Resources page for more information.



Senza Vestimenta: The Literary Tradition of Trecento Song

9781472418883.JKT_templateLauren Jennings (Music) has published a new book with Ashgate Press. While scholars have traditionally identified a “divorce” between music and poetry as the defining feature of early Italian lyric, Jennings seeks to reintegrate the poetic and musical traditions through a fresh evaluation more than 50 literary sources transmitting Trecento song texts. She explores how scribes and readers interacted with song as a fundamentally interdisciplinary art form. Challenging the traditional narratives of Trecento song and literature, in which “musical” poetry and “non-musical” poetry are held firmly at arm’s length, this book brings to light new audiences and new modes of reception that ask us to reevaluate music’s role in the broader cultural world surrounding its composition, performance, and manuscript circulation.

Orpheus in the Marketplace: Jacopo Peri and the Economy of Late Renaissance Florence

Carter Orpheus BookTim Carter (Music, UNC) has worked with Richard A. Goldthwaite (History Emeritus, Johns Hopkins) in a rare collaboration between a musicologist and economic historian. Their book, published by Harvard University Press (2013), investigates the wide-ranging investments and market activities of Florentine musician Jacopo Peri (1561-1633), known as the composer of the first operas. Carter and Goldthwaite used a large collection of recently discovered personal and family account books to conduct a greater exploration of Peri’s professional and personal life. This collaboration opens a completely new perspective on one of Europe’s principal centers of capitalism. Peri’s economic circumstances reflect continuities and transformations in Florentine society, and the strategies for negotiating them, under the Medici grand dukes. At the same time this work allows a reevaluation of Peri the singer and composer that elucidates the cultural life of a major artistic center even in changing times, providing a quite different view of what it meant to be a musician in late Renaissance Italy.

Catholicism Today: An Introduction to the Contemporary Catholic Church

Marienberg Catholicism Today BookProfessor Evyatar Marienberg (Religious Studies) has recently published a new book with Routledge (2014). Catholicism Today aims to familiarize its readers with contemporary Catholicism. The book is designed to address common misconceptions and frequently-asked questions regarding the Church, its teachings, and the lived experience of Catholics in modern societies worldwide. Opening with a concise historical overview of Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular, the text explores the core beliefs and rituals that define Catholicism in practice, the organization of the Church and the Catholic calendar, as well as the broad question of what it means to be Catholic in a variety of cultural contexts. The book ends with a discussion of the challenges facing the Church both now and in the coming decades. Marienberg has also created a complementary blog related to the book.

The Works of Lucy Hutchinson receives Honorable Mention from MLA

Barbour Lucy Hutchinson I BookProfessor Reid Barbour‘s (English and Comparative Literature) edition of The Works of Lucy Hutchinson: The Lucretius Translation, edited with David Norbrook, received honorable mention as best scholarly edition at last year’s MLA conference. The book was published by Oxford University Press (2011) and is the first volume in the four-volume edition of The Works of Lucy Hutchinson, the first-ever collected edition of the writings of the pioneering author and translator.




Sir Thomas Browne: A Life

Barbour Thomas Browne BookProfessor Reid Barbour (English and Comparative Literature) has recently published the first complete biography of the extraordinary prose artist, physician, and polymath. With the help of recent archival discoveries, the biography recasts each phase of Browne’s life (1605-82) and situates his incomparable writings within the diverse intellectual and social contexts in which he lived, including London, Winchester, Oxford, Montpellier, Padua, Leiden, Halifax, and Norwich. The book makes the case that, as his contemporaries fervently believed, Browne influenced the intellectual and religious direction of seventeenth-century England in singularly rich and dynamic ways. Sir Thomas Browne: A Life was published by Oxford University Press (2013).


Alan Nelson named Harold J. Glass USAF Distinguished Term Professor

nelsonThrough the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Harold E. Glass of Philadelphia, the Graduate School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has established a three-year term professorship for a faculty member and a corresponding fellowship for the graduate student the professor selects to mentor. Alan Nelson(Philosophy) has been selected by the Graduate School as the inaugural Harold J. Glass USAF Faculty Mentor Distinguished Professor. This award is a tribute to his talent and success as a mentor to graduate students. Nelson is a past recipient of the Graduate School’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Doctoral Mentoring, among other University teaching awards.


Building a Sacred Mountain: The Buddhist Architecture of China’s Mount Wutai

Wei-Cheng Lin Sacred Mountain BookProfessor Wei-Cheng Lin (Art) has published a new book with the University of Washington Press (2014). Mount Wutai had, by the tenth century CE, become a major pilgrimage site within the emerging culture of a distinctively Chinese buddhism. The site in northeastern China was transformed from a wild area into an elaborate complex of Buddhist monasteries. Lin traces the factors that produced this transformation and argues that monastic architecture, more than texts, icons, relics, or pilgrimages, was key to Mount Wutai’s emergence as a sacred site. Lin’s interdisciplinary approach goes beyond the analysis of forms and structures to show how built environments can work in tandem with practices and discourses to provide a space for encountering the divine.


Colonial Itineraries of Contemporary Mexico: Literary and Cultural Inquiries

Oswaldo Colonial Inquiries BookProfessor Oswaldo Estrada (Romance Languages), author of a monograph on Bernal Díaz del Castillo, an Early Modern Spanish chronicler (2009), has just published a new book with the University of Arizona Press (2014). Colonial Itineraries analyzes ultra-contemporary writings – and rewritings – focused on the Mexican colonia to question a present reality of marginalities and inequality, of imposed political domination, and of hybrid subjectivities. This work opens broader conversations about Mexican coloniality as it continues well into the twenty-first century



The Well-Laden Ship by Egbert of Liège

Babcock-Egbert of Liege BookRobert Babcock‘s translation of Egbert of Liège’s The Well-Laden Ship has been published by Harvard University Press. This work is an early eleventh-century Latin poem composed of ancient and medieval proverbs, fables, and folktales. It was originally written as a first reader for beginning students which makes it one of the few surviving works from the Middle Ages written explicitly for schoolroom use.




The Ocean of Life (Exhibit at the Smithsonian)

Ocean of Life ImageCarl Ernst translated from Persian a rare illustrated manual of Yoga postures from the seventeenth century, called the Ocean of Life, as part of an exhibit at the Smithsonian’s Freer Sackler Museums of Asian Art. The exhibit is entitled Yoga: The Art of Transformation and uses the largely untapped resource of visual culture to explore central aspects of yoga practice and its hidden histories.




Congratulations to Rose Aslan

Rose Aslan PhotoRose Aslan (PhD Religious Studies, UNC) is now an assistant professor of Religion at California Lutheran University in Southern California. Rose’s dissertation, “From Grave to Shrine: The Making of Sacred Place at the Tomb of Ali ibn Abi Talib in Najaf,” investigated contemporary debates around the sanctification of Ali ibn Abi Talib (d. 661) and the significance of pilgrimage rituals to explain how sectarian identity is strengthened through communal affiliation to – or rejection of – sacred space. Rose was a recipient of a 2014 Mellon Dissertation Writing Fellowship. “I’m very grateful,” Rose explains, “for the immense support I’ve received from MEMS during my time at UNC, if it wasn’t for the Spring dissertation fellowship I know that I wouldn’t have been able to complete and defend my dissertation in time for my new job.”

Marcus Bull Wins NHC Fellowship for 2014-15

BullOur congratulations to Marcus Bull, interim director of MEMS during the previous year, who will be spending this academic year at the National Humanities Center, working on his project Eyewitness and Narration: Texts of Conflict and Cultural Encounter between the Eleventh and Sixteenth Centuries.





2013-2014 News in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

2012-2013 News in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

2011-2012 News in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

2010-2011 News in Medieval and Early Modern Studies