Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar (TMSS)

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A collaborative effort between Duke, North Carolina State, and UNC-Chapel Hill, the Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar (TMSS) offers a humanities-based, interdisciplinary forum for the study of history, art history, religious studies, literature, music, women’s studies and more. TMSS scholars focus on the period ca. 500 – 1500 in Europe, Byzantium, and the Islamic world along with other regions. The seminar invites local and visiting scholars to present their written work as the basis for a rigorous discussion of current trends, topics, and problems in the field of medieval studies.

The TMSS would like to thank the UNC Carolina Seminars program, the Duke Council for European Studies, the Duke History Department, the Duke Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, the NC State CHASS Research Office, and the UNC MEMS Program for their past and present support.

Interested in joining the TMSS Listserv and receiving updates about events? Please email Brett Whalen ( or Daniel Morgan (

Upcoming Events:

Fall 2016 

The Fall 2016 Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar will be held on Saturday, November 5, 9:00 am to 1:30 pm, at the Carpenter Room (Room 249), Rubenstein Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Duke University.

The first paper will be presented by Michael Cornett (Duke University), whose new book project uncovers a major hidden archive of source materials and indexes nearly 10,000 British medieval manuscripts that are available on microfilm freely through interlibrary loan; the selected reading to be presented at TMSS includes the introduction with a sampling from the bibliography and index to show how this reference work is constructed. Next, Jessica Hines (Duke University) will present a paper on the theological and political consequences of thinking of compassion as an act of suffering with others in Nicholas Love’s Mirror of the Blessed Life of Jesus Christ and Margery Kempe’s The Book of Margery Kempe. And finally, Jessica Boon (UNC-Chapel Hill) will present a chapter from her second book, Spanish Passion: Jesus, Mary, and the Jews in Castilian Spirituality, 1480-1540. In this chapter, Boon argues that after the reconquest of the Muslims and the expulsion of the Jews, the newfound emphasis in Renaissance Castile on Jesus’ suffering humanity depending on defining the incarnate body and blood of Jesus as living matter; the incarnate body and blood of Jesus was a hyperbody that was constrained by yet also broke the rules of pre-modern human physiology, and was extended and delineated by the very weapons that lacerated it.

The seminar schedule is as follows:

9:00 – 9:15 AM    Coffee and Bagels

9:15 – 10:30       Michael Cornett, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Duke University, “Medieval British Manuscripts on Microfilm: A Location Guide”

10:30 – 10:40       Break

10:40- 11:55      Jessica Hines, PhD Candidate, English, Duke University, “The Politics of Compassion in Nicholas Love and Margery Kempe”

12:00 – 12:15     Lunch Buffet (vegetarian options available)

12:15 – 1:30      Jessica Boon, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, UNC, “Jesus’ Hyperbody: Materiality and Physiology in Castilian Passion Texts and Altarpieces, 1480-1540”


Please RSVP to Daniel Morgan ( by 5 pm Friday, October 28.

The pre-circulated papers will be made available on the TMSS Sakai website, however you may also contact Daniel Morgan directly for copies.


Directions to the Rubenstein Library:

 The Rubenstein Library is located on Duke University’s West Campus, by the William R. Perkins Library, accessible through the main entrance to Perkins Library.

Parking is available at the nearby Bryan Center parking garage. Walking directions from the garage are generously provided by the Rubenstein library website.

From Chapel Hill: Take Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd and US-15 N/US-501 N to NC-751 S/Cameron Blvd in Durham. Take exit 107 from US-15 N/US-501 N. Continue straight onto Fordham Blvd. Continue onto Durham-Chapel Hill Blvd. Take a slight right onto US-15 N/US-501 N (signs for Durham/Downtown/Interstate 85). Take exit 107 for NC-751 toward W Campus/Duke University. Then take Erwin Rd and Towerview Rd. NC-751 S/Cameron Blvd. Turn left onto Erwin Rd. Turn right onto Towerview Rd. Then turn left onto Science Drive. The Bryan Center parking garage will be on your right.

From Raleigh: Take U.S. 70/NC-50/ towards RDU International Airport. Continue onto NC-50 N/US-70 W/Wade Ave. Use any lane to turn left onto Wade Ave. Continue straight to stay on Wade Ave. Take I-40 W and NC-147 N to W Chapel Hill Street in Durham. Take exit 13 from NC-147 N. Continue onto Wade Avenue. Merge onto I-40 W. Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 279B to merge onto NC-147 N towards Durham/Downtown. Take exit 13 for Chapel Hill St. Continue on W Chapel Hill St to your destination. Turn right onto W Chapel Hill St. Continue straight onto Duke University Rd. Turn right onto Towerview Rd. At the traffic circle, continue straight to stay on Towerview Rd. Turn right onto Science Drive. The Bryan Center garage will be on your right.

Further directions can be found here.


Previous Seminar Programs:

Spring 2016

Clare Woods, Associate Professor of Latin, Duke University, “Explicating the Epistles in Carolingian Francia”

Kristen Neuschel, Associate Professor of History, Duke University, “Swords in the Crowd”

Alexandra Locking, PhD Candidate, History, UNC-Chapel Hill, “Manly Virtue and Womanly Compassion: Gendering Authority During the Eleventh-Century Ecclesiastical Reform”

Fall 2015

Neslihan Senocak, Associate Professor of History, Columbia University (NHC fellow), “Twelfth-century Italian Confraternities as Institutions of Pastoral Care”

Matthew Hotham, PhD candidate, Religious Studies. UNC-Chapel Hill, “Wholly Bodies: The Conjunction of Asceticism & Corporeal Ascension in the Makhzan al-Asrar of Nizami Ganjavi (d. 1209)”

Brett Whalen, Associate Professor of History, UNC-Chapel Hill, “The Cross and the Keys: Gregory IX, Frederick II, and the Public Realm ca 1227-1230″

Spring 2015

Shannon Gayk (English, University of Indiana-Bloomington/NHC), “Wearing the Armor of Christ”

Joshua Hevert (History, UNC-Chapel Hill), “A Latin Light in West Asia: The Foundation of the Archdiocese of Sultanieh, Persia”

Christopher Melchert (Oriental Studies, Oxford/NHC), “Origins and Early Sufism”

Fall 2014:

Glaire Anderson (Art History, UNC-Chapel Hill), “Reframing the Arts of Cordoba”

Derek Kreuger (Religious Studies, UNC-Greensboro), “Beyond Eden: Placing Adam, Eve, and Humanity in Byzantine Hymns”

J. Christian Straubhaar (German Studies, Duke), “Negative Images: Henry Suso’s ‘glichnús’ between Neoplatonic Theology and Visual Theory”

Spring 2014:

Stephen D. White (Emory University, Emeritus) “Was Revenge in Medieval European Societies an Urge? An Impulse? An Emotion?”

Mona Hassan (Duke University) “Conceptualizing the Medieval Islamic Caliphate”

Carol Symes (Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) “Everyman His Own Historian: The First Crusade and the Media Revolution of Medieval Europe”

Fall 2013:

James Knowles (NC State University) “Ghastly Vignettes: Pierce the Ploughman’s Crede, the Ghost of Shakespeare’s Blackfriars, and the Future of the Digital Past”

Jehangir Yezdi Malegam (Duke University) “Learning from Leviathan: Community and Emotions in the High Middle Ages”

Lee Manion (University of Missouri) “‘When our kingdom had no head’: Scottish Narratives of Political Power in the Later Middle Ages”


TMSS Conveners:

Brett Whalen (UNC–Chapel Hill), Jessica Boon (UNC–Chapel Hill), Mona Hassan (Duke), Clare Woods (Duke), Jim Knowles (NC State), and Timothy Stinson (NC State)