Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar (TMSS)

Increase font size
Decrease font size

(TMSS Page) Europe_Mediterranean_Catalan_Atlas

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 2017

The Fall Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar will be held on Saturday, October 28th, 9:00 am to 1:30 pm, at the National Humanities Center.

The first paper will be presented by Glaire Anderson (UNC Chapel Hill), whose paper focuses on ‘Abbas Ibn Firnas (d.877), a courtier of early islamic Córdoba celebrated today for conducting an experiment in early human flight. It explores this colorful character’s background and identity, and his medieval reputation as the pre-eminent intellectual of early Islamic Iberia, as recounted in the 11th century Córdoban court chronicle. Next, Jessica Ward (UNC Greensboro) will present a paper on how Geoffrey Chaucer, John Gower, and William Langland were troubled by the issues undermining the principle of common profit and ultimately how their understanding of that idea shapes, or is shaped by, their conception of avarice. And finally, James Knowles (NC State University) will present will present selections from his monograph project, Serve and Deserve: Literature, Theology, and the Language of Service from Chaucer to Shakespeare; featured authors/texts will include Piers Plowman, Chaucer’s Troilus, Julian of Norwich, and Margery Kempe.

The seminar schedule is as follows:

9:15 – 9:30 AM     Breakfast

9:30 – 10:30     Glaire Anderson, Associate Professor, Art History, UNC Chapel Hill, “The Sage of al-Andalus.”

10:30 – 10:45     Break

10:45 – 11:45     Jessica Ward, PhD Candidate, Medieval Literature, UNC Greensboro, “The Social Critique of Avarice in Estates Satire and Statuses Summae.”

11:45 – 12:30     Lunch Buffet (vegetarian options available)

12:30 – 1:30     James Knowles, teaching professor, Department of English, NC State University, “Serve and Deserve: Literature, Theology, and the Language of Service from Chaucer to Shakespeare.”

Please RSVP to Daniel Morgan (

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 National Humanities Center:

The National Humanities Center is located at 7 T.W. Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709-2256.

Parking is available on location.

Directions from Chapel Hill:

Take Interstate 40 going East. Take exit 279B for NC-147 N/Durham Freeway. Merge onto NC-147 N. Take the Cornwallis Road exit toward Research Triangle Park. Turn right onto E Cornwallis Road, and then turn right onto TW Alexander Drive.

Directions from Durham:

Follow NC-147 S to TW Alexander Drive in Triangle. Take exit 7 from NC-147 South. Turn right onto TW Alexander Drive and then make a u-turn. Follow signs for the National Humanities Center.

Previous Seminar Programs:

Spring 2017:

Rodrigo Adem, College Fellow, Department of history, Harvard University, “A Changing of the Guard: The Great Epistemic Shift in 11th-Century Nishapur.”

Elizabeth Hasseler, PhD Candidate, History, UNC Chapel Hill, “The Crown of Righteousness: The Royal Saint as Rex Iustus in Norwegian and Hungarian Historical Writing.”

Taylor Cowdery, Professor of English, UNC Chapel Hill, “Lydgate and the Surplus of History.”

Fall 2016

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

Jessica Hines, PhD Candidate, English, Duke University, “The Politics of Compassion in Nicholas Love and Margery Kempe”

Jessica Boon, Associate Professor, Religion, UNC-CH, “Jesus’ Hyperbody: Materiality and Physiology in Castilian Passion Texts and Altarpieces, 1480-1540”

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)