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:

Spring 2018

The Spring Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar will be held on Saturday, March 24th, 9:00 am to 1:30 pm, at the National Humanities Center.

The first paper will be presented by Sara S. Poor (Princeton), whose paper explores the transfer of knowledge between a mother and daughter (a countess and her daughter, an abbess of a local convent) made evident by an exchange of devotional books (all produced in the late fifteenth century). Further, one of books in question includes a spiritual dialogue between a Princess and a “krämerin” or lady peddler, which is thus also about the transfer of knowledge between women. The paper examines the way these exchanges reveal the discipline and restraint required of women within the competing patriarchal orders of the noble home and cloister. Next, Peter Raleigh (UNC Chapel Hill) will present a draft chapter from his dissertation, “History and the Deeds of Kings: Historical Narrative and Royal Representation in Angevin England;” here he analyzes William of Newburgh’s narrative of the Anarchy of King Stephen, with particular reference to narrative strategies which contribute to an overall vision of history and kingship. And finally, Amy Vines (UNC Greensboro) will present a draft of a chapter from her second monograph on constructions of chivalry in medieval romance; featured texts will include Yvain, several werewolf narratives, and Havelok the Dane.

The seminar schedule is as follows:

9:00 – 9:30 AM     Breakfast

9:30 – 10:30     Sara S. Poor, Director of the Program in Medieval Studies and Associate Professor of German, Princeton University, “Peddling Devotion: Mothers and Daughters in Conversation Through Books.”

10:30 – 10:45     Break

10:45 – 11:45     Peter Raleigh, PhD Candidate in Medieval History, UNC Chapel Hill, “The Rise of the Angevins: William of Newburgh’s Historia Anglorum.”

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

12:30 – 1:30     Amy Vines, Associate Professor of English, UNC Greensboro, “‘A Man of Mouth and Hands’: Gestural Submission and Knightly Identity.”

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:

Fall 2017

Glaire Anderson, Associate Professor, Art History, UNC Chapel Hill, “The Sage of al-Andalus.”

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

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

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)