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NEWs in medieval and early modern studies

Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Patricia Simons, “Black Women in Italian Renaissance Art and in Modern Whitewashing,” February 24

Please join us Monday, February 24, at 5pm for a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture by Professor Patricia Simons (University of Michigan, emerita). Professor Simons will deliver her lecture in Murphey Hall, Room 104.







Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Therese Martin, “Crossing Borders: Female Rulers and Luxury Objects in Medieval Iberia,” February 11

Please join us Tuesday, February 11, at 5pm for a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture by Therese Martin (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientificas, Madrid / CAVSA). Professor Martin will deliver her lecture in Hamilton Hall 569 (the History Department Lounge).





Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Ambrogio Camozzi Pistoja, “Satire or Criminal Offense? Snippets from the Late Medieval Discussion,” April 8th

Please join us Monday, April 8th, at 4pm for a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture from Ambrogio Camozzi Pistoja, Assistant Professor in Romance Languages and Literatures at Harvard University. His lecture will take place in the Toy Lounge, Dey Hall.








Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture, February 28th: Prof. Andras Kisery, “Learning to Talk: Early Modern Drama, Language Instruction, and Vernacular Conversation.”

On Thursday, February 28th, at 5pm, Andras Kisery, Associate Professor of English at the City College of New York (City University of New York), will deliver a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture entitled “Learning to Talk: Early Modern Drama, Language Instruction, and Vernacular Conversation.” The lecture will take place in the Donovan Lounge, Greenlaw Hall, second floor.







Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Brian Copenhaver, “Pico Undignified: His Project in the Oration?”

On Monday, February 4th, at 4pm, Brian Copenhaver, Professor of Philosophy and History at the University of California, Los Angeles, will deliver a Dorothy Ford Wiley lecture in Murphey 115. A brief description of his lecture subject follows:

There’s a reason why Giovanni Pico never said that his Oration is about human dignity: because it isn’t.  The speech was a failure: the Pope ruined Pico’s plan to deliver the Oration in Rome to the assembled Curia, and the frustrated orator never published it.  Had Innocent VIII and the Cardinals heard the speech, they could not have understood that the whole thing – not just a few paragraphs at the end – is loaded with Kabbalah.  Otherwise, as the prince’s co-religionists, they might have noticed Pico’s body-hating, world-fleeing asceticism – incompatible with ‘human dignity’ as people now use that phrase in English.  If the human body is a “noose round the soul’s neck,” in Pico’s words, how can embodied humans have any dignity at all?


Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture (Co-Sponsored by UNC Romance Studies): Prof. Leah Middlebrook, “Amphion’s Stones: A Theory of Lyric for Times of Change.”

On Tuesday, November 6th, at 4pm, Professor Leah Middlebrook of the University of Oregon will deliver a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture co-sponsored by the UNC Department of Romance Studies. Her lecture will take place in the Toy Lounge, Dey Hall.







Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture (Co-Sponsored by UNC Art and Art History): Prof. Andrea Pearson, “Rethinking the ‘Medieval Housebook’: A Gendered Intervention and Its Consequences,” November 5th

Please join us Monday, November 5th, at 5:30 for a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture co-sponsored by the Department of Art and Art History at UNC. Professor Andrea Pearson of the American University will lecture on “Rethinking the ‘Medieval Housebook’: A Gendered Intervention and Its Consequences” in Hanes Art Center 218.







Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture: Prof. Katherine Smith, “The Road to Babylon: The First Crusade as Moral Performance,” October 25th

Please join us Thursday, October 25th, at 5:30 for the Fall 2018 Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture with Professor Katherine Smith of the University of Puget Sound. Professor Smith will lecture in Hamilton 569 on “The Road to Babylon: The First Crusade as Moral Performance.”







MEMS Fall Reception – Wednesday, September 26th

Please join us for the MEMS fall reception, Wednesday, September 26th, from 1:30 to 3:15. This is a great opportunity to hear about upcoming events and funding opportunities, to renew scholarly acquaintances and make new ones, and to begin another exciting and productive year for the MEMS Program. A buffet lunch will be served.







Raleigh 400: A Conference on Sir Walter Raleigh 400 Years After His Death, Chapel Hill, NC, September 6-8

Free and open to the public (except for Friday night dinner + talk by Anna Beer). Registration is required.

Please follow the above link for all conference-related information, including how to register. Please feel free to use this link in postings to listservs, emails to colleagues, etc.






Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Prof. Martin Nesvig, “Indigenous Ritual Meets Catholic Doctrine: Or, How Spanish Colonials in Mexico Learned to Like Pulque,” March 27th

Please join us on Tuesday, March 27th, at 5:00pm, when Professor Martin Nesvig of the University of Miami will present a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture. Prof. Nesvig will lecture in Hamilton Hall 569 on “Indigenous Ritual Meets Catholic Doctrine: Or, How Spanish Colonials in Mexico Learned to Like Pulque.”


Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Prof. Zachary Lesser, “Shakespeare’s Ghosts: Rethinking Shakespeare’s ‘False Folio’,” February 8th; Workshop, “Reading What’s Not There,” February 9th

Please join us on Thursday, February 8th, at 6:00pm for a Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture from Professor Zachary Lesser. Prof. Lesser joins us from the English Department at the University of Pennsylvania, and will deliver a lecture in the Pleasants Family Room of Wilson Library entitled “Shakespeare’s Ghosts: Rethinking Shakespeare’s ‘False Folio’. This lecture is presented in collaboration with the Rare Book Collection at Wilson Library.

On February 9th from 1:00-3:00, Prof. Lesser will also run a workshop in Room 504 of the Wilson Library. Entitled “Reading What’s Not There,” the workshop will give a hands-on training in reading the invisible, or barely visible, traces of the past histories of texts that are now preserved in our rare books libraries. How can we begin to reconstruct the longue durée of the lives of these books? Paradoxically, the texts that seem most important to us (important literary and historical works) can be the best preserved and hence least informative, since they were often elegantly rebound in the 19th-century as valued relics. We’ll examine some of these books, and some that have been less “preserved” over the years, to see what we can learn about what’s no longer there. Graduate students are particularly welcome.


Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture: Prof. Martin Foys, “NewMedia Models for Scholarship: Agile Forensics and the Case of the Cotton Vespasian D.xv Manuscript,” November 16th

Please join us on Thursday, November 16th, at 6:00pm for a Fall 2017 Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture from Professor Martin Foys of the University of Wisconsin, Madison, entitled “New2 Media Models for Scholarship: Agile Forensics and the Case of the Cotton Vespasian D.xv Manuscript.” The lecture will be held in Murphey 104.

Professor Foys will also offer a workshop introducing participants to the Digital Mappa, a developing online resource for connecting digital images and texts with linked and annotated data; the workshop will be held on November 17th, 10:00-12:00, in Greenlaw 431.


Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture: Prof. Rachel Koopmans, “New Eyes, New Genitals, New Miracles: Eilward of Westoning and the Early Expansion of Thomas Becket’s Cult,” November 2nd

Please join us on Thursday, November 2nd, at 6:00 for a Fall 2017 Dorothy Ford Wiley Crossroads Lecture from Professor Rachel Koopmans of York University, Toronto. Professor Koopmans will lecture on “New Eyes, New Genitals, New Miracles: Eilward of Westoning and the Early Expansion of Thomas Becket’s Cult” in Peabody 104.


In Memoriam: John Headley

John Miles Headley, age 87, passed away peacefully on September 22, 2017 at his home with his devoted caregiver Joyce M. and family and friends in constant attendance during his final days. Born on October 23, 1929 in New York City to his late parents Peter Sanford Ross Headley and Beatrice Miles Headley, he was preceded in death by his brother Peter Ogden Headley, of Richmond, Virginia. He earned his Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude in History at Princeton University, 1951.  He received his  Master of Arts in History from Yale University in 1953 and subsequently served with the US Army Signal Corps, 1953-1955.  He returned to Yale and was awarded his  PhD in History in 1960. He was an Instructor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1959-1961  and  Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia, B.C. , 1962-1964. In 1964 he joined the Department of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, remaining there until his retirement in 2003 as Distinguished University Professor.  Over his career he published widely in the fields of the European Renaissance and Reformation and global history.  In November 2011, friends and colleagues honored him with a symposium, “From the Renaissance to the Modern World.”  His other academic honors included a Guggenheim fellowship (1974). His book Tommaso Campanella and the Transformation of the World (1997) won the Marraro Prize from the American Historical Association, the American Catholic Historical Association and the Society for Italian Historical Studies as well as the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Book Prize from the Renaissance Society of America. His other major books include The Problem with Multiculturalism.  The Uniqueness and Universality of Western Civilization (2012); The Europeanization of the World: On the Origins of Human Rights and Democracy (2008); Church, empire, and world: the quest for universal order, 1520-1640 (1997); The Emperor and his Chancellor: A Study of the Imperial Chancellors under Gattinara (1983); Responsio ad Luterum, vol. V of the Complete Works of St. Thomas More (1969); and Luther’s View of Church History(1963).  John is remembered for his dedication to his classes and to his students for generations. The high standards of his teachings and the quality of his scholarship remain an inspiration to them and to many others. He is survived by his two nephews Peter Mitchell Headley and Jonathan Miles Headley of Richmond, Virginia and his niece Elizabeth Headley Pearson of Deltaville, Virginia and eight grandnieces and nephews. The Headley family will receive family and friends at a memorial service at Walker’s Funeral Home in Chapel Hill on Friday, October 6, 2017 at 4:00pm with a reception to follow. Online condolences may be sent to the Headley family by visiting In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Frank Ryan and John Headley Dissertation Fellowship Fund of the Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program, College of Arts and Sciences, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To make a donation online, please visit and search for fund number 105539. Gifts by check may be made payable to the Arts and Sciences Foundation with Ryan-Headley – 105539 in the memo line and mailed to: The Arts and Sciences Foundation, 134 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514.

A Remembrance

To have known John Headley is, in all likelihood, to share one indelible memory of him: as host of his twice-annual cocktail parties, when a hundred or so Triangle and Triad academics, most of us scholars of the classical, medieval, and Renaissance periods, would cram into his humble apartment for several hours on a Friday evening. Decked out in a green blazer, John presided over these events with remarkable gusto, making the rounds with a pitcher of “kir ordinaire” — his signature cocktail — as he introduced colleagues to each other, replenished our glasses with a near-obsessive diligence, and thrusted upon us a brick of pâté so uncannily consistent in appearance from one year to the next that it began to acquire, in my mind, a Phoenix-like capacity for regeneration.
John was one of the very first colleagues I met at UNC, shortly after I arrived in 1998. I began attending the Renaissance workshop that he ran monthly, and which featured works-in-progress by faculty and doctoral students — a key antecedent to the more formal program of medieval and early modern studies we now enjoy. As a young professor (of English literature, no less) with no publication record and little else to recommend me, John would have been well within his rights to dismiss me as an intellectual nonentity. But he adopted me quickly as both ally and friend. What was most extraordinary about our camaraderie, given his gruff old-man demeanor and the almost half-century age difference between us, was his obstinate habit of treating me like an utter equal — asking serious questions about my research, describing his own scholarship to me with depth and sophistication, encouraging me to aim high in my scholarly endeavors. He treated the students we shared in common with similar respect, demanding much from them but giving much in return. He regularly spoke about other scholars with hyperbolic praise but never aggrandized his own very considerable scholarly achievements. He was the kind of wide-angle intellectual adventurer who took on entire new fields with each new project: from Martin Luther and the court of the Emperor Charles V to Thomas More and Tomasso Campanella, from church history and political history to the history of science and contemporary cultural politics.
John was an intensely private man, so much so that even after years of friendship I gleaned from him only the faintest details about his early life. He seemed admirably devoid of nostalgia for his own past, never reveling in his imposing educational background, his military service, or his impressively rich record of scholarly publication. What he did reveal, with pride, was his family’s long history of involvement in progressive politics, in particular his mother’s contributions to the Women’s Suffrage movement, and his eclectic modern art collection, which he would show off with great fanfare. When he was strident, as he sometimes was, he was almost always motivated by the most admirable of causes: by an outrage against injustice or intolerance, or by a passionate commitment to his chosen field of study. He was a pleasure to disagree with, and he was often at his most irresistibly charming when he was a bit tetchy. It was a privilege to be his colleague, and one of the most gratifying aspects of my involvement with UNC’s Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies is the opportunity to preserve and perpetuate the spirit of intellectual generosity that John modeled so beautifully for me.
Jessica Wolfe

Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Prof. Marisa Bass, “Dürer’s Shadow: Beyond ‘Art and Science’ in the Northern Renaissance,” September 29

Join us on Friday, September 29, 2017 at 4:00 for a Dorothy Ford Wiley lecture by Professor Marisa Bass of Yale University on “Dürer’s Shadow: Beyond ‘Art and Science’ in the Northern Renaissance,” in Murphey 104.


Dorothy Ford Wiley Dissertation Workshop

Please join us on Wednesday, September 27th, 2017 for the 2017-18 Dorothy Ford Wiley Dissertation Workshop, which features Professor Azfar Moin (University of Texas at Austin, Religious Studies), an expert on medieval Sufism, and Patrick D’Silva, a doctoral student in UNC’s Department of Religious Studies who is writing a dissertation on medieval Islamic spirituality and conceptions of breath therein. The seminar will take place in Carolina Hall 124, from 3:30 to 5:30pm. Below please find a link to excerpts from Mr. D’Silva’s dissertation, which will serve as the starting point for discussion during the seminar.

D’Silva DFW Dissertation Workshop Readings

Dorothy Ford Wiley New Book Colloquium: The Medieval Invention of Travel by Prof. Shayne Legassie, September 22

Join us on Friday, September 22, 2017 at 12:30 for a seminar and discussion featuring Professors Karla Mallette (Michigan) and Shayne Legassie (UNC). Free lunch will be provided for all participants; please RSVP to Peter Raleigh ( by September 9 and indicate any dietary restrictions.

Below please find links to all seminar materials.

Seminar Introduction       Legassie Touati

Antrim                            Marco Polo

Calvino                           Massey

Images of Maps               Kinoshita

legassieintro                    LegassieCh1


Dorothy Ford Wiley Lecture: Prof. Karla Mallette, “Fortune, Hazard, Risk: Accounting for Contingency in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean,” September 21

Join us on Thursday, September 21 at 5:30 for a Dorothy Ford Wiley lecture by Professor Karla Mallette of the University of Michigan, who will present on “Fortune, Hazard, Risk: Accounting for Contingency in the Pre-Modern Mediterranean” in Dey Hall 305.


MEMS Fall Reception, September 20

Please join us on Wednesday, September 20th from 3:30-5:00 for the Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies’ annual Fall Reception, in the Anne Queen Room of the Campus Y. Food and drink will be provided, and all are welcome!


Dr. Stephen Hindle: Lecture and Workshop

Hindle PosterOn Thursday, January 19, Dr. Stephen Hindle (W.M. Keck Foundation Director of Research at the Henry E. Huntington Library) will present a lecture on “The Social Topography of the Rural Community in Early Modern England.” On Friday, January 20, he will lead a workshop for faculty and graduate students on applying for archive-specific fellowships.




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

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 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 by January 13.



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