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Events and Colloquia

this year's events | colloquia | graduate student conference

Medieval Studies Events

The UCSB medieval studies program is involved in various activities during the year, including the annual graduate student conference (held in the spring), as well as colloquia on various topics of interest within the discipline. To receive updates and information about future events, please contact Edward D. English at english@history.ucsb.edu.

Medieval Studies Events 2015-2016


“Bringing People’s Voices into the State: Familial Relationship, Princely Rule and a Social Order of Gender Inequalities in Seventeenth-Century Tuscany.”

Giovanna Benadusi, University of South Florida

27 January 2016, at 1:00PM in HSSB 4020.

Between 1601 and 1602, in a series of petitions addressed to the Medici Grand Duke and argued within the Magistrato Supremo, Orazio Pancrazi, captain of the state militia, questioned Leonora Gonzaga, his widowed daughter-in-law’s reputation, charging her with having simulated the delivery of a son five months after the death of her husband. In turn Leonora disputed her father-in-law’s honesty and integrity by accusing him of having tampered with the amount of a debt. What led Orazio and Leonora to appeal to the Magistrato Supremo, to request the attention of the grand duke, and to draw friends and neighbors as witnesses into a conflict that seemingly centered on each other’s moral characters? This presentation explores the intersection between the law as lived experience and expression of self-representation and as institutional form that shapes politics and social relations. This perspective brings new issues into view and revises our understanding of key developments in early modernity, specifically about commonly held assumptions of the place ordinary people had in the grand narrative of state building.
Professor Benadusi is the author of A Provincial Elite in Early Modern Tuscany: Family and Power in the Creation of the State (Baltimore, 1996) and edited Medici Women: The Making of a Dynasty in Grand Ducal Tuscany (Toronto, 2015).

A lecture byNancy McLoughlin, Associate Professor UC Irvine.

"Jean Gerson, Gender and the Two Sides of Bathsheba."

Monday, 14 March 2016, at 4:00 PM in HSSB 4080.

It examined how the prominent French theologian, Jean Gerson (1363-1429), employed the fleshly and spiritual readings of the biblical figure Bathsheba as a means of stirring Queen Isabeau of France to promote peace while simultaneously undercutting her authority over her minor son's kingdom. Gerson's complex strategy for coopting Isabeau's authority for the University of Paris provides crucial insights into the relationship between the development of misogynist discourses and the exercise of authority by women.

UCSB Medieval Studies Program Presents:
Gender & Religious Practice in the Middle Ages.  
7 May 2016 in McCune Conference Room, 6th Floor HSSB
Free and Open to the Public
Keynote talk by Fiona Griffiths, Associate Professor of History at Stanford University:
“Men in Women's Monasteries: Nuns' Priests in the Central Middle Ages”
Sponsored by the Departments of History, English, French and Italian, Comparative Literature, and Religion and Chaucer’s Books

Medieval Studies Events 2014-2015


The Medieval Studies Program with the University of California Mediterranean Seminar Group sponsored a two day meeting on “Land and Sea in the Mediterranean World.” 7-8 November 2014:

UCSB, Medieval Studies Conference, 7 November 2014
Friday colloquium:
1:00-2:45 Session I: Chair, John W. I. Lee (UCSB)
Glenn Bugh (Virginia Tech) “Fortress Morea: Venetian Defensive Strategy in the Peloponnese.”
Nikki Malain (University of California, Santa Barbara). “Who are You Calling a Pirate? The Birth and Spread of the Term ‘Corsair’ in the Twelfth Century.”
Aaron Burke (UCLA) “Ioppa Maritima: In Search of Jaffa's ‘Solomonic’ Harbor.”
3:00-4:15 Session II: Chair, Debra Blumenthal (UCSB)
Suzanne Akbari (University of Toronto) “The Door to the Latin Kingdom: Early Thirteenth-Century Views of the Port of Acre.”
Michael North (University of Greifswald) “The Sea as Realm of Memory: The Straits of Gibraltar and the Dardanelles.”
This one day interdisciplinary meeting sponsored by the Medieval Studies Program at UCSB will examine the points of contact between the Mediterranean Sea and the land bordering it. These were places of control for exchange and conflict of people, ideas, and material goods.
Keynote: 4:30: Brian Catlos (Religious Studies: University of Colorado Boulder/Humanities: University of California Santa Cruz) “`This Sea, Although Narrow, is Difficult to Cross’: Terrestrial Commonalities and Maritime Connectivity in the Medieval Mediterranean World.”

UC MRP (The Mediterranean Seminar) Saturday, 8 November –
9:30am—5:00pm: Daniel Hershenzon (University of Connecticut)
“The Political Economy of Ransom in the Early Modern Mediterranean, 1600-1650.”
• Comment by Cristelle Baskins (Tufts University) and discussion by the Participants.
Claudio Fogu (Italian Studies, UCSB)
“From the Southern to the Mediterranean Question: Making Italians and the Suppression of Mediterranean-ness.”
• Discussion by Pamela Ballinger (University of Michigan) and discussion by the Participants
Susan Slyomovics (Anthropology and Near Eastern Cultures, UCLA)
“Moving War Memorials from Algeria to France.”
• Comment by Sharon Kinoshita (UCSC) and discussion by the Participants

The Medieval Studies Program sponsored a lecture on Thursday, 22 January 2015, by Peggy McCracken, the Domna C. Stanton Collegiate Professor of French, Women's Studies, and Comparative Literature at the University of Michigan.
“Skin, Survival, and Sovereignty in Medieval France.” South Hall 1415, 4:00 PM In this lecture, I make a claim for the bio political grounding of notions of human sovereignty as represented in a series of medieval texts. I focus on narrative representations of animal skins used by humans for material and symbolic purposes in order to insist a repeated return to the conflation of material and symbolic use that grounds human dominion over animals and, by extension, over human subjects as well. In other words, human sovereignty depends in material and symbolic ways on the use of animals. But such use is not only a display of power over animals, or over other humans. It is, I argue, a site of interrogation for medieval thinkers. I further suggest that the identification of human dominion over animals as an exemplary sovereignty, as both a practice of power and a display of power through the use of animal skins, also opens a space of resistance in which animal voices call for ethical response, interest and justice extend to nonhuman actors, and human dominion is contested in terms of animals’ claims to wear their own skins.

The Medieval Studies Program sponsored a lecture on Monday, 2 March 2015 at 4:00 in HSSB 3041.
“To Trust is Good, But Not to Trust is Better”: The Italian Paradox. By Edward Muir, Northwestern University.
How did the citizens of Italian communes learn to trust one another, trust one another enough to build the fundamental institutions of a civil society in which citizens enjoyed participatory politics, elected officials to administer the laws, and adjudicated disputes according to legal statutes? The answer to this question points to a peculiar paradox of Italian history in which vital, successful communities cohabited with pervasive violence manifest most infamously in feuding and vendetta. Trust and mistrust lived in the same house, on the same street, within the same city walls. This lecture argues that what made Medieval and Renaissance Italy so culturally creative were the many new ways people found to build trust, especially through written documents.  It was literacy that made the trust necessary for modern life possible.

The Medieval Studies Program and the Department of English sponsored a lecture by Carol Sibson (Queen Mary University of London):

“Christ, the Lover-Knight, His Lady and the Devil: Allegory and Social Speculation in Bozon’s `Tretys de la Passion.’”
In HSSB 4020 on 11 May 2015 at 4:00 PM.
In addition to its role in expounding and enhancing religious belief, allegorical discourse offered the medieval writer wider, creative opportunities to engage in the formation of multiple significances and connotations. Through a consideration of Nicholas Bozon’s poem, Tretys de la Passion (early-fourteenth century), we see how the primary instructional focus shifts to an exploration of social, moral and emotional issues, to be unraveled and interpreted by the audience. The poet provides no answer, only speculation and suggestion.

The Medieval Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara Presented The Graduate Student Conference: “Changes in Fashion in the Middle Ages” on Saturday, 25 April 2015.

Welcome by Edward English, Director of the Medieval
Studies Program, and Welcome by the Organizers.

Panel 1: “L’habit ne fait pas le moine”: Clothing’s Determination of the Body. Moderator: Jonathan Forbes, English

Jennifer De Vries, Department of History, Georgetown University, “Dressing the Part: Regulations on Clothing in
Beguine Life Rules.”

Schuyler Eastin, Department of English, UC Riverside “Armé et desarmé asanblent”: Chainmail and Chivalric Assemblage in Chrétien de Troyes’ Le Chevalier de la Charrette.”

Panel 2: Material Fashionings: Building Public and Private Spaces. Moderator: Paul Megna, English.

Joe Figliulo-Rosswurm, Department of History, UC Santa Barbara “Out of Vogue: Florentine Society, through the Lens of Historical Materialism.”

Susan B. Schmidt, Department of History, UC Santa Barbara “A Walk through the Talk of Medieval Public Space: Examining the Language Used for Public Space in Trecento Bologna.”

Introductory Remarks by Carol Lansing:
Keynote: Maureen C. Miller, Department of History, UC Berkeley. “Clothing and Claims to Power: Fashioning Papal Authority, c. 1050-1300.”

Panel 3: “Of Monsters and Men”: Distorting the Human Moderator: Lauren Horn Griffin, Religious Studies.

Deepti Menon, Department of Comparative Literature, UC Santa Barbara. “King of the Jungle: An Examination of the Lion in Marie de France's Fables.”

Thomas Franke, Department of History, UC Santa Barbara “Refashioning the Apocalypse: Abraham Cresques’s Subversive Eschatology in the Catalan Atlas (1375).”

The Medieval Studies Program was a cosponsor with the Department of English of a conference entitled: “Neighbors and Networks in Medieval Literature” on 22 May 2015.

Keynote Address:
Patricia Clare Ingham, Indiana University: “Curiosity and Care.”

Panel 1: Networks
Peggy McCracken, University of Michigan: “Figuring Text Networks.”

Hannah R. Johnson, University of Pittsburgh: “Method Makes Meaning: Chaucer and the Tradition of Source Studies.”

Panel 2: Neighbors

Rachel Levinson-Emley, UCSB: “Neighbor-, God-, and Self-Love in The Sultan of Babylon.

Emily Houlik-Ritchey, UCSB & Rice University: “Being Neighborly in Gower’s `The Tale of the Jew and the Pagan’.

ResponseL. O. Aranye Fradenburg, UCSB

Medieval Studies Events 2013-2014

10am-1:30 pm
This conference honors the scholarship of Carol Pasternack, Professor of English Emerita at UCSB

January 18, 2014, 10am-1:30pm
Featured Speakers, Facilitators and Participants: Drs. Alexandra Cook (U of Alabama), Allen Frantzen (Loyola U-Chicago), Jennifer Hellwarth (Allegheny College), Kate Koppelman (Seattle University), Kathy Lavezzo (U of Iowa, Megan Palmer-Browne (UCSB)
10:00am Opening Remarks: David Marshall, Dean of the Humanities and Fine Arts
10:15am Introductions, Aranye Fradenburg
10:30am Remarks by Megan Palmer-Browne; general discussion, facilitated by Dr. Aranye Fradenburg
11:00am Coffee Break
11:15am Remarks by Allen Frantzen; general discussion, facilitated by Heather Blurton
12:00pm Remarks by Kathy Lavezzo; general discussion, facilitated by Kate Koppelman
12:30pm Remarks by Jennifer Hellwarth; general discussion, facilitated by Alexandra Cook*
1:00pmGeneral Discussion, facilitated by Aranye Fradenburg & Heather Blurton

Professor John Tolan of the University of Nantes will be speaking on Monday, 7 April 2014, HSSB 4020 from 2:45-4:45 on “RELMIN: The Legal Status of Religious Minorities in the Euro-Mediterranean World (5th -15th Centuries),” funded for five years (2010-2015) by the “Ideas” programme of the European Research Council’s Seventh Framework Programme and directed by John Tolan, Professor of history at the University of Nantes.

Its research team consists of doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers and associated scholars throughout the world. In addition to creating the database, the team organizes seminars and conferences in Nantes and elsewhere in Europe and the Mediterranean. Through this database, RELMIN collects and publishes legal texts defining the status of religious minorities in pre-modern Europe. The corpus of texts is rich and varied, spanning ten centuries over a broad geographical area; these texts, in Latin, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic (and also in Medieval Spanish, Portuguese, and other European vernaculars), are dispersed in libraries and archives across Europe. The Roman law code of emperor Theodosius II, promulgated in 438, accorded to Jews (and their synagogues) measures of protection but also restricted their access to certain functions of the Roman administration. These principles echo through the canon law and imperial and royal legislation of Medieval Europe, providing the bases for an inferior and often precarious place in Christian society for Jews. Later canon lawyers and lay princes extended the same inferior but protected status to Muslims living in their realms, particularly in Sicily and Spain. In Muslim societies, Qur’an and Hadith define the status of the dhimmi, protected minorities (principally Jews and Christians). Hundreds of legal texts from Muslim Spain, Sicily and elsewhere testify to the role of religious minorities and to the legal issues posed by their daily relations with the Muslim majorities: Fatwas (judicial consultations) and hisbas manuals (municipal law collections) deal with everything from the reliability of Jewish and Christian witnesses in court trials to dress restrictions. While Jews were everywhere the minority, their relations with the adherents of other religions were also based on sacred texts (the Torah) and on the legal opinions of the Talmud. Various Jewish authors of Medieval Europe, from Cordova to Krakow, in texts such as biblical commentaries, letters, or responsa, offered legal advice to fellow Jews on the proper and legal limits to relations with Christians and Muslims. The texts that appear in this database are thus extremely diverse (in provenance, language, nature, purpose …). By bringing them together, we seek to offer students and researchers an important tool for the study of the history of interconfessional relations and specifically for the study of the legal strictures (and protections and privileges) conferred on religious groups. While it will be impossible for this or any one project to compile an exhaustive anthology of texts, we seek to present a broad and representative sample of texts." More Info: "http://www.cn-telma.fr/relmin/index/?langue=eng.  The database is part of the research project and offers possibilities for funding research.

The Medieval Studies program sponsored a presentation by Emily Houlik-Ritchey, Arnold Faculty Fellow, Department of English on Wednesday, 23 April 2014 at 12:00 PM in HSSB 4041.
“Conversion Woes: Christian Community and the Saracen Convert in the Sowdon of Babylon and the Hystoria del Emperador Carlo Magno.”

Conversion woes trouble the assimilation of Fierabras, a Saracen knight and new Christian convert, in two medieval Charlemagne romances. By comparing the early 15th century Middle English The Sowdon of Babylon to its early sixteenth-century Castilian counterpart, the Hystoria del emperador Carlo Magno, my talk reveals the overlapping/intersecting sites of religious and cultural encounter emerging in both works. For while both redactions of this medieval story tradition situate their action in an imaginary “Spayne,” their own different historical moments, sites of production, and circulation dramatically alter the fantasies of representation each text gives of geography and community. I examine both the conversion and the fate of the Saracen character of Fierabras (Ferumbras in the English) in each text to highlight such differences. Differences in Fierabras’s/Ferumbras’s racial identity in each text, the comparative ease with which he is accepted into the Christian community, and the terms of his separation from Charlemagne at the end of the narrative all elucidate dramatic differences in each text’s preoccupation with Christian communal cohesion, and its imagination of geographic space/place. In addition to raising questions (with historicist and theoretical resonances) about medieval communities’ efforts to respond ethically to their neighbors, my argument invokes Kenneth Reinhard’s provocative insight for Comparative Literature. To read romances as neighbors is not to deny the “genealogical and formal relationships [...] based upon derivation and resemblance between texts” that the discipline traditionally prioritizes, but rather to insist that those connections alone cannot “fully adjudicate between the incommensurabilities that haunt every textual pairing.” My paper explores the way “neighboring” medieval romances may help us to productively reassess the ethical function of the genre.

“Movement and Mobility in the Middle Ages.”

Sponsored by the Department of Comparative Literature, Department of French and Italian, Department of History, Department of Religious Studies, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Graduate Division, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, and the Medieval Studies Program.
UCSB Medieval Studies Graduate Student Conference
Saturday, May 31, 2014, Humanities and Social Sciences Building (HSSB) 6020 - McCune Conference Room
9:00-9:10 – Morning Coffee
9:10-9:15 – Opening Remarks, Shay Hopkins, conference co-organizer (UCSB, Department of English)
9:15-10:15 – Culture: The Transformation of Images and Tropes
“Devils, Dames, and Dumb Dumbs: The Transalpine Movement of Dramatic Tropes during the Late Middle Ages,” Aria Dal Molin (UC Santa Barbara, Department of French and Italian)
“Unlicensed Liberties: The Liber Eliensis and the Appropriation of Scripture,” Philip Aijian (UC Irvine, Department of English)
Respondent: Rachel Levinson-Emley (UC Santa Barbara, Department of English)
10:15-10:30 – Coffee Break
10:30-12:00 – Identity: Exploring Confession, Status, and Disability
"Between Compulsion and Conversion: Itinerant Inquisitorial Activity in Germany, 1390-1400,"
Eugene Smelyansky (UC Irvine, Department of History)
“Apprenticeship and Artisanal Upward Mobility in Castellò d’Empùries 1260-1310,” Elizabeth Comuzzi (UC Los Angeles, Department of History)
“Movement and Leprosy and the Leprosarium Movement: From Cure to Care in Medieval Liège,”
Jay Stemmle (UC Santa Barbara, Department of History)
Respondent: Lauren Horn Griffin (UC Santa Barbara, Department of Religious Studies)
12:00-1:15 – Lunch
1:15-2:45 – Keynote Speaker: Professor William Tronzo (UC San Diego, Department of Art History)
“Justinian’s Hagia Sophia, restlessness, angels, and oblivion”
2:45-3:00 – Coffee Break
3:00-4:30 – Power: The Politics of Movement
“The Permeable Sea: Berenguer d’Entenza and traversing the Crown of Aragon’s Mediterranean in the 13th and 14th Century” Ryan Boghosian (UC Santa Barbara, Department of History)
“Where I Speak, There You Will Find Me: Use of Movement in the City Streets of Thirteenth Century Bologna,” Susan Schmidt (UC Santa Barbara, Department of History)
"Any goods to declare? A comparison of medieval Mediterranean port customs procedures,”
Munther Al-Sabbagh (UC Santa Barbara, Department of History)
Respondent: Sarah Hanson (UC Santa Barbara, Department of History)
4:30-4:40 – Closing Remarks, Jay Stemmle, conference co-organizer (UCSB, Department of History)

Medieval Studies Events 2012-2013

Linda G. Jones
Adjunct Professor, Faculty of Humanities, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain and Visiting Lecturer, Department of Religious Studies, University of California, Santa Barbara
4:00PM on 28 November 2012 in HSSB 4020

“Manliness and Religious Identity in Medieval Muslim and Christian Iberia: From Gender Difference to Cross-Cultural Gender Constructions”

The scholarship on gender and religious or ethnic difference in the Middle Ages has been based largely upon readings of western Christian sources. Explorations of textual and visual representations of Byzantine eunuchs and “Oriental” transvestites, cross-dressers, and homosexuals have helped illuminate the instability of gender categories, while the study of western stereotypical representations of “menstruating” Jewish men and hyper-sexed, “monstrous,” or effeminate Saracens has revealed how Latin Christian authors attempted to justify their dominance on the basis of religious and “racial” differentiation. This talk posits that medieval Muslim, Jewish, and Byzantine males will only be inscribed as “other” in the scholarly imagination as long as there are not more concerted efforts to explore the full range of constructions of masculinity from within those cultures and to undertake comparative analyses that transcend the privileging of the sources from Latin western Christendom. Using medieval Almohad, Merinid, and Castilian chronicles, I will undertake a cross-cultural analysis of Muslim and Christian constructions of masculinity and assess the significance of religious difference in the gendered depictions of male rivals and allies in both chronicle traditions.
Christopher Dyer (Professor Emeritus, University of Leicester and Leverhulme Research Fellow, and presently in residence at The Huntington Library)
5:00 PM on Thursday, 28 February 2013 in HSSB 4020
“John Heritage: An English Wool Merchant and his World, 1495-1520.”
The chance discovery of a unique wool merchant's account book in the muniment room of Westminster Abbey gives us a detailed picture of the trading networks and business contacts of a wool monger who lived at Moreton-in-Marsh on the edge of the Cotswold Hills. Through him we gain an insight into a society of sheep farmers and traders and their involvement in the export trade in raw wool. The presentation will include some of the family history, landscape history, and social history of an important period, which stands between the late middle ages and Tudor expansion.
Professor Dyer is an eminent historian of daily life, economic history, and local history. His numerous publications include:Standards of Living in the Later Middle Ages (1989); Everyday Life in Medieval England (2003); Making a Living in the Middle Ages (2003); An Age of Transition: Economy and Society in England in  the Later Middle Age (The Ford Lectures) (2007); ed. Social Relations and Ideas: Essay in Honour of R.H. Hilton (2009); William Dugdale, Historian, 1605-1689 (2009); and A Country Merchant, 1495-1520: Trading and Farming at the End of the Middle Ages (2012).

Katie Sjursen (Department of History, Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville). Professor Sjursen received her PhD through our program.
12:00PM on 21 March 2013 in HSSB 4020.
“Philip VI and the Breton Rebels”

In April 1341, the death of the childless duke of Brittany sparked a twenty-three-year long civil war over who would succeed to the duchy, attracting the intervention of the kings of France and England, who were already locked into their own struggle for the throne of France itself.  One Breton faction garnered the support of Philip VI, who was seeking an ally in this important duchy that controlled so much of the coastline; the other faction turned to Edward III, who appreciated Brittany’s location as a jumping-off place for invasions of the French realm.  While Philip VI asserted his claims to authority in other parts of his realm—by declaring war on Edward, in the latter’s capacity as duke of Aquitaine, and charging perceived enemies with treason, for example—this newly appointed king tread much more carefully in Brittany. What does Philip’s policy in Brittany at the start of the Breton Civil War reveal about him and his strategies as a new king?
Robert Rouse (University of British Columbia)
April 15, 2013 at 4:00 PM in The McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB.
“Thinking before the Map: Writing the World in Middle English Romance”
Medieval culture was not a cartographic culture. As Nick Howe has shown, most medieval “maps” were written, not drawn. This paper examines how Middle English romance operates as just such a mode of written map, and suggests that such texts stand as important examples of how medieval England understood the wider world. In particular, the text examines the implications of the re-reading of romance in the fourteenth century by newly emergent urban mercantile reading communities.

Nicole Archambeau (Department of History, UCSB)
12:00, 19 April 2013, HSSB 4020
“Identifying Health Care Providers in the Later Middle Ages”

I use the medieval canonization inquest of Delphine de Puimichel to answer the seemingly simple question: What did people do when they were sick? I show that the answer was often far more complex than traditional research in the history of medicine shows. By sifting through the narratives ofpeople coping with their own and loved-ones' health care, we find that people used a plurality of available methods and even created new ones when needed. We also see that medieval concepts of health care extended beyond the boundaries of the physical body to include the passions or what contemporaries called "accidents of the soul." Healers and sufferers saw that sadness, fear, and anxiety could damage physical health and were health problems in their own right.

Matthew Fisher (Department of English, University of California, Los Angeles)
29 May 2013 at 4:00 in 2617 South Hall, UCSB

“`You Didn't Build That,’ or, What We Talk About When We Talk about Digital Humanities.

“You Didn't Build That” considers the Digital Humanities as an inevitable and also an already essential part of literary criticism and research as it is conducted today.  Offering at once an historical and a methodological introduction to certain trends in DH scholarship, I look at a number of text-analysis and text-editing projects from the 1980s and '90s to the present.  I expose some assumptions made by the designers of these tools, and discuss the implications of the limits of the tools for the work we as humanities scholars do. Looking at texts ranging from Hamlet to Jane Eyre, from a medieval Middle English chronicle to the Autobiography of Mark Twain through the lens of projects such as TAPoR, Google ngrams, Juxta, and T-Pen, this talk argues for new priorities in the use and misuse of Digital Humanities in our research.


The Medieval Studies Program at UCSB hosted an interdisciplinary event in conjunction with the UC MPR on “Mediterranean Studies”. The theme was “Digging up a Mediterranean Past?:  Archaeology and Comparative Material Culture.” It was held on Friday-Saturday, 9-10 November 2012 at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The main speaker on Friday afternoon was Marcus Milwright of the University of Victoria in British Columbia where is the Director of the Program for Medieval Studies and Associate Professor, Islamic Art & Archaeology in the Department of History in Art. The title of his paper will be “Archaeology and the Study of Traditional Urban Crafts in the Islamic Mediterranean.” His research focuses upon the archaeology of the Islamic period, the art and architecture of the Islamic Middle East, cross-cultural interaction in the Medieval and early Modern Mediterranean, the history of medicine, craft practices in Late Ottoman Syria, and the architecture and civil engineering of southern Greece during the Ottoman sultanate. He is the author of two books: An Introduction to Islamic Archaeology, The New Edinburgh Islamic Surveys (Edinburgh University Press, 2010); and The Fortress of the Raven: Karak in the Middle Islamic Period (1100-1600), Islamic History and Civilization, Studies and Texts 72 (Brill, 2008).
The event drew participants form across the UC system. The morning and early afternoon was taken up with pre-circulated papers for discussions.
Workshop paper 1: Luca Zavagno (Visiting Research Fellow, Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Center, Princeton)
“Two Hegemonies, One Island: Cyprus between the Byzantines and the Umayyads (650-850 A.D.)”
Workshop paper 2: Nikki Malain (Graduate Student, History, UC Santa Barbara)
“Predators and praeda: The Logistics of Piracy in the Twelfth-century Mediterranean”
Workshop paper 3: Karen R. Mathews (Research Assistant Professor, Art & Art History, University of Miami)
“Anxiety of Origins: Shifting Conceptions of the Past in Genoese Historical Chronicles and Civic Architecture of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries”.

Medieval Studies Graduate Student Colloquia
17-18 May 2013
UCSB Medieval Studies Graduate Student Conference
“Says Who? Contested Spaces, Voices, and Texts”
FRIDAY, MAY 17, 2013:
Location: Humanities and Social Sciences Building (HSSB) 4080
12:30 – 12:45: Opening Remarks
12:45 – 2:15: Royal Spaces, Royal Identity
“‘Exigens obsides ab eis’: Hostages and Hostage-Taking during the Reign of King John of England,” Cristian Ispir (King’s College, London, Department of History)
“On Earth as It Is in Heaven: Musical Representations of Queenship in Medieval England,” Gillian Gower (UCLA, Department of Musicology)
“Crossing the Passage: Spaces of Constraint and Imagination in Charles of Orleans,” Ricardo Matthews (UC Irvine, Department of English)
Respondent: Shannon Meyer (UC Santa Barbara, Department of English)
2:15 – 2:30: Coffee Break
2:30 – 4:00: Translation and Authority
“The Found Manuscript Topos in Vernacular French Translators’ Prologues, 1493-1504,” Anneliese Pollock (UC Santa Barbara, Department of French and Italian)
“Translation: The Loophole to Plagiarism. Authority and Originality Established in Antonfrancesco Grazzini’s Prologues,” Aria Dal Molin (UC Santa Barbara, Department of French and Italian)
“‘Whan Tempest Doth the Shippes Swalowe’: A Deconstructive Reading of the Hermeneutic Crisis in The House of Fame,” Yun Ni (Harvard University, Department of Comparative Literature)
Respondents: Professor Suzanne Jill Levine (UC Santa Barbara, Department of Spanish and Portuguese) and Professor Christopher D. Johnson (UCLA, Visiting Professor of Spanish and Portuguese; Harvard, Department of Comparative Literature)
4:00 – 5:00: Wine and Cheese Reception

Location: Theater & Dance West 1701
Introductory remarks, Aria Dal Molin (UC Santa Barbara, Department of French and Italian)
Performance by The Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players (Shepherd University), directed by Professor Betty Ellzey:

  • “Confession Lessons”
  • “Cooch E. Whippet”
  • “The Farce of the Fart”
  • “Monk-ey Business”

Texts for all farces were edited and translated by Professor Jody Enders in “The Farce of the Fart” and Other Ribaldries: Twelve Medieval French Plays in Modern English (University of Pennsylvania, 2011).
Talk-back with Professor Enders (UC Santa Barbara, Department of French and Italian) and The Rude Mechanicals Medieval and Renaissance Players
SATURDAY, MAY 18, 2013
Location: Humanities and Social Sciences Building (HSSB) 6020 – McCune Conference Room
8:45 – 9:00: Morning Coffee
9:00 – 9:15: Opening Remarks
9:15 – 10:45: Writing about Others
“Historiography and the Desecration of Zoroastrian Fire Temples in Early Islamic Iran,” Andrew D. Magnusson (UC Santa Barbara, Department of History)
“Strangers in Strange Lands: The Rhetoric of Proto-Ethnography in Medieval Travelogues,” Rebecca Hill (UCLA, Department of English)
“‘A Self-Styled Inquisitor’: Itinerant Inquisitors and Textual Authority, 1390-1400,” Eugene Smelyansky (UC Irvine, Department of History)
Respondent: Lauren Horn Griffin (UC Santa Barbara, Department of Religious Studies)
10:45 – 11:00: Coffee Break
11:00 – 12:30: Enclosed Spaces
“Inside the Walls: Toward an Understanding of Children’s Place in Eleventh-Century English Monastic Life,” Rebecca King Cerling (University of Southern California, Department of History)
“The Anchoritic Cell as Womb and Tomb: Spatial Metaphors and the Female Body in Ancrene Wisse,” Gillian Adler (UCLA, Department of English)
“The Contested Space of Guinevere’s Bed,” Rachel Levinson-Emley (UC Santa Barbara, Department of English)
Respondent: Susan Schmidt (UC Santa Barbara, Department of the History of Art and Architecture)
12:30 – 1:30: Lunch
1:30 – 2:30: Keynote Speaker: Professor Steven Justice (UC Berkeley, Department of English)
“‘Most Impudent’: Augustine, After Augustine, and Way After Augustine”
2:30 – 2:45: Coffee Break
2:45 – 4:15: Contested Politics in the Fourteenth Century
“Over the Hedge: Park Break as Protest during the Revolt of the Allies of Artois, 1314-1321,” Abigail P. Dowling (UC Santa Barbara, Department of History)
“The Hearth of the Matter–Women, Slavery, and Bread on the Island of Mallorca, ca. 1360-1390,” Kevin Mummey (University of Minnesota, Department of History)
“Fear, Memory, Auto-affection: Medieval England’s Cult(ure) of Dread,” Paul Megna (UC Santa Barbara, Department of English)
Respondent: Jonathan Forbes (UC Santa Barbara, Department of English)
This interdisciplinary event included speakers form King’s College, University of London, Harvard University, The University of Southern California, the University of Minnesota, UCLA, and UC Irvine. It also included a performance of French medieval farces by a student group from Shepherd University in West Virginia. I have attached the flyers for the colloquium, the performance and the program.

Medieval Studies Events, 2011-2012

26 October - 4:00 PM - HSSB 4020 - Christophe Picard, (Université de Paris I, Sorbonne), “Abbasid Jihad and Ribat in the Ninth-Century Mediterranean.” Christophe Picard is a research professor at the Université de Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne and a fellow of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He is a specialist on the history of the Medieval Mediterranean, Muslim maritime history, Mozarabs, and the history of the Ribat.

27 October - 12 PM - SH 2714 - Professor Eileen Joy (Southern Illinois University) “Toward A Speculative Literary Criticism.” Prof. Joy will meet with grad students after her talk in the English Research Commons for an informal discussion - all welcome!

28-29 October - At UCLA - "Rivalry and Rhetoric in the Early Modern Mediterranean;" The UC Multi-Campus Research Group in Mediterranean Studies fall meeting.

8 November – 4:00 PM, HSSB 6056, in the seminar room of the IHC – Professor Donald Maddox (University of Massachusetts Amherst), "Fictions of the Undead: Eschatological Bodies in the 13th-Century Vulgate Cycle of Arthurian Romances."

18 November 4:00 PM, HSSB 6056, Meredith Cohen, Department of Art History, UCLA, “Saint Louis and the Construction of Sacral Kingship in Thirteenth-Century France.”

Winter and Spring Quarters 2012

We will be having a new series of lunch time talks on Fridays in the Winter and Spring quarters as noted below. The Friday meetings will start at noon unless otherwise indicated. The venues will also be announced.

Winter Quarter 2012

Medieval Studies Annual Colloquium

The Struggle for Civility and Justice: The Common Good in Late

Medieval and Renaissance Italy

21 January 2012, 9:00AM-6:00PM

The McCune Conference Room, located at 6020 HSSB at the University of California , Santa Barbara

Part of “The Public Good”, an IHC series, 2011-2012

Speakers and schedule.

9:00 Breakfast service

9:45 Welcoming remarks: Heather Blurton (Chair, Medieval Studies Program, UCSB) and Edward D. English (UCSB)

10:00 Session I: Renaissance Venice .

Sarah Ross (Boston College). “`Al beneficio commune ': Physicians and the Common Good in Renaissance Venice .”

Elizabeth Horodowich (New Mexico State Universit ). “Public Speech and the Public Good: The Control of Language in Early Modern Venice ."

Comment: Jon Snyder (French/Italian, UCSB)

12:00 Lunch

1:00 Session II: The Common Good and Politics in Bologna and Siena.

Nicholas Terpstra (University of Toronto). “The Common and Uncommonly Good: Cultures of Charity and the Struggles of Republicanism in Late Renaissance Bologna .”

Edward D. English (UCSB). “The Reality of the Common Good in Fourteenth-Century Siena .”

Comment: Stefania Tutino (History/Religious Studies, UCSB)

3:00 Session III: Ideas about the Common Good in Thought.

Ronald G. Witt (Duke University). “The Common Good in Thirteenth-Century Artes arengandi and in the Thought of Albertano da Brescia."

Peter Stacey (UCLA). “Representation in the Renaissance res publica.”

Comment: Robert Morstein-Marx (Classics, UCSB)

5:00 Reception

Sponsors: Medieval Studies Program, the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center , the Department of History, Renaissance Studies.

This colloquium will address ideas about the Common Good and the actual realities of political, economic, and social life in the polities of Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy. This was an era in which corporate bodies such as factions and interest groups threatened, influenced, or controlled what might be said about the traditional, classical and medieval concepts of the common good of society.

25-26 January: Cary Howie (Cornell University) at Westmont College.

3-4 February: at UCSD, UC MRG Mediterranean meeting

17 February 2012, Friday Series: Professor Carol Pasternack, "Blood Lines: Purity, Warfare, and the Procreative Family in Bede's Ecclesiastical History.” 12:00-1:30, HSSB 4020

Friday, February 24 at noon in South Hall 2635. Professor Brantley Bryant, Sonoma State University, "Geoffrey Chaucer Hath a Blog: Humor, .Html, and the Humanities."
Brantley Bryant will speak about his experiences blogging as "Geoffrey Chaucer" at the wildly popular http:// houseoffame.blogspot.com/ ; his unmasking; and the subsequent publication of the book version of his blog.

8-10 March: The New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Plenary Speaker: Jody Enders, University of California , Santa Barbara, “The Devil in the Flesh in Medieval Farce.” Saturday, 10 March. Several other alumni/e and current students are also speaking.

9 March 2012, Friday Series: Paul Megna (English and Medieval Studies, UCSB) "Reactionary Rage: The Premodern Roots of `Tea-Party' Anger" at 12:00PM in HSSB 4020.

Lecture, Wednesday, 14 March 2012: Professor Isaac Gottlieb (Ramat-Gan, Israel Institute for the History of Jewish Bible Research): “Rupert (of Deutz) and the School of Rashi” in HSSB 3041.

22-24 March: Medieval Academy of America, Annual Meeting, St. Louis. MO

22-24 March: Renaissance Society of America, Annual Meeting, Washington DC

Spring Quarter 2012

2 April: Spring Classes Begin

6 April 2012, UC Mediterranean MRP, Spring Workshop – "Identities" – University of Colorado, Boulder

13 April 2012, Friday Series: Professor Carol Lansing (UCSB), “Rape, Humiliation, and the Exercise of Power.” 12:00-1:30, HSSB 4080

Medieval Studies Graduate Conference Program

28 April 2012

The McCune Conference Room of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center,

HSSB 6020

Fear and Loathing

9:00-9:30 Coffee

9:30-9:40 Opening Comments

9:40 – 10:40 Panel I: “Fear and Diplomacy”

Colleen Ho, History, UCSB “Is There a Prester John Among the Mongols? Europe's 13th Century Search for the Mythical Christian King.”

Nikki Malain, History, UCSB “Historicizing Fear: The Mosque of Genoa.”

Comment: Munther Al-Sabbagh, History, UCSB

10:40-11:00 Break

11:00-12:00 Panel II: “Fear and the State”

Joe Figliulo-Rosswurm, History, UCSB “`Let us kill this wretched dog': The Emotional Structures of Class Conflict in Fourteenth-Century Florence."

Paul Megna, English, UCSB “Timor Domini.”

Comment: Lauren Horn Griffin, Religious Studies, UCSB

12:00-1:15 Lunch

1:15-2:15 Keynote: Teofilo F. Ruiz (Distinguished Professor of History, UCLA)

“Enduring Fears in the Medieval West: Time, Power, and Salvation.”

2:15-2:30 Break

2:30- 3:30 Panel III: “Fear and Piety”

Anna Katharina Rudolph, History, UCR “Laughing in the Face of Fear: Differing Medieval Perceptions of the Presentation of the Torments of Hell.”

Jessica Marin Elliott, History, UCSB “`Jews Feigning Devotion': Christian Fears about Converted Jews in France after the Expulsion of 1306.”

Comment: S. C. Kaplan, French, UCSB

Sponsored by UCSB Graduate Division, the IHC, the History Department, and the Medieval Studies Program.

If you have any questions, please contact Abigail Dowling at adowling@umail.ucsb.edu .

10-13 May: Medieval International Congress, Kalamazoo

Friday, 11 May: Martin Foys ( Drew University ), “By Bell , Book, and Candle: Ecologies of Early Medieval Media”. (UCSB, Department of English)

Beyond oral poetry and monkish manuscripts, we rarely think about the medieval past in terms of the media people used. Considering the robust network of technological and physical practices employed by pre-modern societies to communicate and exchange information helps us understand the (often skewed) visualist framework in which modern study of the medieval past operates. Between and beneath the lines of surviving medieval writing, we still can discover a more vibrant media ecology - one of words, but also of bells, of weapons, of light and darkness, of silence and sign language, and of technologically altered bodies . . . for starters.

Friday, 1 June 2012: Jesse Njus (English, Theatre and Dance, UCSB), "Guilty of Christ's Blood?: Representing Jews in Medieval Passion Plays" 4080 HSSB at 12:00-1:30.

The representation of Jews in medieval theatre has not inspired the same enthusiasm as the portrayal of Jews in medieval art, perhaps because there exists an assumption that the dramatic characterization of Jews lacks nuance and provides less valuable information than the study of the pictorial record. Through a comparative study of the medieval Passion plays of Western Europe, I demonstrate that the representation of Jews varies surprisingly among plays, illustrating an increasing complexity in medieval drama and in the portrayal of Christ's Passion as well as differing attitudes towards the role of the Jews in Christ's death. In the most intriguing case, a dramatic tradition rooted in France found itself transformed by an Italian adaptation. Yet this instance is only one example of the intricacy behind dramatic representations of the Jews in medieval drama and of the ways in which, by following these representations across national and linguistic boundaries, they can be unraveled to reveal the conceptual debates central to the medieval understanding of sacred history.

Friday, 8 June, Spring Quarter ends

Medieval Studies Events, 2010-2011

Lecture: Anna Sapir Abulafia (Vice-President of Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge University, College Lecturer, and Director of Studies in History).

“Who Serves Whom in Medieval Jewish-Christian Relations.”

Thursday, 14 October 2010 at 3:30 PM in The IHC Research Seminar room, 6056 HSSB.

Her Books include: Christian-Jewish relations, 1000-1300: Jews in the Service of Latin Christendom (2010), Christians and Jews in the Twelfth-Century Renaissance (1995), Christians and Jews in Dispute: Disputational Literature and the Rise of Anti-Judaism in the West (c. 1000-1150) (1998), and edited Religious Violence between Christians and Jews: Medieval Roots, Modern Perspectives (2002).

Lecture: Jane Taylor (University of Durham).

“What Happened to Tristan in the Renaissance?”

Friday, 5 November 2010 in HSSB 3041 at 2:00 PM.

In her lecture, Dr. Jane Taylor will discuss the question of ré-écriture and changing literary tastes through an analysis of two late Tristan versions, the Tristan of Pierre Sala's (ca. 1525) and Jean Maugin's Nouveau Tristan (1554). While Sala attempted to recover the medieval in the manuscript versions of his work, Jean Maugin endeavored to make his modernized prose treatment of the Tristan tradition, which appeared in printed form, address the forward-looking aesthetic of his times, set by the meteoric success of the Amadis de Gaule . Professor Taylor is a world-renowned French medievalist whose research covers a wide variety of subjects ranging from the twelfth to early sixteenth centuries. Her current work focuses on three topics: Arthurian romances and how they are translated, adapted, and rewritten in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries; the late-medieval French lyric; and the rewritings of François Villon's poetry in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, in France and in England . Her many publications include: The Making of Poetry: Late-Medieval French Poetic Anthologies ( 2007); The Poetry of François Villon: Text and Context ( 2001); a co-authored edition of Le Roman de Perceforest, première partie (with Roussineau, Gilles) (1979); and three co-edited volumes on women and the book culture (with Lesley Smith): Women, the Book and the Godly ( 1995); Women, the Book and the Worldly (1995); Women and the Book: Assessing the Evidence ( 1997). She is Past resident of the International Arthurian Society and past editor of Medium Aevum and was a Fellow of St Hilda's College at Oxford University for ten years before accepting a position at the University of Durham . She is currently a Visiting Professor at UC Berkeley.

Colloquium/Conference – Medieval Studies Program, UCSB

On Friday and Saturday, the 18 th and 19 th of February 2011, the Medieval Studies Program at the University of California at Santa Barbara in conjunction with a meeting of the University of California MRP for Mediterranean Studies will be hosting a conference on “Mediterranean Princely Courts and the Transmission of Cultures.” We have chosen to use princely courts as a lens to study influence across cultures. Courts were crucial sites of interaction. Clever rulers used them to project their power and authority, and also to live in opulence among the diverse populations of the regions around the Mediterranean . The meeting asks the questions of just how various Mediterranean courts learned from were influenced by the cultural and artistic ideas and practices of their neighbors -- who might be from a different tradition.

The list of speakers and the titles of their proposed papers are: Joshua C. Birk (Smith College) “Slaves of the Court: Eunuchs in a Twelfth Century Mediterranean World,” William Tronzo (UCSD) “The Norman Palace in Palermo as Crucible of the Arts,” Lara Tohme (Wellesley College) “The Normans and the Creation of a New Mediterranean Capital in Palermo,” S. Peter Cowe (UCLA) “Islamic Interchange with the Armenian Court at Cilicia in the Levant (12th-14th centuries),” Elizabeth B. Smith (Pennsylvania State University) “Santa Maria Novella in Florence as Communal Alternative to the Princely Model,” Nancy Khalek (Brown University) “Epistles to the Byzantine Emperor in the Abbasid Period,” Christine Chism (UCLA) “ Between Muslim and Christian in Ibn Battuta's Travels in between Courts in the North-East Mediterranean ,” Dwight Reynolds (UCSB) “Music in the Courts: Trade in Music and Musicians in Medieval Europe and the Middle East,” Carol Lansing (UCSB) “The Emperor's Elephant: Mediterranean Influence on North Italian Courts,” Florence Eliza Glaze (Coastal Carolina University) “From Babel to Biblion: Episodes in the Development of a Uniform Latinized Graeco-Arabic Pharmacological Tradition in Eleventh and Twelfth Century Salerno,” Heather Blurton (UCSB) “Hugo Falcandus' History of the Tyrants of Sicily and the 12 th Century,” and Chris Wright (University of London) “Ideology and Opportunism: The Anatolian Turks and the Byzantine Court.” The final schedule has not yet been set. Most of the papers will be on Saturday.

Medieval Studies Events, 2009-2010

Seminar: Stephen Humphreys of the Department of History.

“Christian Communities and Muslim Rule in Early Islamic Syria and Mesopotamia (634-1070).”

Friday, 30 October 2009 between 12:00-1:00 PM in HSSB 4020.

Lecture: Roger E. Reynolds, University of Toronto, “God's Money: Eucharistic Hosts in the Ninth Century according to Eldefonsus of Spain, Observations on an Unusual Text.”Tuesday, 16 February 2010 at 4:30 PM in HSSB 4041.


Medieval Studies Colloquium: Women, Art and Culture in Medieval and Renaissance Europe

Friday and Saturday, February 26-27, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010: Mosher Alumni House, Alumni Hall (2 nd floor)

2:00-2:30 pm Welcome

Introductions: Cynthia Brown, Chair, Advisory Committee, Medieval Studies

Welcoming Remarks

David Marshall, Executive Dean, Letters and Science, Dean, Humanities and Fine Arts, UCSB

Yann Perreau, Deputy Cultural Attaché, French Consulate, Los Angeles

2:30-4:00 pm First Session:

Moderator, Carol Lansing , Department of History, UCSB

2:30-3:00 "‘Les gardins de ma dame': Mahaut d'Artois' Control and Use of the Park at Hesdin." Abigail Dowling, Department of History, UCSB

3:00-3:30 Saint Bavo at the Service of Princely Propaganda, or the Case of Philip the Handsome and Mary of Burgundy .” Olga Karaskova, Histoire de l'Art, Université de Lille-3, Curator of Prints, The Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg

3:30-3:40 Commentary. Erika Rappaport, Department of History, UCSB

3:40-4:00 Discussion

4:00-6:00 Reception, Mosher Alumni House, Library (2 nd Floor)

Saturday, February 27, 2010: McCune Room, Interdisciplinary Humanities Center

8:45-9:15 am Coffee and pastries

9:15-9:30 Introductions: Edward D. English, Executive Director, Medieval Studies, Department of History, UCSB

Welcoming Remarks.

Henry T. Yang, Chancellor, UCSB

Gale Morrison, Dean, Graduate Division, UCSB

9:30-11:00 Second Session:

Moderator, Brigit Ferguson, Department of History of Art and Architecture, UCSB

9:30-10:00 “Remembering Delphine's Books: Reading as a Means to Shape a Holy Woman's Sanctity.Nicole Archambeau, Department of History, UCSB

10:00-10:30 “Staging the Court: Aliénor de Poitiers and the 1478 Mise en Scène of a Princely Nativity.” Noa Turel, Department of History of Art and Architecture, UCSB

10:30-10:40 Commentary. Peter Bloom, Department of Film Studies, UCSB

10:40-11:00 Discussion

11:00-11:15 Coffee Break

11:15-12:15 Keynote Address

Moderator, Cynthia Brown , Chair, Advisory Committee, Medieval Studies, Professor, French and Italian, UCSB

“Constructing the Ideal and Universal Princess: The Entry of Joanna of Castile into the City of Brussels on December 9, 1496.” Professor Anne-Marie Legaré, Histoire de l'Art, Université de Lille-3

12:15-12:25 Commentary. Thomas Kren, Curator of Manuscripts, The Getty Museum

12:25- 12:45 Discussion

12:45-2:30 Buffet Lunch

2:30-4:00 Third Session:

Moderator: Shannon Meyer , Department of English, UCSB

2:30-3:00 “Books in the Noble Women's Chapter of Sainte-Waudru's Collegiate in Mons (Hainaut): Hermine de Hairefontaine's Lectionary (London, B.L., Ms Eg. 2569).” Anne Jenny-Clark, Histoire de l'Art, Université de Lille-3

3:00-3:30 “ To Better Impress Upon the Mind: Manuscript II 232, a Renaissance Textbook for Women?” Jessica Weiss, Department of History, UCSB

3:30-3:40 Commentary. Laury Oaks, Department of Feminist Studies, UCSB

3:40-4:00 Discussion

4:00-4:30 Open Discussion and Concluding Remarks

6:30 PM Buffet Dinner - All are welcome. At the home of Cynthia Brown (directions will be provided).

Lecture: “Friars under Fire: The Scale and Scope of Anti-Mendicant Violence.”

Wednesday, 14 April 2010. 4:00-5:30 PM, HSSB 6056 (The IHC Seminar Room). Guy Geltner, Professor of Medieval History, University of Amsterdam.

Medieval Studies Spring Colloquium: "The Medieval Other."

Friday, 30 April 2010, 1-4 PM (HSSB 4020). 

Benjamin M. Liu, Hispanic Studies, UC Riverside: “Medieval Spain 's Asian Other.”

This paper will be looking at the figure of resemblance that Foucault identifies as “aemulatio”, in the context of Medieval Spain 's knowledge of and relation to Asia . From Ramon Llull to late-14th and 15th century maps and travel narratives, China and “Greater India ” are delocalized sites that, as they are desirously gazed upon from medieval Spain , also return a gaze that serves to constitute a Spanish polity.

Christine Chism, English, UCLA: “Over the Edge: Narrative and Cultural Extremities in the Travels of Ibn Battuta.”

This paper investigates Ibn Battuta's experiences in South Asia, the Maldives and especially China -- where he finally reaches the edge of cultural comprehension and suffers a form of culture shock that effectively ends his journey and sends him home to Tangier, traumatically neck and neck with the spread of the bubonic plague. This paper contrasts the sections of the narrative on China with other, more interpenetrative encounters with otherness in the narrative. It investigates the causes of the traveler's sudden, uncharacteristic lack of willingness to encounter the strangeness to be found over the East Asian edge of the Islamic world, an unwillingness that pervades even the style of the narration, which becomes aversively vague and allusive. I chart the narrative's flight back to the more familiar heartlands of the Dar al-Islam, where the traveler reencounters, almost with joy, the more encompassable alterities of the Christians and Jews to be found within its contact zones. I end with Ibn Battuta's description of an incident at Damascus, where, in the face of the accelerating attritions of the plague, all the monotheisms join in a penitential fast and public procession, a performance of penitential solidarity that unite all the people of the book, and, in the narrative, effectively ameliorates the plague. In this traumatic return, the narrative effectively rerenders former alterities into relationships within an unstable continuum.

Nancy McLoughlin, History, UC Irvine: “The Monstrous Other: Jean Gerson (1363-1429) and the Deadly Sins of Politics.”

The fifteenth-century Parisian preacher and theologian, Jean Gerson, has been credited with laying the foundation for the early modern witch-hunts by blurring the boundary between divinely inspired women visionaries and diabolically possessed religious frauds to such an extent that all women's claims to divine inspiration fell under increasingly severe suspicion. Gerson, however, did not reserve his accusations of diabolical influence for women. In the sermons he delivered before the French royal court, Gerson cast the enemies of the University of Paris , whether these were the princes of the blood or the queen regent, as the very embodiment of the seven deadly sins. Worse yet, he suggested that if these monstrous agents of the devil succeeded in influencing the policy of the French crown that Jews and Saracens would rejoice and France would lose its status as the most Christian kingdom. My paper examines Gerson's deployment of a constellation of diabolical and religious others as a means of promoting his own authority, paying particular attention to how the multiple layerings of othering, which characterize his sermons, allowed him to condemn his enemies and present the University of Paris as a loyal voice of reason.

Comment: Sharon Farmer, History, UC Santa Barbara

Medieval Studies Events, 2008-2009

"Seminar: Transitions from Medieval to Renaissance Philosophy.”

Brian P. Copenhaver, Director, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, UCLA
“A Medieval Source for Renaissance Philosophy: Valla’s Metaphysics and the Logic of Peter of Spain.”

Lodi Nauta, Professor in Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy
University of Groningen
“The Transition from Medieval to Renaissance Philosophy: Lorenzo Valla.”

Friday, 21 November 2008, 2:00-5:00 PM, HSSB 4020

Colloquium: "Pre-Modern Perspectives on Torture"

Alison Frazier. University of Texas .“Machiavelli, Trauma, and the Scandal of the Prince.”

Kenneth Pennington. The Catholic University of America ."Women on the Rack: Three Trials.”

Lisa Hajjar. UCSB, Comment.

Friday, 23 January 2009, 3:00-6:00 PM

Marine Sciences Institute Auditorium (Room 1302)

Lecture: "The History of the Mediterranean Diet from the Present to the Middle Ages"

Monday, 23 February 2009, 4:00 McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB, IHC

Allen Grieco, Harvard University, Villa I Tatti, Università delle Scienze Gastronomiche ( Italy ), University of Tours

An event in “Food Matters”, the theme for 2008-2009 of the Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, UCSB

Colloquium: "Medieval Perspectives on Environmental History"

Paolo Squatriti. University of Michigan .

“Storms, Floods and Climate Change in the Dark Ages: An Italian Case.”

D. Fairchild Ruggles. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"Islamic Gardens in the Mediterranean (7th-15th Centuries): Environmental Perspectives on Water and Landscape.”

David Cleveland. UCSB Environmental Studies Program, Comment.

Friday, 3 April 2009, 3:00-6:00 PM

Marine Sciences Institute Auditorium (Room 1302)

Graduate Student Conference, Saturday, 2 May 2009

Marine Sciences Institute Auditorium (Room 1302)

10:00 Coffee, pastry

10:15 Opening remarks

10:30 Panel 1: Identity and Religious Exchange

Karen Frank, History: "From the Inside or the Outside: The Cultural Marking of Jewish women in late medieval Perugia ."

Cat Zusky, English: “ Staging Christ's Pain in Late-Medieval Drama.”

Nikki Goodrick, History: "Sheep Among Wolves: Muslim Pilgrims on Christian Ships in the Age of the Crusades”

12:00 Keynote: Patricia Ingham, English, Indiana University : "Little Nothings: The Squire's Tale and the Ambition of Gadgets."

1:15 Lunch

2:15 Panel 2: Gendered Identities

Lydia Balian, English, “ Men, Monsters, and Melee: A Comparative Analysis of Hand-to-Hand Combat in Beowulf and La3amon's Brut

Corinne Wieben, History: “The Discourse of Dispute: Marriage in Fourteenth-Century Lucca ."

3:30 Theater Performance

Anonymous “Monkey See, Monkey Do or The Joyous Farce of Master Mimin”

Translated by: Jody Enders

This is an anonymous fifteenth-century French farce about the trials and tribulations of the poor student, Master Mimin. The performance is directed by Andrew Henkes, a graduate student in Theater, who brought us last year's extraordinary production of the Farce of the Fart.

4:15 Concluding Remarks

The Medieval Studies Program is sponsoring a lunch-time seminar on research by our faculty: Heather Blurton, Department of English on Monday, 18 May 2009 in HSSB 4020 at 12:00

“The Evidence of Things Not Seen: Narratives of Ritual Crucifixion in 12th Century England?”

In the second half of the twelfth century, in England , there suddenly appear three unconnected narratives of accusations against English Jews that they had kidnapped and ritually crucified Christian children. This project attempts to account for the strange appearance of these narratives of ritual crucifixion in Anglo-Norman England by situating them in the first instance in the literary context of changes in the practice of insular hagiography after the Norman Conquest, and in broader terms in the epistemological shifts of the twelfth century.

Film and Discusssion: 21 May 2009 at 4:00-6:00 in the McCune Conference Room of the IHC, HSSB 6020: Allan Langdale, “The Stones of Famagusta: The Story of a Forgotten City.”

The Mediterranean Research Focus Group of the IHC and the Medieval Studies Program are sponsoring a film presentation and a discussion by Allan Langdale of UC Santa Cruz on Thursday, 21 May 2009 at 4:00-6:00 in HSSB 4020: “The Stones of Famagusta: The Story of a Forgotten City.” Art historian and filmmaker Dr. Allan Langdale takes you on a bicycle tour of the once famous medieval city of Famagusta, Cyprus . Once considered the world's richest city, Famagusta is now largely forgotten by the West. Explore the wonders of the gothic churches and monasteries, the ruins of Venetian palaces, the fabulous two-mile long walls and moat, Byzantine churches, Ottoman baths, and some of Famagusta's unique and mysterious underground churches.

If you have any questions, please contact Edward D. English, english@history.ucsb.edu

Lecture: "The Minster and the Privy."

Kathy Lavezzo, University of Iowa. Tuesday, 26 May 2009, 4:00 McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB, IHC. This talk offers a new vantage point on the politics of identity in Chaucer's Prioress's Tale by examining how its built environments--namely the abject privy into which the murdered schoolboy is thrust and the conventual church where his corpse finally rests--at once make and unmake notions of Christian selfhood and Jewish alterity. Through a cultural geographic and historicist analysis of the minster and the privy as spaces whose production is mutually constitutive with the making of identities, Lavezzo decelerates our analysis of the dynamic of Christian purity and Jewish danger at work in the tale. Ultimately, by reading the minster and the privy not as fixed entities but as contingent, fluid spaces joined through the infrastructure of the tale, she identifies in Chaucer's anti-Semitic text an early materialist critique of any effort to conceive of a purely religious space. I have attached a flyer for the event.


Medieval Studies Events, 2007-2008

Ralph Hanna, Oxford University, “The Matter of Fulk: Romance and History in Fourteenth-Century Shropshire,” and Seth Lerer, Stanford University, “The English Lyric in a Trilingual World.”

Medieval Studies Events, 2006-2007

  • A lecture by Judith Bennett, University of Southern California. "Phillipa Russell and the Wills of London's Late Medieval Single Women." Monday, 23 October 2006, 4:00 PM, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB, UCSB.
  • A seminar on her research by Mary Lampe, a PhD candidate in History. "Survival and Profit: Notarial Witnesses in Medieval Palermo." Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 12:15 PM, HSSB 4020, UCSB.
  • Faculty Seminar on Current Research, 4:00PM, Friday, 8 December 2006 ,HSSB 4020, University of California , Santa Barbara, Sharon Farmer, History Department, UCSB “The Empire Comes Back: Mediterranean Immigrants in Paris and Northern France in the Age of the Crusades”.
  • A lecture by Monica Green of Arizona State University. "The Trial of Floreta d'Ays (1403): Jews, Christians, and Obstetrics in Later Medieval Marseilles." Friday, 26 January 2007, 4:00 PM, The McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB in the IHC.
  • A lecture by Christopher C. Baswell, English Department, UCLA, "The Medieval Virgil Meets the Italian Humanists: MS Cambridge, Jesus College 33." Thursday, 15 February 2007, 5:00, 1415 South Hall, UCSB.
  • A lecture by Lester K. Little, Smith College. "Medieval Pandemics: The Plague of Justinian and the Black Death." Wednesday, 28 February 2007, 4:00 PM, in the McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB in the IHC.
  • A lecture by Jane Geddes, University of Aberdeen. “Christina of Markyate and the St Albans Psalter.” Thursday, 5 April 2007, 4:00 PM, 2635 South Hall, UCSB.
  • A lecture by Maura B. Nolan, Department of English ,University of California , Berkeley. “The Fortunes of Piers Plowman and Its Readers.” Thursday, 26 April 2007, 4:00-6:00 South Hall 1415, UCSB.
  • A lecture by William Tronzo of the Stanford Humanities Center. "Zisa and Cuba: Gardens and the Image-Performative." Thursday, 24 May 2007, 4:00 PM, Lobero Room, UCen, UCSB.
  • A lecture by Deborah McGrady of Tulane University "Medieval Reading Lessons: What Machaut Can Teach Us About Reception." Tuesday, 20 February 2007, 1:30 PM. Note Location Change: Delattre Library, Phelps 5309 (Co-sponsoring with The French and Italian Department of UCSB).
  • Annual Colloquium: "Conversion and Apostasy in the Medieval World". Friday and Saturday , 2-3 February 2007, McCune Conference Room, 6020 HSSB, UCSB.
  • Sixth Annual UCSB Medieval Studies Graduate Student Colloquium."Civic Culture: Cities and Towns in the Middle Ages.”Centennial House, Saturday, 19 May 2007, 9:30-5:00. This year's plenary speaker will be Edward Muir, Northwestern University Professor and Clarence L. Ver Steeg Professor in the Arts and Sciences. This interdisciplinary conference features original research by graduate students at UCSB and other UC campuses and will present a composite picture of urban life in the Middle Ages by examining aspects of life within and around cities and towns. Speakers will examine court cases, sieges, intercultural interaction, art and literary production and distribution, and plays as performed as part of civic identity.
  • A lecture by Bernard McGinn of the University of Chicago Divinity School and JE and Lillian Byrne Tipton Distinguished Visiting Lecturer Religious Studies, UCSB for 2007. "Divine and Human Love in Two Twelfth-Century Letter Collections" Friday, 1 June 2007, 4:00 PM, 4020 HSSB.

Events for 2005-2006 included:

Events for 2004-2005 included:

Events for 2003-2004 included:


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