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Medieval Studies at UCSB

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Medieval Studies is an interdisciplinary program that explores the many cultures of the European and Middle Eastern Middle Ages from the viewpoints of history, literature, religious studies, drama, art, and music.

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News: Faculty

Jody Enders published Murder by Accident: Medieval Theater, Modern Media, Critical Intentions (The University of Chicago Prees ) in July of 2009. Heather Blurton, “An American in Paris: Charles Homer Haskins at the Paris Peace Conference,” in eds. Kathleen Davis and Nadia Altshul, Medievalisms in the Postcolonial World: The Idea of ‘the Middle Ages' Outside Europe (forthcoming, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009).

Cynthia J. Brown (University of California, Santa Barbara) and Anne-Marie Legaré (Université de Lille-3) are directing an international program over three years entitled “Women, Culture and the Arts in Medieval and Renaissance Europe.” Their interdisciplinary teaching-research program will bring together well-established Medieval and Renaissance professors and scholars with emerging experts (graduate and post-doctoral students alike) in multiple fields, including literary and cultural studies, art history, the visual arts, women's studies, history and history of the book. This three-year project involves a research exchange (UL3) and colloquium (UCSB) around issues of interdisciplinary research and scientific collaboration (Year 1); a collaborative teaching venture at UL3 and UCSB focused on the theorization and the actual development of cross-cultural and cross-disciplinary collaborations (Year 2); and the organization of an international conference (UL3), which includes presentations of students' collaborative work, and participation at a residency program (California) to produce a volume of conference articles for publication (Year 3). Their goal is to encourage graduate students in Medieval and Renaissance disciplines from their two institutions to pursue interdisciplinary studies about women in European culture and the arts and to offer them unique pedagogical, research and professional experiences in a truly international environment that will enhance their academic profiles and future opportunities.

Carol Lansing and Edward D. English edited A Companion to the Medieval World (Blackwell Companions to European History), Oxford : Wiley Blackwell, 2009. Among its twenty-six interdisciplinary articles are: “The Idea of the Middle Ages,” by the editors, “Society, Elite Families, and Politics in Late Medieval Italian Cities” by Edward D. English and “Popular Belief and Heresy” by Carol Lansing. In September 2009 Edward English read a paper at a conference entitled Religion and Public Life in Late Medieval Italy at St. Andrews University in Scotland. Carol Lansing read a paper and Edward English was an invited participant at a conference entitled “The Social Church” at Oriel College, Oxford University in September 2009.

Harvey Sharrer read two papers: “Otra relación triangular artúrica: Galeote, Lanzarote y la reina Ginebra” at Novenas Jornadas Internacionales de Literatura Española Medieval y deHomenaje al Quinto Centenario de Amadís de Gaula at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Argentina in August of 2008 and "Variant versions of letters from Italy to King Afonso V of Portugal" at Private Do (not) Enter? Personal Writings and Textual Scholarship, the Fifth International Conference of the European Society for Textual Scholarship, at the Faculdade de Letras, Universidade de Lisboa in November of 2008.

News: Graduate Students

Judy Kingkaysone won the 2009 CARA Medieval Paleography Scholarship for summer study at the University of Notre Dame. Carlos Pio has been awarded a doctoral fellowship for his dissertation project from the Portuguese government's Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia. Karen Frank presented a paper in October 2009 entitled, “Jewish Wives and Property in Late Medieval Perugia,” at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies conference “To Have and to Hold: Marriage in Pre-modern Europe, 1200-1700,” at  Victoria University  in the  University  of  Toronto. Karen also has two recent publications, an article entitled, “Jewish Women and Property in Fifteenth-Century Umbria," in the volume  Across the Religious Divide: Women, Property, and the Law in the Wider Mediterranean (ca. 1300 - 1800)  eds. Jutta Gisela Sperling and Shona Kelly Wray (New York: Routledge, 2010), and another entitled, From Egypt to Umbria: Jewish Women and Property in the Medieval Mediterranean,” in  California Italian Studies: Italy and the Mediterranean, eds. Claudio Fogu and Lucia Re (University of California e-Scholarship, California Digital Library with the Berkeley Electronic Press), November 2009.

Undergraduate Program

Students build individual programs drawing on several different subject fields. In addition, cross-listed courses in the Medieval Studies Program put students in touch with medievalists both at UCSB and in the larger scholarly community. Each year one upper-division course from a participating department that fulfills the requirements of the medieval studies major is cross-listed as Medieval Studies 100 (A-Z). The instructor from that course invites faculty from other UCSB departments to guest teach classes. The students in the Medieval Studies 100 (A-Z) are also invited to attend the medieval Colloquium Series.

Graduate Program

The program offers a Ph.D. emphasis in European Medieval Studies, which all Ph.D. and M.A. candidates in the humanities are eligible to pursue. The emphasis has been developed primarily for Ph.D. candidates whose dissertations focus on medieval studies, but in keeping with our interdisciplinary interests, we also welcome graduate students specializing in Early Modern Studies, Classics, and other related fields.

To earn a Graduate Certificate in Medieval Studies the candidate must (1) be admitted into one of the participating departments by the Graduate Division, and (2) receive a passing grade in each of the following:

Students may petition to substitute appropriate courses from other institutions for these requirements.


Each year, the program sponsors a series of mini-conferences open to all UCSB undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty. The colloquium series puts interdisciplinarity in motion by bringing together distinguished medievalists and modernists, anthropologists and literary theorists, film scholars and art historians. The series explores the role of medievalism in the contemporary world and the nature of the questions our contemporary world asks about the past. The colloquia include lectures by visiting medievalists, responses from UCSB faculty in other fields, panel and audience discussion and many opportunities for more informal conversation.

Graduate Student Conference

Medieval Studies hosts a graduate student conference in the spring, which features a distinguished plenary speaker and a series of interdisciplinary panels.

Related Organizations

The Medieval Studies Program works in close cooperation with the UCSB Comparative Literature Program, the UCSB Interdisciplinary Humanities Center, the Early Modern Center, the UCSB Transcriptions Project, the Public Humanities Initiative of the English Department, the Medieval Academy of America, the Medieval and Renaissance Studies Center at UCLA, the International Congress on Medieval Studies, and the Renaissance Society of America.

Medieval Studies Advisory Committee