Winter/Spring news to get the semester started

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The CMRS online calendar includes events and activities at Duke, UNC Chapel Hill, and elsewhere in the area. You are just a click away from seeing in one place what is happening in Medieval & Renaissance Studies in the Triangle!


Winter/Spring 2017


Look for the Medieval & Renaissance Studies Newsletter twice annually, in September and January. Our news will highlight upcoming events and activities and glance at past accomplishments.

David Aers, Director
Michael Cornett, Associate Director


Journal Publishing Workshop
Jan. 27

Michael Cornett
, Managing Editor of the Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, will give the second workshop of a two-part series on publishing in academic journals, "The Trials of Submission," on
Friday, January 27, 12:30-2:00, in the Carpenter Room, 249 Rubenstein Library.
This part focuses on submitting articles to journals, looking at the nuts and bolts of the submission process and how authors can avoid or cope with major trials. RSVP to Michael Cornett for this event to reserve a box lunch:, and indicate if you have any dietary restrictions.

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NC Colloquium Feb. 24 - 25

The 17th annual meeting of the North Carolina Colloquium in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, a joint Duke/UNC graduate conference, meets in Hyde Hall on the UNC campus Feb. 24-25. The topic is "Transformations: Tracing Forces of Change in the Medieval and Early Modern Periods."

Papers will investigate the theme of transformation in the medieval and early modern periods, including those that are physical, psychological, sexual, gendered, cultural, religious, social, hierarchical, ideological, scientific, magical, natural, and anything in between. Papers will explore how transformations in these periods may also be construed as conversions, perversions, adaptations, regenerations, re-creations, or reconstructions, and will invite discussion of the literary, religious, scientific, and political agents of transformation.

Nicole Marafioti (Trinity Univ., History) and Jessica Wolfe (UNC, English & Comparative Literature) will deliver keynote lectures. Read more about Nicole Marafioti and Jessica Wolfe. Find more details from the conference cfp. A website will post the full schedule in due time.

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Bruzelius Wins Award

Yale University Press has announced that Preaching, Building, and Burying: Friars in the Medieval City (Yale UP, 2014), by Caroline Bruzelius, Anne M. Cogan Professor of Art, Art History, & Visual Studies at Duke, is the first winner of the Pelikan Award.

The Pelikan Award is a new biannual prize awarded by Yale University Press to a distinguished book on religion published by the press in the previous two years. Honoring the late Jaroslav Pelikan, the award includes a cash prize of $5,000. Read about Preaching, Building, and Burying.

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Nicole Smith Lecture
Mar. 6

Nicole Smith, Professor of English at the University of North Texas, will give a CMRS lecture, "Learning the Apostles' Creed: A Christian Mannes Bileeve, Lyric, and Sciences of the Heart," on Monday, March 6.

Apostles and the Creed in Paris, Bibl. Mazarine, MS 924.
A Christian Mannes Bileeve, a vernacular commentary on the Apostles' Creed, stands as an exceptional example of a didactic text used by women religious to teach ecclesiastical doctrine. The lecture will examine how, in comparison to other explanations of the Creed, CMB remarkably uses a variety of genres from exemplum to lyric to explain Christ's Passion in Article IV: "Under Pontius Pilate, he suffered, died, and was buried." At the most affective moment in the text, these lyrics and examples cultivate love and "kindness" in ways to reveal that "heart knowledge" (sapientia) and "head knowledge" (scientia) are not mutually exclusive. In this way, CMB stands as an exception to those other texts of affective piety and spiritual devotion that often, as scholars have argued, conflate scientia and sapientia.

The lecture takes place in the Carpenter Room, Rubenstein 249, at 4:30 pm on west campus. Read more about Nicole Smith.

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Conference on Discourses of Peace
April 12 - 13

CMRS is co-sponsor of a Duke History conference on April 12-13, "Europe's Orders and Discourses of Peace." 

This conference, organized by Dirk Bonker and Jehangir Malegam, will feature a keynote lecture on April 12 by Brian Vick (Emory), "Peace, Europe, and the Congress of Vienna," and two paper sessions on April 13, one on pre-1600 Europe and one on 20th-century Europe. The premodern session includes Richard Barton (UNC Greensboro), Katrin Sjursen (Southern Illinois Univ.), and Sean Dunwoody (Binghamton Univ.), with discussants Brett Whalen (UNC Chapel Hill) and Kristen Neuschel (Duke). The conference takes place in the Franklin Humanities Institute, Room 240. Further details will be posted in due time.

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NCMA Exhibit
Ghissi St. John Altarpiece
Ends Mar. 5

For the first time in more than a hundred years, the eight known panels - and one re-created missing panel - of a 14th-century Italian altarpiece depicting the Crucifixion and scenes in the life of St. John the Evangelist can be seen and appreciated as one magnificent work of art. The exhibit "Reunited: Francescuccio Ghissi's St. John Altarpiece" is on view at the North Carolina Museum of Art until March 5th. After years of separation, the individual panels of the altarpiece travel to the NCMA from different museums across the U.S. to be reunited in an exhibition that retells the story of this Renaissance masterwork. Because the ninth and final flanking panel has never been found, the NCMA collaborated with a conservation specialist in taking the extraordinary step to re-create the missing panel using 14th-century materials and techniques. See more details about this exhibit and events. 

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Choice Words . . . On the humanities and STEM careers

Contrary to popular misconceptions about science and technology, a good piece of technical work is not a disembodied sequence of formulas and calculations, but rather is part of a narrative that has a long plot line and a large cast of characters. . . . How can a student learn to tell a story well? First and foremost, by reading great literature. Another way students can learn to analyze content and trace the development of an idea is through the study of history. And finally, one of the most effective ways to acquire a broad perspective and an appreciation for the nuances of communication is through the study of foreign languages and literatures. 

Neil Koblitz, "Why STEM Majors Need the Humanities," Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan. 6, 2017, found at Humanities Watch

Conversions Working Group

The Conversions Working Group continues to run as part of the grant-sponsored programming of the multi-institutional "Conversions: Medieval and Modern." It is organized this year by graduate students Joanna Murdoch (English) and Rob Tate (English). Graduate students, faculty, and other colleagues at Duke and from neighboring institutions are invited to participate in five meetings this term. All disciplinary backgrounds and historical fields are welcome.

Graduate assistant Joanna Murdoch

Graduate assistant Rob Tate
The first meeting (Feb. 7) will focus on readings about desire and conversion. Then graduate students Samantha Arten (Music) and Jessica Hines (English) will present on their research sponsored last summer by a Conversions grant (Feb. 28 and Mar. 22). On April 4, Grace Hamman (English), Jessica Hines (English), and Jessica Ward (English, UNCG) will give a presentation of their paper session to be given at the Kalamazoo conference in May. Last, a joint meeting of the Conversion working group and the Religions and Public Life Initiative of the Kenan Ethics Institute will feature a dinner discussion (Apr. 17) with Nicole Reinhardt (Durham Univ.), author of Voices of Conscience: Royal Confessors and Political Counsel in Seventeenth-Century Spain and France (Oxford UP, 2016). A full description of the working group and its activities are available on the working group's website.

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Kingdom of Sicily Image Database

The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database, a new online resource at Duke, collects historic drawings, paintings, engravings, and photographs that depict the medieval monuments and cities in South Italy erected between ca. 1100 and ca. 1450 CE. The images are gathered from museums, libraries, archives, and publications; for the most part they depict monuments prior to destruction or significant alteration as a result of wars, earthquakes, extensive restoration, and simple neglect. The dates of the images range from the late sixteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. The Medieval Kingdom of Sicily Image Database includes location maps and a slide show feature to enable travelers and scholars to locate monuments in large cities such as Naples or Palermo, as well as to compare historic images of specific sites.

The project was initiated with a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Dept. of Art, Art History & Visual Studies and the Wired! Lab at Duke are hosting the project and actively participated in the design and development of the database and website, assisted by postdoc researchers and graduate and undergraduate students at Duke. The project continues as a work in progress. Its directors include Caroline Bruzelius (Duke), Paola Vitola (Univ. of Catania), and William Tronzo (Univ. of California at San Diego).

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Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar Apr. 8

Mark your calendar for the spring Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar which meets on Saturday, April 8, at the National Humanities Center. Presenters include Rodrigo Adem (UNC Religious Studies postdoc), Taylor Cowdery (UNC English), and Beth Hasseler (UNC History PhD candidate). Details about topics and the pre-circulation of the papers will be posted later.

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JMEMS Article Wins Award

A recent JMEMS article has won a prize! Morgan Ng, a doctoral student in architectural history at Harvard, has been awarded the 2016 Nancy Lyman Roelker Prize from the Sixteenth Century Society for the best article published in 2015 on early modern French history. His article, "Collage, Architectural Inscription, and the Aesthetics of Iconoclasm in Jacques Perret's Des fortifications et artifices (1601)," appeared in the special issue The Renaissance Collage: Toward a New History of Reading, edited by Juliet Fleming (NYU), William Sherman (Victoria and Albert Museum), and Adam Smyth (Balliol College, Oxford). Through April 13, you can read this fascinating article without needing a subscription.

A brand new special issue of JMEMS is hot off the press, Microhistory and the Historical Imagination: New Frontiers, edited by Thomas Robisheaux (Duke) and Thomas V. Cohen (York Univ.), with István M. Szijártó (Eötvös
 Univ., Budapest). Microhistory, far from a brief and controversial experiment in history writing, has become one of the most creative ways to tackle the difficult problems of writing history in our time. This issue brings together practicing microhistorians who are taking microhistorical practices into new frontiers. 

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New Courses in Fall 2017

A new cross-list for MEDREN in fall 2017 taught by Michèle Longino is FRENCH/MEDREN 390S, French Fables and Fairy Tales: The Process of Telling and Building Ourselves.

The skills and building blocks for narrative self-invention are captured in the fables and fairy tales that French children are told in their traditional bedtime reading. The French masters of these two literary genres of "writing for children" are Jean de la Fontaine and Charles Perrault. The initial 17-century readership for these two authors, however, was the highly sophisticated salon society of the day. The course examines this body of classical French literature in order to get beyond the "happily ever after" ending. It will be conducted entirely in French at an advanced intermediate level.

After being on leave for three semesters, Sara Galletti will be offering ARTHIST 255/MEDREN 225, Art in Renaissance Italy.

This course provides a panorama of Italian Renaissance art including theory, painting, print, sculpture, and architecture. The course is organized thematically around notions of artistic training and workshop practice, centers of production, art markets and consumption, antiquarianism and art collections, patronage, identity, gender, artistic rivalry, relationship with the spectator, social structures, and sacred and secular spaces and objects, among others, which will be considered in relation to specific case studies.  

David Aers is teaching a new graduate course, Christian Liberty, Christian Revolution: John Milton and William Blake. Poetry, politics, and theology are inextricably bound together in Milton, just as they are in Blake's prophetic books.

After closely examining Milton's revolutionary writings, the course will focus on Blake's Milton and move to his great epic Jerusalem. These writers invented the kinds of poetry they did because they found it the appropriate form for the inquiries and teaching to which they were committed. Both were thoroughly engaged in the political and ideological struggles of their own historical moment; both were thoroughly engaged with issues of gender and sexuality; and both were passionately involved in revisioning Christian doctrine and practices. This course calls for close attention to the minute particulars of the writing. If there are worlds to discover, if there are important grand narratives concerning western culture, they are only discovered, patiently and gradually, in grains of sand. 

A complete listing of Medieval & Renaissance Studies graduate and undergraduate courses in the fall will be put up on the CMRS website in March and can also be seen in ACES. It will also be circulated by email.

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NCMA Exhibit
Glory of Venice
Mar. 4 - June 18

The upcoming exhibit "Glory of Venice: Renaissance Paintings, 1470-1520" opens March 4th at the North Carolina Museum of Art and runs until June 18th.

This is the South's first exhibition that surveys the development of Renaissance painting in Venice from the second half of the 1400s to the early 1500s. It explores the city's artistic and cultural evolution as it developed into an internationally recognized center of pictorial excellence. Glory of Venice features approximately 50 works, including major altarpieces, private secular and devotional paintings, and portraits. For details including ticket information, see the NCMA website.

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Highlights from
Fall 2016

CMRS directly sponsored or co-sponsored the following lectures, symposia, and workshops this past fall.

Romance Studies/CMRS lecture, Surekha Davies (Western Conn. State Univ.), "Thinking with Maps: Ethnography, Visual Culture, and Knowledge," organized by Elvira Vilches (Sept.)

CMRS undergrads Maegan Stanley and Melisa Gerdts at the Charlotte Renaissance Festival.

CMRS Conversions Working Group, "Kingdoms of God," discussion led by Rob Tate (Sept.)

American Boccaccio Annual Conference, co-sponsored by CMRS, organized by Martin Eisner (Oct.)

CMRS Conversions lecture, Ryan McDermott (Univ. of Pittsburgh), "St. Margaret Clitherow's Hand: A Case Study in the Incorruptibility of Modernity"(Oct.) 

Ryan McDermott (Univ. of Pittsburgh) gives a Conversions lecture.

CMRS Workshop, Michael Cornett (CMRS) and Julianne Werlin (English), "Working with Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts" (Oct.)

Triangle Medieval Studies Seminar: Jessica Boon (UNC), "Jesus's Hyperbody: Materiality and Physiology in Castilian Passion Texts and Altarpieces"; Michael Cornett (Duke), "British Medieval Manuscripts on Microfilm: A Location Guide"; and Jessica Hines (Duke), "The Politics of Compassion in Nicholas Love and Margery Kempe" (Nov.)

Julianne Werlin leading a palaeography workshop with graduate students.
English/CMRS lecture, Ramie Targoff (Brandeis), "Marriage and Sacrifice: The Poetics of the Epithalamia in Spenser and Donne," organized by Julianne Werlin (Nov.)

History/CMRS lecture, Samuel Cohn (Univ. of Glasgow), "Abandonment and Unity: The Place of the Black Death in the Histories of Hate and Epidemics," organized by John Martin (Nov.)

CMRS Conversions Working Group, "Translation as/and Conversion," discussion led by Rob Tate (Nov.)

CMRS workshop, Michael Cornett (CMRS), "Journal Publishing: Turning Papers and Dissertation Chapters into Articles" (Nov.)

CMRS Fall Holiday Social in the new West Union Tower Room (Nov.)

Recent graduate Rebecca Reibman and Michael Cornett at the holiday reception.

Holiday reception socialites Steph Crowell, Melissa Gerdts, and Alexandria Hurley.

Romance Studies/CMRS lecture, Larry F. Norman (Univ. of Chicago), "Multiple Classicisms: Variations on an Aesthetic and Literary Ideal, 1650-1950," organized by Michèle Longino (Nov.)
Joint meeting of the CMRS Conversions Working Group, Kenan Institute of Ethics, and Council of European Studies, dinner discussion of "conversions" in current faculty research with Sarah Beckwith (English), Luke Bretherton (Divinity), Mark Chaves (Sociology/Religious Studies), Martin Eisner (Romance Studies), and Laura Lieber (German/Jewsih Studies) (Dec.)

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