IMS participation at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo

Academic staff and postgraduate researchers from the Institute recently attended the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies, held in Kalamazoo, Michigan from 9-12 May 2019.

The International Congress on Medieval Studies, hosted annually by the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University, was attended by 2,750 scholars interested in medieval studies. The congress featured more than 550 sessions of papers, panel discussions, roundtables, workshops, demonstrations, performances, and poster sessions, in addition to some 100 business meetings and receptions sponsored by learned societies, associations and institutions. The exhibits hall includes nearly 70 exhibitors, including publishers, used book dealers and medieval sundries stalls. You can see the full programme here.

Institute for Medieval Studies participation

Academic staff and postgraduate researchers from the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS), University of Leeds, participated in the congress through delivering papers, chairing sessions, and hosting an annual reception. Sessions featuring members of the IMS are as follows: 

  • Maroula Perisanidi (Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, IMS) organised the panel 'Byzantine Responses to Minorities: The Case of the Physically Impaired'. Presented 'Is your Priest Missing a Thumb? Byzantine and Anglo-Norman Canonical Views on Disability' in the same session. 

  • Annika Christensen (PGR Researcher, School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies) presented 'The Female Body in Faroese Ballad' in a recorded presentation. 

  • Institute for Medieval Studies, University of Leeds, and Centre for Medieval Studies, University of York, reception. 

  •  Rory Sellgren (former PGR Researcher, IMS) presented 'Amor and Carita: The Two Loves of Francesca and Piccarda'. Rory Sellgren also resided over the panel 'Dante Studies III: Scriptural and Liturgical Considerations in the Commedia'.

  • Elisabeth Trischler (PGR Researcher, IMS) presented 'The Procession in the Early Paradise of Dante's Purgatorio: A Case Study Considering the Connections between Religious Performance and Theology in the Commedia' in the same session. 

  •  Fraser McNair (Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow, IMS) presided over the session 'After Empire: Using and Not Using the Past in the Crisis of the Carolingian World, ca. 900 - ca. 1050. Dr McNair also presented 'Kingdom and Principality in Tenth-Century France: The Case of Auvergne'. 

  • Axel Muller (International Medieval Congress Director, University of Leeds) presented 'Fifteen Shades of Brown: Making Saltpetre, Experimental Archaeology, and Being Historically Authentic'. 

  • Witt Womack (former PGR MA Researcher, IMS) presented 'Of schyr goulez: Red as Complement to Green in Gawain and the Green Knight'. 

  • James Doherty (Teaching Fellow in Medieval History, IMS) presented '"Volo pergere Yspania contra paganos": Documents as Sources for the Spread of Crusading Ideals into Spain during the Early Twelfth Century'.

Sellgren - a soon-to-be IMS PhD graduate who heard that his thesis passed on the way to the Congress - called his experience at Kalamazoo 'stellar' and 'wonderful'. In addition to being 'very fortunate to be with fellow members of the Dante Society of America' when receiving news about his thesis, Sellgren was also 'very pleased to preside over Elisabeth [Trischler]'s session'. Sellgren currently teaches as an adjunct at two universities in Reading, Pennsylvania - Alvernia University and Albright College - and could only attend one day of the congress due to teaching commitments. 

Trischler, an IMS PGR researcher in the first year of her PhD, found all three Dante Society of America panels 'very engaging', and was 'honoured to be a part of the panels and discussion'. In particular, Trischler found the 'very positive feedback from the audience' after her paper to be 'very helpful', especially since Trischler was arguing an alternative approach to interpreting the procession that Dante witnessed in Earthly Paradise (canto xxix). 

Muller described the reception as having 'a good turnout, with lively and vibrant discussion'. In particular, Muller stated multiple former IMS students, both recent and less-recent graduates, attended the reception. 

...a good turnout, with lively and vibrant discussion. 

Womack, an IMS MA student who graduated last year, explained that he presented an essay based on course material from Catherine Batt's (Senior Lecturer, School of English, IMS) Medieval English module. Womack stated that it was 'a great - if slightly nervewracking - personal experience to present at a conference', and was pleased to be welcomed by the Pearl-Poet Society. 

Perisanidi attended the Congress for the first time, and she stated that 'I very much enjoyed organising a session and presenting a paper on the topic of physical impairment in Byzantium'. This topic was especially interesting for Perisanidi because 'this is a new topic for Byzantine Studies, but one of our areas of research expertise at the University of Leeds'. Overall the session was received with 'interest and enthusiasm', and Perisanidi is 'hoping to be involved in future sessions on the topic'. 

Next year's 55th International Congress on Medieval Studies will be held from 7-10 May 2020; the session proposal form is now available.