Monday, September 7, 2015

Reminder - MAM's Call for Papers for Kalamazoo 2016

From MAM's 2008 meeting in Fargo, ND. Studying a book
made by students at the College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, MN).

The Deadline for the 2016 International Congress for Medieval Studies is rapidly approaching. Here again are the MAM-sponsored sessions for 2016 (please contact the organizers directly should you wish to submit an abstract):

Anglo-Saxon Elements in Middle English Literature
Session Organizer: Dominique Battles (

Recent scholarship has argued for the continuity of Anglo-Saxon literary tradition into the post-Conquest period.  Anglo-Saxon narrative elements of character, landscape, battle tactic, architecture, mood, and plot design survive into Middle English literature as late as the fourteenth-century, long after this tradition was believed to have died out.  Certain Middle English romances feature a hero characterized largely in Anglo-Saxon terms going up against a villain who bears all the hallmarks of Norman nobility and privilege, contrasting pre and post-Conquest ways of doing things. What aspects of characterization, such as age, outlook, weapons and clothing, and domestic setting, do Middle English writers use to convey Anglo-Saxon identity in the hero? What aspects of setting and landscape, both natural and man-made, do post-Conquest writers use to capture a pre-Conquest milieu for their stories? Is Anglo-Saxon identity in a character something to be embraced or outgrown in Middle English literature?

Animal Languages
Session Organizer: Alison Langdon (

Language is one trait by which humans were defined against other animals in the Middle Ages, yet at the same time many nonhuman animals were understood to possess language of their own and in some cases to participate in human language. This session will explore language, broadly construed, as part of the continued interrogation of the boundaries of human and nonhuman animals in the Middle Ages. How, when, and with whom did animals talk in the medieval world? What kinds of communicative strategies did medieval people recognize in the animal world, and how were they interpreted? How was human meaning imposed on animal vocalizations?  How does the use of animals as symbolic language in verbal and visual texts draw upon empirical understanding of nonhuman communication (body language, etc.)? How might nonhuman animals remind us of the embodied nature of language itself?

Chronicles and Grimoires: The Occult as Political Commentary
Session Organizer: Dominique Hoche (

Whether seen in signs and portents, or read in grimoires or magic books, the occult in the premodern world is both marveled at and feared.  A significant amount of the description of occult and sorcerous activity functions as political commentary, whether as direct criticism of secular current events or as a voice or conceptual space for the spiritual “other” in medieval society. Some examples of these voices can be heard in the chronicle of Eustache le Moine (c. 1170-1217), who studied necromancy and the black arts and who ultimately became a pirate; in the popularity and repeated multi-language printings of the Clavicule of Solomon in Italy in the 1300’s; in the introductory and defensive letters in the German humanist scholar Agrippa’s books on occult philosophy (c. 1533); in the tempered criticism of Johan Weyer’s De Praestigiis Daemonum (1563) or its opposite, Martin Del Rio’s inflammatory Disquisitionum magicae (1608). Political commentary regarding the occult often tests the limits of scribal activity, and can lead to persecution and/or charges of treason or heresy.  We welcome papers that explore this dangerous connection between the reception of the occult and political commentary or criticism.

Law and Ideal Justice in Medieval Contexts and Beyond
Session Organizer: Toy-Fung Tung (

How do medieval law and ideal justice converge or clash in legal, literary, philosophical, theological, and historical texts, as well as in the visual arts, architecture, and performances? This question invites an interdisciplinary approach that examines how narrative and other non-legal perspectives can address thorny issues of justice, where law fails. Of particular interest is how competing texts, genres, discourses, expressions, and values contributed to the formation of medieval concepts of law and justice, such as legal identity, citizenship, sovereignty, polity, community, fairness, legitimacy, criminality, contracts, international relations, and individual and social welfare. Interdisciplinary papers and new approaches from a global perspective are especially welcome, as are papers that link medieval concepts of law and justice with their subsequent development in succeeding centuries.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Registration form for the MAM 2015 conference at HMML (Collegeville, Minnesota)

If you wish to attend the 2015 conference of the Medieval Association of the Midwest in October 2015, please copy and fill out the information in the form below and forward it to Matt Heintzelman ( by Sept. 30, 2015.



Conference Registration
Medieval Association of the Midwest
October 8-10, 2015
Hill Museum & Manuscript Library – Saint John’s University






Registration fee:
(includes Friday banquet)
$85.00 ________ (regular members)
$45.00 ________ (students, retired, lifetime)
Registration payment:
Online payment (This will enter your credit card payment only, please still send us your filled-out registration form.)
Payment by check: please make out check to the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library and mail it with a copy of your registration form to:

Matthew Heintzelman, MAM Conference Coordinator
Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
Saint John’s University
P.O. Box 7300
Collegeville, MN 56321-7300

Special access or dietary needs:

Multimedia / presentation needs:

For all other questions, please contact Matthew Heintzelman ( or Julie Dietman (

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MAM 2015 Conference Information

Time to get up and join us at the 2015 MAM meeting at the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library!

Annual Conference, October 8-10, 2015
Hill Museum & Manuscript Library – Saint John’s University
Collegeville, Minnesota

The annual meeting/conference for MAM is rapidly approaching. Here is some basic information for everyone to start making their plans! We hope to see you in Collegeville in October!


All those presenting at the MAM Annual Conference must be members of MAM. If you have not yet joined, please send your check with the membership form to Kristie Bixby at the address on the form. If you are not certain about your current membership status, simply contact Kristie at

A youthful Saint Benedict on the Saint John's campus.

Registration forms will be posted soon on the NuntiaBlog site. On-site registration will also be available Friday morning, the opening day of the conference. For registration questions contact Matt Heintzelman, Hill Museum & Manuscript Library, St. John’s University, Collegeville, MN, phone: 320-363-2795, email:; or, Julie Dietman (same address) at The conference registration fee is $85.00 for regular MAM members and $45.00 for students, retired faculty, lifetime and patron members.

Getting to Collegeville

Driving:  The Hill Museum & Manuscript Library is located on the campus of Saint John’s University, about 1 ½ miles south of Interstate 94, at exit 156. This is about 10 miles west of the main Saint Cloud exits (171, 164, etc.) and about 1 ¼ hours northwest of Minneapolis. Be sure to turn south upon leaving the highway (DO NOT TRUST YOUR GPS!).

Flying: The closest larger town to Saint John’s University is Saint Cloud, Minnesota. While Saint Cloud does have an airport, the service is minimal. Your best option will be to fly to Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport (MSP) and either rent a car or take the Executive Express shuttle from there. Executive Express stops both at Saint John’s and at the Holiday Inn in St. Cloud.

A 16th-century edition of Gospel and Epistle selections in German, from the Saint John's collections.


A block of rooms has been set aside for conference participants at the following two locations. Mention the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library (HMML) or Julie Dietman when you make your reservation. Please contact us if you encounter any difficulties booking rooms at one of these two locations.

Abbey Guesthouse: 1-320-363-2573 ( – This is the most convenient option, right on the Saint John’s campus and within five minutes from all conference venues.

Holiday Inn St. Cloud: 1-866-280-5236 ( – in central St. Cloud, close to shopping and food; however, about 11 miles from the Saint John’s campus. This option will work better for those who have a car at their disposal.

Additional options for lodging:

Super 8 (St. Joseph): 1-866-276-6393 – about 5 miles east in Saint Joseph, Minnesota (on Minnesota Highway 75;

Budget Host Inn (Avon): 1-866-295-5798 – about 5 miles west on I-94 (

Still more options: Many hotel chains are represented in the St. Cloud area, such as Motel 6, Americas Best Value, Travelodge, Fairfield Inn, Marriott, etc.

Saint Anne teaching the Virgin Mary to read--from a manuscript fragment in the Saint John's collections.

Conference Location

All sessions will take place on the Saint John’s University campus. Registration will be in the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library Reading Room. Plenary sessions and the banquet will be in the Founders’ Room in the Main Quad building. Other sessions will be either in the Hill Museum & Manuscript Library or at Saint John’s School of Theology.

Parking on Campus

Free parking will be available on campus for both days. Further details will be coming.

Parking on campus is usually easier than this.
Scene from Lake Sagatagan on the Saint John's campus.

Conference Organizer
Matthew Z. Heintzelman
Curator for the Austria/Germany Study Center; Curator for Rare Books
Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
Saint John’s University
P.O. Box 7300
Collegeville, MN 56321-7300

Another Benedictine with a book.