Friday, May 31, 2013

Medieval Manuscripts in the News--Hebrew, Arabic, Turkish, and/or Illuminated

Four news stories of potential interest to medievalists, excerpted from American Libraries Direct.


Oldest known Torah scroll identified
What is being described as the oldest Torah scroll known to exist has been discovered in the library of the University of Bologna, Italy. The parchment scroll, 36 meters long and 64 centimeters high, had been erroneously cataloged as dating from the 17th century. Paleographic and radiocarbon examinations of the scroll determined it had actually been copied sometime in the years 1155–1225. The discovery was made by Hebrew Professor Mauro Perani as he was compiling a new catalog for the library’s collection of Hebrew manuscripts....
Jewish Telegraphic Agency, May 29; Melbourne (Vict.) Age, May 29; Corriere della Sera (Milan), May 29 

How Timbuktu’s manuscripts were saved from jihadists
Sudarsan Raghavan writes: “It was 7 o’clock on a hot night in August 2012 and Hassine Traore was nervous. Behind him were 10 donkeys, each strapped with two large rice bags filled with ancient manuscripts. The bags were covered in plastic to shield them from a light rain. Radical Islamists had entered Timbuktu in Mali four months earlier, and they had set about destroying everything they deemed a sin.”...
Washington Post, May 26 

Turkish manuscripts in Balkan libraries to be preserved
The Yunus Emre Institute in Ankara, Turkey, has embarked on a project to classify and digitize Turkish manuscripts and documents in libraries in the Balkans. The Turkish Central Bank has allocated $1 million for the project. Many Turkish manuscripts in Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Croatia, and Serbia are in poor condition and need to be restored. More than 200 Turkish manuscripts in Bosnian libraries have already been digitized. Bosnian library officials will also be sent to Turkey to receive training in manuscript restoration work....
Cihan News Agency, Istanbul, May 28 

Illuminated manuscripts
Beth Carswell writes: “An illuminated manuscript is any manuscript whose text is accompanied by decoration. It originally referred only to silver or gilt adornments, but came to be acceptable terminology for any manuscript with drawings, paintings, or decorations such as ornate initials, borders, or floral accoutrements. The luxury of illuminations present in a book creates another level of enjoyment; not only the information, entertainment, and fascination in reading, but also the pure pleasure of beauty, art, and attention to detail.”...
AbeBooks, May 24

Friday, May 24, 2013

Call for Papers: The French of Outremer (Fordham University)

Call for Papers

The French of Outremer: Communities and Communications in the Crusading Mediterranean

34th Annual Conference • Center for Medieval Studies • Fordham University • Lincoln Center Campus • Saturday, March 28, 2014

Fordham’s French of Outremer Project aims to expand awareness of French-language writings and communities of Outremer.

Our website is

Plenary Speakers: Peter Edbury, Cardiff University; Laura Minervini, University of Naples

We welcome papers that address any of the following questions, and encourage papers on related topics:
  • Differences between the real and the imagined Outremer
  • The cultural identities of communities in the Latin East, and the mechanisms that perpetuated or contravened these identities
  • Ties developed with the West through crusading, pilgrimage, and merchant activities, and their contribution to the “French” quality of these communities
  • Single texts or textual traditions that originated or were preserved in the lands of Outremer
  • French-language translations in the Latin East
  • The role of Outremer in the diversification of French-language genres or French-inspired cultural products (art, architecture, legal and intellectual concepts, sacred or urban spaces)
  • The place of Outremer within a Francophone medieval world
Please submit an abstract and cover letter with contact information by September 15, 2013 to Center for Medieval Studies, FMH 405b, Bronx, NY 10458, by e-mail to, or by fax to 718.817.3987.

For website submission guidelines, see

This conference is co-sponsored by the Center for Medieval Studies and the Orthodox Christian Studies Center of Fordham University

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Update on "Playing with Food"

A MAM member submitted this note on the Kalamazoo Conference:

The cosponsored session (MAM/Mens et Mensa) Playing with Food went extremely well.

30ish participants showed up (and more as we were cleaning up afterwards). People had the opportunity to learn about how experiental design and medieval studies could coexist as well as seeing (and tasting) firsthand the results of the scholarship from Samantha and her students.

Her paper provided an excellent overview of the experience design process and experiential learning. The students’ demonstrations, besides their intrinsic interest, served as useful examples of the kinds of projects that might be produced through an experiential learning component in a course. The students were poised and well able to explain the process of food preparation as well as the research that went into them learning this.

There was a lot of energetic dialogue and participation both during and after the session.

CORPORA: Textual, sexual, non-human bodies in late medieval and early modern German-speaking lands

Call For Papers:

“CORPORA: Textual, sexual, non-human bodies in late medieval and early modern German-speaking lands,” for the Sixieth Annual Conference of the Renaissance Society of America.

Date: March 27-29, 2014.

Place: New York City.

Deadline: June 1, 2013

Interdisciplinary submissions are welcome.

Possible topics include:

  • The relationship between the whole and the fragment, between macro- and microcosm, between groups and individuals, between categories and the entities they contain;
  • The creation, maintenance, destruction or transformation of bodies of learning, schools of thought, authorial persona, and genres of writing;
  • Changes in media and modes of communication and the theorization of the relationships of scale, size, and belonging in German-speaking lands, including theories of linguistic variation and difference (for example dialect);
  • Late medieval and early modern understandings of the agency of images, works of art, and material objects;
  • Notions of hybridity, the interface between the human and the natural world, the ontological and phenomenological status of animals; early modern science and theology of the natural world;
  • The sexed and gendered body.
Please email your proposal to the RSA discipline representative for German, Ann Marie Rasmussen (German, Duke), at

Your proposal must include: a paper title; an abstract (150-word maximum); keywords; and a brief curriculum vitae (300-word maximum).

Please consult the RSA website for further information about the RSA annual meeting, sessions, membership, and registration at

Friday, May 17, 2013

Call for Kalamazoo Session Proposals - by May 25, 2013

From the bookplate collection at Saint John's University (#24, plate for Philipp Treier).

The Medieval Association of the Midwest is seeking session proposals for the International Medieval Congress in 2014. We have received several thus far (tentative titles provided for reference):

Justice, Law and Literature
E-publishing—A Practical Roundtable
Innovative Approaches to Teaching Dante
Books and Their Readers
Troilus and Criseyde and Classical Literature
Visual Lydgate
Cultural Approaches to Teaching History of the English Language

Session proposals should be sent to Alison Langdon at no later than May 25.  Bear in mind that the Congress Committee chooses the specific sessions from among those we propose, and their decisions are based in part on the brief session description and rationale provided for each.  Thus, any MAM member wishing to propose a session must also provide a description and rationale (100-200 words).


On a side note:

While you are at NuntiaBlog, please check out the new MAM pages on this blog site (links are at the top of this page).  This website is currently in development, but additions will continue to appear over the coming weeks!