Past Events

    "The school of Peter Abelard and the boundaries of scholarly communication in the twelfth century"

      Friday, April 28th, noon to 1:30


          Dr. Frank Rexroth (School of Historical Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University; Seminar für Mittlere und Neuere Geschichte, University of Göttingen, Germany) will give a talk at the University of Chicago on April 28th. The event is sponsored by the Department of History and the Undergraduate Program in Medieval Studies.

              "Monks Singing Pagans: Medieval Songs of Heroes, Gods and Strong Women".

                Logan Center, Friday, April 28th

                  See video: "Reconstructing the Songs of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy"

                    Sequentia - ensemble for medieval music (Paris):

                      Benjamin Bagby (director): voice, harps

                        Hanna Marti: voice, harp

                          Norbert Rodenkirchen: bone flutes, wooden flutes

                            More information about Sequentia


                                When we think of medieval monks and their musical lives, the first thing to come to mind is Gregorian chant, the solemn and ritual song which accompanied the monk's liturgical day, week, season and year. But a closer look at medieval religious manuscripts from the 9th to 12th centuries shows that many monks and clerics were singing other songs as well, with texts which were sometimes anything but Christian. The monastic and cathedral schools of medieval Europe were great centers of learning and focal points of intellectual life. For all monks and clerics, who were native speakers of European vernacular languages (each with their own pagan roots), it was essential to become bilingual -- to speak, think, perhaps even to read and write in Latin, the language of their faith, the liturgy, the sciences, philosophy and literature. And this crucial link to Latin could best be enhanced by studying 'ancient' texts which had survived: Roman authors, poets, dramatists, teachers, philosophers and historians whose works were studied and memorized, and many of these were also sung. Taken together with occasional Germanic pagan texts, there were songs of the old gods (Woden, Zeus, Jupiter, Bacchus), of men and heroes (Hercules, Orpheus, Boethius, Caesar) and of powerful female figures and goddesses (Valkyries, Fortuna, Philosophia, Cleopatra, Dido, Venus, the wild Ciconians). The survival of these songs, sometimes very fragmentary, provides us with a rich treasure-house of European vocal art, and witnesses to a vibrant culture where the Christian monk gave voice to his pagan ancestors, passing on stories and ideas which resonate to this day. Note: English translations of the sung texts will be projected as supertitles in tonight's performance.

                                    Teaching & Researching the Medieval Past in the Face of Present Crisis: Why and How Medieval Studies *Now*?

                                      Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture, 5733 S. University Ave.


                                          U of C medievalists present: Teaching & Researching the Medieval Past in the Face of Present Crisis: Why and How Medieval Studies *Now*? How might we understand the actions of studying, interpreting, and teaching the Middle Ages, given the urgency of contemporary circumstances? There are many approaches to this question, but four stand out to us. We ask: (1) How is present crisis (however defined) already internal to methods of teaching and researching the Middle Ages? (2) How is the medieval past integral to the constitution of modernity, including its calamities and turning points? (3) How can the practices of medievalist pedagogy and the organization of medievalist institutions and communities best respond to injustice and inequality? and (4) What resources does the medieval past hold for thinking anew about the now? Join us to explore these questions and to share your own questions and experiences of medieval studies in the face of present crisis.


                                              Luke Fidler (PhD student, Department of Art History)

                                                Julie Orlemanskii (Assistant Professor, Department of English Language and Literature)

                                                  Lucy Pick (Senior Lecturer in the History of Christianity and Interim Director of the Center for the Study of Gender and Sexuality)

                                                    Matthew Vanderpoel (PhD candidate, Divinity School)

                                                        "History and Fiction: Narratives, Contexts and Imaginations"

                                                          South Lounge, 4:30 p.m., Wednesday Feb. 15th. Refreshment and Drink will be served.


                                                              Ada Palmer (University of Chicago): Professor Palmer studies Renaissance History and authored the "Too Like the Lightening" and "Seven Surrenders"!

                                                                David M. Perry (Dominican University): Professor of Medieval History, Opinion-writer, Journalist, Cultural Critic, Author, Reviewer and notable public intellectual.

                                                                  Paola Iovene (University of Chicago): Professor Iovene studies modern Chinese fiction, film and art and their reflections of Chinese society and ideologies in the East Asian Language and Civilizations Department.

                                                                    Ghenwa Hayek (University of Chicago): Professor Hayek is an acclaimed scholar of Arabic literature. She studies fictions within the cultural and political landscape of Near Eastern society.

                                                                      Moderator, Jane Dailey (University of Chicago): Professor Dailey studies the American South. She uses literary texts as historical sources.

                                                                          Medieval Studies Study Break

                                                                            Harper 141, 7:30-8:30 Thursday, January 12th


                                                                                All current Medieval Studies majors and minors, alums, and everyone else interested in learning more about Medieval Studies is welcome to join us for food, drinks and conversation. This will be a chance to ask about the major and minor, learn about careers in medieval studies, and meet other students interested in medieval topics.

                                                                                    "Music of Medieval Composer Oswald von Wolkenstein".

                                                                                      Logan Center, Saturday, January 14th

                                                                                        For more information on the Newberry Consort


                                                                                            Be transported to the days of kings and knights during this concert of the music of Oswald von Wolkenstein, a 14th Century German nobleman, poet and composer, presented by the Newberry Consort. Featuring a multimedia slideshow and the transcendent music of early harps, fiddles, winds and voices.

                                                                                              The Newberry Consort is pleased to take audiences on a magical trip back in time to the Middle Ages when they present a concert featuring the music of German composer Oswald von Wolkenstein on Jan. 14th at the Logan Center at the University of Chicago, 915 E. 60th St., Chicago (Student Ticket: $5)

                                                                                                  Scholarly Talks and Lectures

                                                                                                    "Power and Institution in Medieval Islam and Christendom".

                                                                                                      Pick Hall 022, 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, November 22th

                                                                                                        Presentation by Eduardo Manzano Moreno, Professor of Medieval Studies, Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales, Madrid


                                                                                                              "Bio-History in the Anthropocene: Interdisciplinary Study on the Past and Present of Human Life". See website for more information.

                                                                                                                Social Science 201, 4:30, Thursday Oct. 13th. Refreshment and Drink will be served.


                                                                                                                    Lynn Nyhart (University of Wisconsin-Madison): Professor Nyhart is known for her work in the history of biology: natural history and evolution, anatomy and physiology, ecology and marine science, as well as the history of relations between elite and popular science. She is the author of "Modern Nature: The Rise of the Biological Perspective in Germany, and served as the president of the History of Science Society."

                                                                                                                      Joanna Radin (Yale University): Professor Radin is an expert on the history of biology, medicine, anthropology, biomedical technology and global health. Her research examines the social and technical conditions of possibility for the systems of biomedicine and biotechnology that we live with today.

                                                                                                                        Kyle Harper (University of Oklahoma): Professor Harper studies social, economic and ecological history of the antiquity and the Middle Ages. He is the author of "Slavery in the Late Roman World, AD 275-425" and "From Shame to Sin: The Christian Transformation of Sexual Morality". He is also the founding director of the Institute for the American Constitutional Heritage.

                                                                                                                          Julia A. Thomas (University of Notre Dame): A scholar of environmental history and Japanese history, Professor Thomas investigates the concepts of nature in Japanese political ideology, the impact of the climate crisis on historiography, and photography as a political practice. She is the author of the award-winning "Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology", and the essay "Photography, National Identity, and the 'Cataract of Times:' Wartime Images and the Case of Japan."

                                                                                                                            Russell Tuttle (University of Chicago): Professor of Anthropology, Evolutionary Biology, History of Science and Medicine and the College at the University of Chicago. Professor Tuttle is one of the leading figures in the field of evolutionary biology, and is known for his pioneering discoveries, extensive field work, and countless undergraduates and graduates he has mentored in the past fifty years. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Primatology and the book series "Developments in Primatology: Progress and Prospects."

                                                                                                                              Moderator, Jonathan Lyon (University of Chicago): Professor Lyon studies medieval European political and social history and the history of the family.

                                                                                                                              Go to the Medieval Studies Workshop page for more event information. Thank you!