(Sept. 2016) 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies Kalamazoo

May 11-14, 2017



Panel: The Schematization of Time




Submission deadline: September 15, 2016

This session proposes to investigate visual strategies used in time-reckoning and calendar constructions. Medieval illustrations of scientific works, computus treatises, historical chronicles, almanacs and moral and theological tracts, display a vast spectrum of images dealing with the natural and divine causes of time phenomena, their manifestations, their various effects on the world and their universal significations.


These images testify to a wide range of subjects and interests, from cosmological and astronomical explanations, to practical considerations regarding liturgy, astrology, medicine, divination, prognostication, to history and geography, to practical and speculative mathematics, and to symbolic devices working as visual exegesis of the creation.


Given the rich corpus of source material, how might the visualization of time through schematization help us understand the role of time in medieval life and culture? How did schemata and diagrams represent specific strategies of knowledge transmission through geometrical relationships, colour systems, and numerical and spatial representations? Whilst modern medieval studies witness an increasing interest in schemata and diagrams, the omnipresence and diversity of visual reflexions on time in the Middle Ages contrasts with the small number of case studies dedicated to the subject.


This session welcomes papers focused on, but not limited to:

the visualization of relationships between time, space and matter;

the schematization of time in medical theory and practice;

the depiction of liturgical time;

the correlation between time-reckoning and celestial phenomena, either astronomical or astrological;

the calculation of past and future dates through images concerning chronology and eschatology.


The panel features 15-20 minutes papers. Please send an abstract (150 to 350 words), a short CV and completed Participant Information Form to Arthur Hénaff (arthur.henaff@etu.ephe.fr) and Sarah Griffin (sarah.griffin@kellogg.ox.ac.uk) by September 15, 2016.


Contact Info:

Arthur Hénaff, École Pratique des Hautes Études (arthur.henaff@etu.ephe.fr)

Sarah Griffin, University of Oxford (sarah.griffin@kellogg.ox.ac.uk)





Panels: Materia Medica; Surgeons and Their Tools




Medica: The Society for the Study of Healing in the Middle Ages is seeking proposals for our two sessions exploring the material culture of healing at the upcoming meeting of the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan from May 11-14, 2017.


We are also seeking a participant for a roundtable session on “Medieval Tools,” which will be co-sponsored AVISTA (The Association Villard de Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art), DISTAFF (Discussion, Interpretation, and Study of Textile Arts, Fabrics, and Fashion), Societas Magica, The Research Group on Manuscript Evidence, and EXARC.


The paper sessions are:

1) Materia Medica: Plants, Animals, and Minerals in Healing

This session invites papers that investigate how medieval healers employed a wide range of materials drawn from plants, animals, and minerals to treat their patients. Papers can examine medieval manuals of herbal medicine to learn about herbal cures and dietary prescriptions in practice and theory. Papers can also examine bestiaries or hunting manuals for insight into the medicinal value of animal parts. In addition to examining the specific materials used in cures, papers might consider the production and sale of medicinal remedies. This opens the opportunity to explore subjects like the development of monastic herbal gardens, the trade routes by which medicinal materials reached their market, and the regulation of apothecary shops. The aim of the session is to bring together scholars considering the theory behind developing medicinal cures as well as the material culture that shapes those cures.

2) Surgeons and Their Tools.

This session seeks papers that examine the theory and practice of medieval surgery. This could include looking at the training of craft surgeons and/or the development of surgery curricula at university medical school. Papers that examine specific surgical techniques, the application of surgery to treat specific conditions, or the tools used by surgeons, are of special interest. As with the session on "materia medica" this session also encourages papers that examine the material culture of medieval surgical practice as witnessed from textual and artistic perspectives.


Roundtable: Medieval Tools

This roundtable session provides an opportunity for short presentations, demonstration, and discussion of medieval tools and technology from various realms, including artistic production, agricultural labor, construction, shipbuilding, and household use. Medica seeks a participant who could contribute to the roundtable with a discussion of the use of tools in medical settings, or for the purposes of personal health or hygiene. The organizers are encouraging participants to bring illustrations and/or replicas of tools, although this is not required.

Though not required, an applicant for the roundtable would also be welcome to submit a paper proposal to one of the paper sessions


If interested in presenting for either of the paper sessions and/or the roundtable, please submit an abstract of roughly 250-300 words along with a Participant Information Form (PIF), which can be found at http://wmich.edu/medievalcongress/submissions. All proposal materials are due by September 15, 2016.

If you have questions about either of the sessions, or would like to submit an abstract, please direct emails to Harry York at why@pdx.edu.