Job posting: Asst Prof Global Middle Ages
Originally posted:
Wednesday, August 24th, 2022

The Department of English at New York University seeks to appoint a tenure track Assistant Professor in the field of the Global Middle Ages, effective September 1st, 2023, pending administrative and budgetary approval.  We are committed to the ideal of an inclusive classroom where all members of our diverse community of students can excel. The successful candidate will have a strong record of excellence in teaching and research and a demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion. The Ph.D. must be in hand by September 1, 2023.

See more and apply here:

Job Posting: Seeing Race Public Humanities Fellow
Originally posted:
Monday, February 7th, 2022

The Newberry Center for Renaissance Studies seeks an early career scholar in Premodern Critical Race Studies to serve as a Public Humanities Postdoctoral Fellow for one year (with the possibility of renewal for a second year pending grant funding) to support Seeing Race Before Race, a multi-year project including an exhibition, public and scholarly programming, a publication, and digital initiatives. The Fellow will begin in Fall 2022, one year before the exhibition launches in Fall 2023.

For more info:

Cambridge Element Series on GMA Appearing Now!
Originally posted:
Monday, December 13th, 2021

Some available for free download!

Elements in the Global Middle Ages is a series of concise studies that introduce researchers and instructors to an uncentered, interconnected world, c. 500-1500 CE.   Individual Elements focus on the globe’s geographic zones, its natural and built environments, its cultures, societies, arts, technologies, peoples, ecosystems, and lifeworlds.

Born digital, with print-on-demand, and updatable annually by authors, this multidisciplinary Cambridge series of studies takes advantage of the latest digital technology, and is able to embed audio, video, and visual materials.

Heng element coverelement coverelement 3 coverelement 4 coverBashir element cover



CFP: Unfreedom in the Premodern World: Comparative Perspectives on Slavery, Servitude & Captivity (Dublin: 23 & 24 June)
Originally posted:
Thursday, December 2nd, 2021

The global history of slavery and dependency has flourished in recent years, as scholars have deployed new theories and methodologies to explore the varieties of unfreedom across a range of regions and societies. Studies of the premodern period have been part of this expansion, revealing nuanced analyses of how unfreedom intersected with gender roles, labour patterns, economic networks and religious values before the growth of the early modern trans-Atlantic slave trade. In spite of this work, the periods prior to European colonial expansion remain comparatively understudied, but present enormous opportunities to explore key questions and to push the boundaries of the wider history of slavery and dependency. Unfreedom in the Premodern World: Slavery, Servitude and Captivity in Comparative Perspectives seeks to bring together scholars studying a wide range of regions and periods to address common themes and questions in the history of slavery, and to build towards a comparative and collaborative global approach. 

Unfreedom in the Premodern World will be held over two days (June 23rd & June 24th, 2022) at the Long Room Hub, Trinity College Dublin’s Arts and Humanities research centre. Keynote lectures will be delivered by Prof. Hannah Barker (Arizona State University) and Prof. Stefan Brink (University of Cambridge/University of the Highlands & Islands). Proposals are invited for twenty-minute papers which explore any aspect of the history of unfreedom, slavery, servitude or captivity in the period before 1492. Papers are welcome from any academic discipline and with any geographical focus. Interdisciplinary papers and studies of regions outside of Western Europe are particularly encouraged. Potential topics could include (but are not limited to): 

Definitions and parameters of unfreedom
Methodologies for histories of unfreedom (source interpretation; archival erasure; theoretical perspectives) Unfree labour and the economics of unfreedom
Unfree mobilities, forced migrations and slave trades
Manumission and life after unfreedom
Representations of unfreedom in literature, arts and culture
Religious reactions to unfreedom (prohibitions; justifications; complicity)
The histories of unfree women and children
Resistance to unfreedom (rebellions, escapes, sabotage) 

Proposals, consisting of a title, an abstract (max. 250 words) and a short academic biography, should be sent to by Friday, 17th December 2021. It is expected that this conference will be held in-person in Dublin, subject to the global public health situation. Limited funding will be available to assist early-career, precariously-employed and independent researchers with travel and accommodation costs. 

For any queries and further information, please contact the conference organiser, Dr. Niall Ó Súilleabháin (

Originally posted:
Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021

Banner for GMA NEH Institute

Roger Martinez-Davila (University of Colorado, Colorado Springs) and Lynn Ramey (Vanderbilt University) were awarded a $239,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to design and host an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities.

Virtual reality, augmented reality, and 3D digital environments are witnessing explosive growth in research and teaching, but faculty and staff who could benefit from these techniques do not have equal access to the tools they need. Hardware and software used in the creation of 3D environments is expensive; institutional policies and commitment are highly variable; and some who would benefit lack confidence with the technology. The Immersive Global Middle Ages Institute provides a diverse cohort of medievalists with both theoretical and practical training in the creation and implementation of 3D objects and environments for research and teaching. The Institute will meet online three times each semester and will have two in-person four-day summer workshops over a two-year period. By the end of the Institute, participants will have considered the research around using 3D environments, developed 3D object assets and worlds, and authored teaching resources to pass on their new skills to students and colleagues.

Apply and learn more here:



Video: Multilingualism in Medieval Digital Humanities
Originally posted:
Wednesday, October 21, 2020

If you missed the panel on Multilingualism, Translation, and Directionality in Global Medieval Digital Humanities, you can watch the entire panel here:

Multilingualism Panel on YouTube

Panel Discussion: Multilingualism, Translation, Directionality in Global Medieval DH
Originally posted:
Monday, October 5, 2020

UPDATE: This panel discussion can be found at:


Please join the Vanderbilt University Center for Digital Humanities and the Global Middle Ages Project on October 16 from 11:00 a.m. - 12:30 CDT / 12:00 - 1:30 p.m EDT  for a panel discussion about global digital projects and their use of languages.

New technologies allow us to experience the past more intimately than humans have ever been able to do before, and we can share our work more efficiently and completely than our predecessors could. But new problems arise, particularly as multi-national groups of scholars work on the histories and cultures of communities that lay claim to their own past and yet often cannot access the research results, often presented in English. In addition, scholars commonly structure databases using English and do their coding in English. How does language use exclude certain communities, and what are best practices for language use in global digital projects? We will discuss techniques and unsolved problems in an effort to make recommendations for global medieval projects.

This panel will bring together scholars working on global digital projects along with an expert in translation to talk about their perspectives on language use in global digital humanities projects.

Our panelists:

  • Zrinka Stahuljak, Professor of Comparative Literature and French, UCLA, and Director, UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies - expertise in translation, interpreting, and multilingualism

  • David Michelson, Associate Professor of the History of Christianity, Vanderbilt University – General editor of and expertise in multi-national collaboration on digital projects with experience in establishing digital humanities standards for Semitic languages

  • David Joseph Wrisley, Associate Professor of Digital Humanities, NYU Abu Dhabi - multitext alignment methods, multilingual/multidirectional language data, politics and practice of interface localization, machine learning medieval scripta, directionality in digital projects, unidirectional fallacy

  • Roger Martinez-Davila, Associate Professor of History, University of Colorado - Colorado Springs - expertise in MOOCs, crowd-sourced research of manuscripts, virtual and augmented reality, and multi-national projects

  • Solomon Gebreyes Beyene, Research Fellow, University of Hamburg - expertise in multi-national manuscript editing and annotating Gǝʾǝz texts using TEI/XML.

The conversation will be moderated by Lynn Ramey (Vanderbilt University) and Dorothy Kim (Brandeis University).

All are welcome. There will be a question and answer period after panelists have spoken. You may submit your questions in advance ( or live at the panel. The panel will be recorded and posted on the portal.

Visiting Assistant Professor in Global Medieval Art History
Originally posted:
December 3, 2019

DEADLINE:February 15, 2020

QUALIFICATIONS: The Art History Department at Binghamton University invites applications for a two-year Visiting Assistant Professor position in Global Medieval Art History beginning in August 2020. This position begins Fall semester 2020 (9/1/2020) and runs through Spring semester 2022. We encourage applications from those who work beyond the conventional boundaries of medieval Europe, including applicants from adjacent fields such as Byzantine and Islamic art. A PhD in Art History or a related field by appointment start date is strongly preferred; college/university-level teaching experience; and a promising record of research and publication. Candidates will be evaluated according to a) overall quality of their academic preparation and scholarly work, b) evidence of commitment to teaching and skills as a teacher, c) relevance of their scholarly research to the Department’s academic priorities and fields of inquiry, and d) strength of recommendations.

ABOUT THE JOB: The Art History Department seeks a Visiting Assistant Professor to join a dynamic department with a strong commitment to global and cross-cultural approaches to art history and to critical and theoretical engagements with the discipline. As a public university, we seek candidates who will challenge undergraduate and graduate students to develop skills of art-historical literacy; who are committed to excellence and creativity in writing; and who will promote student engagement. Our visiting assistant professor will develop curricula that complement and expands existing geographical and historical coverage in the Department, work collaboratively with their colleagues in Art History as well as faculty in other departments and programs, and participate in the interdisciplinary life of the University. We invite applicants whose work emphasizes methodological innovation and who are keen on collaborating with colleagues in the Department and across the University working on the medieval period. The teaching and scholarship interests of the ideal candidate will include transregional and interdisciplinary approaches. Significant resources on campus in this regard include the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the Classical and Near Eastern Studies Department. Responsibilities include: Teaching courses on all undergraduate and graduate levels—this position entails a 3-3 course-load, with one seminar per year at the graduate level—and the potential supervision of honors theses.

ABOUT THE DEPARTMENT: The Art History Department has developed a nationally distinctive profile through a commitment to new theoretical perspectives and cross-disciplinary approaches to the history of art, the built environment, and the broader field of visual culture. Today, Art History is a department committed to the mutual enrichment of teaching and research—as reflected in its distinctive undergraduate curriculum and its prominence as an innovative and markedly international center for graduate education. HOW TO APPLY: Applications must be submitted through the Binghamton Interview Exchange site, accessible at This position requires that you submit: 1) a cover letter; 2) curriculum vitae; 3) two sample syllabi, preferably a field survey and an upper-level topics course; and 4) the names and contact information of three references. Applications will be accepted through February 15, 2020, or until the position is filled.

DIVERSITY: Binghamtom University is an Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Employer. It is the policy of Binghamton University to provide for and promote equal opportunity employment, compensation, and other terms and conditions of employment without discrimination on the basis of sex, age, race, color, religion, disability, national origin, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, veteran or military service member status, marital status, domestic violence victim status, genetic predisposition or carrier status, or arrest and / or criminal conviction record unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification or other exception.

ABOUT BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY: Binghamton University is a world-class institution that offers students a broad, interdisciplinary education with an international perspective and one of the most vibrant research programs in the nation.

Job posting: Florida State University, Global Medieval Art History
Originally posted:
November 1, 2019

The Department of Art History in the College of Fine Arts at Florida State University invites qualified applicants to apply for the position of Assistant Professor in Global Medieval Art History. This is a full-time, tenure-track position with a 2-2 teaching load. Candidates must have a Ph.D. at the time of appointment, teaching experience, and a dynamic and ambitious program of research and scholarship. Appointment begins in August 2020.


We seek candidates who address the visual manifestations of cultural interchange, and whose research demonstrates critical engagements with global, transcultural, and trans-regional conversations. We are especially interested in candidates whose work complements current faculty strengths in western medieval architecture, and in the art and architecture of the eastern medieval Mediterranean world.


The successful candidate will be responsible for developing and teaching a variety of area- specific courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels, advising and supervising graduate students at the masters and doctoral levels, and contributing to the intellectual life of the university. The candidate may also have the opportunity to teach during summers at one of FSU’s international study centers in London, England; Florence, Italy; Panama City, Republic of Panama; and Valencia, Spain; or in major-specific programs offered in other cities throughout the world.


Application Deadline: January 2,2020                             Job ID46583


Inquiries about this position may be directed to: Adam Jolles, Chair, Department of Art History ( Not interviewing at CAA.


Salary and benefits competitive. AA, EOE, WMA. By valuing, celebrating and leveraging the differences and similarities within our community, we create a fertile environment for problem- solving--one that is more inventive and compassionate. All are encouraged to apply.


About FSU’s Department of Art History: The Florida State University Department of Art History is one of the oldest and highest ranked in the Southeast, and the first in Florida to offer a doctoral degree. The faculty rank in the top quartile in research productivity among Research I Public Universities. The Department offers programs leading to the Bachelor of Arts, Master of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy in the history and criticism of art in the areas of Medieval, Renaissance/Baroque, Modern/Contemporary, and Visual Cultures of the Americas. The Department also offers a Master of Arts in Museum and Cultural Heritage Studies, which now includes The Ringling Track, a full second year of study at the John & Mable Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida. Undergraduates may also obtain Minors in Art History, Medieval Studies, or Museum Studies.


How to Apply:

If qualified and interested in a specific Faculty job opening as advertised, apply to Florida State University at If you are a current FSUemployee, apply via myFSU > SelfService.




Applicants are required to complete the online application with all applicable information. Applications must include education details even if attaching a Vita.




Applicants are required to submit a current CV, statement of teaching philosophy, and a statement on diversity.




All applicants should arrange for submission of 3 confidential, professional letters of recommendation. Follow the steps below to request these letters through our system:




1)  After submitting your application, click the Return to Job Searchlink;




2)  Click the My Referenceslink;




3)  Click the Send/View Reference Request button next to the appropriate position; and




4)  Follow the steps on that page to send your references a system-generated email requesting they submit a letter of recommendation on yourbehalf.




You may also return to the My References link and click on "Send/View Reference Request" to see if your references have responded, add additional references, or resend requests.




FSU's Equal Opportunity Statement can be viewed at:




Criminal Background Check: This position requires successful completion of a criminal history background check. The background check will be conducted as authorized and in accordance with University Policy 4-OP-C-7-B11.


GMAP Black Death Digital Archive Honored
Originally posted:
September 18, 2019

The Black Death Digital Archive has been awarded a special commendation by the CARMEN medieval network!

CARMEN writes, "the cross-national reach of the project (both in its research team and the global reach of its research), and its potential to advance our understanding of the second plague pandemic using a multidisciplinary portal for both experts and the public. The project also shows the potential for exciting work bringing together Medieval Studies and the Medical Humanities."

Read more about the prize at: and visit the project page at


Assistant Professor of Medieval English - Yale University
Originally posted:
September 17. 2019

The Yale University Department of English seeks to appoint an outstanding scholar at the rank of assistant professor specializing in medieval literature. Scholarship may focus on any area of Medieval Studies, with particular attention to work that expands the reach and engagement of the field. 


We are primarily interested in scholars who specialize in later Middle English, though applications from scholars of early Middle English are also welcome. We seek applicants with research interests that might include (though are not confined to) the following areas: the theory and history of sexuality; ecocriticism and environmental studies; the global Middle Ages; digital humanities and media studies; contemporary and historical approaches to literary criticism and theory; Latin intellectual culture; Piers Plowman; manuscript studies; and/or topics addressing diversity in race/ethnicity, gender, and other categories of identity. 


Candidates should demonstrate an exceptional capacity for original scholarship, a strong commitment to energetic and innovative teaching, and a willingness to work collaboratively to help promote research in medieval studies within and beyond Yale. The Ph.D. or equivalent degree at time of hire is required. 


All applicants should submit a letter of application, a CV, a statement of research interests, at least three letters of reference, and a 20-page writing sample prepared for anonymous reading at Review of applications will begin on 1 Nov. Please contact search committee chair, Prof. Ardis Butterfield (, or chair’s assistant, Sarah Harford ( with any questions. 


Medievalists at Yale are members not only of their appointing departments, but also of the PhD-granting Program in Medieval Studies, which brings together scholars from across the humanistic disciplines for events such as an annual lecture series and a work-in-progress lunch. Research in medieval studies is also well-supported by university collections, including the Yale University Art Gallery, the Yale Center for British Art, and the especially rich holdings of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, including the Takamiya deposit of late medieval English manuscripts. Yale University is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer. Yale values diversity among its students, staff, and faculty and strongly welcomes applications from women, persons with disabilities, protected veterans, and underrepresented minorities. 

Assistant Professor of Global Medieval History - Rhodes College
Originally posted:
September 17. 2019
The Department of History at Rhodes College invites applications for a
tenure-track assistant professor position in the history of the Global Middle
Ages and/or Medieval Mediterranean world to begin Fall 2020. Candidates at
the associate professor level will also be considered. Rhodes College
believes that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success as an
institution, and we seek to recruit, develop, and retain the most talented
people from a diverse candidate pool. We are particularly interested in
candidates whose teaching and research interests are trans-regional/cultural
and interdisciplinary in nature and could contribute to at least one of the
following areas: the history of medicine and/or science; migration or
frontier studies; Africana Studies; Gender and Sexuality Studies; Jewish,
Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies; Environmental Studies and Sciences;
digital history; or public history. The successful candidate will also be
expected to teach in the College’s interdisciplinary humanities program and
the first year writing seminar. The teaching load is five courses per
academic year. The successful candidate will have a record of teaching
excellence, an active research agenda, and an interest in faculty governance.
Candidates must have a Ph.D. in History, Medieval Studies, or a relevant
area-studies program with a strong historical focus.
Rhodes is a nationally ranked residential college committed to the liberal
arts and sciences. Our highest priorities are intellectual engagement,
service to others, commitment to diversity and inclusion, and honor among
ourselves. Our students live and learn on one of the country’s most
beautiful campuses, located in the heart of Memphis, an economic, medical,
and cultural center, making Rhodes one of a handful of prominent liberal arts
colleges in a major metropolitan area.
Rhodes College prides itself on being a diverse, inclusive, and welcoming
environment. We are an equal opportunity employer committed to diversity and
Please apply online at A complete application will include
1) a cover letter that addresses the strengths the candidate will bring as a
teacher and scholar to a liberal arts college environment; 2) a curriculum
vitae; 3) the names and contact information for three references; 4) a
separate statement that addresses how the candidate’s experiences with
teaching, scholarship, and/or service will contribute to a college community
that includes a commitment to diversity and inclusion as one of its core
values. Review of completed applications will begin October 7, 2019 and will
continue until the position is filled. Candidates from backgrounds typically
underrepresented in higher education are strongly encouraged to apply.
Background checks are required before candidates can be brought to campus for


Black Death research group featured in Science article
Originally posted:
March 6, 2019

Members of the Black Death Digital Archive group were featured in an article that appeared in Science (online) today. Gérard Chouin and Monica Green were quoted as they talked about their ground-breaking work indicating that the Black Plague may well have devastated sub-Saharan Africa in the fourteenth century. The researchers are presenting their work alongside others in a special colloquium on Black Death in Paris this week. Read the article at:

New Book of Interest
Originally posted:
July 17, 2018

Geraldine Heng has published a new book—The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, Cambridge University Press, March 2018 (504 pp.)—with chapters on Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Mongols, and the Romani (“Gypsies”) in the time period 500-1500 CE. Available on Amazon and the Cambridge University Press website:

CFP - De-centering the Global Middle Ages February 8-9, 2019, University of Michigan
Originally posted:
July 9, 2018

The Department of History and Medieval and Early Modern Studies Program at the University of Michigan invite proposals for a February 8-9, 2019 symposium, “De-centering the Global Middle Ages.”

This symposium will contribute to the burgeoning body of scholarship on the meaning of the “medieval” and “Middle Ages” in increasingly interdisciplinary and cross-regional conceptions of the premodern world.

This symposium invites researchers to consider scholarly perspectives of the “global Middle Ages” by presenting research and resources that address the connectivity and mobility of the globe c. 500-1600 CE. What work does the idea of “the Middle Ages” do in our scholarship, and what do we gain from a shared or comparative notion of the medieval? Papers and presentations will aim to contribute to a more inclusive view of the premodern world that de-centers European interpretations of the Middle Ages and recognizes dynamic globalisms. A keynote address will be delivered by Valerie Hansen (Stanley Woodward Professor of History, Yale University), specialist in premodern China and Silk Road Studies, whose current book project is entitled: The World in the Year 1000: When Globalization Began.

Faculty and graduate students are welcome to apply to deliver a lightning talk + complementary paper and/or a primary source-based research presentation. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words.

Lightning Talks

The symposium will hold two panels of lightning talks (8 minutes each) based on short, pre-circulated papers (approx. 4 pages) summarizing current work on globalized conceptions of and connections within the medieval world. Lightning talks will engage field- or region-specific conceptualizations of “the medieval/Middle Ages.”

Roundtable discussions with respondents will follow.

Primary Source-based Research Presentations

Submissions will also be accepted for 15- to 18-minute research presentations, each focused on a particular medieval primary source (text, image, object, etc.) that is useful for thinking in comparative or global perspectives. The source (an image or a selection from the source) should be pre-circulated to attendees.

Each talk will be followed by a moderated discussion.

All presenters are asked to submit a brief bibliography (5-10 entries) on resources related to their lightning talks or research presentations. After the symposium, these bibliographies will be uploaded to the Global Middle Ages Project website (, University of Texas at Austin) and contribute to the development of a canon of literature on the global Middle Ages.

Deadline: September 17, 2018

How to Apply:

Applications should be submitted in PDF form to conference organizers Paula R. Curtis ( and Amanda Respess ( by September 17. Those submitting both lightning talks and primary source presentations should prepare separate abstracts. Please include the following information:

Faculty/Graduate Student/Independent Scholar:
Regional Specialization:
Proposed Format (Lightning Talk/Primary Source Presentation):
Abstracts of no longer than 300 words.

Notifications of acceptance will be made by no later than October 15, 2018.

This symposium is made possible by the generous support of the University of Michigan Department of History, Program in Medieval and Early Modern Studies, History of Art Department, Department of English Language & Literature, Asian Languages and Cultures Department, Slavic Languages & Literatures Department, Near Eastern Studies Department, Forum on Research in Medieval Studies, and the Japanese Studies Interdisciplinary Colloquium.

New Journal!
Originally posted:
April 27, 2018

University of California Press will launch Journal of Medieval Worlds, a new quarterly online journal in 2019.

Aims and Scope

Journal of Medieval Worlds will serve as a forum for multidisciplinary scholarship on the world, focusing primarily on 750-1600. The journal’s purpose is to foster innovative research and approaches to pedagogy by publishing peer-reviewed research articles of broad interest that explore interconnections across regions or build meaningful comparisons across cultures.

In an effort to meet the needs of and address the challenges of teaching world history, the journal will also regularly publish reviews of books, textbooks, and relevant exhibitions, as well as essays and features on pedagogy.

Regions addressed in the journal include Japan, China, Central Asia, South Asia, East and West Africa, North Africa, Oceans and Seas, the Americas, Middle East and Levant, and Europe, including Northern and Eastern Europe.

Assistant Professor of Mediterranean History
Originally posted:
September 7, 2017

The History Department of Washington and Lee University invites applications for a tenure-track assistant professorship in Mediterranean history, 500-1500 C.E., beginning September 2018. Special consideration will be given to candidates who can situate Mediterranean history in a global context by contributing to the Africana Studies, Middle East and South Asia Studies, and/or Medieval and Renaissance Studies Programs. Candidates whose research focuses on issues such as, but not limited to, race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, cross-cultural contact, religious cooperation and conflict, urbanism and/or empire are particularly encouraged to apply. Successful applicants will be expected to teach introductory surveys as well as intermediate and advanced undergraduate courses related to their areas of specialization.

For details and how to apply, see:

Global Medieval Sourcebook
Originally posted:
Saturday, August 12th, 2017

From Stanford News, 8/4/2017:

A new website curated by Stanford faculty and students, the Global Medieval Sourcebook, translates medieval literature into English for the first time.

The Sourcebook offers more than a practical introduction to previously untranslated medieval texts, however. Its creators aim to foster interest in the Middle Ages more generally and to change existing misconceptions about the period.

In every stage of its development, the GMS is inspired by the spirit of digital humanities at Stanford, a highly collaborative area of research that connects the humanities disciplines with technology. Stanford’s Center for Spatial and Textual Analysis (CESTA) and the Roberta Bowman Denning Fund have provided generous funding for the project. Stanford University Libraries hosts the site, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Digital Research (CIDR) provided consultation.

Stanford undergraduate and graduate students developed the open source website based on existing software by technical lead Mike Widner. Stanford students also encoded the texts and made all files accessible for download.

Visit the project at:

Statement from Medievalists of Color
Originally posted:
Friday, August 4th, 2017

Reposted from


A Collective Statement by Medievalists of Color

August 1, 2017

Medieval studies is increasingly acknowledging realities of race and racism in the profession—reflected in everything from the call to recognize that racism is inherent in the very use of the term “Anglo-Saxon”; to Richard Spencer and the so-called alt-right’s cooptation of Western European medieval studies to buttress their white supremacist ideology; to concerns about the exploitation of Hawaiian culture in the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists’ conference currently underway in Honolulu. These issues have arisen most visibly since the International Medieval Congress at Leeds in July 2017 with individual and collective calls for structural change in the profession and its culture.

Medievalists of Color is a fellowship of scholars who study the early, high, and late Middle Ages across the disciplines and who identify as persons of color from a variety of national and cultural backgrounds. We, the Medievalists of Color, find it necessary to offer a collective response that advocates for a more inclusive, productive, and world-improving medieval studies.

If the recent controversies in medieval studies have seemed shocking, that shock derives simply from the truth of how uneven and disparate our realities are within the field. A tasteless joke about skin color that inaugurated the 2017 Leeds keynote plenary on “Otherness” illustrated this disparity all too well. Those who object to the attention given to a single joke about race fail to understand that for medievalists of color, this joke is not an isolated event. It is a symptom of a culture, both in medieval studies and in the wider world, in which we regularly hear jokes about our appearances, accents, names, and experiences. Indeed, such jokes frequently escalate into mockery, threats, and even physical violence. Opening the plenary session on the problematic thematic strand “Otherness,” the joke established an unwelcoming environment from the outset. Likewise, the open acceptance of such racist jokes has proliferated in various social media, listservs, and other spaces in which medievalists congregate. This then is not merely a sensationalized incident, but rather a normalized speech act that indicates a pervasive and deeply problematic professional and social climate.

Creating and maintaining a climate that is welcoming to all requires intention and deliberation. Drawing from extensive administrative experience in higher education in the UK and Australia as well as several traditions of philosophical inquiry, Sara Ahmed attests to how professional environments and intellectual cultures engage in a “politics of stranger making” that reveals “how some and not others become strangers” and “how some bodies become understood as the rightful inhabitants of certain spaces” (On Being Included, 2012). The moderator’s joke—that a suntan would make him appear as an “other”—would have been inappropriate in any professional setting, but in the particular context of an introduction to the opening keynotes at one of the major medievalist conferences in the world, this act of “stranger making” reveals an underlying assumption that the physical presence of nonwhite medievalists—and our collective years of expertise in the field on topics of “otherness”—is ignorable and extraneous to primary conversations in the field.

We emphasize that our letter is not just about any one person’s alienating comments, nor even about the conception of one problematic thread. What is at stake here is the very possibility that such a statement, like countless similar statements every day, could be made and condoned while its real harm to nonwhite medievalists was left unacknowledged and unchecked. Though such statements are sometimes made without malice or intent to harm, the harm they cause is nonetheless real—from stigmatizing individuals to foreclosing lines of scholarly inquiry. When our scholarly spaces are not welcoming to all who would practice in the field, the field loses the capacity for intellectual risk and no longer serves its primary objective: to seek a comprehensive understanding of the past in order to analyze the present and help shape the future.

The current controversy offers an opportunity for medievalists who identify as white to understand the perspectives and experiences of medievalists and other people of color. On blog posts and comments, on listservs and on Facebook, the reactions of many of our fellow scholars have been deeply disturbing, with remarks that range from dismissing such jokes as “harmless social lubricant” to accusing those who legitimately express dismay at such jokes as “policing,” “silencing,” or “blacklisting” conference speakers to violent and profanity-laden abuse directed at medievalists of color. Some comments and conversations suggest that our white medievalist colleagues experience dismay at assumptions about them based on their race: their intentions seem not to matter; they are objects of suspicion; their positions are assumed to be wrong. We ask white medievalists feeling this way to recognize that this is what is it is like to be a person of color every day, in the world and all too often in the profession. We make this point not to perpetuate a loop of mutual resentment but rather to offer an inroad to understanding our perspective. This is a watershed moment that, if used productively, will make medieval studies home to an intellectual environment that is sustainable and innovative, promotes risk-taking, and leverages an ever greater number of experiences and scholarly lenses in order to build the most comprehensive body of knowledge about the Middle Ages possible.

We, the Medievalists of Color, need our colleagues to understand the systemic racism of which we speak and the role it has continued to play in our field’s constitution and practices; to educate themselves in the critical discourses that address systemic racism both explicit and implicit; and in doing so to move past preoccupations with individual intentions. Chafing at the accusation of racism is illogical: systemic racism dictates that we are all entangled in its articulations and practices. The most damaging consequence of systemic racism is not that one might stand accused of racism; it is the harm—historically manifested on a continuum from rhetorical to psychological to physical violence—done to persons of color. Were more constituents of medieval studies to educate themselves in the critical theory of race, we could all actively address these harmful impacts in ways hitherto not possible in the field of medieval studies.

Indeed, the intellectual and ethical protocols of our discipline require us to immerse ourselves in relevant scholarly discourses. No medievalist working on Western Europe would dare discuss the term “nation” without consulting Patrick Geary’s Before France and Germany. No medievalist working on medieval memory would ignore the work of Mary Carruthers in the Book of Memory. We affirm that the same ethic of scholarly rigor applies to critical race studies and to the discussion of race, ethnicity, nationhood, and “otherness” because these topics are crucial to both the content and the professional conduct of medieval studies. Even, and especially, if we find that the scholarly paradigms of critical race and ethnic studies, postcolonialism, and decolonization do not speak fully to the historical moments we study, we are obligated to enter, and even expand, the conversations they engender. If we wish medieval studies to engage meaningfully in the modern world of which it is a product, and in which it is an agent, then medievalists must also rigorously engage with the fields that examine the ideologies and distributions of power that define the modern world. When medievalists endeavor to understand systemic racism, medieval studies becomes a stronger field whose constituents together have far greater resources for analyzing the past and present while shaping the future.

We aim our attention toward the survival and future of the study of the Middle Ages, which we must continuously work to separate from its links to nationalist and white supremacist impulses. At a time when such impulses have increased the rates of violence—rhetorical, psychological, and physical—in the US, UK, Europe, and elsewhere, we must ensure that the conditions for violence are not fostered within medieval studies. Indeed, medieval studies must form a bulwark against such conditions. We wish to foster a medieval studies whose members respond to one another, even in disagreement, with the responsibility to be ethical, compassionate, and well informed about the systems in which we operate in order that medieval studies will be a space for free intellectual inquiry—for all medievalists. Race has always mattered to medieval studies, and scholars of color play key roles in the field’s past, present, and future.

We intervene, putting ourselves at professional risk and in the path of potential aggression and hostility, because of the meaning this field holds for us, the stakes we have in it, and our commitment to contributing productively to its continued viability. We intervene for the sake of the innovative space medieval studies has at times been, and can increasingly be. We intervene to protect the powerful lessons that the Middle Ages holds for the modern world, and because we believe that deep and considered knowledge of the Middle Ages, with rigorous scholarly practices, can help realize a future in which the world is a better place—for medievalists and non-medievalists alike.

—A Fellowship of Medievalists of Color

GMAP Martinez to Teach Coursera on Manuscripts
Originally posted:
Sunday, December 4, 2016

Deciphering Secrets: The Illuminated Manuscripts of Medieval Europe on Perhaps no other relic of the European Middle Ages captures our imagination more than illuminated medieval manuscripts, or those documents decorated with images and colored pigments. Serving as windows unto a lost world of kings, ladies, faith, war, and culture, they communicate complex visual and textual narratives of Europe’s collective cultural heritage and patrimony. In this fashion, illuminated manuscripts are dynamic messages from our communal past.

In this seven-week course, students will explore the material creation, content, and historical context of illuminated medieval European manuscripts. Students will acquire an introductory knowledge of their distinguishing characteristics, their cataloguing and periodization (when they were created), the methods utilized to produce them, and their historical context and value.

Student achievement will be assessed using not only traditional multiple-choice quizzes, but more importantly will be evaluated based on individual student projects. In their final projects students will either (1) produce a board of commented images about medieval manuscripts or (2) prepare a physical manuscript using medieval methods. The best of these peer-evaluated projects will be posted on the Deciphering Secrets website, which is our collective citizen scholarship web presence that encourages and supports our global citizen scholars appreciation and contributions to transcription of medieval manuscripts.

Finally, we wish to highlight that this course is an exciting international collaboration between the University of Colorado (USA) and Universidad Complutense Madrid (Spain).

Colloquium on digital medieval language learning
Originally posted:
November 28, 2016

Vanderbilt University is hosting two-day colloquium to explore best practices for creating synthetic immersive environments and 3D historical adventure games for teaching medieval languages and cultures. While modern language pedagogy has progressed in new and exciting ways, the learning of medieval languages has remained, well, medieval. Learning medieval languages, from Latin to Classical Arabic to Old French, generally uses the grammar-translation approach, where students read in their native language about a particular grammar point and then translate passages from the target language into their own language. Current digital technologies, however, allow us to create synthetic immersive environments as a means of simulating medieval language communities. In particular, 3D historical adventure games, with their focus on goal-directed player activity and simulated communities of practice, seem to be a particularly well-suited medium for teaching cultures and languages that are no longer physically accessible. Conference information and schedule here:

Podcast on DH and Medieval Language and Culture
Originally posted:
Wednesday, November 16th, 2016

In the following podcast, GMAP co-director Lynn Ramey discusses the role of video game engines in creating immersive environments for the study of medieval language and culture. In the segment, she mentions the Global Middle Ages Project as well as the digital projects Brendan's Voyage (Discoveries of the Americas) and Virtual Plasencia. Listen at:

One Year Anniversary of Global Middle Ages Project Web Portal
Originally posted:
September 26, 2016

In October 2015, the GMAP web portal was launched with eight projects. One year later, we have added articles and teaching syllabi, and we have several new projects in the works for launching in the 2016-2017 academic year. Here are some statistics:

Total unique visitors: 9,414
Pageviews: 28,851

A few prominent web links that have pointed to the site: 

International Advisory Board Established
Originally posted:
Friday, January 22nd, 2016

Stephen Nichols, James M. Beall Professor Emeritus of French and Humanities at the Johns Hopkins University, has agreed to chair the International Advisory Board for the Global Middle Ages Project. A fellow of the Medieval Academy of America and a prolific author, Nichols has long supported digital projects treating the middle ages.


Call for Papers: Medieval Literature and the Trans-National (journal)
Originally posted:
Friday, November 20, 2015

Literature Compass invites contributions for a special issue on transnationalism in medieval literature.

The period from c. 500 to c. 1500CE can be characterized by fluidity of borders and identities. While a town or individual might have belonged to a particular religious group or political division, such identities were highly variable, in an era before the nation state. Conversion and conquest not only altered the way people and places were named, they facilitated the exchange of ideas, technologies, and cultures. Building from the recent critical turn to transnationalism, this volume of Literature Compass explores the ways that texts created new identities, either by sharing literary or linguistic traditions, or through (re)casting stories to make new boundaries appear to be old. How far do premodern cultures of interconnectivity and exchange respond to the idea of the 'trans-national'? And how has modern scholarship understood, or misunderstood, medieval transnationalism through monoglot or nationalistic critical positions? Trans-national culture is often see as a symptom of modern capitalism - how far can medieval culture modify, or contribute to, this understanding?

Inquiries and Proposals should be sent to both editors of the special issue by: January 1, 2016 (later inquiries are acceptable provided the article submission deadline will be honored)

Article submissions by: March 15, 2016

More information on Literature Compass can be found here:

For more details on submission and the manuscript review process, please see:

Editors: Anthony Bale ( and Lynn Ramey (

News of the day
Originally posted:
Thursday, October 1st, 2015

1.Upcoming conference panel: 

MLA 2016, British, Or?

 Medieval literary history presumes that the national identity of Britain is established over time and in relation to other cultures. Literary studies today question the notion that British literature reflects or produces a nationalist empire; yet, we continue to debate the question of the relevance of Middle English, and of medieval literature based on narratives of linguistic difference, cultural capital, commerce, geography, and global exchange. What is British? Where and when is what we call “the medieval” in relation to that which we deem “British”? Or, is there another way we might come to speak of a cosmopolitanism of medieval literature?

 2. Suggested reading: Global Middle East, A: Mobility, Materiality and Culture in the Modern Age, 1880-1950 (Library of Middle East History) (2014)by Liat Kozma (Editor), Cyrus Schayegh (Editor)

The start of the twentieth century ushered in a period of unprecedented change in the Middle East. These transformations, brought about by the emergence of the modern state system and an increasing interaction with a more globalized economy, irrevocably altered the political and social structures of the Middle East, even as the region itself left its mark on the processes of globalization themselves. As a result of these changes, there was an intensification in the movement of people, …

3. The American Comparative Literature Society seeks submissions for the MA thesis award. Please send any theses that address literature in at least two languages to Erin Labbie ( We hope to award the student who has written the most comprehensive, eloquent, and well-researched thesis that was submitted as recently as January 2015 and which may be completed by January 30, 2016.

Posted by Erin Labbie

GMAP Web Portal Launch
Originally posted:
Thursday, October 1st, 2015

GMAP banner

The Global Middle Ages Project (GMAP) announces the launch of its web portal today, October 1, 2015. GMAP is an ambitious effort by an international collaboration of scholars to see the world whole, c. 500 to 1500 CE, to deliver the stories of lives, objects, and actions in dynamic relationship and change across deep time. GMAP grew out of a teaching experiment at the University of Texas in 2004, when 7 scholars of different specializations invited students to see what the planetary past looked like when teaching was not carved up into disciplines and departments, or bound by area studies and regional studies. The project has continued and grown since that time, now facilitating collaborations between medievalists in all disciplines from around the globe.

The web portal showcases the digital work of affiliated groups whose projects range from 3D visualizations to manuscript collections to social media experiments. In addition, the site makes available syllabuses and open-access research, all aiming to understand the Middle Ages from a global perspective. Visit the site at


New leadership for website
Originally posted:
Monday, September 29, 2015

Lynn Ramey of Vanderbilt University has agreed to serve as co-director (along with Noakes and Heng) of GMAP. Her focus will be on the Mappamundi website. Ramey has been involved in GMAP since 2008, when she began directing the "Discoveries" of the Americas web portal. "GMAP has been in great hands, and I'm excited to be a part of the re-launch of the website," Ramey remarked. "We have more and more digital projects, and I'm delighted to be able to help out." Her background in computer science along with her work on interactions between cultures in the Middle Ages will be an asset to GMAP.

Lynn Ramey

The Black Death and the Global Middle Ages
Originally posted:
Monday, September 29, 2015

In November 2014, I had the great privilege of publishing, as guest editor, the inaugural issue of a new journal, The Medieval Globe. Carol Symes, who is the founding and managing editor of the journal, and her Editorial Board, had taken a great leap of faith that our new synthesis on the Black Death would offer both compelling questions and bold new methodologies for thinking about global connections in the medieval world. Having now passed the 5000 mark in open-access downloads of the volume (just seven months after its debut), we feel our goal of sharing this new synthesis with scholars around the world has already been achieved.

Royal 6 E VI  f. 301  The British Library

London, British Library, MS Royal 6.E.VI, f. 301rb. An image of leprous clerics that was falsely circulated as if it were a depiction of plague

The driving question of the volume was simple: what difference did the “new genetic synthesis” on the evolutionary history of Yersinia pestis, the causative organism of plague, make for the history of the largest known pandemic in human history? Microbiological genetics has achieved two breakthroughs with respect to Y. pestis in the past 15 years. First, it has shown that all the strains of the organism currently known in the world (and it is still present on all continents save Australia, where it has not been found since the 1930s) can be shown to belong to the same family tree. The entire history of the organism may be only a few thousand years old. Second, a type of research called aDNA (“ancient DNA”) has been able to reconstruct the entire genome of Y. pestis from victims of the Black Death (as well as the earlier Justinianic Plague, c. 541-c. 750). This is tour de force science, among the most exciting work being done in genetics today. Still, the historian must ask, “So what?” How does that change how we, as humanists (working with human cultural sources), view this pandemic?

We proposed to take the evolutionary leap with these scientists and let their understandings of Y. pestis be our guide. The geographic origin of Y. pestis, including strains immediately ancestral to the strains that caused the Black Death in Europe, was not western Europe or even anywhere nearby. It was the highlands of the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau in what is today China. Immediately this pushed the Black Death’s story into the realm of the global—or at the very least, the hemispheric. And how did this single-celled organism that has no mechanism of self-propulsion get from China to the lands where we normally situated the Black Death (Kaffa, Messina, Marseille, Cairo, Barcelona, London)? How did a disease that does not normally inhabit human bodies (unlike, say, tuberculosis or leprosy) travel nearly the entire length of Eurasia? And did it perhaps even go beyond Eurasia? Again, the genetics gave us data we could not explain as historians: the extant strains of Y. pestis that are most closely related to the strain found in 14th-century London are not found anywhere in Europe, or central Asia. They are found in sub-Saharan Africa. A global Middle Ages indeed!

The volume brought together 17 researchers: not simply historians of various stripes, but also anthropologists and archeologists, and two microbiologists. Topics ranged from the case study of an excavation of a Jewish community in Spain attacked during the first wave of the Black Death in 1348 to an essay on the continuing threats of plague in the present-day world, where antibiotic resistance may be even more of a threat to our ability to control plague than bioterrorism. Our geographic coverage ranged from the Gansu corridor in China to Egypt to London to Uganda and Kenya. Our sources ranged from medieval and early modern texts (including a widely disseminated but misdiagnosed “plague” image) to maps to gravesites to the most complicated modern genetics. In short, by tracking this single-celled organism halfway across the globe, we were able to begin to reconstruct extraordinarily complex systems of human (and animal) interactions from the time of the earliest Mongol conquests up to the present day. 

What’s next for this “new synthesis” on the history of plague? Various scientific labs continue their own research not simply on Y. pestis aDNA, but also climate patterns and animal host dynamics that may have contributed to plague’s evolution or movement across species and landscapes. Certain of our contributors have already moved into new topics such as the pre-existing conditions that made populations vulnerable to plague’s effects, or comparative work with the most recent epidemic threat, Ebola. Although our project had no Digital Humanities component, it is  obvious that that will be the next horizon, as we need to gather and assess massive amounts of data to bring our new, enlarged geography and chronology of the Second Plague Pandemic into focus. Quite simply, we have the potential now to reconstruct the history of the Black Death as the ultimate model of pandemic disease. As the world has learned through the hard lessons of the West African Ebola outbreak, and as my own students learn when I tell them why we have plague today in Arizona, there is still much we can learn from studying the Global Middle Ages.

Monica Green, Arizona State University,

Brandon Schapekahm: Serious Games
Originally posted:
Friday, May 21st, 2010

Brandon Schapekahm is part of the Johnson Center for Simulation (JCS), which is part of the Pine Technical College in Pine City, Minnesota. JCS was founded as part of a regional project to extend East Central Minnesota’s technology infrastructure and services and their projects include scenario and procedural training applications, military immersive simulations, and game development.

Brandon Schapekahm

For this session, Schapekahm chose some good examples of serious games that JCS has developed. An interesting discussion ensued, on comparing what Second Life and other 3D game engines such as UDL and Ogre can offer the historical reconstruction of historical sites. We saw some example of the kind of detailed textures allowed by UDL and discussed the pertinence of this vis-a-vis the social aspect of a (proprietary) platform such as Second Life.

This discussion triggered the idea that it would very useful to have the same historical site reconstructed using a number of engines (and approaches) so that the team can effectively evaluate the direction to  pursue. We discussed the possibility of an award to be announced to both the social/serious games and the scholarly communities.

By Ana Boa-Ventura

Bissera Pentcheva: the aesthetics of the sea
Originally posted:
Friday, May 21st, 2010

The morning of the second day, Bissera Pentcheva (Stanford) made a wonderful and poetic presentation on ‘Hagia Sophia and the Asthetics of the Sea’, where she stressed the importance for the Byzantines of the integration of aural and visual experiences. Pentcheva stressed how central this interconnection of sound and sight needs to be in any modern attempt to experientially reproduce Hagia Sophia’s space.

Bissera Pentcheva

She referred us to the texts by Deborah Howard on the importance of the interconnection of senses when considering the modern reproduction of sites.

By Ana Boa-Ventura

William Phillips: “making the world available”
Originally posted:
Friday, May 21st, 2010

meeting for william phillips

(from left to right: Bissera Pentcheva, Susan Noakes, Rachel Gibson, Mary Griep, and Marguerite Ragnow.)

By then it was clear to him that there was the need for a global re-contextualization of the Middle Ages. It was around that time that Phillips first heard of the project through Geraldine Heng’s paper published on the Medieval Academy of America newsletter. Visiting the University of Texas at Austin, he had the opportunity of meeting and talking to some of the faculty members who had co-taught the course with Heng and participated in that unique experience.

Phillips stressed how current technologies, which can be easily applied to this project , such as GoogleEarth are accounts of the present and very incomplete and inaccurate (or even non-existing) accounts of the past.

On the other hand, examples that integrate this diachronic aspect of ‘places’ – such as the UCLA resconstrucion of Santiago de Compostela require large computing centers and that one actually is at UCLA to experience ‘being in Santiago’.

Phillips believes that one fundamental aspect of SCGMA will be to bring the global Middle Ages to anyone accessing from any laptop: “making the world available from our own computer units”.

By Ana Boa-Ventura

SCGMA: the Istanbul/Constantinople project kicks off!
Originally posted:
Thursday, May 20th, 2010

This week I am honored to be part of a meeting taking place at the Universiy of Minnesota. A small group of scholars is discussing the Istanbul/Constantinople project, part of a larger group and community: SCGMA.

Brandon Schapekahm and Susan Noakes

SCGMA stands for the Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages, a multi-campus, international group of scholars from various disciplines including Anthropology, Archeology, History and Information Library Science and dedicated to the study of the Middle Ages.

The meeting is taking place at the University of Minnesota from May 19 thru the 23rd, and is the initial planning workshop for the SCGMA members working in the Istanbul/Constantinople project.

Susan Noakes is hosting this workshop. Unfortunately, Geraldine Heng cannot be present due to family reasons.

From Noakes’ introductory comments for the seminar, which I try to document next, I will stress two for those who cannot read this whole posting:

- The importance of friendship in academic collaboration and in the very genesis of a research project;
- SCGMA is a project with a 20 year timeline.

The genesis of a project

On Wednesday and kicking-off the workshop, Dr. Noakes made what Dr. William Phillips called the most detailed account of SCGMA genesis he had heard so far. It was also a very auto-biographic account of how Noakes met Geraldine Heng after reading her2004 article entitled “Global Interconnections: Imagining the World, 500–1500″, reporting the experience of designing and teaching a course in global middle ages at the University of Texas in Austin.

A friendship developed between the two, as well as a wish to repeat that, which today would be called a very expensive curriculum! In fact, in spite of its size UT Austin did not have 6 scholars ready to teach this course. So, three scholars traveled from other parts of the country to teach their sections of the course. Given the cost of the curriculum, the College has not been able to afford to repeat this experience, which several students have referred to as a ‘life-changing experience’.

As Noakes stressed, the idea of studying the middle ages globally rather than European really started when Heng stated her course at the University of Texas at Austin. Heng wanted to begin pushing the borders of medieval studies and re-contextualize them.

Around the time that Heng conducted the course, Noakes became director of the Center for Medieval Studies at UMN. She invited Heng to UMN and both met with James Parente, Dean of Col. Of Liberal Arts. Lee Gayle DUbro, who headed the Graduate school UMN was able to fund a seminar that Heng conducted.

A 20 year timeline

During their meeting at UMN, Heng and Noakes thought that it would be good to have an initial focus on travel, trade, city planning; also the history of science as practiced outside the western as well as within the western world.

After the UMN seminar, both Heng and Noakes identified who was interested and who would have enough a commitment to this large project. This project will involve the massive digitalization of collections using methods that are not always recognized in this field’s scholarship. Only a focus on research could draw the commitment to the project by young faculty and doctoral students.

As Noakes noted though, archeologists, anthropologists of acoustics… are not used to working together. So these groups need to develop modes of collaboration and etiquette by developing ways of sharing, attribution, etc… in sum by investing in a commitment to work through and around those issues!

For all these reasons, this will be a project that will need to count on the continued commitment from a body of scholars, probably traversing several generations.

I will stop here - Susan Noakes offered a truly insightful recount of how SCGMA came to be. There could be so much more to say.

For this week, the short term goal for this SCGMA planning workshop is to get the Istambul/Constantinople project off the ground. One of the reasons to start with this are is that not many medievalists are up-to-date in the Byzantium.

One point I would like to leave my reader with is that both Noakes and Heng are adamant about ensuring the full participation from scholars originating from the areas being studied. As a rule of thumb, the decision was made right from the start that at least one third of participants should be from the part of the world being studied.

By Ana Boa-Ventura


SCGMA & Early Ottoman Workshop
Originally posted:
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The initial planning workshop for the  Constantinople / Istanbul project (part of the Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages) will take place at the University of Minnesota from May 19 to May 23.

SCGMA history department  banner

We will be blogging the workshop as it takes place!


  • History Department conference Center | 1210 Heller Hall | University of Minnesota


  • May 19 - 23, 2010

Digital Humanities Observatory - Dublin, June 2010
Originally posted:
Friday, February 19th, 2010

If you happen to be in Europe this Summer you may consider attending the Digital Humanities Observatory Summer School in Dublin.

This year, like last year, the Summer School happens in conjunction with NINEs and the EpiDoc Collaborative… And this year a novelty are mid-week, and one-day workshops.

Digital Humanities Observatory banner

A number of subsidised places are available for attendees at HSIS institutions. For more information about these places, please contact the DHO Consultative Committee representative at your institution. Names of representatives can be found at:

Full details of the workshop strands, lectures and guest speakers can be found on the Summer School website at:

One word on the EpiDoc collaborative on the next post!

Posted by: Ana Boa-Ventura

Digital media and learning competition to participate in President Obama new Science-Education effort.
Originally posted:
Tuesday, November 24th, 2009

This just in… [quote from HASTAC-web listserv]

HASTAC is playing a major role in the new White House campaign to encourage students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The third-annual Digital Media and Learning Competition will award $2 million in support of participatory learning experiences that incorporate STEM principles. The competition launches Dec. 14 and winners will be announced in spring 2010.”

The competition is funded by the MacArthur Foundation, and will be administered by HASTAC. Awards will be given in two categories: “ 21st Century Learning Lab Designers” and  ”Game Changers” awards.

Call for Papers: Essays on Welsh Mythology in Popular Culture
Originally posted:
Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

Essays On Welsh Mythology in Popular Culture
Kristin Noone (UC Riverside) and Audrey Becker (Marygrove College), eds.

In recent years, interest in Welsh mythology and legendary figures has grown exponentially in popular culture, with appearances in diverse arenas ranging from fantasy fiction to role-playing games, from children’s literature to tourist sites and even Celtic-inspired rock music and heavy metal. We are seeking essays that explore the uses and appropriations of these legends into “popular” spaces, hoping to trace the patterns of interpretation and reinscription to offer some insight into what meaning “Welsh mythology” retains in an increasingly postmodern, global society.

Sample topics (contributors are by no means limited to these) may include:

Depression-era fantasy and Evangeline Walton’s Mabinogion Tetralogy;
children’s literature and Susan Cooper’s The Dark Is Rising sequence;
Diana Wynne Jones’s otherworldly Wales in Howl’s Moving Castle;
Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series and/or the film The Black Cauldron;
translations and adaptations of Welsh legends over time;
Welsh influences in online role-playing games such as Mabinogi or World of Warcraft, or action-adventure games such as Legend of Zelda;
the 2003 Welsh film and graphic novel Y Mabinogi
Twm Sion Cati, or the Welsh Robin Hood;
Welsh mythology in music, for example the Moody Blues’ “Are You Sitting Comfortably?” or Spring’s “Grail”;
tourism and tourist sites such as Caerleon or Machynlleth

McFarland & Co. has expressed interest in publishing this collection as part of the Critical Explorations in Science Fiction and Fantasy/Folklore and Mythology Series; therefore, we will be submitting an official proposal once we have made final decisions on all submissions.

Please send titles and descriptions (600-700 words, or full papers if completed), of proposed essay contributions to Kristin Noone ( or Audrey Becker ( by September 1, 2009.

Kalamazoo 2010: Sponsored Session - SCGMA
Originally posted:
Friday, August 28th, 2009

“Global Progeny: Medievalisms in Children’s and Young Adults’ Literature” - (Kalamazoo 2010)
Sponsored Session–SCGMA

Children’s and young adults’ fantasy works are often rife with
medievalisms, and in the past few decades the impact of globalization has emerged in the expanding scope of fantasy worlds.

For example, children’s literature often features a big desert to the south inhabited by turbaned, scimitar-wielding neighbors who are typically enemies. In recent years, these “others” have been brought to the forefront and are heroes/allies rather than villains.

Tamora Pierce’s feminist children’s fantasy series Protector of the Small, for instance, includes a cultural exchange with the “Yamani Islands’—basically a representative of medieval Japan. In addition, Linda Sue Park’ book A Single Shard (2002 Newberry Medal winner) details the life of a girl in mid- to late- 12th century Korea, while Kevin Crossley Holland writes about a boy’s experiences on the Fourth Crusade, and a girl’s on pilgrimage to Jerusalem, in his Arthur trilogy and its companion book, Gatty’s Tale.

While we’ve detailed modern interpretations in this proposal, this session invites papers not only on modern re-interpretations of global perspectives of the medieval, but also presentations on medieval fantasy texts written outside of Britain/Europe addressed to or focused on children and young adults.

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract for a 20 minute paper to gabriel gryffyn ( by 15 September 2009.

“Globalizing the Middle Ages?” - (Kalamazoo 2010)

The Scholarly Community for the Globalization of the Middle Ages’
mission statement indicates that it “seeks to reconceive the field of Medieval Studies not in terms of Europe alone but also in relation to Africa, the Middle East, Eurasia, and Asia.”

As scholars, we strive to bring a larger perspective into our work as well as our classrooms. When most of Medieval Studies is focused on western culture, how can we incorporate a global perspective—whether we study non-western texts directly or compare eastern and western texts as part of our studies?

This panel is open both to presentations on how to incorporate global texts/ideas into scholarly work and class settings, and also to papers which analyze global perspectives of western or non-western texts.

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract for a 20 minute paper to gabriel gryffyn ( by 15 September 2009.

Visualizing the genesis of a medieval text, layer by layer
Originally posted:
Monday, August 24th, 2009

In the study of urban life during the Middle Ages in Europe, municipal statutes can provide great insight.

LLC 24 cover

The latest issue of the Literary and Linguistic Computing Journal includes an article by Malte Rehbein (National University of Ireland) entitled “Reconstructing the textual evolution of a medieval manuscript”. The article shows how a multi-layered text can be used to organically show how a text evolved: in this case, the text is Göttingen’s ‘kundige bok’.

Full reference: Rehbein, M. (2009). Reconstructing the textual evolution of a medieval manuscript. Literary and Linguistic Computing 2009 24(3):319-327

Posted by: Ana Boa-Ventura

Visiting SDSC!
Originally posted:
Friday, May 22nd, 2009

…baby and teddy bear included!:)

Left to right: Astrid Ogilvie (U of Colorado), GH, Stephennie Mulder with baby Daniela (U of Texas), William Phillips (U of Minnesota), Benjamin Liu (U of California, Riverside), and Roger Hart (U of Texas).


Photos by Alan Craig


SCGMA Zotero 2.0 Group
Originally posted:
Sunday, May 17th, 2009

With the release of Zotero 2.0, it’s now possible and easy to share bibliographies between people with similar interests. You simply need to register for an account, then find a relevant group or create your own. So, I created an SCGMA group that I hope you will join. It should allow us to share our current research interests, our finds from various databases, and discover new things to read. Of course, Zotero only works with Firefox, but since it is the best browser on the market, there’s yet another incentive to switch for those who haven’t.

While Zotero was relatively useful and interesting before, the bibliographies compiled through it were stuck on a single computer and restricted to a single person. Since both of those limitations are now gone, it promises to be a far more useful tool. 2.0 is still in beta, which means it may well have bugs remaining, but it should be useable already and will only improve as the bugs get ironed out. So far, the sync functionality works just fine for me.

Right now I’ve only shared one item (the book I most recently finished that’s also directly relevant to the Middle Ages), but I will continue adding items as I research and test out this new version. Because of its previous limitations, I had installed and tried Zotero, but never relied on it much. Now, however, since I’m trying to move almost everything I do onto the cloud (I work from at least 3 different machines), I suspect I’ll find it much more valuable. And, as with most collaborative tools, the more people who join in and try it out, the more useful the collected data becomes.

Posted by Michael Widner

Online archives on manuscripts: the popular vote
Originally posted:
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

WSJ page showing the 'Discuss' section

You may have received an email from me when I added you to this SCGMA blog. I maintain this blog, and in fact my interest in the Global Middle Ages project has a social media spotlight.


This is why last Friday’s May 8 Wall Street Journal article entitled ‘The Next Age of Discovery’ resonated with me… in particular, a small section featured on the side-bar, under “Discuss”…

The article describes some of the digital techniques used in the recovery of manuscripts. If you scroll down, under the “Discuss” section you can read (as you can see on the screenshot):”What are the best online archives for historical documents, art and artifacts? Share your favorite sources at  Journal Community.”

If you select that area, you will be taken to a blog-looking section where you can post your favorite archives. By 4PM CST of May 12 there were (only?) 3 suggestions by readers.

I could not stop wondering that we do not see this type of popular vote in this type of topic. Though it is arguable how ‘popular’ the recommendations of the Wall Street Journal readers are… I was still intrigued about tools out there to assess (and effectively visualize) popular preferences in topics that are often thought of as being exclusive to the academic arena… and how that information is being incorporated in academic research.

Your thoughts are welcome, as always!

Posted by Ana Boa-Ventura

SCGMA scholars in Pittsburgh!
Originally posted:
Friday, May 8th, 2009

SCGMA scholars return from Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center workshop (left to right: Anne Zimo, David Crane, Susan Noakes, Gabriela Ilnitchi Currie).  Not pictured: Herbert Kessler.  The group spent two days learning about TeraGrid and the possibilities it offers for research on the Global Middle Ages, especially tracing through iconography the migration of musical instruments westward through Western Asia and the Balkans and the mapping of Mediterranean trade and communications.  Professor Kessler, President of the Medieval Academy of America, discussed prospects for connecting medievalists working in digital technology with TeraGrid.

Photo by Alan Craig

Posted by Susan Noakes

Call for papers: Mapping Medieval Geographies
Originally posted:
Thursday, April 30th, 2009

Thanks to Dr. Anne Hedeman at UIUC we are posting this information on the following conference taking place next month.

Mapping Medieval Geographies: Cartography and geographical thought in the Latin West and beyond: 300-1600
Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, University of California, Los Angeles, USA
Thursday May 28th - Saturday May 30th 2009

Full program  Save the dates!
Posted by Ana Boa-Ventura

Metadata for medievalists: 2 workshops
Originally posted:
Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Medieval Academy of America’s Committee on Electronic Resources is organizing two workshops on metadata specifically in medieval studies.


If you’re working with data collections and/or in text analytics in this area you may want to attend any of these workshops, which will take place during the International Congress on Medieval Studies (Kalamazoo, MI - May 2009).

Both workshops will be on Thursday, May 7 (sessions 54 and 166) 

Complete conference schedule

Posted by Ana Boa-Ventura

Historical maps on GoogleEarth
Originally posted:
Monday, March 2nd, 2009

GoogleEarth skipped the 3rd dimension and went straight into the 4th one. If you want to see historical maps - and if you have GoogleEarth installed in your computer, - you simply need to expand the Featured Content -> Rumsey Historical Maps (Layers panel).

Unfortunately, no Medieval maps are available yet. Some of the earliest maps available are of Asia 1710 , Paris 1716 and Africa 1787.

However, it would be technically possible to have a Middle Ages map. In fact, how interesting would it be to have the our perception of the world through time?…

I am not sure whether the modeling required for these layers that juxtapose to Earth are flexible enough to allow a juxtaposition of the Earth the way that Lactantius or Cosmas Indicopleustes proposed…

And this is where Digital Humanities becomes so wonderfully complex. A historical problem becomes a problem of Mathematics, CAD and programming. How to juxtapose a flat texture to an interactive 3D model?:) Maybe virtual worlds such as Second LIfe offer some interesting approaches, as they constantly need to map 3D structures on 2D surfaces.

Posted by Ana Boa-Ventura

Best practices - scholarly use of historical digital images
Originally posted:
Sunday, March 1st, 2009

Posts to this blog have been scarce. This is normal in a young blog such as this one.

However, we want to encourage you to post more. We are all extremely busy but posting in a free form style is ok. I will take a first stab at that style. : )

Consider this the first of a series of free form blog posts on topics that are related to the Global Middle Ages, though that connection may be indirect.

At this time, I would like to call your attention to a recently Call for Open Access to Digital Images issued by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (MPIWG).

max plank

The set of recommendations are aimed namely at the publication of historical digital images, which are core to the GMA project - hence, this post…

The MPIWG, which co-initiated the OpenAccess movement, just launched on its website a  set of recommendations on the scholarly use of visual media. The material is the result of careful consultations the Institute conducted with scholars and representatives of leading museums, libraries, image archives and publishers.

More than best practices, the documents now published aims at creating “a network of mutual trust and cooperation between scholars and curators of cultural heritage collections with a view to facilitating access to and the scholarly use of visual media”.
This set of best practices are downloadable from the Institute’s website.
The document is addressed at curators - for example it exhorts them to accommodate scholars’ needs by
providing access to high-resolution images for a low cost (or no cost).  It also addresses scholars exhorting them to recognise museums and libraries as the custodians of physical objects of cultural heritage. Furthermore, the document stresses the importance of the role of all stakeholders in the process as “guarantors of authenticity”.

Posted by Ana Boa-Ventura

Seeking partners in Canada and the UK for a NEH+NSF+JISC+ SSHRC co-funded grant: Digging into Data
Originally posted:
Monday, February 9th, 2009

A group of researchers at UT Austin - in the Humanities and Advanced Computing areas - is seeking partners in Canada and the UK interested in applying to the Digging into Data Challenge, an international grant co-funded by the research agencies you may read on the subject.

Announcement of the grant here


Letter of intent - March 15

Final application(application form not yet available ) - July 15.

Our interests revolve around the topic of Holy War. We will use a number of databases (JSTOR being one of them) that we will query using a number of text mining processes. Depending on the specific interest of your institution we may look at the same databases and use different processes or look other aspects of “war”- Cold War, colonial wars, etc.

If interested please comment this post or email or Dr. Geraldine Heng at

Thank you

Posted by Ana Boa-Ventura

Seminar at UCLA - Mediterranean Studies: East and West at the Center, 1050-1600
Originally posted:
January 26th, 2009

Mediterranean Studies: East and West at the Center, 1050-1600 is a series of seminars organized by Professor Zrinka Stahuljak (UCLA French and Francophone Studies, and CMRS Associate Director for Medieval Studies) and funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

[The seminar] “will consider the Mediterranean as a geographical and environmental entity, the center for both East and West, and the site of a world system rather than a line of separation between the emerging “West” and an exotic “East.”

Mediterranean Studies: East and West at the Center, 1050-1600

Schedule for upcoming seminars:

Monday, January 26, 2009, 3:30-6:30 pm, Royce 306
Professor Valerie Ramseyer (History, and Director of Medieval-Renaissance Studies at Wellesley College)
“Religious Boundaries and Intersections in Medieval Southern Italy”

Monday, February 2, 2009, 3:30-6:30 pm, Royce 306
Professor E. Natalie Rothman (History/Anthropology, University of Toronto)

Monday, February 9, 2009, 4-7 pm, Humanities Building 193
Professor Zdenka Janekovic Roemer (Institute for Historical Studies, Dubrovnik, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts)
“Dubrovnik (Ragusa) in the Eastern Mediterranean”

Tuesday, February 17, 2009, 4:30-7:30 pm, Royce 306
(New time–originally scheduled for 3:30-6:30 pm.)
Professor Geraldine Heng (English, University of Texas-Austin)
“Fantasies of Civilizational Identity”

Monday, February 23, 2009, 4:00-7:00 pm, Humanities Building 193
Professor David Wrisley (American University of Beirut)
“Lusignan expeditions seen from Cyprus and Egypt”

Monday, March 2, 2009, 3:30-6:30 pm, Royce 306
Professor Maria Mavroudi (History, UC Berkeley)
“Byzantium and the Arabs; Bilinguals in the Middle Ages”

Posted by Ana Boa-Ventura

Hindu Hagiography, Secularism, Islam and Resistance
Originally posted:
Sunday, January 11th, 2009

This is Ishan Chakrabarti, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin. Broadly speaking, I work on medieval and early modern literature from South Asia to the Middle East (Sanskrit, Bangla, Hindi-Urdu, Farsi, Arabic) focusing on themes of religion and cultural difference. I am currently working on furthering two connected projects.

The first of these traces Muslim figures through a variety of Vaishnava Hindu hagiographical compendia produced in the 16th and 17th centuries, immediately before the colonial encounter. The majority of the Muslims one encounters in these texts are kings. The kings have heard of the fame of the poet-saints and summon them to court, asking them to sing their devotional songs and perhaps a praise-poem for the king. The saints all refuse to do so, rejecting the king’s authority by adhering to the higher authority of Krishna. The kings attempt to give the saints gifts, but the only gift the saint-poet wants is to never have to see the king ever again. The king, after getting over being angry, realizes that this refusal of power is the mark of true devotion.

Contemporary South Asian politics would read the above as disclosing communalism. It would see in this narrative proof that the origins of the present-day communal strife between Hindus and Muslims lie in the pre-modern period, and that the blame for such lies with Muslim rule. In this vision, our saints would use Hinduism to resist Islam, embodied in the figure of the Muslim king. But we must read otherwise, and we must do so for a whole host of reasons: political, literary, theoretical and more.

I track narratives in the same texts where the saints meet Hindu kings. In those narratives, the exact same things happen, in the exact same order: Hindu saints resist Hindu kings. The tale isn’t about communalism at all, but rather centers on devotion and asceticism as a mode of life that necessarily rejects power. The incidental Islamic identity of some of these kings is merely that: incidental.

The second of my projects crosses over from the world of the saint to the world of the king and examines Farsi and Arabic texts on ethics and governance in attempt to sketch a genealogy of another secularism. I understand secular to mean not just a division of powers between religious institutions and the state, but also to mean a particular attitude toward religious difference (tolerance partially describes such an attitude, but is inadequate to a theorization of the secular) and the elaboration of an ethics without direct reference to any particular religion.

The texts I read are Islamic philosopher al-Ghazzali’s 12th century text Nasihatu l-Muluk (Counsel for Kings) and Nasiruddin Tusi’s 13th century Axlaq-i Nasiri (Nasirean Ethics). The kings represented in the hagiographies extensively studied such texts: in governing over a largely non-Muslim population, the techniques of difference-negotiation theorized in these texts informed their praxis.

al-Ghazzali’s concern over the role of the Caliph (the religious head) in state affairs opened the discourse of secularism. In his theorization, the Sultan (political leader) had all constituent authority, but was to be appointed by the Caliph, and had to swear an oath of allegiance to him. It was a compromise between State and Religion that did not dispense with Religion altogether but moved it away from the work of the State, that is, from governance. In practice, the Caliph’s role was reduced to that of a figurehead: Saljuq-era coins depicted the Caliph’s face even as the Saljuq regents – and not the Caliph – governed the city of Baghdad, the seat of the Caliphate.

Another nexus for secularism lies in al-Ghazzali’s treatment of what I call Islam’s “virtuous pagans,” to borrow a metaphor from the European Middle Ages. al-Ghazzali highlights the pre-Islamic (Sassanian) Zoroastrian kings of Persia as the highest exemplars of justice. In his history, the Prophet Muhammad is glad to have the good fortune to be born during the reign of Anushirvan the Just. The “virtuous pagans” in al-Ghazzali’s text serve as a model of conduct for Muslims, and this influence permeates Islam from its very origins.

Nasiruddin Tusi, commissioned by Mongol non-Muslim kings, theorizes an ethics independent of religion that focuses on the concept of Love/Justice. The two are related insofar as Justice is the juridical name of Love: Justice supplements and makes up for the fact that Love does not necessarily exist between all subjects.
Tusi never mentions the word ‘Islam’ and only states that the king needs proper religion: he does not need to be of the proper religion. In order to sustain an irretrievably plural society consisting of many religions, the king must dispense justice without attending to religious difference, and the subjects in turn must love one another disregarding their differences. But such Love/Justice, aimed at the sustenance of the state, ends up as another name of power.
This is where my two projects connect.

The Muslim kings of the hagiographies utilize the Nasirean ethic: they tolerate, dispense justice to, love and appreciate their Hindu subjects. They believe that non-Muslims can be exemplars of an ethical life, and divorce their acts of governance from religion. This is why such kings call Hindu saints to their court. But the subjects do not return this love/justice: the saints refuse their audience, reject the king and ask only that he never come to them again. What happened to the subject’s love for the king?

I propose that devotion – called bhakti in Hindi, Bangla and other Indic tongues – forms another ethics: an ethics of resistance to power. As noted earlier, this has nothing to do with communal politics. The ascetic has no interest in sustaining an elitist and statist politics/ethics, but desires rather to upset and reverse the power structure of the king. The ascetic, then, resists such power, and uses religion to articulate this reversal.
Is this resistance limited to Hinduism? Certainly not. The word used for Love in Tusi is muhabbat, but there is another: `ishq. That word is more central to the world of devotional Islam (Sufi or otherwise). I wonder if those Sufi orders that resisted temporal powers did not articulate their resistance in terms of this other love, another love that perhaps – like bhakti - would not just be a name for power.

boats at sea
Thanks for reading, and I openly welcome any comments, criticism or suggestions. I have much more written on all of the ideas above, and if anyone would like to read it, I would be happy to send copies.

My next post will examine manuscript differences in the hagiography of Kabir: a non-Hindu and non-Muslim ascetic consistently eulogized in Hindu hagiographies. I seek to relate these minute shifts in manuscript to a history of communal difference. Such a task is all the more crucial given the urgency of the present political situation in India, where, in the name of fighting terrorism, communalism and hatred are once again on the rise.
Posted by Ishan Chakrabarti

Third Annual Sacred Leaves Graduate Symposium
Originally posted:
Saturday, December 6th, 2008

February 19-20, 2009
University of South Florida, Tampa Library, Tampa, FL

Rachel Gibson, a doctoral candidate in French at the U of Minnesota, will be presenting a paper on her work on parallels between Persian poetry and troubadour poetry. The conference includes a keynote address by Michael Sells, John Henry Barrows Professor, University of Chicago entitled “Mysticism, Longing and the Erotic in the Writings of 13th-century Sufi Master Ibn al-Arabi.” 

Conference News
Originally posted:
Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

SCGMA will run 3 panels, including a roundtable forum, at the Medieval Institute’s 44th International Congress on Medieval Studies in May 2009. SCGMA will also have a panel at the annual conference of the American Historical Association in 2010.