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Medieval worlds practically gather during the annual congress | WMU News

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Contact: Deanne Puca

Dr.  Sharon Kinoshita

Dr. Sharon Kinoshita

KALAMAZOO, Mich. Medieval scholars from all over the world will meet practically from Monday through Saturday, May 10 to 15, to celebrate the 56th International Congress of Medieval Studies of the University of Western Michigan.

Usually held on campus, but moved to a virtual format during the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is organized by the Medieval Institute of the West and has attracted professional scholars, most with university meetings; students; independent researchers; librarians; museum curators and other enthusiasts of medieval studies.

The topics of this year’s session range from historic sword fighting, reflections on the death of the saint and martyr Thomas Becket, language and scriptures in the eastern Mediterranean, and the study of past pandemics. Sessions are in a variety of formats, many of which take the form of a series of academic presentations. Others are panel discussions, roundtables, demonstrations and workshops.

Special events include two plenary lectures, the annual lecture on hosting the classics, and a virtual talent show. Watch the program.

It is not the traditional format for congress, which in the past has attracted thousands of people to campus to mingle, visit and buy medieval books and items from vendors. Still, the organizers plan to immerse participants in medieval culture and connect them with others with similar interests and intellectual curiosity, says Director of the Medieval Institute Dr. Jana K. Schulman.

Weve created a truly interactive experience, including features that make it easy to connect with other recorders outside the context of the academic program, “says Shulman.” With six days of live online events, followed by two weeks in which more than 200 sessions during the week of live events are available to recorders, the 56th congress promises a cornucopia for all who are interested in the Middle Ages “.

Dr.  Wendy Laura Belcher

Dr. Wendy Laura Belcher

All live and unregistered event sessions, including Virtual Exhibition Hall and Virtual Talent Show, are available exclusively to those who have registered for the convention. Online registration is open through Saturday, May 29th, which is the last day recorded sessions will be available to watch. Residents of Kalamazoo County can sign up for a reduced fee of $ 5.

Special plenary lectures

Special plenary lectures are pre-registered and available for congressional registrars May 10-15 AND May 17-29.

  • “Marco Polo and Global Medieval Diversity”, presented by Dr. Sharon Kinoshita, University of California, Santa Cruz, and sponsored by Medieval American Academy.
  • “The Black Queen of Sheba: A Global History of an African Idea”, presented by Dr. Wendy Laura Belcher, Princeton University and sponsored by Medieval Institute Publications and De Gruyter.

Reception of the Classics in the Middle Ages Lecture

  • “Passion, Personification, Sickness, Sin: The Noise in Envy at Aetas Covidiana”, presented by Dr. Danuta Shanzer, Universitt Wien, with a response from Dr. David Konstant, New York University.

Virtual display of talents

Upload a short video on the virtual talent show by 7- May 15, and the video will be made available to congressional recorders within two days. Participants can express themselves through music, speech, dance, visual arts, costumes and more. Videos remain available for viewing by congressional recorders up to Saturday, May 29th.

Dr.  Danuta Shanzer

Dr. Danuta Shanzer

Virtual Exhibition Hall

As part of the congressional integrated virtual experience, the Exhibition Hall presents a diverse international selection of academic printers, artisans, used booksellers and suppliers of medieval items. Wander through their booths to check out exclusive sales, browse the latest catalogs and ask questions about their offers. Recorders can schedule private appointments to meet with individual exhibitors, attend live events or scan their virtual badge to share contact information with exhibitors or enter lotteries from May 1015. Spend a few minutes or hours exploring: The Exhibition Hall is open May 7-29, with access throughout the day regardless of the time zone.

57th Congress

Due to ongoing uncertainties about the pandemic and its effect on travel, the 57th congress will be held virtually, live online, Monday, May 9, until Saturday, May 14, 2022.

The portal for session proposals is now open Tuesday, June 1st.

For more WMU news, art and events, visit WMU News online.

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