Beyond Borders: Mutual Imaginings of Europe & the Middle East (800-1700)

The 25th biennial conference of the Barnard Medieval & Renaissance Studies Program brings together scholars whose work challenges the stark border between Europe and the Middle East during the long period between 800-1700. Rather than thinking of these areas in isolation, this interdisciplinary conference reveals the depth of their mutual influence, exploring how trade, war, migration, and the exchange of ideas connected East and West during their formative periods. Distant worlds were not only objects of aggression, but also, inextricably, of fantasy and longing, as Jewish, Muslim, and Christian thinkers looked to each other to understand their own cultural histories and to imagine their futures. Plenary speakers are Nabil Matar of the University of Minnesota and Nancy Bisaha of Vassar College.

Conference Celebrating the 500th Anniversary of Martin Waldseemüller’s 1516 Carta Marina. Keynote address by award winning author and historian of science Dava Sobel.

A two-day conference hosted by the Geography and Map Division at the Library of Congress will celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Waldseemüller’s Carta Marina, one of the great masterpieces of Renaissance cartography, and focus on some of the most mysterious maps of the medieval and early modern periods. The conference will also unveil a multimedia interactive website on the life of Waldseemüller and feature best-selling author and historian of science Dava Sobel as the keynote speaker.

The Schoner Sammelband. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

The Schoner Sammelband. Jay I. Kislak Collection, Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress.

“Facts or Fictions: Debating the Mysteries of Early Modern Science and Cartography—A Celebration of the 500th Anniversary of Waldseemüller’s 1516 Carta Marina” will be held on Thursday, Oct. 6 and Friday, Oct. 7, in the Coolidge Auditorium on the ground level of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street SE, Washington, D.C. The event is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.


The Medieval Association of Place and Space invites paper proposals for three sessions at the Medieval Congress at Kalamazoo, May 11–14, 2017. The deadline for proposals is September 15, 2016. Please submit all proposals to Matthew Boyd Goldie, indicating in which panel you would be interested participating.


Virtual Mappa (British Library), DM (University of Pennsylvania), Outremer (Fordham), Early Medieval Maps (University College London), Pelagios, and other projects have begun to show the diversity and utility of digital maps of various kinds. Congress attendees are eager to learn about the practical, theoretical, and pedagogical implications of digital projects; these sessions are in part a response to interest expressed at the 2016 Congress. These two linked sessions will explore the rapidly developing role of geographic information systems (GIS) in medieval studies, both the geospatial presentation of data and the digitization of medieval maps and other visual media.

Geoinformatics I: Practices, Successes, and Challenges of GIS and Digital Images (workshop): The first workshop session will offer overviews and (where feasible) hands-on demonstrations of established digital projects and ones in development. The benefits will be for attendees to learn about the projects, interact with developers, and gain an understanding of the ways they may go about beginning their own large or small geoinformation projects. The workshop’s goals will however go beyond introductions to the projects in order for workshop participants to discuss the challenges in building GIS and other platforms and to outline the benefits for researchers and teachers. Submit your proposal here.

Geoinformatics II: Implications of Medieval Geodata and Digital Maps (panel discussion): The aim of the second panel discussion will be to examine, theoretically and otherwise, the approaches and results of geoinformation for the Middle Ages. Papers may explore how GIS and other digital projects can produce new findings as well as investigating any potential shortcomings. Analysis in terms of theorizations of geoinformatics, space more generally, and geographical and imaginary spaces are particularly welcome. Questions panelists might address include: What are medieval data? How qualitatively rich can digital information be, and what kinds of texts can or should be mapped? How is the visual presentation of data different from a written account? Are there useful ways to map non-specific or non-geographic spaces, and are there compelling reasons to do so? Submit your proposal here.

Space Oddities (panel discussion):

Research into spatial phenomena in historical, literary, and visual sources has revealed many of the intellectual and cultural underpinnings of the often unique ways the Middle Ages considered space and the contents of real and imagined places. Scholars have furthered our understandings of ideas about the cosmos, non-European cultures, non-human creatures, the ars memoriae, and more. This panel seeks to extend this work by focusing on the more peculiar ways that space was addressed and the very different phenomena it could contain. Panelists will present on outlandish, internally inconsistent, eccentric, and other spatial entities that present challenges and do not conform to current understandings of geospace or expectations of what they would encounter. Submit your proposal here.



The Medieval Association of Place and Space is now accepting proposals for sessions at the 52nd International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 11-14, 2017.

The deadline for session proposals is June 1, 2016.

If you have ideas for topics, please post them here or email us with your ideas.

Jesus as the Trinity, Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art

The Medieval Association of Place and Space is tickled to announce three sessions at Kalamazoo on Friday. Plus there’s a free business meeting for all to propose for next year’s International Congress on Medieval Studies, or you can email us here.





Friday, 10.00 AM       Session 192
Schneider 1135           Space, “Race,” and Ethnicity
Sponsor: Medieval Association of Place and Space (MAPS)

Organizer: Kathy Lavezzo, Univ. of Iowa
Presider: Kathy Lavezzo
“The Proude Court of Paradis”: Explorations of Otherness in Middle English Romance
John A. Geck, Memorial Univ. of Newfoundland

India in the Fifteenth Century
Galia Halpern, DePauw Univ.

The Location of Desire: Refractions of Objecthood in Aucassin and Nicolette
Stefanie Goyette, New York Univ.

“Rare” and Wondrous: Cannibalism and the Monstrous Races on Late Medieval and Early Modern Maps
Sarah L. Reeser, Centre for Medieval Studies, Univ. of Toronto

Friday, 1.30 PM         Session 244
Schneider 1135           Scale I: Microspaces
Sponsor: Medieval Association of Place and Space (MAPS)

Organizer: Kathy Lavezzo, Univ. of Iowa
Presider: Valerie Allen, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY
Forest and Trees: Polyvalent Scale in the Geography of Malory’s Morte Darthur
Meg Roland, Marylhurst Univ.

Mary Magdalene’s Rock
Elizabeth Allen, Univ. of California–Irvine

Seeing and Street Life: The Carpenter’s Window
Ellen K. Rentz, Claremont McKenna College

Friday, 3.30 PM         Session 299
Schneider 1140           Scale II: Macrospaces
Sponsor: Medieval Association of Place and Space (MAPS)

Organizer: Kathy Lavezzo, Univ. of Iowa
Presider: Catherine Annette Grisé, McMaster Univ.
The Place of Maps
Marcia Kupfer, Independent Scholar

The Boundaries of Belief: Geography and Theology in the Navigatio sancti Brendani
Seth Hunter Koproski, Cornell Univ.

Distant Romance: Making Macrospace through Narrative
Paul A. Broyles, Univ. of Virginia

Mapping Micro-Languages in Central Asia
Karla Mallette, Univ. of Michigan–Ann Arbor

Friday, 5.15 PM         Business Meeting
Fetzer 1030     Medieval Association of Place and Space (MAPS)


Also see:                                                 

Saturday, 10.00 AM                             
Schneider 1125                       
Presider: Kathy Lavezzo, Univ. of Iowa

“You Are Here”: Mosaic Pavements as Cosmological Maps in the Medieval West
Nicole Ford Burley, Boston Univ.

There’s a Map for That: Elucidating Medieval Mappae Mundi through Contemporary Mapping Technologies
Helen Davies, Univ. of Mississippi

Medieval Mappaemundi as Dramatic Structure
Dana Tanner-Kennedy, Yale Univ.

The Sixteenth-Century Russian Cartographic Materials: The Remains of Old Tradition of the First Cartographic Experience?
Alexey Frolov, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences


travel_700From the beginning, humans have been explorers—constantly pushing, redefining and crossing geographic and imagined borders—seeking out “the ends of the earth.” We invite proposals for an interdisciplinary conference on the theme Ends of the Earth to be held at the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts at the University of Pennsylvania libraries on March 2-4, 2017. This conference, broad and interdisciplinary, will span the ancient and the modern, the technical and the spiritual, the real and the imaginary. We are especially interested in papers and interdisciplinary sessions that synthetically address these themes.

Possible paper topics may include but are not limited to:

  • Technologies of exploration and travel
  • Transmission and translation of material, textual, and cultural practices
  • Remoteness and distance in literature and film
  • The anthropocene and the limits of human-environmental interaction
  • Borderlands and the changing geographies of liminal spaces
  • Migration, both forced and voluntary
  • Pilgrimage, spiritual travel, and geographies of the sacred
  • Scientific exploration and the history of imperialism
  • The end times and eschatological journeys

Proposals for papers to be presented at the conference should include: the name of the speaker; the speaker’s affiliation if any; the title of the presentation; a 300-word abstract; full contact information for the speaker (name, address, telephone, email); the speaker’s one-page CV. Some funding is available for graduate students to offset the cost of attendance and lodging.

Proposals should be sent to Alexis Broderick Neumann ( by July 1, 2016. Participants will be notified of acceptance by the end of August 2016.

Image credit: Detail from Holy Land Travel Manuscript c. 1690 (UPenn CAJS Rar Ms 455)









The theme for ANZAMEMS 2017 is mobility and exchange. We encourage proposals for papers or panels addressing any aspect of this theme, including (but not limited to):

  • social, cultural, and intellectual exchange
  • the circulation of texts, ideas, and people
  • commercial and mercantile exchange
  • legal interchange
  • transport and transportation
  • rural and urban mobilities
  • pilgrimage, exploration, and migration
  • transglobal and trans-temporal medievalisms and early modernisms

We welcome submissions for individual papers or panel proposals. Proposals for a stream of panels on a single theme are also encouraged, normally in sequences of two or three sessions, but with a maximum of five. We encourage panel submissions to nominate a suitably-qualified chair (who is not a paper presenter in that panel), but chairs can also be assigned by the conference convenors. Postgraduate student participation is strongly encouraged; we recommend (but don’t mandate) that all panels should include at least one presenter (or a chair) who has received a doctoral degree.

How to make a submission

Please send proposals for individual papers or panels to by 1 September 2016. If you require early confirmation of acceptance in order to apply for travel funding or other support, please let us know; we should be able to provide early confirmations from 30 April 2016.

Paper proposals should include:

  • Paper title
  • Abstract (up to 150 words)
  • The name, affiliation, and email address of the presenter
  • An indication of AV requirements

Panel proposals should include, in addition to the above details for each individual paper:

  • Panel title
  • The name, affiliation, and email address of the the panel organiser
  • The name, affiliation, and email address of the nominated panel chair

Submissions should be emailed to


International Medieval Congress 2017 Call for Papers

‘Others’ can be found everywhere: outside one’s own community (from foreigners to non-human monsters) and inside it (for example, religious and social minorities, or individual newcomers in towns, villages, or at court). One could encounter the ‘Others’ while travelling, in writing, reading and thinking about them, by assessing and judging them, by ‘feelings’ ranging from curiosity to contempt, and behaviour towards them which, in turn, can lead to integration or exclusion, friendship or hostility, and support or persecution.

The demarcation of the ‘Self’ from ‘Others’ applies to all areas of life, to concepts of thinking and mentalité as well as to social ‘reality’, social intercourse and transmission of knowledge and opinions. Forms and concepts of the ‘Other’, and attitudes towards ‘Others’, imply and reveal concepts of ‘Self’, self-awareness and identity, whether expressed explicitly or implicitly. There is no ‘Other’ without ‘Self’. A classification as ‘Others’ results from a comparison with oneself and one’s own identity groups. Thus, attitudes towards ‘Others’ oscillate between admiring and detesting, and invite questioning into when the ‘Other’ becomes the ‘Strange’.

The aim of the IMC is to cover the entire spectrum of ‘Otherness’ through multi-disciplinary approaches, on a geographical, ethnic, political, social, legal, intellectual and even personal level, to analyse sources from all genres, areas, and regions.

Possible entities to research for ‘Otherness’ could include (but are not limited to):
• Peoples, kingdoms, languages, towns, villages, migrants, refugees, bishoprics, trades, guilds, or seigneurial systems
• Faiths and religions, religious groups (including deviation from the ‘true’ faith) and religious orders
• Different social classes, minorities, or marginal groups
• The spectrum from ‘Strange’ to ‘Familiar’
• Individuals or ‘strangers’ of any kind, newcomers as well as people exhibiting strange behaviour
• Otherness related to art, music, liturgical practices, or forms of worship
• Any further specific determinations of ‘alterity’

Methodologies and Approaches to ‘Otherness’ (not necessarily distinct, but overlapping) could include:
• Definitions, concepts, and constructions of ‘Otherness’
• Indicators of, criteria and reasons for demarcation
• Relation(s) between ‘Otherness’ and concepts of ‘Self’
• Communication, encounters, and social intercourse with ‘Others’ (in embassies, travels, writings, quarrels, conflicts, and persecution)
• Knowledge, perception, and assessment of the ‘Others’
• Attitudes and behaviour towards ‘Others’
• Deviation from any ‘norms’ of life and thought (from the superficial to the fundamental)
• Gender and transgender perspectives
• Co-existence and segregation
• Methodological problems when inquiring into ‘Otherness’
• The Middle Ages as the ‘Other’ compared with contemporary times (‘Othering’ the Middle Ages).

Visualizing Medieval Places (VMP) is a digital project that explores different ways of visualizing real place names extracted from literary and non-literary texts in medieval French composed along the arc from England to the Eastern Mediterranean over some four centuries (11-15th c).  The project is driven, in its initial stages, by overlapping questions of geographical imagination, generic norms of texts and reading communities.

Plus it has Deep, Thick, Playful Mapping: a Spatial/GeoHumanities Reading List for Beginners

and it is collecting examples of pre-digital scholarly maps or map-like visualizations.

york_atlas_cover_1An illustrated atlas of the history of the remarkable city of York, concentrating on the growth and form of the settlement across two thousand years.

Important since Roman times, the city of York grew to become one of the most prosperous, densely settled and influential cities of England in the medieval period and beyond.  The atlas charts the development of the city up to the advent of the railway age.

The volume is edited by Dr Peter Addyman (formerly Director of the York Archaeological Trust) and written by a team of experts in the various phases of the development of this important city.

The atlas is part of the Historic Towns Trust and the British Historic Towns Atlas project, and several of their publications are available free.