CMRS Conference
“Boundaries in the Medieval and Wider World: Conference in Honor of Paul Freedman”
October 14-15, 2016

Paul Freedman is a scholar who cannot be easily classified. He is a medieval historian, a social historian, a scholar of Spain and of Church history. Additionally, he is firmly established as a leading scholar in food studies. Both in and out of medieval studies, Freedman’s work always brings into consideration boundaries that are challenged or crossed: public and private; personal and institutional; spiritual and secular; elite and peasant; exotic and familiar.

In this conference (organized by Teofilo Ruiz, Thomas Barton, Susan McDonough, Sara McDougall, and Matthew Wranovix), contributors present and discuss the articles they have provided for the forthcoming Festschrift Boundaries in the Medieval and Wider World: Essays in Honour of Paul Freedman (Brepols 2016). These conference proceedings thus identify, assess, and elaborate on Professor Freedman’s remarkable achievements and celebrate his innovative approach to scholarship by examining the legal, political, social, spiritual, and sensory boundaries of medieval Europe and beyond

The complete schedule and further details are posted in the events section.

CMRS Conference
“The Future Is Now: Art and Technology in the Renaissance & Beyond”
October 14-15, 2016

The Renaissance was a period defined by visions of the future. Renaissance humanists including Petrarch, Dante, Leonardo Bruni, and Giorgio Vasari expressed a concern for the future, fame, and posterity. At the same time, European explorers, merchants, soldiers, and missionaries traversed the globe fueled by visions of the future as well as imperial ambition. Renaissance discoveries, inventions, and developments generated a sense of excitement and wonder but also concern for the future among Europeans. At times, enthusiasm and optimism transformed into anxiety about these new worlds, finds, and fantastic devices. Taking as its inspiration the works of: Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), prolific artist and inventor; the Spaniard Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo (1478-1557), whose explorations in the Americas led to discoveries of new plants which forever changed art and medicine; Italian clockmaker and engineer Juanelo Turriano (c. 1500-1585) who altered scientific understanding of kinesiology and motion with his new clocks, winding springs, and lifelike automata; and Andreas Vesalius who along with French printmaker Charles Estienne produced landmark editions on human anatomy that revolutionized western medicine, this conference, organized by Charlene Villaseñor Black (UCLA) and Mari-Tere Álvarez (The Getty), examines the intersections between the new science, artistic rebirth, and European imperialism in the overlapping worlds of science and art, as they explored, theorized about, and invented this, “brave new world.”

The complete schedule and further details are posted in the events section.

CMRS Conference
“‘My love is as a fever…’: Love Treatises in the Renaissance”
January 20-20, 2017

jan20_love_treatisesTreatises discussing the origin, nature, and effects of love are prevalent throughout the European Renaissance. The Neo-Platonic tradition of love treatises has been studied for its philosophical and literary implications and for its influence on sixteenth-century culture; these studies have illuminated how the “ladder of love” model permeates poetry, prose narratives, and religious and moral treatises. Less attention has been paid to medical treatises dealing with the somatogenesis of love and its effects, or chapters in books of natural philosophy discussing the workings of erotic passion. While Neo-Platonic treatises focus on how one should love and the moral and spiritual value of love, medical treatises offer insight into the early modern conception of what love is and how the body reacts to it. A coherent discussion of love in the Renaissance must concern itself with both types of treatise because the phenomenon as a whole can only be understood if both aspects are studied together. How was the experience of love conceived of as a bodily phenomenon? How does that inflect our understanding of love as a moral value, a religious experience, or an object of aesthetic representation?

In addition to exploring how love was valued in Renaissance culture, this conference examines how love was constructed and conceived of in physical, medical terms, approaching the two types of love treatises as creating one complex, coherent genre.

Organized by Massimo Ciavolella and Allison Collins.

The complete schedule and further details are posted in the events section.

CMRS Symposium
Umberto Eco, the Middle Ages, and The Name of the Rose
January 27, 2017

Umberto Eco (January 5, 1932 – February 19, 2016) is still best known today for his novel Il nome della rosa (The Name of the Rose). The novel was published in 1980 and became an international sensation, selling over 10 million copies worldwide. In reality, Eco was a Professor at the University of Bologna and a scholar of Thomas Aquinas and medieval aesthetics, who also wrote fiction. His concern for medieval philosophy, however, was not strictly academic but was (as it has been written) “a sort of nostalgia for a time now much maligned and misunderstood, a forgotten kingdom of intellect and imagination.” In an essay entitled “Ten Ways to Dream the Middle Ages” Eco wrote that we don’t dream the Middle Ages because it represents the past, but because it is the crucible of Europe and of modern civilization, it was the time when most of the things we are still grappling with today were invented, from the banking system to class struggle and pauperism to our western concept of love. In many ways The Name of the Rose is Eco’s “dream” of the Middle Ages, a metaphysical thriller combining medieval studies, biblical analysis, and literary theory. This symposium, organized by Professor Massimo
Ciavolella (UCLA), will discuss Umberto Eco’s medievalism and his first novel. Eco was awarded a UCLA Medal in 2005 in recognition of his extraordinary and distinguished contributions to society.

The complete schedule and further details are posted in the events section.

CMRS/Getty  Conference
“The Ark After Noah: Beasts, Books, and Bodies of Knowledge”
March 3-4, 2017
Northumberland Bestiary, English, about 1250 - 1260 Ms. 100, The J. Paul Getty Museum
Northumberland Bestiary, English, about 1250 – 1260, Ms. 100, The J. Paul Getty Museum.

This two-day symposium hosted at the J. Paul Getty Museum and the University of California, Los Angeles brings together scholars working on the traditions of image, text, knowledge, and culture surrounding the bestiary tradition in the medieval world.  The focus centers on how the development of encyclopedic texts and new structures of knowledge emerged on the manuscript page in and alongside bestiaries. The symposium begins at UCLA on Friday, March 3, 2017 and continues at the J. Paul Getty Museum on Saturday, March 4, 2017.

Organized by Matthew Fisher (English, UCLA) and Elizabeth Morrison (Manuscripts, The J. Paul Getty Museum).

The complete schedule and further details are posted in the events section.

CMRS Conference
“The Comic Supernatural”
April 21-22, 2017

The tropes are as well-known as they are myriad. Deals with the devil. Hell running short of guests, or being robbed of its prey. Heaven dispatching angels to save individuals from their own folly. Ghosts and goblins shaking mortals from their mundane complacency. Gods and goddesses from various pantheons trying on human guise. Witches, genii, and sundry monsters rattling their cages, to the consternation of those in their presence. In the course of each scenario, accidents happen, mistakes are made, the bumpiest road is chosen, an unforeseen twist occurs. And hilarity ensues…. If humanity’s fascination with the marvelous is ancient, a humorous toying with the fantastic appears to be equally as venerable. A supernatural through-line-cum-punch line threads through lore from Balaam’s talking donkey in the Bible, through folk tales and bawdy medieval fabliaux, to Japanese kyogen plays and the Golden Age TV sitcom. This conference, organized by Sharon King, explores humanity’s encounters with the supernatural as evoked through comedy and how we understand these encounters in a variety of genres and disciplines from around the world both old and new.

The complete schedule and further details are posted in the events section.

CMRS Conference
“Making Worlds: Art, Materiality, and Early Modern Globalization”
April 28-29, 2017

The early modern period (c. 1450-1650) witnessed a massive dislocation of people and artifacts as a result of migration, religious conflicts, expanding trade routes, missionary activities, slavery, and colonization. The confrontation between materiality and mobility that ensued gave rise to new, often unexpected, forms of creativity. Focusing on art — on making and engaging with it, on performance and self-representation – this conference foregrounds the critical creative and imaginative processes involved in making worlds. Organized by Bronwen Wilson (Department of Art History, UCLA) and Angela Vanhaelen (Department of Art History and Communication Studies, McGill University), as part of the Making Worlds research project, the conference shifts the focus from regional considerations and area studies to explore how visual and material forms emerged across and between worlds, broadly construed, and ways in which imagining, digesting and translating worlds have been central to their making and remaking.

The complete schedule and further details are posted in the events section.

CMRS Conference
“Creature (Dis)comforts: On Human Thresholds from Classical Myth to Modern Day”
June 2-3, 2017

The threshold of the home constitutes a literal boundary between public and private, between the domestic and the political. It is also a border that, by its very nature, invites transgression. It is a boundary that exists to be crossed.

This conference, organized by Dr. Sara Burdorff (UCLA,
English) and the student group Colloquium for Oral and
Popular Tradition Studies takes the literal liminality of the
domestic threshold as its inspiration, exploring the comparable permeability of more abstract thresholds in a wide range of social, temporal, and interdisciplinary contexts.

The presentations elaborate on the ambivalent cultural value invested in other intrinsically–even necessarily–violable boundaries between Self and Other, including those between man and man, man and animal, and parent and child constructed and conceived of in physical, medical terms, approaching the two types of love treatises as creating one complex, coherent genre.

The complete schedule and further details are posted in the events section.