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October 2015

CMRS Open House

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Please join CMRS Director Professor Massimo Ciavolella and the staff of the Center for our annual Open House celebrating the start of a new academic year.  This year marks CMRS’s 52nd year of promoting interdisciplinary and cross-cultural studies of the period from Late Antiquity to the mid-seventeenth century. Come meet other faculty members, students, colleagues, and friends who share these interests and find out more about CMRS’s programs, fellowships, grants, and publications. The Open House will include a small used book sale…

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Conflict and the Law in Medieval Poland, 1100–1370

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

CMRS Roundtable Professor Piotr Górecki (History, UC Riverside) previews his next monograph project, about the law in medieval Poland between the twelfth century and the end of the Piast dynasty. The project engages with several subjects current today in medieval legal history: disputing and its underlying processes; the court network and its alternatives; the meaning, autonomy, and role of norms, and their relationship to legislation; the significance, in all these areas, of specific generic actors—in Poland, above all the dukes; and…

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State Power, Political Conflict and Urban Ideologies in Medieval Northern Spain

Wednesday, October 21, 2015 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Lecture The Later Middle Ages are known as a time of violent outbursts of rebellion and repression. Recent historiography, however, has shown that both violent conflict and peaceful resistance were intrinsic parts of daily life in Late Medieval towns in the Kingdom of Castile. Subversive speech and petitioning were used by subjects with the aim of modifying political practices and structures. This talk by CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Jesús Solórzano Telechea (Senior Lecturer, Medieval History, University…

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Graduate Student Meet-and-Greet

Thursday, October 22, 2015 @ 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

CMRS invites graduate students in all fields of study to attend a social gathering to get acquainted with other students involved in topics pertinent to medieval and Renaissance studies. Come by and meet new colleagues and old friends! Advance registration not required. No fee. Limited seating. Image detail from Paradise (predella panel), ca. 1445, by Giovanni di Paolo di Grazia; (Italian, Sienese, 1398–1482). Tempera and gold on canvas, transferred from wood. Copyright Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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November 2015

Platonic Words: Paolo Sarpi and Roberto Bellarmino as Translators in the Venetian Interdict Crisis

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

CMRS Roundtable Professor Darcy Kern (History, Southern Connecticut State University) considers translation practices in pre- and post-Tridentine Catholic Europe, particularly as they relate to the Venetian interdict crisis and the vernacular pamphlet battle between Paolo Sarpi and Cardinal Roberto Bellarmino. Close attention to debates about the meaning of words reveals that Sarpi, an anti-papalist and anti-Trent polemicist, adhered closely to Tridentine standards while Bellarmino did not. Topics of enquiry include the Platonic nature of words, the politics of translation, and anonymity.…

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Fishing and Water Ecology in High Renaissance Florence: Some Preliminary Considerations

Tuesday, November 10, 2015 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Environmental Humanities In 1509, Filippo Casavecchia wrote to Niccolò Machiavelli, inviting Niccolò to “stay with me (in the mountains between Florence and Lucca) for 4 days, because I am sure you will not be sorry for it, with respect to my having ordered an entire furnaceful of mortar that contains 40 moggia (660 bushels), with which we shall plaster the river, for we shall take at last 2,000 libbre (1,596 lbs.) of fish and have a great time doing it.”…

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Silent Movie Screening: “Drums of Love”

Monday, November 16, 2015 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

On the occasion of the 750th anniversary of the birth of Dante, the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies and the UCLA Department of Italian present a screening of D.W. Griffith’s  “Drums of Love”, the 1928 cinematic retelling of the tragic love story of Paolo and Francesca as told in Canto V of Dante’s “Inferno”, with pianist Cliff Retallick providing live musical accompaniment. Special thanks to the Mary Pickford Foundation.

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The Seals of Lucrezia Borgia and Isabella d’Este

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

CMRS Roundtable Professor Diane Ghirardo (University of Southern California) discusses Lucrezia Borgia and Isabella d’Este who were related by marriage but shared little else. Sisters-in-law and spouses of lords of prominent Italian states (Ferrara and Mantua), the two women’s seals incorporated the arms of their natal families and those of their husbands, but the differences in how the two women understood the meanings of their seals and their imprese are remarkable. Their distinctive use of their seals testifies not only to…

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The Ancient Mediterranean Pharmacopeia: A Source for Novel Medicines?

Wednesday, November 18, 2015 @ 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm

This lecture by Dr. Alain Touwaide, illustrates the Mediterranean pharmacopeia and shows how ancient drug making is an invaluable source for novel medicines.The search for novel medicines is on the agenda of the pharmacological world across the globe. New substances, new approaches, and new applications are expected to help fight multiple devastating medical conditions, old or new. Strangely enough an incomparable source of information has all too rarely been taken into consideration: the experience of the past, gained through clinical…

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Love and Death in the Renaissance Castle – Day 1

Friday, November 20, 2015 @ 1:30 pm - 5:00 pm

An ethos of noble violence prevailed throughout the early modern period under the rubric of chivalry, often bound up with illicit romances in aristocratic and royal castles. Some of the most celebrated cases of sexual violence, illicit loves and murder in early modern Italy and France unfolded in castles such as those of Gradara and Ferrara – Paolo and Francesca, Ugo and Parisina, Giulio d’Este and Angela Borgia. Castles were also the settings for fictional accounts of similar stories, such…

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Love and Death in the Renaissance Castle – Day 2

Saturday, November 21, 2015 @ 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

An ethos of noble violence prevailed throughout the early modern period under the rubric of chivalry, often bound up with illicit romances in aristocratic and royal castles. Some of the most celebrated cases of sexual violence, illicit loves and murder in early modern Italy and France unfolded in castles such as those of Gradara and Ferrara – Paolo and Francesca, Ugo and Parisina, Giulio d’Este and Angela Borgia. Castles were also the settings for fictional accounts of similar stories, such…

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December 2015

Exotic Lady Continents in Engraving, Tapestry, and Town Hall Pediment of the Northern Renaissance

Wednesday, December 2, 2015 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

CMRS Roundtable What were the key stages in the imagination of personified continents? In this presentation, Maryanne Cline Horowitz (Professor of History, Occidental College & UCLA-CMRS Associate) identifies sources for three distinct stages in the development of Renaissance and Baroque personifications of Africa, Asia, Europe, and America.  In the 1570s three variants of an allegorical poem interpret the female personifications that appear on the title page of the first world atlas by Ortelius, and lady continents appear in Italian fresco. …

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January 2016

Learning to Produce Literature in Medieval China

Tuesday, January 12, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Members of the literate class in medieval China (ca. 6th through 10th centuries) were called upon to produce literary works in a wide range of contexts, from drunken poetry competitions to the civil service exam. In this talk, CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Christopher Nugent (Associate Professor of Chinese, Williams College) examines a number of the texts—including children’s primers, encyclopedias, and model poems—that were used in the process of training members of this elite in literary skills that were ultimately as…

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The Monastery of Elijah near Nepi: A History in Paint and Stone

Wednesday, January 13, 2016 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

CMRS Roundtable Alison Locke Perchuk (Art, California State University Channel Islands) considers the production of individual and communal identity as a complex process operating at the intersections of exterior and interior, of physical environment and mental structures, of bodily comportment and spiritual and intellectual practices. Through research in art and architectural history, political and social history, theology, liturgy, literature, and memory and landscape studies, Professor Perchuk’s book project offers a new understanding of this process at work within a medieval European…

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25th Richard & Mary Rouse History of the Book Lecture: The Book of Hours in Literary History

Thursday, January 14, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 6:15 pm

The book of hours is one of the most familiar of medieval manuscript genres and yet it has not played a large part in histories of medieval reading, still less in histories of medieval literature.  In this talk, Professor Jessica Brantley (Yale University) explores the importance of the book of hours for English literary history, investigating how these widely popular prayerbooks influenced such cultural developments as:  the rise of private reading, the development of lay literate piety, the emergence of…

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Digital Heritage: Emerging Tool, Process and Contents for Spatial Designs

Monday, January 25, 2016 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm

Digital tools for surveying and representing important architectural heritage have recently become available at low or no cost to everyone including designers, historians, facility managers and tourists. Takehiko Nagakura, an architect from Tokyo and Associate Professor of Architecture at MIT, talks about his digital heritage projects at MIT that use computer graphics animations, photogrammetric modeling, panoramic video, and game engine. Examples include his fieldwork on the sites of buildings by Palladio, Scarpa, and Zaha Hadid. Advance registration not required. No…

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Shakespeare’s Greatest Riddle: M.O.A.I. Deciphered at Last

Wednesday, January 27, 2016 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

CMRS Roundtable Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is checkered with riddles. This talk by CMRS Associate Dr. Steve Sohmer (Fleming Fellow of Lincoln College, Oxford) proposes to solve them: from who is Quinapalus to the meaning of M.O.A.I. It’s eye-opening fun. Advance registration not required. No fee. Limited seating. Funding for the CMRS Roundtable series is provided by the Armand Hammer Endowment for the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies.  

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Art and Papal Politics in Twelfth-Century Rome

Thursday, January 28, 2016 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm

Annual Hammer Art History Lecture Art and architecture were important vehicles of communication for medieval patrons, including popes. In this lecture, Dale Kinney (Eugenia Chase Guild Professor Emeritus in the Humanities and Research Professor, Bryn Mawr College) presents a range of papal images thought to convey political messages, some of which caused international scandals in their own day while others are mentioned only for being pretty. Professor Kinney explores both the twelfth-century context of this art as well as the…

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February 2016

Food for Worms or Food for Birds? Sky Burial in Medieval Europe

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Environmental Humanities Medieval people preferred to bury their dead, flesh still on bones, and to let worms do the work of breaking down the corpse; they thought it a horror to expose human bodies to the appetites of larger animals. They were aware, however, that their funeral rituals were not universal. Early medieval reactions to Zoroastrian funerals, and later medieval reactions to Tibetan, ranged from disgust to cosmopolitan indifference, until they culminated with the fourteenth-century Book of John Mandeville. In…

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Minimal Animals: Medieval Oysters and Our Nonconsensual Existence

Thursday, February 4, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Natural philosophy from Aristotle to Higden to Diderot conceived of oysters as the hinge between plant and animal life. Without any sense but touch, unable to move, and having no defense but a shell, oysters represented animal life at its barest. The usual move in the last decade’s work in posthumanist philosophy would be to recognize the “agency” of these and other oysters. CMRS Distinguished Visiting Scholar Karl Steel (Associate Professor, English, Brooklyn College and Graduate Center, CUNY) will challenge…

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Religious Polemic and Apocalyptic Traditions: Describing the Other

Monday, February 8, 2016 @ 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm

Texts that in modern scholarship are classified as “historical apocalypses” have often been vectors of inter-religious polemic. Within the earliest Mediterranean Christian traditions (Latin-, Greek- and Syriac-language) these texts have incorporated anti-Judaic polemic, without necessarily belonging to the well defined adversus Iudaeos type compositions. On the other hand, the latter genre often included elements that originated in eschatological speculations, especially with regards to the figure of an end-time savior vs. an end-time villain, whose significance ranged from being a Messiah/Christ…

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East-West Relations in a Global Middle Ages

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 @ 3:00 pm - 6:00 pm

After 1453, the year Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks, the Duke of Burgundy remained the last Western leader proposing a new crusade in the East. But the narrative of the defense of Christian faith and religious war was simply the most visible element of numerous exchanges between the Burgundian Low Countries and the East reaching back to the early fifteenth century and to France. What did the ducal court and its entourage read and acquire for its famous private…

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Re-visioning the Landscape in Carolingian Bavaria

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

CMRS Roundtable This presentation by CMRS Affiliate Leanne Good (Assistant Professor of History, University of South Alabama) considers the re-conception of political space and concomitant changes to local administration brought about by the Carolingian takeover of the duchy of Bavaria in the late eighth and early ninth century. Professor Good will discuss the problems which local practices of land ownership and political authority presented for the expanding Frankish kingdom. Evidence from Bavarian donation cartularies shows attempts at standardization and commodification of land holdings during this period, in addition to…

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