CMRS Seminars: Proposal Request from UCLA Faculty

Published: January 11, 2021

The CMRS Director invites proposals from UCLA faculty for the following graduate seminars:

The Fall quarter CMRS LAMAR Seminar (for Fall 2022), a graduate-level class focusing on methodology for research in the Late Antique, Medieval, and Renaissance (LAMAR) fields. The methodology seminar is transdisciplinary in intent and would include one to two faculty from UCLA, two outside faculty, and a library research component.

CMRS Research Seminars for Winter or Spring quarter (2022). These Seminars are graduate-level, UCLA classes that are transdisciplinary in intent and include one to two faculty from UCLA, two outside faculty, and a library research component.

The proposed seminar’s topic must fall within the CMRS’s chronological span, that is, the period from Late Antiquity to the mid-seventeenth century. Five main research axes help structure the work of the Center: Sustainability/Repurposing; Fluidity/Permanence; Bodies/Performance; Conversion/Mobility; Communication/Archive (see below). These axes should be understood as generative, not reductive. All research axes are open to the widest variety of historical and methodological approaches. Proposals that fit more than one axis or offer new frameworks are equally welcome. Examples of recent seminars are shown below.

Applications should include:

  1. A description, no longer than a thousand words, of (a) the seminar’s topic; (b) the quarter you would plan to offer it; (c) a budget estimating expenses; and, (d) the amount of funding requested (up to a maximum of $5,000 per seminar).
  2. A list of faculty participants, from UCLA or from elsewhere, to be invited. It is preferable that invitations not be made or accepted at the time of application.

All UCLA CMRS faculty members are eligible to apply. Proposals should be submitted by email to by March 1, 2021. Please write to Zrinka Stahuljak or Karen Burgess with any questions.


FALL 2020 — “The Late Antique World: Transitions and Transformations between Classical and Medieval” (Classics 250) taught by Professor Sarah Beckmann. The seminar is interdisciplinary and focuses on late antiquity as a historical period and scholarly construct. Using primary evidence (art, artifact, literature), modern scholarship, and varied methodological approaches, this course examined the origins and consequences of late antique transformations in the Mediterranean world, ca. 3rd – 7th c. CE. To synthesize, and problematize, how late antique phenomena respond and react to the classical, and prefigure and provoke the medieval, the seminar considered late antique texts and material culture in dialogue with earlier and later historical witnesses. Guest speakers included C. Michael Chin (UC Davis), Susanna Elm (UC Berkeley), and, Rita Copeland (University of Pennsylvania).

FALL 2019 — “Early Modern Empire and the Cultures of Encounter” (English 246) taught by Professor Barbara Fuchs. This interdisciplinary seminar considered theoretical, methodological, and disciplinary questions. The class read together a corpus of historiographic and literary texts (Columbus, More, Ercilla, Garcilaso de la Vega, Poma, Behn) and also hosted visits from specialists at UCLA and beyond in a range of related disciplines (History/History of Science/History of Art/ Classics). Topics considered included how various fields have negotiated the specificities of the European encounter with the New Word vs. larger questions of indigeneity and sovereignty around the globe; how recent work on empire in a global context has impacted the various fields; and, how scholars in these fields move between the specificities of the local and the broader theorization of culture in imperial contexts.

FALL 2018 — “Theory, History, and Literature” (Comparative Literature 220) taught by Professor Zrinka Stahuljak. The special focus of this seminar was the notion of literature as historical archive. History, anthropology, and the arts (visual, musical, performing) were the fields of choice. Organized in modules such as “History and Literature,” “History, Religion, and Literature,” “Culture and Literature,” “Anthropology and Literature,” “Text and Image,” “Music and Literature,” “Performance, Performativity, and Literature,” each session provided a choice of influential texts from theory and historiography of the field and a reading of a medieval text. Guest speakers included Ryan Szpiech (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor), Margaret Kim (National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan), Jennifer Bain (Dalhousie University), and Noah Guynn (UC Davis).

CMRS Research Seminars
SPRING 2021 — “Fragmentation, Reuse, and Decay in Premodern Japan” (Art History 202) taught by Professor Kristopher Kersey. This seminar will address several intersecting artistic strategies and sensibilities in Japan, ca. 1000-1650 CE: the reuse and recycling of elements of the past; the aesthetics of the fragment, to include collage and montage techniques; and the aesthetics of decay, to include a preference for things that are weathered, patinated, and imperfect. We will turn a critical eye throughout to the modern and contemporary appropriations of these elements of Japanese culture. Several guest speakers will enrich the discussion. Should conditions permit, the seminar will also include visits to examine objects in local and regional collections.