Upcoming symposiums and congresses: Issue 5, May 2010

Workshop: Does Memory Have a History? Part Two: Rewriting - Memory - Adaptation for Ph.D. students

Date Thursday, 20 May 2010.
Location Utrecht
Organisation Jesseka Batteau (OSL); Truus van Bueren (Med.); Dennis Kersten (OSL), Liedeke Plate (OSL), and Els Rose (Med.)
Website Link

In October 2008, the Netherlands Graduate School for Literary Studies (OSL) and Netherlands Research School for Medieval Studies (Med.) organized their first joint workshop for PhDs, focusing on the concept of cultural memory and its applicability to different historical periods. The goal was to get a discussion going between representatives of different disciplines and historical periods, exploring how the theoretical concept of Cultural Memory could be of use to the study of communities and societies throughout history. One of the potentially most productive concepts to have emerged out of this discussion is that of rewriting. It is to this concept that the present workshop is devoted.

'What rewriting might be was to remain - it has remained for me to this hour - a mystery', Henry James writes in the Preface to The Golden Bowl. Although the term is common enough, the exact meaning of rewriting remains open to debate. In his landmark study Palimpsestes. La littérature au second degré (1982), Gérard Genette rejects the term in favour of 'hypertextuality' and focuses on the relationship between 'hypertext' and 'hypotext'. More recently, scholars across a wide range of literary traditions and periods have sought to define the term in more pragmatic terms (e.g. Moraru 2001; Gauvin 2004; Goullet 2005), exploring it in terms of functionality and (memory) effects.

In this workshop, we propose to explore the concept of rewriting within the context of memory studies: as a 'technology' of memory and an 'act of cultural remembrance' that performs 'memory-work'. How does the act of rewriting re-member and re-call the past? Crucial to the concept of rewriting would seem to be the notions of agency and of intentionality: rewriting can be defined as an intentional act aimed at the production of 'helpful memories' and 'usable pasts'. In the period prior to the invention of print, authorship and authenticity are oftentimes hidden behind the much more highly valued notion of authority. In the modern period, rewriting inevitably confronts issues of intellectual property and of copyright. Is it, then, possible to apply the concept of rewriting to different historical periods and historically-defined societies? Does it function differently-and to different effect-in manuscript, print, and digital cultures? And can it be used to discuss images, as well as writing? Because of rewriting's entanglement with writing as a specific technology of the word, for the purpose of our discussion, we shall supplement it by the apparently more flexible term 'adaptation'. In this workshop, the concept of adaptation is used to broaden the study of rewriting to encompass various forms of 'transmedial rewritings'. Therefore, this year's workshop will be dedicated to the triplet Memory - Rewriting - Adaptation.

The aim of the workshop is to explore the possibilities and limits of the concept of rewriting as a term for Memory Studies. Through the presentation of case studies of medieval and (post)modern material, we will seek to identify its core features and attempt a workable definition. How does rewriting relate to adaptation? Is adaptation a subset of rewriting or the other way round? Is rewriting even the most appropriate umbrella term to study a number of related literary and (trans)medial strategies, such as reuse, revisualizing, refracting, recycling, remediating, reframing, reformulating, reiterating, retrofitting, retrojecting, revisioning, …? In short: can we formulate a workable definition that helps to understand, study, and describe the dynamics of (historically) diverse practices of remembering the past through writing and imaging, without inventing a straitjacket?

To this end, the workshop will be organized as follows: first, the theme will be set through an introductory presentation by two of the organizers. This survey of the central issues and debates will be followed by two short presentations by senior researchers focusing on the medieval and the (post)modern period, respectively. In the afternoon PhD-researchers will have the opportunity to present their own work in relation to the central theme formulated above.

Please note that this is a closed workshop for Ph.D. students.

Researching Medieval Memoria: prospects and possibilities

Date Wednesday, 26 May 2010, from 09.30-16.45
Location Sweelinckzaal (room 0.05), Drift 21, Utrecht

On Wednesday 26th of May the MeMO-project will host a symposium in Utrecht dealing with recent developments in the memoria field of research. National and international experts in the field will be discussing themes and theses concerning methodological and content-related problems and challenges in memoria research. An article by the organizers will be used as a starting point for discussion.


9:30-10:00 Coffee and tea
10:00-10:15 Welcome and introduction
Truus van Bueren and Kim Ragetli
10:15-11:40 Session 1. The field, the sources and the state of the art
Lecture Hugo van der Velden:
The Ghent altarpiece and the Vijd Foundation: New Land into the Dead Hand
Moderator: Jeroen Stumpel
11:45-13:00 Session 2. Building bridges and crossing borders
Introduction: Kim Ragetli
Moderator: Anna Adamska
13:00-14:00 Lunch
14:00-15:30 Session 3. Memoria and the parties involved: reception and appropriation
Introduction one: Corine Schleif
Introduction two: Koen Goudriaan
Moderator: Marco Mostert
15:30-15:45 Short break
15:45-16:45 Session 4. Prospects and possibilities: the next twenty years
Introduction: Arnoud-Jan Bijsterveld
Moderator: Dick de Boer
16:45 Drinks

The discussion paper will be sent to you by e-mail around May 12.

For further information and registration please send an e-mail (contact information is in issue 5, page 9).

Workshop Problems and Challenges in Research of Tomb Monuments

Date Thursday, May 27, 15.15-17.30.
Location Utrecht University, Janskerkhof 13, room 0.06.

In the workshop Problems and Challenges in Research of Tomb Monuments Sophie Oosterwijk and Julian Gardner, two specialists on tomb monuments, will give a lecture for Master students and PhD students. This workshop is of interest for students of various disciplines as systematic source criticism for "objects" will be the general theme.

Sophie Oosterwijk (lecturer of art history at the University of St Andrews) will concentrate on the question of portraiture, representation and idealisation. Her earlier work focused on the presentation of children in medieval art, and especially their commemoration and monuments. More recently, Sophie Oosterwijk has been researching commemoration and portraiture in the fifteenth-century danse macabre. This combination of text and image in both monumental and marginal form has traditionally been believed to present social stereotypes. However, close reading of the texts, evidence of the (extant and lost) imagery, and the historical background suggest that the danse macabre mural schemes in Paris and London served very specific commemorative purposes. The funeral and tomb effigies of Henry V and Charles VI play an important role in a proper understanding of both schemes.

Some publications by Sophie Oosterwijk
  • 'Chrysoms, shrouds and infants on English tomb monuments: a question of terminology?' Church Monuments, 15 (2000), 44-64.
  • '"A swithe feire graue": the appearance of children on medieval tomb monuments', in Richard Eales and Shaun Tyas (eds), Family and dynasty in the Middle Ages (1997 Harlaxton Symposium Proceedings) Harlaxton Medieval Studies, 9 (Donington, 2003), 172-92.
  • 'Of dead kings, dukes and constables: the historical context of the danse macabre in late-medieval Paris', Journal of the British Archaeological Association, 161 (2008), 131-62.
  • 'Death, memory and commemoration: John Lydgate and "Macabrees daunce" at Old St Paul's Cathedral, London', in C. Barron and C. Burgess (eds), Memory and commemoration in medieval England, 2008 Harlaxton Symposium Proceedings (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2010), forthcoming.
  • With Sally Badham: Introduction and '"Cest endenture fait parentre": English tomb contracts of the long fourteenth century', in Sally Badham and Sophie Oosterwijk (eds), Monumental industry. The production of tomb sculpture in England and Wales in the long fourteenth century (Donington: Shaun Tyas, 2010), pp. 1-11 and 187-236.

Julian Gardner (emeritus professor of art history at the University of Warwick) has always worked on painting as well as sculpture. In his research he also pays attention to architecture, since the three are intimately related. This can be seen in painting and mosaics above or around monumental tombs and in the general theme of the location of tombs within churches. Moreover, a long-standing concern in Julian Gardner's studies has been patronage. All these interests will feature in his lecture.

Some publications by Julian Gardner:
  • The tomb and the tiara: curial tomb sculpture in Rome and Avignon in the later Middle Ages (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).
  • Patrons, painters and saints: studies in medieval Italian painting Collected Essays (Aldershot: Variorum, 1994).
  • Giotto and his publics: three paradigms of patronage The Bernard Berenson Lectures (Harvard, forthcoming).

You can register for this workshop by sending an e-mail (contact information is in issue 5, page 10). The workshop is organized by the MeMO project.

International Medieval Congress, Leeds

Date 12-15 July 2010
Organization Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS)
Website Link

The International Medieval Congress (IMC) is organized and administered by the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMS). Since its start in 1994, the Congress has established itself as an annual event with an attendance of over 1,500 medievalists from all over the world. It is the largest conference of its kind in Europe.

Drawing medievalists from over 40 countries, with over 1.000 individual papers and 375 academic sessions and a wide range of concerts, performances, readings, round tables, excursions, bookfair and associated events, the Leeds International Medieval Congress is Europe's largest annual gathering in the humanities. This summer's International Medieval Congress will take place from 12-15 July 2010.

For the full program please consult the IMC website.
As announced in our previous MMR issue (page 9), the MeMO-project will also be hosting three sessions during this congress, namely "Medieval Commemoration: Narrative Sources and Memorial Registers", "Medieval Commemoration: Funerary and Memorial Art" and "Medieval Commemoration: Medieval Memoria Online, New Research Tools".

27th Harlaxton Medieval Symposium: Patrons and Professionals

Date 20-23 July 2010
Website Link

The aim of this Symposium is to explore and debate the processes of artistic creation in the broadest sense in the middle ages: who created images, words, objects, buildings, music and perhaps even systems of thought. Key themes will include an exploration of theories of patronage, including 'mediating themes' such as contracts, exempla and the nexus of patrons and professionals. The practical and theoretical issues raised by the concept of professionalism will also be addressed, including notions of authorship, to see how widely they can be applied to the verbal and non-verbal arts.

The 27th Harlaxton Medieval Symposium is convened by Professor Paul Binski (Cambridge) and Dr Elizabeth New (Aberystwyth contact information is in issue 5, page 11).

The full program can be found on the HMS website.

10th International Conference on Urban History: City & Society in European History

Date 1-4 September, 2010
Location Ghent, Belgium
Website Link

The 10th International Conference on Urban History will take place at the University of Ghent, on 1-4 September 2010. Subscribers of MMR may be interested in this summer's conference and in particular the session on 'Commemoration and Community in City Churches'. This includes the following lectures on memoria:

Paul Cockerham (Independent Scholar)
'Cathédrale Ou Collégiale? Monuments And Commemoration In Late Medieval Toul'

Llewellyn Bogaers (Levend Verleden Utrecht)
'Graves And Memorials As An Expression Of Status: The Case Of Utrecht (1300-1600)'

Justin Colson and Christian Steer (Royal Holloway, University of London)
'Commemoration in the Community: Memory in the Parish Churches of Medieval London'

Bert Timmermans (Centre for Urban Studies - University of Antwerp)
'Baroque Piety And Status Honour: The Elite And The Privatisation Of The Church In Seventeenth-Century Antwerp'

Full details on the conference, together with the program and booking details are available from the web page.

6th Symposium on Memoria Research

The 6th Symposium on Memoria Research will take place on September 3rd in Utrecht (room 0.05 (Sweelinckzaal), Drift 21). Additional information will be published on the MeMO website in the summer.

Call for papers: "Burial and Commemoration in Art and Society"

24-26 March 2011, Montreal
RSA - Renaissance Society of America

The art historical study of early-modern funerary monuments is often limited to particular patrons, churches, or artists. We seek papers that range broadly in time and place from around the Mediterranean world to allow comparative analysis of the social and cultural meanings of monuments commemorating the dead. Papers may consider issues of memory, loss and representation, as well as the use of space over time. Other issues include questions of burial choice, from ceremony to monument to location.

Instructions for Submission:
Please send an abstract (150 words maximum) and a CV (including institutional affiliation and contact information) by May 21, 2010 (contact information is in issue 5, page 12).

Anne Leader, Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta
Sarah Brooks, James Madison University

Speakers must be members of the RSA at the time of the conference.

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This page was last updated on: October 7th, 2010

MMR Updates

December 16th, 2016:

The seventeenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available.

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September 12th, 2012:

The tenth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available. This is a double issue so be sure to check out both Part One and Part Two.

March 6th, 2012:

The ninth issue of Medieval Memoria Research is now available! In this issue you will find many new book announcements and information on projects dedicated to digitising memorial registers.

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