Posts Tagged ‘Kalamazoo’

IMANA: Call for Papers for the 52nd International Medieval Congress, Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, May 11-14, 2017)

Tuesday, July 19th, 2016

IMANA: Call for Papers for the 52nd International Medieval Congress, Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, May 11-14, 2017)

Deadline for submission of paper proposals is September 15.

The Ibero-Medieval Association of North America (IMANA) will sponsor three sessions and co-sponsor two roundtables with the North American Catalan Society (NACS) at the Congress next May.  If you’d like to submit an abstract for one of these sessions, please  fill out the Participant Information Form which you’ll find on the website link below and submit it directly to the session organizer.  Be sure to indicate whether or not you’ll need any equipment such as a projector:

Here is a list of the IMANA sessions and their organizers for 2017:

  1. Alfonso al-Hakīm: Significance and Impact of Alfonso X of Castile’s Exchanges with the Islamic World (Michelle Hamilton, University of Minnesota)

The connections of Alfonso X of Castile to the Islamic world exceed his evident interest in Arabic texts, his patronage of Muslim scholars and translators, and his conflictive relationships with Muslim enemies, allies, and subjects. This session invites papers from historical, cultural or literary perspectives and will accept topics like:

– Islamic influences over the Alfonsine works.
– commonalities between Islamic authors and the cultural production of the Alfonsine court.
– political, religious, and social interactions between Alfonso X and Muslims inside and outside his works.
– impact of the Alfonsine translations for Iberia and the rest of the Mediterranean world.

For consideration in the panel, interested participants should send a 500-word abstract and a 2-page cv to

  1. A Text by Any Other Name: Rewritings, Reworkings, and Manipulations of Medieval Iberian Texts: (David Arbesú, University of South Florida)

While we tend to think of contemporary works of literature as finished, unalterable products, this was seldom the case in the Middle Ages, when even the mere act of copying a text most likely produced a different version of it. However, scribal error is but one of the many different explanations for the transformation of medieval works. Texts would often be altered purposefully as a means of manipulating the readers’ interpretation of historical events so as to produce political propaganda, and popular myths, legends, and/or folklore could be rewritten to suit particular interests. Our job as modern critics of this literature is to analyze such textual witnesses in an attempt to comprehend the original writer’s intentions as opposed to the altered documents that may reveal foul play. This panel will examine the rewriting, reworking, and manipulations of such texts and attempt to establish possible motives that could have provoked the alterations found in their existing witnesses. This will allow us to reevaluate how these changes have affected our understanding and vision of the works in question and will allow us to appreciate the differences between original versions versus their reworked counterparts.

Please send a 300-word abstract and 2-page cv to

  1. Literary, Artistic, and Cultural Approaches to Friendship in Late Medieval Iberia (Sol Miguel-Prendes, Wake Forest University)

Scholarship on friendship tends to ignore the Iberian peninsula with the notable exceptions of  Carlos Heush’s dissertation (1992) on the philosophy of love and friendship in 15th-c Spain; Cortijo Ocaña’s studies on Boncompagno da Signa (2002, 2005) and the echoes in Rodríguez del Padrón’s Siervo libre de amor (2006); and more recently Antonella Liuzzo Scorpo’s Friendship in Medieval Iberia: Historical, Legal and Literary Perspectives (2014) focusing on the 13th century and the works of Alfonso X. This panel asks for papers that explore friendship in the later middle ages from literary, artistic, and/or cultural perspectives.

Please send a 300-word abstract and 2-page cv to

For information on the roundtable discussion, please refer to the Congress’s Call for papers at


2016 La corónica International Book Prize

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Winner of the 2016 La corónica International Book Award

Laura Ackerman Smoller

Laura Ackerman Smoller, Professor of History, University of Rochester, studies the areas of intersection between magic, science, and religion in medieval and Renaissance Europe, centering around two major themes:  astrology and apocalyptic prophecy, and saints and miracles. Her first book, History, Prophecy, and the Stars: The Christian Astrology of Pierre d’Ailly, 1350-1420 (Princeton: Princeton UP, 1994), explores a French cardinal’s use of astrology to investigate the time of the world’s End. She argues that d’Ailly, worried about intractable papal Schism and hoping that a church council could bring the crisis to an end, turned to astrology as a way to silence the numerous forces that saw the Great Schism as a preamble to Antichrist’s reign and thus, by implication, incBook Coverapable of resolution by human efforts.

In her second monograph, The Saint and the Chopped-Up Baby: The Cult of Vincent Ferrer in Medieval and Early Modern Europe (Ithaca:  Cornell UP, 2014), she examines the canonization and cult of the Valencian friar Vincent Ferrer, a fiery apocalyptic preacher of the Schism years who died in 1419 and was canonized in 1455. Ranging from the saint’s tomb in Brittany to cult centers in Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Latin America, the book traces the long and sometimes contentious process of establishing a stable image of a new saint.  Starting with the rich material of the canonization process, Smoller mines stories about the holy friar as a means of exploring the religious lives of medieval and early modern Christians.  In a nuanced reading of canonization inquests, hagiography, liturgical sources, art, and devotional materials, people’s tales of the holy turn out reveal as much about their narrators—and their assertions of political, social, and spiritual status—as they do about Vincent Ferrer.  A central focus of the book is a bizarre tale, in which a mother kills, chops up, and cooks her own baby, only to have the child restored to life by the saint’s intercession.  This miracle becomes a key symbol of the official portrayal of the saint promoted by the papal court and the Dominican order through the Life of Vincent composed by Pietro Ranzano, in which Vincent appears as healer of the Great Schism (1378-1414) that had rent the Catholic church for nearly forty years.  But analysis of artistic portrayals and other Lives of the saint composed in a variety of contexts from the time of Vincent’s 1455 canonization through the eve of the Enlightenment shows artists and authors utilizing this potent religious symbol for their own purposes, ends sometimes at odds with the official image of the saint promoted by Rome.  Even though Ranzano’s official line eventually came to dominate hagiography, his was only one voice in a long, raucous discussion ranging over many centuries.  The Saint and the Chopped-Up Baby restores the voices of that conversation in all its complexity.

More recently, Smoller has returned to the interrelationships between astrology and prophecy in a new book project tentatively titled “Astrology and the Sibyls,” an investigation of ways of knowing the future ranging from around 1100 to around 1600.


Laura Ackerman receives the La corónica International Book Award from Jonathan Burgoyne.













2015 La corónica International Book Prize

Sunday, May 24th, 2015

Winner of the 2015 La corónica International Book Award

Ryan Szpiech

Book DisplayRyan Szpiech, Associate Professor of Spanish, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, studies the cultures and literatures of medieval Iberia, focusing especially on cultural interaction, exchange, and conflict. His interests converge around the concept of translation (of languages, alphabets, styles, beliefs, identities, and ideas) as a tool for defining the relations between Jews, Muslims, and Christians.

Conversion and Narrative: Reading and Religious Authority in Medieval Polemic (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2013) draws on a wide body of sources from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim polemics to investigate the place of narrative in the representation of conversion. Making a firm distinction between stories told about conversion and the experience of religious change, Szpiech’s book is not a history of conversion itself but a comparative study of how and why it was presented in narrative form within the context of religious disputation. After considering the late antique paradigms on which medieval Christian conversion narratives were based, Szpiech juxtaposes Christian stories with contemporary accounts of conversion to Islam and Judaism. The monograph emphasizes that polemical conflict between Abrahamic religions in the medieval Mediterranean centered on competing visions of history and salvation. By seeing conversion not as an individual experience but as a public narrative, Conversion and Narrative provides a new, interdisciplinary perspective on medieval writing about religious disputes.

Szpiech receives award

Jonathan Burgoyne, Editor of La corónica, presents the 2015 La corónica International Book Prize to Professor Ryan Szpiech at the 50th International Congress of Medieval Studies, Kalamazoo, Michigan