Beyond Medievalism? Exeter Medievalism Network at Leeds IMC

The Leeds International Medieval Congress 2009 gets underway two weeks from today.  The theme of this year’s gathering is “Heresy and Orthodoxy” but, as ever, the congress includes a rich range of thematic strands, including a healthy selection of panels on Medievalism.  One such panel has been organized by the recently founded Exeter Medievalism Network.

The Exeter Medievalism Network has been set up by a group of colleagues who, specializing in different historical periods, have found a common interest in the the phenomenon of medievalism (broadly defined as a fascination with and/or attempt to revive some aspect of medieval culture).  Medievalism has been of increasing fascination to scholars in a range of disciplines, including literary studies, history, art history and archaeology, and to specialists in all historical periods ranging from the Renaissance to the present. For all this, academic approaches to medievalism have tended to be limited in two key respects. Firstly, medievalism has generally been understood as a nostalgic and aesthetic response, with scholars focusing on the revival or reinvention of formal practices (Spenserian diction, pre-Raphaelitism) and/or heroic national legends (King Arthur, Robin Hood). There has been far less attention to how the broader array of medieval social structures and practices have appealed as models or otherwise found representation in subsequent periods. Secondly, individual studies of medievalism have almost always been synchronic, focusing on the vision of middle ages in a given historical period (eg, the Romantic era, the Victorian period, or indeed the present day. What is less common is the diachronic narrative charting how the reputation, image or use of a particular medieval phenomenon changed over time. Our aim as a research network is to encourage the development of such narratives, through our own collaboration and through the sponsorship of events including an international conference at Exeter in 2010 (of which more later). 

Here are details of the EMN session at IMC:

Session: 1625

Title: Imagining Monastic Communities

Date / Time: July 16, 2009 11.15-12.45

Sponsor: University of Exeter Medievalism Network

Organiser: Corinna Wagner, Department of English, University of Exeter

Moderator: Cory James Rushton, Department of English, St Francis Xavier University, Nova Scotia

Paper 1625-a: ‘It was never merry world since…’: Dissolution, Nostalgia, and the Birth of the Middle Ages

Philip Schwyzer , Department of English, University of Exeter

Paper 1625-b: ‘An habitual propensity to indolence and inactivity, contracted during his confinement in the cloister’: Medieval Kings, Catholicism, and Masculinity in the 19th-Century Novel

Joanne Parker, University of Exeter Medievalism Network, University of Exeter

Paper 1625-c: Medievalism, Community, and the Rise of Modern Political Economy

Corinna Wagner, Department of English, University of Exeter

Abstract: This panel investigates constructions of medieval monasticism in the early modern and modern English imagination. We examine how narratives surrounding monastic society evolved over time: each of the papers will explore the ways in which narratives about monks and pious kings were employed in different political and religious contexts. After their Dissolution, monasteries became – for both Catholics and Protestants – emblems of a lost era of cultural harmony. In the late 18th century, these emblems were used to protest the rise of modern political economy. Then, in the 19th century, monastic heroes were used to promote Catholic Relief and related political initiatives.

On the topic of medievalism, a question has been preying on our minds of late.  What is the term for a specialist in medievalism?  “Medievalist,” alas, is already taken.  Medievalite?  Suggestions in the comments section, please.

Other (genuine) medievalists from Exeter University speaking at IMC include Sarah Hamilton, Naomi Howell, and Anthony Musson.



Note the new link on the right to Exeter postgrad Lee Durbin’s excellent blog, “Marginalia.”  His recent talk on Textual Promiscuity offers food for thought for anyone interested in how the digital humanities is shaping our perception of early modern texts.

CFP: Universal Reformation at Oxford (September, 2010) — UPDATED: note change of date

Universal Reformation: Intellectual Networks in Central and Western Europe, 1560-1670

An International Conference at the University of Oxford

St Anne’s College, 21-23 September 2010

Call for Papers

For decades before the Thirty Years War, Protestant communities in Poland-Lithuania, the Czech lands, and Hungary-Transylvania, lacking fully functional local universities responsive to their needs, sent their sons westward to study in Germany’s numerous universities and academies. The resulting contact and reciprocal influence knit the intellectual histories of these regions together in inextricable ways. The three decades of war which followed disrupted many of these institutions and replaced these patterns of academic travel with fresh waves of intellectual refugees fleeing in all directions: not only to Transylvania, western Poland, and Polish Prussia, but also to Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and the British Isles. At the same time, the trauma of displacement transformed long-nurtured aspirations toward ecclesiastical reunification, political pacification, pedagogical improvement, and philosophical reform into an all-embracing programme of universal reformation. As formulated above all by the exiled Moravian pedagogue and pansophist Jan Amos Comenius (1592-1670), this vision was disseminated in England by the circle around the displaced ‘intelligencer’ from Polish Prussia, Samuel Hartlib (c. 1600-62).

For much of the twentieth century, the intrinsic difficulty of surveying this vast network was exacerbated by profound national rivalries and ideological divisions. Following the revolutions of 1989 and the expansion of the European Union in 2004, however, transformed political conditions allow an unprecedented assault on this problem. With this in mind, this conference invites both emerging and established scholars to contribute their perspectives on this huge system and the unfamiliar intellectual traditions exchanged within it. Discussions are intended to range outward chronologically from the wartime period to earlier and immediately following developments connected with it, and geographically from central Europe in all directions. Intellectual traditions to be explored include the following:

–  Universal education: institutional networks and intellectual exchange

– Universal wisdom: encyclopaedia and pansophia

– Universal communication: the early modern European media revolution

– Universal communion: ecclesiastical reconciliation in central Europe

– Universal history: millenarianism, prophecy, and propaganda

Abstracts of no more than 300 words should be sent to the ‘Cultures  of Knowledge’ Project Director, Professor Howard Hotson, at by 31 December 2009

Published in: on June 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cultural Histories of the Sea (Exeter, 26 June)

The Centre for Maritime Historical Studies Seminar Series presents:

“Cultural Histories of the Sea”

26th June 2009, 2.15 pm – 5.15 pm

Room 128 Amory Building

Professor Nicholas Purcell (Oxford University)

‘Becoming Maritime: between naval history and popular culture’


Professor Bernhard Klein (University of Kent)

‘Historicizing the Early Modern Ocean’

A drinks reception will follow the seminar and all are welcome to attend. 

Gender and Loss at Bath Spa (August 2009)

Gender & Loss: Experiencing Widowhood in Britain and Europe c.1400-1900

The Centre for the History of Gender & the Urban Experience (CEHGURE) at Bath Spa University is very pleased to be holding its first conference on Gender & Loss: Experiencing Widowhood in Britain and Europe c.1400-1900, at the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution (BRLSI) on 27-8 August. The exciting programme as well as the registration form are available here. The organizers are particularly interested in using the conference as a way of developing a network of postgraduate students and academics with similar interests. We hope to see a good crowd at the conference in August!

Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe (UWE, 26-27 June)

Religion and Society in Early Modern Europe

A Conference in Memory of Dr. Trevor Johnson

Friday 26 and Saturday 27 June 2009

The St Matthias Campus, University of the West of England, Bristol.

Dr Trevor Johnson was a much loved colleague and friend, and an internationally-respected scholar of early modern European history who sadly died suddenly in 2007. To celebrate his life and academic achievements this two-day conference will be hosted by colleagues at the University of the West of England, Bristol.

The conference theme reflects Trevor’s impressively broad range of teaching and research interests, including aspects of the religious, social, cultural, and military history of early modern Europe. The conference also reflects the scope of Trevor’s knowledge and work, which covered much of Western Europe and focused in particular on Germany and Spain.

Further information on Trevor’s academic career can be found here.

Speakers include: Simon Ditchfield, Sarah Hamilton, Beät Kumin, Peter Marshall, Judith Pollman, Andrew Spicer, and Peter Wilson.

Conference fee (including refreshments and conference dinner on Fri. 26 June, and refreshments and lunch on Sat. 27): £20.

Postgraduate students and UWE students are invited to attend free of charge.

Delegates are invited to make their own transport and accommodation arrangements although a special discounted rate has been arranged with a nearby hotel (further information provided on the registration form).

Venue: St Matthias Campus, University of the West of England, Bristol, BS16 2JP

Please contact Peter Fleming or James Lee  for more details.



1.00 Reception and Registration

2.00 Opening Remarks

2.15-5.00 Session One: War and Faith in Continental Europe

Beat Kümin The pre-modern parish: state of research and comparative perspectives

Judith Pollmann A new covenant: marshalling the sacred in the Southern Netherlands, 1585-1621

Elizabeth Tingle Purgatory at the ends of the earth: popular beliefs about the afterlife in counter-reformation Brittany

Peter Wilson Who won the Thirty Years War?

5.00-5.30 Tea

5.30-7.00 Session Two: Religion in England I

Lucy Kostyanovsky Sermons and images: the fragmentation of worship in Reformation England’.

Gary Evans Chaplains, clergyman and soldiers: religion and the culture of the British military 1660-1783

8.00 Dinner



9.30-11.00: Session Three: Religion in England II

Sarah Hamilton A medieval Reformation? The delivery of pastoral care in England in the central Middle Ages’

Peter Marshall When did Protestants become Protestants? Conflict and confessional labels in sixteenth-century England’

11.00-11.30 Coffee

11.30-1.00 Session Four: Piety and Place

Simon Ditchfield Thinking with Jerusalem: place and the making of the first world religion

Andrew Spicer Notre Dame des Miracles, Joan of Arc and parochial piety during the French Wars of Religion

1.00 Lunch

Conference ends

All sessions take place in the Lady Chapel/Chapel Lecture Theatre, St Matthias Campus, Oldbury Court Road, Bristol BS16

Renaissance Lectureship at Exeter (Cornwall Campus)

The Department of English at the Cornwall Campus seeks to appoint a permanent, full-time Lecturer in Renaissance Literature and Culture from September 2009. Given the emphasis on literature, place and the environment in Cornwall, preference is likely to be given to candidates with interests in this area. The successful candidate will be expected to play a full role in research, teaching and administration in English on the Cornwall Campus as part of the work of the Department across both campuses.

This new full time post is available from 1 September 2009 as part of an expansion of English Department in Cornwall.

The starting salary will be circa £31,500 pa

Download the application pack.

The closing date for completed applications is 12 noon on 12 June 2009

Interviews will be held in Cornwall on the 7 July.

The University of Exeter is an equal opportunity employer and promotes diversity in its workforce and, whilst all applicants will be judged on merit alone, is particularly keen to consider applications from groups currently underrepresented in the workforce.

Postgraduate Futures (Globe, 6 July)

Postgraduate Futures

Academics and publishers tell it like it is: what do you need to know to complete your dissertation? how do you publish your thesis? is there still a job market for early modern and Shakespeare academics, and how do you get a permanent post when you finish your dissertation?

The Globe Postgraduate Research Seminar on postgraduate futures will be held on Monday 6 July 2009 from 6-8 pm at Shakespeare’s Globe.

Chairing the discussions: Dr Christie Carson (Senior Lecturer, Royal Holloway, University of London)

‘Completing the Dissertation’: Professor Ann Thompson (Professor of English at King’s College London)

‘The Book Proposal and Publishing the Thesis’: Sarah Stanton (Commissioning Editor, Cambridge University Press)

‘The Job Market’: Professor Russ McDonald (Professor of English, Goldsmiths College London)

for more information and to register please contact

Published in: on June 1, 2009 at 9:20 pm  Leave a Comment