CFP: The Rood in Medieval Britain and Ireland c.900–c.1500 (University of York, 2–3 September 2016)

Deadline: 18th April

King’s Manor, University of York

The rood – understood as the cross itself, and/or the image of Christ crucified – was central to the visual and devotional culture of medieval Christianity. By the late middle ages, a rood was present in monumental form, either painted or sculpted, at the east end of the nave of every church. Yet roods in numerous other forms could be found in ecclesiastical contexts: as images, in various sizes and media – in manuscript illumination, on textiles, and in stained glass. Images of the rood were also to be found within domestic, civic, and military contexts, from the bedroom to the battlefield.

Following recent scholarship that has focused on early medieval roods (Sancta Crux/Halig Rod series, 2004-2010), and considered monumental roods on the Continent (Jacqueline Jung’s The Gothic Screen, 2013), this conference will bring together established academics, early career and emerging scholars, to share new research and foster debate on the forms and functions of images of the rood in Britain and Ireland c.900-c.1500. To this end, we invite proposals (max. 300 words) for papers of no longer than 30 minutes’ duration from scholars working within the disciplines of medieval Art History, Literature, History, Archaeology and Theology.

In considering the monumental church rood together with its counterparts in other media and contexts, this conference aims to reassess the complexities of the central image within the medieval Christian imagination.

Potential areas for discussion can include, but are not limited to, the rood in relation to materiality; sacred space; the liturgy; emotion/affect; conquest and crusade; the relationship between text and image; patronage, and pageantry/secular display.

Proposals should be emailed to no later than 18 April 2016.

Organisers: Dr Philippa Turner and Dr Jane Hawkes, Department of History of Art, University of York

Meet an Archaeologist – Dr Steve Ashby

Meet an Archaeologist – Dr Steve Ashby

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Steve Ashby is a medieval archaeologist with specialism in the archaeology of portable material culture and the use of animal products in craft and industry. He is trained in geology, zooarchaeology, and artefact studies, and is particularly interested in the relationship between the various regions of Britain and Scandinavia before, during, and after the Viking Age.

Before starting up at York, Steve was employed by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, as Finds Liaison Officer for Northamptonshire, a role that involved working closely with local communities, amateur archaeologists, and metal detectorists in order to preserve by record the vast numbers of chance finds recovered by members of the public. Steve continues his association with the PAS, and is interested in exploiting the potential of the data it produces, particularly regarding early medieval craft, trade, and identity, and battlefield archaeology.

Steve teaches in a range of medieval subjects, as well as in the practical aspects of artefact studies, and is also Chair of the Board of Studies, which means that he oversees all the teaching in the department, and will be one of the members of staff that new students will get to know quite well.

Steve is becoming a regular in the media on matters Viking, most recently recording two series of documentaries in support of the History Channel.

York Medieval Lecture – Prof. David Wallace (University of Pennsylvania) “Europe: New Foundations for an Unknown Future” (Wednesday 9 March)

David Wallace (University of Pennsylvania) “Europe: New Foundations for an Unknown Future

Wednesday 9 March 5:30pm – wine reception, KG/84
6:00pm – Lecture, Huntingdon room

The ‘greatest generation’ of literary historians, headed by E.R. Curtius and cheered on by T.S. Eliot, attempted after World War II to stabilize European literary tradition around tropes and figurae of Rome-centered Latinity. Through intensive philological discipline and the kind of comparatism developed with distinction at York, they encouraged and inspired several post-war generations, and their work continues to be of value. But their vision of European cultural integration, affirmed through creation and expansion of the EU, now seems inadequate to current understanding, or to explain the complexities of the medieval past. At a time when medieval is now routinely coupled with terms such as monstrosity, it is vital to consider alternative methods for mapping the medieval past, to consider how this might contribute to understanding our own difficult European moment, and to show that medieval can indicate a cultural, religious, and literary convivencia that is not to be repudiated, but rather aspired to.

For tickets to this event, please use the university booking website

David Wallace (BA York 1976; Ph.D. Cambridge 1983) has been Judith Rodin Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of Pennsylvania since 1996, is Second Vice-President of the Medieval Academy of America, and is most recently editor of Europe: A Literary History, 1348-1418, 2 vols (Oxford University Press, 2016).

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