Friday, May 20, 2011

Kalamazoo 2011

Last week I spent Wednesday through Sunday in Kalamazoo, attending the 46th International Congress on Medieval Studies at Western Michigan University (or "Kalamazoo" for the sake of brevity), the largest gathering of medievalists anywhere. This year there was an abundance of really excellent papers for Germanists and several that intersected with my research in one way or another. Among the many excellent papers:
  • Tomás O'Sullivan, St. Louis U: " 'Sizi uilo stillo, vuirki godes uuillon': The Lorscher Bienensegen as a Call to the Contemplative Life." Not only a convincing argument that the Lorscher Bienensegen is talking about Benedictines rather than bees, but an exemplary presentation.
  • Anna Grotans, Ohio State U: "Ye Olde Hildebrandslied." I'm still trying to wrap my mind around all the implications of this one. If even the Hildebrandslied - a founding document of German literature - is constructing Germanic antiquity, then it really is turtles all the way down.
  • Damian Fleming, Indian U-Purdue U-Fort Wayne: "Unknown Letters: Medieval an Modern Scribal Transmission of Foreign Alphabets." Is there an inner history of reading? I hope so, as I'm supposed to give a paper about it in September. Damian Fleming's paper provided some key insights that will make my own work that much easier.
  • Alana King, Princeton U: "Medievalism and Reformation: Matthias Flacius Illyricus as Medievalist." More key insights for a different project. Now I know I shouldn't have been ignoring Matthias Flacius the whole time.
  • Erik Born, U California-Berkeley: "Hildegard von Bingen, Lexicographer." Even more than a decade after finishing my M.A. thesis on the Lingua ignota, the topic remains near and dear. I was happy to see that my article that eventually resulted from my thesis was useful to someone else who is taking off in a new direction.

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