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Medieval Academy of America FAQ

What exactly IS the Medieval Academy of America?

The Medieval Academy of America is the largest organization in the United States promoting excellence in the field of medieval studies. It was founded in 1925 and is based in Boston, Massachusetts. The academy publishes the quarterly journal Speculum, and awards prizes, grants, and fellowships. The Medieval Academy supports research, publication, and teaching in medieval art, archaeology, history, law, literature, music, philosophy, religion, science, social and economic institutions, and all other aspects of the Middle Ages.

Who can join the Medieval Academy?

This question is best answered by our Statement on Diversity and Academic Freedom: “Membership in the Medieval Academy is open to all persons concerned with the study and teaching of the Middle Ages, including, but not limited to, independent scholars, secondary teachers, graduate students, curators, librarians, and college and university professors of all ranks and at all types of institutions. We aim to foster an environment of diversity, inclusion, and academic freedom for all medievalists. Further, we affirm the right of students and junior faculty to receive supportive, professional mentoring that respects their intellectual freedom and personal integrity.”

What are the benefits of membership?

Members receive Speculum in print and have access to the entire Speculum digital archive. They are also eligible to apply for our many grant programs and to submit a proposal to participate in the Medieval Academy Annual Meeting. Members also have access to discounted online resources such as the International Medieval Bibliography, JSTOR, and others. Click here to learn about the benefits of membership and to join.

How do I volunteer to serve on a committee?

Nearly 100 members serve on more than twenty different Medieval Academy committees. Every year, vacancies on these committees are filled at the recommendation of the Committee on Committees (see “How does governance work? below). To indicate your interest in being considered to serve on a Committee, simply check the pertinent box on your online profile page, accessible after signing into our website with your username and password. These names (usually several hundred) are passed on to the Committee on Committees when they begin their work each January. Most committee members serve three year terms, chairing the committee during their final year.

How does the governance work?

The day-to-day activities of the Medieval Academy are conducted by the staff in our Boston, Massachusetts office. Oversight is provided by the Council , a body of twelve elected Councillors and three elected Presidential Officers. The Treasurer, President of the Fellows, Editor, and Executive Director sit on the Council ex officio and without vote. The Councillors are elected by the members in the annual election and serve in classes of four for three years, with four new Councillors elected every year. Presidential officers serve three years as well: the first as Second Vice-President, then as First Vice-President, and finally as President. The Council meets once per year, during the Annual Meeting.

The Council is divided into two smaller bodies: the Executive Committee and the Committee on Committees. The Executive Committee is comprised of the three Presidential Officers, the four third-year Councillors, and two of the second-year Councillors. The Executive Committee meets quarterly (twice in person and twice virtually) to handle pressing matters and advise the staff. The Committee on Committees is comprised of the remaining six Councillors (four first-year Councillors and the remaining second-year Councillors) and is responsible for presenting a slate of names to fill open Committee positions, which turn over at the end of each Annual Meeting. The slate is presented to the full Council for approval during its annual meeting.

The Finance Committee
is chaired by the Treasurer and is responsible for oversight of the Academy’s investment portfolio (in consultation with our advisor at UBS) as well as working with the Executive Director to formulate each year’s budget. The Finance Committee also recommends staff salaries and benefits to the Executive Committee each year.

The Academy is ultimately governed by its policies and procedures, recorded here.

How are nominees for election chosen?

Candidates for election are selected by the Nominating Committee. The Nominating Committee is charged with selecting eight candidates for the four open Council positions and one candidate for Second Vice-President, who runs unopposed (beginning with the 2021 election in the fall of 2020, the second vice-President will be chosen from a slate of three nominees). The Nominating Committee is itself elected by the membership: the President assembles a slate for four candidates for each year’s election, of whom two will be elected for a three-year term. The President appoints the Chair of the Nominating Committee each year.

How do the Academy’s finances work?

The Medieval Academy is an incorporated 501©3 non-profit in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Although our line-item budget is confidential, our annual financial statements can be found on the website of the Massachusetts Attorney General by searching “Medieval Academy of America”:

The Academy has three primary sources of revenue: memberships, Speculum institutional subscriptions, and the draw on our endowment. Our expenses include grants and awards, volunteer support, rent, and staff salaries and benefits.

What is CARA?

CARA is the Committee on Centers and Regional Associations. It is a network of program chairs, administrators, and others interested in developing and implementing best practices for supporting and promoting medieval studies on campus, regionally, nationally, and internationally. For more information, see the CARA section of the website.

How does the Annual Meeting work?

The Annual Meeting takes place in a different location every year, usually on an academic campus hosted by a particular institution or institutions. The host is responsible for developing the call for papers, assembling the sessions, and running the meeting. For a list of upcoming meetings, click here. If you would like to host a future meeting at your institution, please contact the Executive Director for additional information.

How do I submit an article to Speculum?

Please see the Speculum portion of this website for information about our journal.

Who are the Fellows?

Medieval Academy Fellows are medievalists who have made notable lifelong contributions to the field through their teaching, scholarship, mentoring, and service. Corresponding Fellows are resident outside of North America. Fellows and Corresponding Fellows are elected by the current Fellows but may be nominated by any member. For more information about the Fellows and the Fellows election, please see the Fellows section of the website.

Please feel free to contact us ( if you have any other questions about the Medieval Academy of America.

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Opinions expressed by members in print, video, or online represent their personal views, not necessarily those of the Medieval Academy of America.

The Medieval Academy of America
6 Beacon St., Ste 500
Boston, MA 02108
Phone: (617) 491-1622
Fax: (617) 492-3303