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MAA2020 Introductory Material


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We had so looked forward to the great pleasure of welcoming you to the San Francisco Bay Area and to the University of California, Berkeley for the 95th Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America. While the MAA heads west every three years, it had not met in our little bit of paradise since 1983. While we will only be meeting virtually this year, we hope that each of you will eventually visit our beautiful campus and stroll through our redwood groves, look through the Golden Gate from the base of the Campanile, and listen to Strawberry Creek as it meanders toward the Bay.

A diverse and varied Program emerged last summer and early fall around 27 themes reflecting the wide-ranging interests of local medievalists: multilingualism and translation, law and archives, gender and culture, as well as music, migration, medicine, architecture and nature, to name just a few. Such topics attracted over 500 proposals, a sign of the vitality of the many fields devoted to the study of the Middle Ages across Europe and beyond. Our blind review yielded a richly interdisciplinary program that brought together scholars at various stages in their careers, with diverse backgrounds and experiences, as well as varying views and perspectivesthat is, a very Berkeley gathering!  While only a portion of the originally scheduled panels and plenary lectures are being presented in this virtual version of MAA2020, some may be incorporated into next year's annual meeting and others may migrate to different future venues.  So, the intellectual energy of the meeting will not be lost: it will just radiate outward more slowly than the supernova-like burst (accompanied by great food!) that we had planned.

As disappointing as the cancellation of the on-campus conference has been to all of us on the Program Committee, and to many other individuals and units throughout the University that had been working so hard on this event, we hope the heritage of this Berkeley meeting will be further experimentation and collaboration to build more inclusive ways to share our work, energize diverse intellectual communities, and support the next generation of outstanding medievalists.

Maureen C. Miller and Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe, University of California, Berkeley
Co-chairs, 2020 MAA Program Committee

Program Committee

Sabrina Agarwal, Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
Asad Ahmed, Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Diliana Angelova, History and History of Art, University of California, Berkeley
Mary Harvey Doyno, History, Sacramento State University
John Efron, History and Jewish Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Fiona Griffith, History, Stanford University
Marian Homans-Turnbull, English, University of California, Berkeley
Eleanor Johnson, English, Columbia University (Alumni/ae Representative)
Ruth Mazo Karras (ex-officio: President of the Medieval Academy of America)
Shirin Khanmohamadi, Comparative and World Literature, San Francisco State University
Sharon Kinoshita, Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz (Alumnae/i Representative)
Geoff Koziol, History, University of California, Berkeley
Henrike C. Lange, History of Art and Italian Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Niklaus Largier, German and Comparative Literature, University of California, Berkeley
Daniel Lee, Political Science, University of California, Berkeley
Maria Mavroudi, History, University of California, Berkeley
Laurent Mayali, Law and Comparative Legal Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Nasser Meerkhan, Near Eastern Studies and Spanish and Portuguese, University of California,
Dan Melia, Rhetoric and Celtic Studies, University of California, Berkeley
Maureen C. Miller, History, University of California, Berkeley (Co-chair)
Maura Nolan, English, University of California, Berkeley
Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe, English, University of California, Berkeley
John Ott, Portland State University (ex-officio: President of the Medieval Association of the
Elaine Tennant, German, University of California, Berkeley
Jonas Wellendorf, Scandinavian, University of California, Berkeley
Emily Zazulia, Music, University of California, Berkeley

Welcome from the Program in Medieval Studies

The Medieval Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley is an interdisciplinary group that coordinates and sponsors lectures, events, and visiting professorships, promotes scholarly interests common to medievalists of different academic departments, and communicates information of interest among them.

The Program in Medieval Studies at the University of California, Berkeley offers a Concurrent Ph.D. program in which candidates have both a home department and training in the core disciplines of Medieval Studies. The Program also offers an undergraduate minor in Medieval Studies.

The Program was established by five professors in the 1960s—Robert Brentano of History, Richard Crocker of Music, Blake Spahr of German, Charles Witke of Classics, and David Wright of Art History—who gathered regularly to share their enthusiasm for the Middle Ages and to dream of uniting with the other medievalists scattered throughout the College of Letters & Science. Believing that an atmosphere of informality would best facilitate the exchange of ideas, they convened weekly meetings throughout the semester at which students, faculty, and other scholars could gather for lunch, a casual presentation by a guest speaker, and discussion. To further the cross-pollination of ideas, the group also hoped to bring to campus every year an influential scholar from outside the U.S. The Distinguished Visiting Professor in Medieval Studies would teach an upper-division course and a graduate seminar in his or her area of expertise. The group proposed the program to Sanford Elberg, Dean of the Graduate Division at the time. Dean Elberg enthusiastically provided the guidance and the finances to make the program a reality. For over forty years, Distinguished Visiting Professors of Medieval Studies enriched the UC Berkeley community of medievalists.

While these initiatives invigorate the group with new ideas, our undergraduate and graduate degree programs help to train new medieval scholars. Both programs provide in-depth, "horizontal study" of the Middle Ages. Such an approach is well suited for the Berkeley campus where many top-ranked departments in the College of Letters & Science provide the “vertical training” that supplements richly the more focused investigation of the Medieval period.

The Undergraduate Minor in Medieval Studies is a wonderful opportunity for students with an interest in the Middle Ages. The requirements, five courses in Medieval Studies in two or more departments, gives the minor an inherently comparative flavor. In addition to a wide variety of classes in disciplines such as Art History, Music, Near Eastern Studies, and Religious Studies, the offerings in languages and literature programs are particularly impressive in their variety, including courses in Old English, Old French, Old and Middle Irish, Old Norse, Old Saxon, Old Church Slavic, Medieval Arabic, Medieval Latin, Medieval Welsh, and Middle High German.

The graduate program in Medieval Studies is like no other on campus. A student already admitted into a departmental Ph.D. program at Berkeley may apply to the Program in Medieval Studies Program to pursue a Concurrent Ph.D. The degree granted will be the Ph.D. in "X and Medieval Studies" (e.g. French and Medieval Studies, History and Medieval Studies, etc). Broadly speaking, graduate students pursuing the Concurrent Ph.D. take three courses on medieval topics outside their home departments, demonstrate proficiency in Medieval Latin and paleography, and study as well a medieval vernacular language. The requirements for the Concurrent Ph.D. are designed for both breadth of vision and depth of training.

With continued emphasis on cordial intellectual exchange in an informal atmosphere, a vibrant Graduate Colloquium, and exciting visiting lecturers, the Medieval Studies Program ensures scholarship in the Middle Ages will continue to grow strong at Berkeley well into the future.

We welcome participants in the 95th Annual Meeting of the Medieval Academy of America to our community and look forward to welcoming you to our campus in the future.

Jonas Wellendorf
Director, Program in Medieval Studies

Welcome from the Medieval Association of the Pacific (MAP)

The Medieval Association of the Pacific is an interdisciplinary scholarly society that supports research on all facets of the medieval world and its diverse cultures.

MAP came into being in 1966 at the University of California at Davis as an outgrowth of an interdisciplinary conference called “Artistic and Intellectual Relationships in the Middle Ages.” That first meeting had six speakers (Jerome Taylor, Lynn White, Jr., Robert W. Ackerman, Lawrence K. Shook, David Wright, and Brother S. Edmund); a bibliographical meeting facilitated by Jerry Murphy and Richard Schoeck; and a planning session called the “Organizational Meeting for the Medieval Association of Northern California.” Instead of the 40 medievalists the planning committee anticipated for the conference, 120 attended, and 82 signed a sheet indicating their interest in forming a society that would serve both California and the North American West. Since then, MAP has grown considerably in size, and its annual meetings are a highlight for its members.

Since its inception, MAP has had a close association with the Medieval Academy of America. Beginning in 1972, every three or four years the Medieval Academy has held its annual meeting in the West conjointly with MAP, most recently at UCLA in 2014. In 2016, MAP celebrated its 50th Anniversary at UC Davis. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of its Officers and Council Members, the organization has established ties with sister organizations across the Pacific, notably the Australia-New Zealand Medieval and Early Modern Studies Society (ANZAMEMS), and the Japan Society for Medieval European Studies (JSMES).

MAP takes very seriously its role in supporting and welcoming to its meetings graduate students, junior scholars, and underrepresented and unaffiliated scholars. We offer multiple prizes annually. The Founders’ Prize recognizes outstanding papers by graduate student presenters at its annual conference. Students in between degree programs and independent scholars who received their degrees no more than three years before the date of the conference are also eligible. The Benton Prize, named in honor of its progenitor, John F. Benton (MAP President 1982–84), provides travel funds for all members of the Medieval Association of the Pacific—independent medievalists and graduate students in particular—who might not otherwise receive institutional support.

You can join and learn more about MAP, its history, and its mission by visiting our website, at

John Ott, President



The Program Committee would like to thank the following sponsors:

The Medieval Academy of America

The University of California, Berkeley
    Program in Medieval Studies
    UC Berkeley Libraries - The Bancroft Library
    UC Berkeley Law - The Robbins Collection and Research Center
    The Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library
    Department of History
    Department of English
    Department of Scandinavian
    The Townsend Center for the Humanities
    Katherine O'Brien O'Keeffe
    Steven Justice
    Niklaus Largier
    Carla Hesse
    Susanna Elm

Special thanks also go to the friends and colleagues who have provided essential resources and support throughout the planning of the original on-campus event and this virtual one:

Helena Weiss-Duman, Event Planner

The Medieval Academy of America
    Ruth Mazo Karras, President
    Lisa Fagin Davis, Executive Director
    Sheryl Mullane-Corvi, Assistant to the Executive Director
    Chris Cole, Communications and Membership Coordinator

UC Berkeley, Office of the Chancellor
    Carol Christ, Chancellor
    Dan Mogulof, Assistant Vice-Chancellor, Public Affairs

UC Berkeley Office of the Registrar
    Walter Wong, University Registrar
    Paul Rottloff, Academic Course Scheduler
    Kelli Cline, Classroom Reservation and Event Coordinator

UC Berkeley Police Department
    Lee M. Harris, Lieutenant, Special Events
    Marco E. Ruiz, Corporal

UC Berkeley College of Letters & Sciences
    Janet Broughton, Executive Dean
    Anthony J. Cascardi, Dean of Arts & Humanities
    Ruben Mejia, Facilities Manager

UC Berkeley Program in Medieval Studies
    Jonas Wellendorf, Director
    Maura Nolan, Equity Officer
    Marian Homan-Turnbull, Graduate Student Program Committee Representative

UC Berkeley Department of English
    Steven Justice, Chair
    Linda Fitzpatrick, Department Manager
    Joemari Cedro, Financial Analyst
    Grace de Guzman, Administrative Coordinator

UC Berkeley Department of History
    Peter Zinoman, Chair
    Jan Haase, Financial Analyst
    David Harris, Course Scheduling Coordinator
    Amber Lawrence, Events Coordinator

UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project
    Rachel B. Reinhard, Director

UC Berkeley Law - The Robbins Collection
    Laurent Mayali, Director
    Emily Best, Assistant Director

UC Berkeley - Jean Gray Hargrove Music Library
    John Shepard, Curator of Music Collections

UC Berkeley ASUC Student Union Event Services
    Theresa Ajari

Graduate Medievalists of Berkeley
    Michelle Ripplinger, Coordinator
    Mary Vitali, Coordinator

Hot Damn! Graphics
    Ann Higgins, Graphic Designer / Art Director

ACT Catering
    Kristine Seinsch

UC Berkeley Center for Educational Partnerships
    Yvette Flores
    Miya Hayes
    Mary Lim
    Taylor Miles

We owe a particular debt of gratitude to all the undergraduate and graduate student volunteers who were so looking forward to welcoming you to our campus:

Student Ambassadors

Walter Alvarado
Jerico Atienza
Chris Basich
Amaris Blasgen
Aidan Chanda
Sua Choi
Dorian Cole
Diego Fan
Kathryn Funderburg
Mahel Hamroun
Geraint Hughes
Kevin Jackson
Miranda Jiang
Daria Karraby
Christopher Kast
Antonio Lenzo
Emma Linney
Demetrius Carl Loufas
Alayna Mills
Robin Reich
Landon Reitz
Michelle Ripplinger
Johannes Junge Ruhland
Patrick Spangler
Christene Stratman
Amanda Styles
Larissa Tang
Jojo Wool-Baum
Gillian Yu

Copyright ©2020 The Medieval Academy of America
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