Upcoming Meeting

“The Middle Ages in the Americas”

The annual CARMEN open meeting brings together scholars and professionals from across the world in participatory and interactive formats, including talks by leading scholars, paper sessions, project development workshops, and our annual ‘Forum’ showcasing projects, institutions and research centers. This year’s meeting will take place on 2-4 September 2021, co-sponsored by the Medieval Academy of America and Harvard University’s Committee on Medieval Studies. The theme for this year’s CARMEN meeting, “The Middle Ages in the Americas”, highlights our North American venue, and is meant to encourage scholarly conversation on the rich history of Medieval Studies in the Western hemisphere, as well as the myriad ways in which “the medieval” has been portrayed and appropriated within the art, architecture, literature, and popular culture of the Americas.

Due to the continuing challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we will not be able to gather in Boston as originally planned. Instead, our meeting will take place virtually, featuring a combination of synchronous lectures, sessions, and workshops that will take place from 1100 to 1500 EDT on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. We also will offer a variety of asynchronous excursions, providing introductions to Boston and some of its medieval treasures. In addition to keynote talks by Professor Laura Cleaver (School of Advanced Studies, University of London) and Professor Cord Whitaker (Wellesley College) and a series of talks on this year’s theme, the 2021 CARMEN meeting also will feature presentations of new and early-stage project proposals submitted for this year’s CARMEN Project Prize, the winner of which will be announced at the meeting’s conclusion.

Call for Papers

We welcome proposals for papers, panels, or roundtables on any aspect of the theme “The Middle Ages in the Americas”. Proposals should include (1) the name, affiliation, and email address of each presenter or panelist; (2) the paper, panel, or roundtable title; and (3) a brief (c. 150 word) abstract of the proposed paper, panel, or roundtable. Complete proposals should be submitted via email to the program committee at [email protected] by Friday, 23 July 2021; please be sure to indicate “CARMEN 2021 meeting proposal” in the email subject line. For more information on the Project Prize, including submission requirements, deadlines, and criteria, please visit the Project Prize page on the CARMEN website here. Accepted papers, panels, and Project Prize applicants will be contacted no later than Monday, 2 August 2021.


Note: All sessions will take place on the Zoom meeting platform. Links are available to meeting registrants on the Eventbrite CARMEN 2021 event page

Friday, 3 September

Welcoming remarks (1100 EDT)

Professor Nicholas Watson
Chair of the Harvard University Committee on Medieval Studies

Dr. Lisa Fagin Davis
Executive Director of the Medieval Academy of America
Co-chair of the CARMEN Annual Meeting Working Group

Panel 1 (1115-1215 EDT): Remaking the Medieval in Modern America
Chair: Lisa Fagin Davis (Medieval Academy of America)

Sara Ritchey (Department of History, University of Tennessee Knoxville), “Chansons creoles: Making Medieval French in Nineteenth-Century Louisiana”

Josh Davies (Department of English, King’s College London): “Nathalie Bailey Morris (1883-1935) and American Gothic Architecture”

Coffee break (1215-1230)

Project Prize Workshop I (1230-1330 EDT)
Chair: Felicitas Schmieder (FernUniversität in Hagen)

Benjamin L. Albritton (Stanford University) and Laura Morreale (Georgetown University): “The TCF (Transcription Challenge Framework) as a Community-Driven Project”

Overview: From May 2020 until January 2021, Benjamin Albritton and Laura Morreale organized fourTranscription Challenges, a series of digital competitions that brought together teams of scholars to collaboratively transcribe different manuscript-bound versions of one text over a two-week period. The success of these events has encouraged the organizers to formalize the transcription challenge framework (TCF), in an effort to support similar events within the community of scholars interested in Medieval Studies. This project will put into place leadership, hosting, and post-transcription data maintenance structures to extend the TCF, thereby promoting engagement with medieval materials following the same model.

Keynote Address (1330-1500)

Introduction: Lisa Fagin Davis (Medieval Academy of America)

Laura Cleaver, Senior Lecturer in Manuscript Studies, University of London School of Advanced Study: Selling Medieval European Manuscripts in the USA c. 1890-1920: The Lives and Legacies of George D. Smith and Bernard Alfred Quaritch.

Saturday, 4 September

Panel 2 (1000-1100 EDT): Exploiting the Medieval in Modern America
Chair: Emily Rose (Harvard University)

Samantha Katz Seal (Department of English, University of New Hampshire), “Importing the Anglo-Saxon and the Jew: Racial Pairing in the Mythology of American Academia”

Christopher J. Slaby (Department of American Studies, College of William and Mary), “Thomas Cole’s Medieval Fantasies and American Settler Colonialism”

Project Prize Workshop II (1100-1200 EDT)

Chair: Caoimhe Whelan (Trinity College Dublin)

Blair Apgar (University of York): “Interactive Gameplay as an Accessible Pedagogical Tool in Teaching the Middle Ages”

Overview: Video games present a rich source of detailed and highly accurate architectural models which are readily available to the general public. By utilizing existent gaming titles such as Assassin’s Creed, educators can bring a new level of interactivity and immersion to learning about the Middle Ages. This project will combine traditional pedagogical approaches to Gothic architecture while utilizing in-game models to demonstrate principles of architectural theory which can be difficult to understand without in situ guidance.

Break (1200-1230 EDT)

Project Prize Workshop III (1230-1330 EDT)

Chair: Daryl Rooney (Trinity College Dublin)

Maria Alessia Rossi (Princeton University) and Alice Isabella Sullivan (Tufts University): “Mapping Eastern Europe”

Overview: “Mapping Eastern Europe” is an open-access interactive website intended to promote study, research, and teaching about the history, art, and culture of Eastern Europe between the thirteenth and seventeenth centuries CE among students, teachers, scholars, and the wider public. The website offers simple and intuitive engagement with the culturally rich territories of the Balkan Peninsula, the Carpathian Mountains, and further north into Russia. It aims to broaden the geographical, temporal, methodological, and theoretical parameters of the study of medieval and Byzantine art, while contributing to the recent global efforts in Medieval Studies, Byzantine Studies, and Art History. URL: https://mappingeasterneurope.princeton.edu/.

Keynote address (1330-1500 EDT)

Introduction: Sean Gilsdorf (Harvard University)

Cord Whitaker, Associate Professor of English, Wellesley College: The Harlem Middle Ages: Black Medievalism, Global Politics, and African American Liberation.

Sunday, 5 September

Panel 3 (1100-1245 EDT): Reframing the Medieval in Modern America
Chair: Sean Gilsdorf (Harvard University)

Jack C. Wiegand (Department of English, University of Wisconsin Madison), “An Introduction to Tribal Critical Race Theory for Scholars of the Middle Ages”

“Teaching the Medieval Americas”: a roundtable chaired by Christopher J. Slaby (Department of American Studies, William and Mary University), with Valerie Bondura (Director of Teaching and Learning, Jewish Theological Seminary), Jack Bouchard (Department of History, Rutgers University), Rebecca Dean (Department of Anthropology, University of Minnesota Morris), Thomas Lecaque (Department of History, Grand View University), and Kai Pyle (Program in American Indian Studies, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign)

Concluding remarks (1300-1330 EDT), including announcement of the 2021 CARMEN Project Prize winner by Project Prize Working Group chair Axel Müller (University of Leeds)


Sara Ritchey is Associate Professor of History at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, and a co-editor in chief of the journal postmedieval. Her most recent book, published this year with Cornell University Press, is Acts of Care: Recovering Women in Late Medieval Health. She is currently at work on a new project, from which today’s paper derives, that traces a new genealogy of French medieval studies through francophone communities in the Atlantic.

Josh Davies is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at King’s College London. His book Visions and Ruins: Cultural Memory and the Untimely Middle Ages was published by Manchester University Press. In 2018 he was an AHRC IPS Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., working on American Gothic architecture. An essay based on that research was published last year in Disturbing Times: Medieval Pasts, Reimagined Futures, edited by Catherine Karkov, Anna Kłosowska, and Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei, which is available open access from Punctum. He’s mostly working on two projects at the moment, one on the relationship between Beowulf and modernity, the other on the American Gothic Revival in its transatlantic contexts.

Benjamin Albritton is the Rare Books Curator and Classics Bibliographer at Stanford Libraries. In addition, he oversees a number of digital manuscript projects, including Parker Library on the Web, recent collaborations with the Vatican Library, and a number of projects devoted to interoperability and improving access to manuscript images for pedagogical and research purposes. He has published on the music and poetry of Guillaume de Machaut, and is co-editor of Medieval Manuscripts in the Digital Age (Routledge, 2020) and a forthcoming special issue of Digital Philology devoted to the study of manuscript fragments.

Laura Morreale is a cultural historian of the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Italian peninsula, with an interest in civic historiography and medieval French-language writing outside of the kingdom of France. She serves as the co-PI of Harvard’s Documentary Archaeology of Late Medieval Europe project (DALME), and is the creator of over a dozen computer-based initiatives, including the La Sferaand Image du Monde transcription challenges, the hybrid Crusading Things and the Material Outremer project, The Deiphira Project at Georgetown University, and Middle Ages for Educators, hosted at Princeton University.  She co-edited The French of Outremer: Communities and Communications in the Crusading Mediterranean, published by Fordham University Press in 2018, and has just completed an edited volume with Sean Gilsdorf entitled Digital Medieval Studies—Practice and Preservation, which should come out with ARC Humanities Press later this year. Laura currently is a Visiting Scholar in the Global Medieval Studies Program at Georgetown University.

Laura Cleaver is Senior Lecturer in Manuscript Studies at the School of Advanced Study at the University of London. She came to manuscript studies from art history, and is particularly interested in manuscripts made in England and France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Her last monograph, History Books in the Anglo-Norman World 1066-1272, was published in 2018. She currently is the Principal Investigator of the Cultivate MSS project, funded by the European Research Council, which examines the international trade in medieval manuscripts between c. 1900 and 1945 and its impact on the formation of collections and the development of scholarship on medieval manuscripts.

Samantha Katz Seal is an associate professor of English at the University of New Hampshire, and the author of Father ChaucerGenerating Authority in The Canterbury Tales (Oxford University Press, 2019). Her work also has appeared in The Chaucer ReviewpostmedievalReligion & LiteratureSpeculumStudies in the Age of Chaucer, and multiple edited collections. She now is working on a biography of the Chaucer family, as well as a book about the racialization of Christianity in late medieval England.

Christopher J. Slaby is an historian and art historian who works at the intersection of Native American and Indigenous Studies and the environmental humanities. He is a Ph.D. candidate at the College of William and Mary, where he’s writing a long history of Mohicans and their homelands via case studies of early modern Euro-American maps and portraits, Thomas Cole’s nineteenth-century landscape paintings, and the twentieth-century scenic tourism road and region in northwest Massachusetts known as the Mohawk Trail.

Blair Apgar recently completed their Ph.D. in the History of Art department at the University of York, working with Hanna Vorholt and Amanda Lillie. Their thesis focused on the role of Matilda of Canossa in the sociopolitical development of the Investiture Controversy, its relationship to her material patronage, and the development of her legacy as a Christian hero. While at the University of York, they founded Aspectus, an open-access, peer-reviewed journal designed to provide an accessible venue for early-career researchers and Ph.D.s to share their work. Blair’s latest research touches on their life-long interest in video games, and a passion to make research more accessible. They have a forthcoming publication on the historiographic development of Matilda via a seventeenth-century pope, and its relation to her depiction in the game Crusader Kings II.

Maria Alessia Rossi is an Art History Specialist at the Index of Medieval Art at Princeton University, and Alice Isabella Sullivan is Assistant Professor of Medieval Art and Architecture at Tufts University. Together they co-edited Byzantium in Eastern European Visual Culture in the Late Middle Ages (Brill, 2020), and Eclecticism in Late Medieval Visual Culture at the Crossroads of the Latin, Greek, and Slavic Traditions (forthcoming, De Gruyter, 2021). They also are the editors of the Trivent book series Eastern European Visual Culture and Byzantium (13th -17th c), and co-founders of North of Byzantium (NoB) and Mapping Eastern Europe, two initiatives that explore the medieval history, art, and culture of the northern frontiers of the Byzantine Empire in Eastern Europe.

Cord Whitaker received his Ph.D. in medieval English literature from Duke University in 2009, and now is Associate Professor of English at Wellesley College. The recipient of fellowships at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture and the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, he is a celebrated teacher, scholar, and activist, familiar not only for his writing in academic journals such as The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, the Yearbook of Langland Studies, and Postmedieval and in the blog In the Middle, but also for his critical work with Medievalists of Color, a professional organization dedicated to supporting the work of scholars of color working globally in the different disciplines of medieval studies. Professor Whitaker’s teaching and scholarship have ranged widely across the Middle Ages and into the contemporary world, interrogating writers such as Chaucer and Langland, genres such as epic and romance, and the complex ways in which “the medieval” was used, abused, and remade in more recent centuries. He is the author of Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race Thinking, and currently is completing his second book, The Harlem Middle Ages: Color, Time, and Harlem Renaissance Medievalism.

Jack C. Wiegand is a Chickasaw scholar and Ph.D. student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He recently completed his M.A. in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto, where his primary focus was Indigenous text technologies in the Global Middle Ages. He currently is editing a forthcoming volume entitled Contact Before Columbus, to be published with Vernon Press sometime next year.

Valerie Bondura is an archaeologist and educational developer who currently serves as the Director for Teaching and Learning for The Jewish Theological Seminary at Columbia University. Trained in classical and medieval archaeologies, Valerie later moved into work on more recent historical periods, and currently is completing her Ph.D. at Columbia on archaeologies of Indigenous and Chicanx persistence through the American settler colonial period in the Northern Rio Grande. Her research interests include decolonial and liberatory pedagogies, community-engaged research, place-making practices, and gendered and racialized labor in both the past and present.

Jack Bouchard is an Assistant Professor of History at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. He teaches environmental history, with an emphasis on global and premodern perspectives. Dr. Bouchard is interested in the histories of premodern maritime environments and foodways, and researches commercial fishing, island/coastal ecologies and changing global foodways in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. He currently is working on his first book, Terra Nova: Food, Water and Work in an Early Atlantic World, a history of the northwest Atlantic in the sixteenth century.

Rebecca Dean is an archaeologist with a specialization in human/landscape interactions in early agricultural societies. She has worked in the Southwestern U.S., the U.S. Midwest, and the Mediterranean region.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona, and currently is Professor of Anthropology and Assessment Facilitator at the University of Minnesota Morris, where she teaches a variety of courses focused on archaeology and biological anthropology.

Thomas Lecaque is an Associate Professor of History at Grand View University. While his primary research area is on eleventh-century southern France and the early crusades, he teaches on a wide range of topics including video games, medievalism, and the vastness of early America, especially so-called “medieval” America.

Kai Pyle is a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in American Indian Studies at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Their current research focuses on Two-Spirit/LGBTQ Indigenous language, history and literature from their own tribal communities. In addition, Kai is also a learner and teacher of the Anishinaabemowin and Michif languages of the Great Lakes and northern plains regions.


“The Middle Ages in the Americas”, the 2021 Annual Meeting of CARMEN, is free and open to the public. To register for the meeting, which will be hosted on the Eventbrite meeting platform from 3 September to 5 September 2021, please click here.

Information for Registrants

Every CARMEN meeting since our beginnings in 2007 has spotlighted the host city and its medieval heritage. Check back here in July to learn more about our exciting slate of virtual excursions and introductions to medieval objects and manuscripts in Boston-area collections, as well as the enduring legacy of the Middle Ages in Boston’s own history and built environment!