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The Premodern Colloquium

The Premodern Colloquium is a reading group that met for over thirty years in the home of Tom Green (Law School, History) by whom it was founded as a forum for discussion of new work in the history of law. In recent years it has evolved into a wide-ranging multidisciplinary group. Typically discussions focus on works-in-progress by local and visiting scholars or dissertation chapters presented by our own students. Discussions tend to be intense and lively, but people who present work find the experience to be friendly and helpful. We especially welcome graduate students to our regular meetings, both as discussants and as presenters of dissertation work in progress.

Winter 2022

 JANUARY 23    Michael Johnston,  English, Purdue University

“Manuscript to Print in England: Reconsidering the Divide"

FEBRUARY 20   Taylor Sims, U-M History

“‘As though death should every hour approach’: Reformation Adaptations in English Women’s Wills”

MARCH 20    Gottfried Hagen, U-M Middle East Studies  

 “An Ottoman Encyclopedist as Public Intellectual: Katib Chelebi (1609-1657)”

APRIL 10    Hayley Bowman, U-M History

 “‘Con mis manos’: Multi-Sensory Mysticism in the Seventeenth-Century Spanish World”


Semester Offerings Winter 2021

MARCH 28  Paul Binski, History of Art, University of Cambridge
 “Gothic Art, Realism and Genre: Thoughts on Erich Auerbach”

APRIL 23  Gerui Wang, History of Art, University of Michigan
“Why Did Public Infrastructure Appear in Song Court Landscape Painting?”

Semester Offerings Fall 2020

SEPTEMBER 20 Blake Gutt, Michigan Society of Fellows, University of Michigan
“Le Roman de Saint Fanuel: Plant-Thinking, Family Trees and Grafted Fictions”

OCTOBER 18 Nathan Martin, School of Music, Theater and Dance, University of Michigan
“Musical Topics as Pathosformeln: From Monelle and Allanbrook to Aby Warburg and Back Again”

NOVEMBER 15 Achim Timmermanni, History of Art, University of Michigan
"The Late Medieval City and Its Periurban Sacred Landscape: The Case of Biberach an der Riss"

DECEMBER 13 Alison Cornish, Department of Italian Studies, New York University
“Cheap Seats in Dante's Heaven”

Semester Offerings Winter 2020

JANUARY 26   Katherine Campbell, History of Art, University of Michigan     
 “Producing the composite: stylistic pluralism in Antwerp art,  c. 1510-1568”

FEBRUARY 23   Bruce Mannheim, Anthropology, University of Michigan       
 “From frame-of-reference to social organization in the 16th century or, Why did we get the historiography of the Inkas so wrong?”

MARCH 29   Paul Binski, History of Art, University of Cambridge CANCELLED       
“Gothic art, realism and genre: thoughts on Erich Auerbach” 

APRIL 19   Blake Gutt, Michigan Society of Fellows, University of Michigan CANCELLED       
“Ramon Llull’s folding forests: the world, the tree, and the book”

Semester Offerings Fall 2019

Fall 2019

SEPTEMBER 29   Erik InglisDepartment of Art, Oberlin College

“Reading Storied Ground: Finding Apostolic Presence in the Streets  and Springs of Medieval Rome”

OCTOBER 27   Catherine Brown, Comparative Literature & Residential College, University of Michigan

“Remember the Hand: The Articulate Codex in Early Medieval Iberia”

NOVEMBER 10   Matteo Milesi
Classical Studies, University of Michigan

        “Mythical Allegory and Divine Illumination in Giles of Viterbo's Commentary on the Sentences of 
Petrus Lombardus

DECEMBER 8   Valentina DenzelRomance & Classical Studies, Michigan State University

          “Guillaume Postel’s De la République des Turcs (1560): An Encounter with the Other"

Semester Offerings Winter 2019

January -- No meeting this month.

February 17 -- Anna MacCourt, Anthropology & History, University of Michigan
"To Fix the Rules of the Path of Proper Conduct: Maitraka Inscriptions (475-775 CE) and Sanskrit Literary Debates"

March 24 -- Brendan McMahon, Society of Fellows, University of Michigan
"Mirir por una y otra parte: Iridescense, Visual Pedagogy, and the Image in the Early Modern Hispanic World"

April 14 -- Marlon Sales, Comparative Literature, University of Michigan.
"Language, Translation and Missionary Catholicism in the Spanish Philippines"

Semester Offerings Fall 2018

September 23 – Achim Timmermann, History of Art, University of Michigan
“Castles and Cathedrals of the Sea: Ships, Allegory, and Technological Change in the Age of (Iconographical) Discovery”

October 21 -- Jennifer Gear, Independent Scholar, Claremont, CA
"Constructing Civic Memory: Eighteenth-Century Retrospectives on Plague in the Veneto"

November 11 -- Reginald Jackson, Asian Languages and Cultures, University of Michigan
“Staging Enslavement: Subjection, Exertion, and the Gestural Economies of Medieval Noh Performance”

December 2 – Irene SanPietro, Law School, University of Michigan
"Church, State and Family in Late Antiquity: The Problem of Women Patrons"

Semester Offerings Winter 2018


   Sara Ahbel-Rappe, Classical Studies, University of Michigan

"Winged Horses, Celestial Asses, and Beauty through the Eyes: Bruno'sReception of Plato's Phaedrus in his Italian Dialogues"


   Ana Maria Silva, History, University of Michigan

"They Can Sustain the Trade of the Blacks: Economic Networks and the Boundaries of Religious Repression in 17th-C Cartagena de Indias"

 MARCH 11  

    Ellen Muehlberger, History & Near Eastern Studies, University of Michigan

"Locating Perpetua: The Passio Perpetuae et Felicitatis and Composition in         Late Antiquity"

  APRIL 7  

   Lyndal Roper, History, University of Oxford

      Title forthcoming

Semester Offerings Fall 2017

 Tryntje Helfferich, History, Ohio State University

“The Price of Service: German Reception of French Subsidies and Pensions in the Thirty Years War”

  Jean Campbell, Art History, Emory University

“Pisanello and the Archaeology of a Name"

  Sara Ahbel-Rappe, Classical Studies, University of Michigan 

“Giordano Bruno and the Phaedrus: Pegasus, Asinitas, and Merkabah”

  Paula Curtis, History, University of Michigan

 “The Agreed Upon Counterfeit: Forgery Culture and Documentary Authenticity in Medieval Japanese Society”

Semester Offerings Winter 2017


Elizabeth Allen, English, University of California Irvine

“Tresilian, Gawain, and Forms of Protection”

   Martin Walsh, Residential College, University of Michigan

“Wine Barrels, Bonfires, and Battling Beggars: TheCharity of St. Martin in 16th and 17th Century Netherlandish Art”

   Niall Atkinson, Art History, University of Chicago

“Percorrere la città: Meaning in Motion in the Streets of Florence”

   Helmut Puff, German, History, Women’s Studies, University of Michigan

“Spacium considerandi (Bedenkzeit): Timing the Reformation”

Semester Offerings Fall 2016


    Ivan Gerát, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Bratislava

“Marriage, Poverty and Bridal Mysticism in a 14th-Century Franciscan Convent: Remarks on the Pictorial Life of St Elizabeth in the Liber Depictus


    Robert Tittler, History, Concordia University, Montreal

“Portraits, Painters and Publics in Provincial England 1540-1640”


     Nathan Martin, School of Music, University of Michigan

 “Aristoxenos, Zarlino, Rameau”


     Noah Blan, History, University of Michigan

    “Trees, Place and Sovereignty in Early Carolingian Biblical Scholarship”


Semester Offerings Winter 2016

JANUARY 31    

   S.E. Kile, U-M Asian Languages & Cultures

“Science Fictions: Early Modern Technological Change and Literary Response”


    Yanay Israeli, U-M Institute for the Humanities, History

 “Petitioning as Social Practice: Local Conflicts and the Trajectories of Royal Letters in Fifteenth-Century Castilian Towns”

MARCH  20  

    Matthew Kavaler, History of Art, University of Toronto

"Ornament as a Diagnostic: Pieter Bruegel against Notions of the Vernacular and Classicism"

APRIL 10   

    Andrew Morrall, Bard Graduate Center, New York City

 "Plato Among the Artisans: Craftsmen, Mathematics, and the Pursuit of Nature"


** Please note the Prof Morrall will also present a MEMS Lecture on April 8. Details forthcoming.


Semester Offerings Fall 2015


    Pamela Stewart, History of Art, University of Michigan

“Staging the Passion in the Ritual City:  Stational Crosses and Confraternal Procession in Late Renaissance Milan”


    Andrew Casper, Department of Art, Miami University

 “Not Begotten But Made: The Shroud of Turin as Divine Artifice”


    Jonathan Farr, History, University of Michigan

“Medieval Spaces and Documentary Practices in Occitania and Northern Catalonia”


    Tarek Dika, Society of Fellows, University of Michigan

“Power, Perfection, and the Subject of Science in Descartes's  Regulae ad directionem ingenii

Semester Offerings: Winter 2015

JANUARY   No meeting to be held this month


    Jean Boutier  Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales, Paris-Marseille

       “Did Early Modern Florentine Aristocrats Ignore Conspicuous Consumption?”

 MARCH 15  

    Stephen Pender  Department of English and the Centre for Research in Reasoning, Argumentation and Rhetoric, University of Windsor

        “Rhetoric and Anthropology in Early Modern Europe”

 APRIL 12  

    Elizabeth Kamali   History, University of Michigan

        “Mens Rea and Judging in Late Medieval England”