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What's Going On at MEMS?

Dear Friends,

MEMS continues to sponsor the Premodern Colloquium (meets Sunday afternoons once a month) as well as occasional MEMS Lectures.

We hope you will join us, and watch the website calendar of events for upcoming lectures and other activities of interest!

CAS 2023 International Graduate Student Workshop | The Quotidian and the Divine: Early Modern Gendered Economies of Monasticism in the Eastern Christian World

Friday, April 7, 2023
9:00 AM-5:00 PM
Room 555 Weiser Hall Map
Over the decades, the Center for Armenian Studies at U-M has fostered a critical dialogue with graduate students around the globe through our annual graduate student workshops. Together with our faculty, graduate students, visiting and post-doctoral fellows we have pushed scholarship in Armenian Studies in new directions through our collective efforts. Our interventions in the study of Armenian history, literature, translation studies, materiality and the visual arts can be gauged by a carefully curated set of initiatives we have undertaken that will have a long-term impact on the field. The Twelfth Annual International Graduate Student Workshop is a great opportunity to bring together a wide range of disciplines that have engaged closely or obliquely with Christian monasticism.

Scholars of the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East have highlighted the complexities of cultural and social life in the empire’s provinces, yet monasticism and monastic life as a social institution remain unstudied. Monasteries have been explored as sites of state cooperation and their leaders as agents of the state, but how can a focus on the social and economic life of monasteries critically reassess themes such as piety, community, and empire?

The church was a critical institution for the physical and spiritual livelihood of Armenians and other Eastern Christian communities. Monasticism existed interdependent of the church; monks and nuns sustained the church’s labor as spiritual shepherds of their communities and served as material stewards of the land and holy spaces. Gendered aspects of monastic life, including the protocols of sexual and spiritual discipline that shaped intimacy and religious life (e.g., celibacy), offer rich vantage points through which the social fabric of confessional communities comes into view. The multiple social, sexual, and spiritual hierarchies that configured these spaces and the relationships they created have yet to be examined.

Zoom Meeting ID:
959 3416 0523

April 7th Workshop
10:00 am to 4:00 pm
555 Weiser Hall

Session I 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Early Modern Monastic Piety and Bodily Sensibilities
Respondent: Megan Holmes, History of Art, University of Michigan

Haley E. Bowen, PhD Candidate, History, University of Michigan
“In Consideration of Her Infirmities”: The Experience of Impairment in the Early Modern Cloister

Janice Feng, PhD Candidate, Political Science, University of Michigan
The Desire to Suffer? Asceticism, Piety, and Indigenous Women’s Self-Making in Seventeenth Century Nouvelle-France

Break 11:30 am

Session II 11:45 am-1:15 pm
Monastic Labor: Scribes & Manuscript Production
Respondent: Evyn Kropf, University of Michigan Library

Vevian Zaki, Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich Visiting Researcher, Cataloger of Arabic manuscripts Hill Museum & Manuscript Library
Scribes, Binders, and Owners of Christian Arabic Manuscripts: Nuns and Monks in the Making of Manuscripts

Lauren Onel, PhD Candidate, Princeton University: Holy Fools in Armenia: The Lives of Armenia’s Female Ascetic Scribe

Lunch 1:15 pm -2:30 pm

Session III 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Monastic Transformations in Modernity
Respondent: Gottfried Hagen, Middle East Studies,University of Michigan

Nora Bairamian, PhD Candidate, University of California, Los Angeles
Nineteenth Century Armenian Monastic Reform and Reimagination

Kelly Hannavi, PhD Candidate, History/Women's Studies, University of Michigan
The Miracle of Sex: Spirituality, Sacred Lands, and Gender in 19th c. Ottoman Mardin

Break 4:00 pm

Keynote Address II
4:15 pm - 5:45 pm
555 Weiser Hall

Febe Armanios, Middlebury College
Suffering Bodies: Reflections on Women’s Piety and Virtue in Coptic Religious Narratives

This workshop, sponsored by the University of Michigan’s Center for Armenian Studies and funded by the Alex Manoogian Foundation, is organized by Kathryn Babayan (Department of History & Middle East Studies, U-M) and Kelly Hannavi, PhD Candidate (Department of History & Women’s Studies, U-M).

If there is anything we can do to make this event accessible to you, please contact us at Please be aware that advance notice is necessary as some accommodations may require more time for the university to arrange.
Building: Weiser Hall
Event Type: Workshop / Seminar
Tags: armenia
Source: Happening @ Michigan from Center for Armenian Studies, Department of Middle East Studies, International Institute, Medieval and Early Modern Studies (MEMS), Department of History