Kalamazoo Transforms Into Medieval Mecca for Next Four Days | Arts & Culture
Some 3,000 of the world's leading scholars on all aspects of the Middle Ages are on the campus of Western Michigan University starting today to attend the 50th gathering of the International Congress on Medieval Studies.
The medieval roots of modern culture, from law and climate change to ISIS and veterinary medicine, will be the topics of more than 500 presentations, panels, workshops, fine arts performances and living history demonstrations. Activities for the May 14-17 congress begin each day at 8 a.m. and run late into each evening to accommodate more than 100 meetings of professional organizations, programs and publishers.
This year's gathering takes place as the world is marking the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the 700th anniversary of the great European famine and the 600th anniversary of the English victory at the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years War. Sessions on all three are part of the proceedings. Other presentations include such topics as:
• "The Other Famine: Climate Change in the Fourteenth Century Mediterranean"
• "Dead Language Karaoke" (Performance and Roundtable)
• "Cross-Dressing Shakespeare: Sexual Attraction, Gender and Elizabethan Drag"
• "Patience, ISIS and the Ecological Scars of Perpetual War"
• "Literature and Science in the Middle Ages"
• "Chaucer and Medieval Physics"
• "Classical Philosophy in the Lands of Islam and Its Influence"
• "Black in Sherwood: Race and Ethnicity in Robin Hood Media"
Attendees come from around the globe and represent colleges and universities in nearly every state and dozens of other nations, from Austria to the Ukraine. The congress includes presenters who are museum curators and librarians from the Smithsonian, the British Library, the Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Visitors are housed in campus residence halls and in hotels throughout Kalamazoo.
Outdoor living history demonstrations of medieval technology are scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Goldsworth Valley Pond on the WMU campus.
For more information, contact: Cheryl Roland in the Office of University Relations by calling (269) 387-8412 or Jeanne Baron at (269) 387-8433.