CFP Kzoo 2015: Art and Technology in the Cloister and Castle

Cloister-May06-D8191sAR800-2conwy_castle_wales_photography2For 2015, AVISTA has been allotted 3 sessions on “Art and Technology in the Cloister and Castle” at the 50th International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 14–17, 2015, in Kalamazoo, MI [USA]. We invite proposals on aspects of Lordly/lordly spaces that explore how medieval arts and technologies functioned to create and sustain these spaces as centers of power and culture.

We would be interested in papers that explore monasteries and castles (or their various equivalents) with respect to architecture, sculpture, construction, design, food, textiles, metalworking, woodworking, and other domestic technologies, as well as perhaps such things as paper technologies of administration, estate management, and technologies of class (in an ‘Upstairs/Downstaris’ or ‘Downton Abbey’ sense).

For those interested in proposing a paper, please send an abstract and your contact information before 15 September 2014 to:

Steven A. Walton
Michigan Technological Univ.
Dept. of Social Sciences
209 Academic Office Bldg.
Houghton, MI 49931
Phone: 906-487-3272Email:


For those that are interested, the background thinking for these sessions came from Chris Henige’s thoughts on a classic book: Twenty years ago, Virginia Chieffo Raguin, Kathryn Bush, and Peter Draper edited the seminal Artistic Integration in Gothic Buildings (1995), in which the many possible interrelationships between the various crafts were explored. As the mission of AVISTA specifically calls for the ‘interdisciplinary study of Technology, Science, and Art’, it is expected that all papers will consider the interrelationships between disciplines as they occur within the context of the various zones of medieval monasteries and castles. These areas would include the principal prayer space and its immediate ancillary structures (church or chapel), buildings and spaces reserved for the use of the monastic/courtly community and which are not characteristically accessible to outsiders (cloister or great hall), and the spaces found outside the cloister or main castle, but within the bounds of the lord’s or abbot’s enclosures. We are also taking some inspiration from U.T. Holmes’s Daily Living in the Twelfth Century (1962) that considered the (university) town and all activities that went on with in — here we think about the similarities and dissimilarities between the house of God and the house of war: both walled spaces, clearly delineated from society at large yet daily permeable out of necessity; both sites of great power and administration; both apart from city and society and yet strikingly representative of it.

AVISTA Grants and Prizes

AVISTA offers an annual Villard de Honnecourt Award for the outstanding paper by a graduate student in an AVISTA session. This award, which comes with a $500 honorarium, is intended to further young talent in the study of medieval technology, science, and art. Nominations for this award should be made by a current AVISTA member on behalf of the proposer; for more information please contact the president of AVISTA.

The Society is also pleased to announce that up to three $500 grants-in-aid are available to graduate students or independent scholars to defray costs of attending the ICMS at Kalamazoo. Indication of the intent to apply for one of these grants should be made at the time of submitting an abstract to the session organizers. Decisions will be made in Fall 2014.



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