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IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 1322: Memories Have Gone to Our Heads: Constructing Memory around the Figures of the Medieval Head and Skull

Wednesday 4 July 2018, 16.30-18.00

Organiser:Lauren Rozenberg, Department of History of Art, University College London
Moderator/Chair:Eduardo Correia, Department of English, King's College London
Paper 1322-aIn memoriam Æschere: A Head Full of Worry
(Language: English)
Sander Stolk, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen, Universiteit Leiden
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Literacy and Orality
Paper 1322-bVirtus memorativa: Diagramming the Brain in Late Medieval Medical Treatises
(Language: English)
Lauren Rozenberg, Department of History of Art, University College London
Index terms: Art History - General, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Medicine, Science
Paper 1322-cMemorialising Sanctity: Deconstructing the Textile Skull Reliquaries of Cologne's 11,000 Holy Virgins
(Language: English)
Cher Casey, Department of History of Art, University of York
Index terms: Art History - General, Hagiography, Religious Life

With papers ranging from very different time periods and fields, this session questions how the idea of the head was used in relation to memory. First, S. Stolk looks at how Aeschere's severed head, in Beowulf, works as a stark reminder of Hrothgar's failure. Then, L. Rozenberg interrogates how visualisations of the power of memory, situated in the brain, helped shape a different understanding of the faculty, from a medical point of view. Then, C. Casey examines the skull reliquaries of Cologne to consider how they were used to construct a sense of sanctity and collective memory. Because memory is one of those concepts that transcends time and invokes an array of possible definitions, the papers come together to redefine how the medieval motif of the head embodies them.