IMC 2019: Sessions

Session 1801: Materialities: Going Forward from Leeds 2019 - A Concluding Round Table Discussion

Thursday 4 July 2019, 16.15-17.30

Moderator/Chair:Anne E. Lester, Department of History, University of Colorado, Boulder

What do we mean by materialities? What insights and methods does the lens of materiality offer to medieval studies? Recent scholarship on religious history, manuscript studies, environmental change, circulation patterns, for example, has benefited from the ‘material turn,’ which has called attention to the ‘thingness’ of objects in motion and in use in the past. Materiality offers a strong endorsement for examining things in places, in use at specific moments, made from a chain of specific materials and linked by labours that scholars endeavor to expose and understand. But how do we do this? What is the methodology of materiality? How does it challenge how scholars narrate the past or how they identify subjects acting in the past? In what ways does materiality pick up on or reject the challenges posed by post-modernism? Finally, how is materiality part of a longer, if less well-studied, historical tradition focused on manuscripts, objects, and oddities often considered the purview of antiquarians? Drawing on their own research and scholarly perspectives, participants in this final round table offer some concluding reflections on what constitutes the methods of materiality and where we go from here.

Participants include Miri Rubin (Queen Mary, University of London), Daniel Smail (Harvard University), and Annemarieke Willemsen (Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden).