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Welcome to IMC 2019!


image showing the IMC 2019 congress special thematic strand, materialities

Every year the IMC invites eminent and upcoming medieval scholars to give public lectures on some of the hottest topics in medieval studies. This year we are presenting seven keynote lectures from scholars from around the world.

The IMC will be opened with our annual Monday morning keynote lecture, this year on “Text or Book?: A Material Approach to the Medieval Passover Haggadah” and “Things that Sing: Song-Object Relations in European Court Culture, 1160-1360”. Katrin Kogman-Appel (Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster; Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) will begin the Congress by speaking about the transformation of the Haggadah and the entrance of it into the historiography of Jewish art. Emma Dillon (King's College London) will follow this with a talk, accompanied by song, exploring how songs travelled across medieval Europe and their relationship with the material, including types of sonic record-keeping.

The Monday lunchtime keynote is “From Words to Things: Colours, Forms, and Fabrics of Forbidden Garments”, given by Maria Giuseppina Muzzarelli, (Università degli Studi di Bologna). Her talk will be on sumptuary legislation, the law regarding the regulation of private expenditure. This talk particularly relates to the laws limiting and prohibiting the purchase of garments and attire.

Our annual Early Medieval Europe Lecture is on “Creating a Temple Society in the Early Medieval West” this year. Ian N. Wood (University of Leeds) will be giving this lecture relating to the development of the Church as institution and landowner. This talk will preclude a wine reception.

Our opening keynote on Tuesday is “Magnificence, I”. Given by Richard Barber (Boydell & Brewer), this special lecture will look at the medieval reinterpretation of Aristotle’s ‘magnificence’ through the lens of princely life and treasures.

The Medieval Academy presents “‘The Gift of Screws’: Material Un-Making in the Middle Ages” to IMC 2019. Their annual lecture, this year from Aden Kumler (University of Chicago, Illinois), explores how the destruction and ‘un-making’ of material objects shaped conceptions of the economy of salvation. All attending are invited to join members of the Medieval Academy after the lecture for a glass of wine.

The Wednesday lunchtime keynote on “Contractual, Archival, and Historical Time: The Ecology of Documents and the Workings of State Power in Fatimid Egypt” will be delivered by Marina Rustow (Princeton University). This lecture will consider the writing tools of the Fatimid caliphs (909-1171) and the archives in which these invaluable documents were collated at the time and where they have subsequently been found.

This year’s New Voices Lecture, by Tom Johnson (University of York), is on “The Materiality of Law in Later Medieval England”. Tom introduces the conception of law as a collection of material objects: the archive, the physical things disputed or claimed, the many objects apprehended, the courtroom itself. Each of these raises questions about the power of law.

These lectures form but a small part of IMC 2019 as we welcome over 2,750 delegates to Leeds for over four days of panels, public performances and concerts, excursions, exhibitions and other activities.

Delegates can also check out our handy Information for Delegates pages which cover a variety of Frequently Asked Questions.