CMEMS Annual Primary Source Symposium Draws Wide Crowd
On Thursday and Friday November 1-2, the Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies (CMEMS) hosted its annual Primary Source Symposium. The title of this year’s symposium was “Translating Cultures: Multilingualism and Identity in the Medieval and Early Modern World.” The event drew attendees from both Stanford and Berkeley, as well as other institutions around the Bay Area and beyond. The symposium featured speakers from institutions across the U.S. and the U.K., including Cambridge, Harvard, UCSC, and The City College of New York. The conference was organized by faculty directors Fiona Griffiths (History, Stanford) and Ivan Lupić (English, Stanford), along with graduate student coordinator Matt Gordineer Warner (English, Stanford).
This was the fifth Primary Source Symposium hosted by CMEMS, an annual two-day event that aims to bring the material remains of medieval and early modern cultures to the fore of research and scholarly discussion. This rich range of material cultural remnants is quite diverse, including reliquaries, manuscripts, books, paintings, churches, synagogues, temples, and mosques, castles and palaces, jewelry, weaponry, and textiles. The goal of the symposium is to offer an intellectual space for reflection, interpretation, and collective analysis of these treasures.
The broad aims of the Symposium reflects the wide appeal of CMEMS itself as a Research Group. CMEMS aims to serve all scholars working on the medieval and early modern period, a historical time frame spanning ca. 500 to 1750 worldwide. Such a wide temporal and geographical range is inherently inclusive, and indeed the group finds itself at the intersection of many different departments and university groups. CMEMS’ interdisciplinary appeal is reflected in the long list of the symposium’s sponsors: the event was jointly sponsored by The Europe Center, the Department of History, the Department of English, the Department of Classics, the Division of Literatures, Languages and Cultures, the Stanford Humanities Center, and Stanford Libraries.
The Primary Source Symposium not only brings together scholars for discussion of medieval and early modern cultural artifacts, but also highlights Stanford’s excellent collections of manuscripts, art, and early printed books from this time period. To this end, the Symposium included an exhibition and reception of some of the unique pieces in Stanford Libraries’ Special Collections.
The event featured two keynote speakers, Zrinka Stahuljak and Eric Dursteler. Stahuljak is a Professor at UCLA in the Department of French and Francophone Studies. Her research interests include translation and translation theory, cultural production, and the relationship of historiography to history in the Middle Ages and within Mediterranean and Francophone Studies. Her talk was titled “For a Connected Literature.” Dursteler is Professor and Chair of History at Brigham Young University. His research focuses on gender, religious identity and food in the the early modern Mediterranean, with a side interest in the history of Mormonism in Italy. His talk was titled, “Language, Gender and Domestic Space in the Early Modern Mediterranean.”
In addition to the annual Primary Source Symposium, CMEMS hosts many events on campus designed to foster the same interdisciplinary dialogue across all levels of the university. Their popular Workshop series meets weekly, at lunchtime every Wednesday, and features discussion of pre-circulated papers. These events feature works-in-progress from Stanford graduate students and faculty, and visiting scholars frequently join the discussion. More information on CMEMS and upcoming events can be found here.