Construction of identity network

A group of postgraduates from the Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Southampton (which includes the School of Humanities) has established a network for research into the Construction of Identity as it relates to our various disciplines. I have been involved in the early stages of this group and we have set up a community weblog on the academically based ‘elgg.net‘ site. As a group we aim to compare our various experiences of understanding how identities are constructed and what problems we have in common when trying examine issues of identity in our fields of study. The community weblog will be on trial during the month of June and then formally launched to the world. The second most immediate aim is to compile a cross-disciplinary bibliography of titles we have used in our various fields and make this available via our community weblog. There has already been significant interest in this network from academics and postgraduates from within and outside the faculty. Please add a comment below if you are interested in find out more.
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Olio e vino nell’alto medioevo

54th Settimana di Studio, Spoleto

The 54th Settimana di studio (study week conference), hosted by the Centro Italiano di Studi sull’Alto Medioevo (CISAM) was themed ‘Oil and Wine in the High Middle Ages‘ and took place in the beautiful medieval town of Spoleto, Umbria (20-26 April 2006). I was fortunate to have won one of the borsa di studio awarded to ‘foreign’ students. The majority of the Settimana took place in the Palazzo Ancaiani where CISAM are based. The conference itself was highly varied with papers ranging from the theraputic use of oil and wine (Jacquart), to oil and and wine in Byzantine liturgy (Parenti).
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Medieval exchanges online

Today, we formally launch the ‘scambi medievali’ website to the large community of scholars and students of the Middle Ages that exists all over the world. ‘Scambi medievali’ is Italian for ‘medieval exchanges’ and this site will also serve as the offical site for our Leverhulme Trust funded Research Project entitled ‘Medieval Cultures in Contact: Merchants, Objects and Exchanges in Southern Italy’. We are Dr Patricia Skinner, Reader in Medieval History, and Tehmina Goskar (née Bhote), PhD student of Medieval History, and are based in the Centre for Antiquity and the Middle Ages at the University of Southampton. Continue reading

Material Culture conference

Next week, Birkbeck College (University of London) will be hosting an exciting conference called: Past Presented: Uses of the Past in Medieval European, Byzantine and Islamic Material Culture on 23 – 24 March 2006. The themes of the confernce are: ‘Identification’, ‘Topography’, ‘Constructing’ and ‘Inventing’. See the preliminary programme for details of the papers that will be given.

Following the publication of Y. Hen and M. Innes (eds.) 2000, The Uses of the Past in the Early Middle Ages (Cambridge: CUP) which primarily deals with the evidence from documentary sources, this conference will hopefully fill many ‘gaps’ in our knowledge of the uses and understanding of the past and demonstrate the crucial value of material culture (in all its various guises) in all aspects of medieval studies.

After Rome

On Saturday, 6 May 2006, the University of Liverpool will be hosting a one-day colloquium called: ‘After Rome: Landmarks and Pathways’. It has been organised in response to a number of books that have recently been published on the period towards the end of the Western Roman Empire to the 9th century. All of the authors seek to reassess the period holistically and completely, in light of recent work, new evidence and a re-evaluation of ‘old’ evidence and they will be present at the Colloquium. It promises to be a stimulating and seminal day of debate and comment. Speakers are:
Chris Wickham (Framing the Early Middle Ages. Europe and the Mediterranean, 400-800)
Julia Smith (Europe After Rome. A New Cultural History, 500-1000)
Peter Heather (The Fall of the Roman Empire)
Bryan Ward-Perkins (The Fall of Rome and the End of Civilization)
Stephen Mitchell (A History of the Later Roman Empire 284-641)

Both of us intend to attend and participate in this event.

Medieval Italy programme, Leeds IMC

The programme for the International Medieval Congress 2006, Leeds, has just been released. There will be seven sessions over the week (10-13 July) dedicated to ‘Rethinking Medieval Italy’, the last of which will be a round-table discussion on 11 July. Both Patricia Skinner and Tehmina Goskar are contributing to this strand in the session entitiled: ‘Rethinking Geographical Boundaries and Paths of Exchange in Medieval Italy’ (session 320, 10 July 16.30-18.00). Patricia Skinner’s paper will be asking, “Did medieval Italy have an East/West divide?” and Tehmina Goskar’s paper will be on: “Material culture and local exchange in Apulia and Venice.”

Medieval Food and Feasting, and the emperor Charlemagne

Tehmina has now written two books, aimed at young adults (but very readable by any age really!). Her first is entitled “Medieval Feasts and Banquets: Food, Drink, and Celebration in the Middle Ages” which gives a great introduction to the subject, and blows away quite a few myths (bones being chucked over shoulders onto sawdust for the dogs for one!).

Her second is entitled “Charlemagne: The Life and Times of an Early Medieval Emperor” which gives a concise and enjoyable introduction to the infamous Holy Roman Emperor known as ‘Charles the Great’. He is an important historical character who led a complex life, and many books written about him are heavy-going – Tehm’s book is the most lucid introduction to his life that I have come across (and superbly written). Read more about Charlemagne at Wikipedia.

Both books are published by the Rosen Publishing Group and are available to buy at Amazon.

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Medieval Italy II

Medieval Italy II is the second conference devoted to all aspects of the study of Medieval Italy, by historians, art historians and archaeologists alike.  This year we will be travelling to the University of Limerick in the Republic of Ireland for the conference which takes place on 10 – 11 June 2005.  The theme is ‘travel and movement’ and Patricia Skinner will be delivering a paper entitled ‘Byzantine bronze doors, international diplomacy and local politics in medieval Amalfi’.
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