Medieval Colloquium


Welcome to the Harvard English Department's Medieval Colloquium! Sponsored by Professors Daniel Donoghue, James Simpson, and Nicholas Watson, the Colloquium brings together students and faculty from Harvard and other universities to discuss current research on medieval literature and its contexts.

During the spring semester, we meet on Thursdays at 5 pm, most often (but not always) in the Kates Room, Warren House (11 Prescott St., Cambridge MA 02138). All are welcome!

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact one of our graduate student coordinators, Aparna Chaudhuri at or Anna Kelner at

Medieval Studies at Harvard

The Standing Committee on Medieval Studies is a great place to start for resources in interdisciplinary medieval studies at Harvard. Here, you can:
Inter Libros offers a great overview of electronic resources available for scholars in medieval studies; for more electronic resources, see below.

Houghton Library holds a wealth of incredible medieval manuscripts and related materials. Don't miss their collection of Digital Medieval Manuscripts, and be sure to check out their Search Strategies for locating other manuscripts in the collection.

Conferences and Calls for Papers

Harvard Department of English Medieval Colloquium Panels at Kalamazoo 2018

The Harvard Medieval Colloquium will sponsor two panels this coming May at the 53rd Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo. Each of the panels has a "featured speaker": Leslie Lockett has agreed to give a paper on "Literary Personae," and Suzanne Akbari on "History and Poetics."

A committee will choose three other panelists for each session by a process of blind review of the abstract submissions. The hope is that the blind review process would provide a relatively unbiased chance for junior faculty, graduate students, and adjuncts to "break in" on a panel that has the potential to draw a big audience. The sum of the idea is thus twofold: first, to start a conversation between senior faculty and those whom academic conferences often leave underexposed, and second, to provide a space for dialogue between academics at widely differing stages of the career.

All questions, abstract submissions, and required information should be sent to Aparna Chaudhuri (, Anna Kelner ( and Stella Wang ( by the congress deadline (September 15th).

1. With Leslie Lockett: Literary Personae, Translating Identity

Literary personae often operate as sites of negotiation between historical identity and literary or intellectual-historical traditions. Personae such as the didactic interlocutor, the dreamer, the lamenting lyric speaker, or the scop reoccur in certain medieval genres; these figures, however, are also often marked by particular cultural or biographical features, differentiating them from others in the tradition. This panel welcomes papers that discuss literary personae in Anglo-Saxon England from any angle, but which might respond to one or several of the following questions. What types of performance are involved in the assumption of literary personae? What kinds of historical features often mark personae, and how might they come into competition or conflict with more universalized archetypes? How do modified personae in translated works reflect historical, geographical, and social differences, and how do these changes perform interpretive work in the texts they purport to authorize? This is intended primarily as an Old English panel, but if you work on very similar issues in the later part of the Middle Ages, we are happy to consider your submission.

2. With Suzanne Akbari: History and Poetics

This panel focuses on medieval conceptions of time, history, and memory. As literary historians, we frequently encounter the challenges of periodization: how to establish the autonomous significance of the Middle Ages, as well as think beyond the limits of stage-oriented historiography. Yet how did medieval chroniclers, poets, artists, and travellers view the historical process and their place within it? What “pasts” did they recover, and what forms of representation were used to remember, rehearse or reimagine them? Are there distinctions drawn between history and memory—between notionally universal, stable, and textual forms of record, and personal, bodily, and mutable ones? Finally, how might revisiting medieval forms of temporal awareness revise those critical practices that we broadly call “historicist,” perhaps widening our approach to formal or theoretical engagements? We welcome submissions that consider, from any angle, the poetics and politics of representing medieval time. 

NB: These are blind review panels. Leslie Lockett and Suzanne Akbari have each agreed to present a paper, but a committee will select the other papers by a process of double blind review of the submitted abstracts. Abstracts from graduate students and junior scholars are especially encouraged.

Note: travel grants are available for English Department graduate students who are delivering papers at academic conferences, or who have interviews at MLA.

For additional medieval studies conference listings, see the Medieval Academy of America's conference calendar, and the Harvard Medieval Studies Committee's list of conferences and calls for papers.

If you know of an upcoming conference or publication that you would like us to add to our list, please write to Aparna Chaudhuri at or Anna Kelner at Thank you!

Electronic Resources

Inter Libros (Michael Hemment, Harvard University)

International Medieval Bibliography (Brepols Publishers) (Harvard PIN required)

Online Resources for Medieval Art and Architecture (Jeffrey Hamburger, Harvard University)

Digital Scriptorium (Columbia University)

The Middle English Compendium, which includes an electronic version of the Middle English Dictionary (University of Michigan) (Harvard PIN required)

Lewis and Short Latin Dictionary (Choose "Lewis and Short" in drop-down menu) (Harvard University)

Douay-Rheims Bible Online

Spring 2018 Colloquium Schedule

NB: During the spring semester, we most often meet in the Kates Room, Warren House, at 5 pm on Thursdays, unless otherwise noted.

February 22

Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University), “Reimagining Medieval Deafness: Communication, Community, Deafnicity” (co-sponsored with the Race and Ethnicity Colloquium)

Kates Room, Warren House

March 8

Aparna Chaudhuri (Harvard University), "Ovidian Obedience in Chaucer’s Legend of Good Women

Kates Room, Warren House

March 22

Julie Orlemanski (University of Chicago), "What Is Not Form, in Chaucer”

Kates Room, Warren House

March 29

Anna Wilson (Harvard University),  "Queering Petrarch's Letters"  

Kates Room, Warren House

April 5

Daniel Donoghue (Harvard University), Book presentation, How the Anglo-Saxons Read their Poems 

Kates Room, Warren House

April 12

Ad Putter (University of Bristol; 2017–18 Morton W. Bloomfield Visiting Fellow), “Chaucer’s Rhythms” 

Kates Room, Warren House

April 26

Jay Zysk (University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth), “Babbling Bishops and ‘Scurvy Jack-Dog Priests’:  Representing the Clergy in Early English Drama” (co-sponsored with the Renaissance Colloquium) 

Kresge Room (114), Barker Center (12 Quincy St.)

Mailing Lists and Newsletters

To be added to the English Department Medieval Colloquium email list, write to Aparna Chaudhuri ( or Anna Kelner (

To receive emails about medieval studies events in and around Boston through the Standing Committee on Medieval Studies, write to, or sign up here.

To subscribe to The Medieval Review, an electronic review distribution list, send an email to with nothing in the subject line, and the message "subscribe TMR-L" and your name (e.g. "subscribe TMR-L Jane Doe") in the body of the email.

St. Augustine and a tale of two cities (from Houghton MS Typ 228, De civitate dei)

Professional Organizations

Medieval Academy of America

The Medieval Institute

The New Chaucer Society

Early English Text Society

Modern Language Association


Editions and Indexes
If you find any broken or erroneous links on this page, please email the colloquium coordinators. Thank you!

Feb 16, 2016, 10:42 AM
Feb 16, 2016, 10:42 AM