The Center for Medieval Studies and its members are actively involved in a series of Research Workshops created as part of (and funded by) the Mellon Grant in support of the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World. These workshops—a signature feature of Medieval Studies at UMN—provide unique opportunities for their participants and visiting guests to explore theories and topics that explore the limits and nature of the history and material culture of the premodern, global world.

  • These faculty and graduate student-led initiatives involve scholars at the UMN as well as partners at local, national, and international institutions.
  • Research workshops address intellectual questions regarding global premodern studies and model collaboration across disciplines, chronologies, and geologies.
  • Activities range from reading groups and works-in-progress seminars to seminars with local or external visitors and public symposia and academic conferences.

Current 2016-2017 Workshops

The First Millennium: Religion in Late Antiquity

Organized by Benjamin Hansen, Lorenzo Schivetta & Anthony Thomas. A workshop devoted to the study of Late Antiquity, an age of transition from the classical world to the cultures of early medieval Europe, Byzantium, and the Near East. This was also a period when the three major monotheistic religions took shape, and religious developments across Afro-Eurasia will be the central theme of the workshop.

History of the Book in East Asia

Organized by Lois Hendrickson and Emily Beck. A workshop engaging scholarly work about the history of the premodern book in East Asia. We will draw upon seminal readings from Rare Books School course reading lists and contemporary scholarship that addresses topics of interest to participants that are relevant to local collections. Meetings will include a discussion of readings and opportunities to examine materials from the University's special collections libraries.

Mediterranean Workshop

Organized by Sultan Toprak, Daniel Schroeter, & Michael Lower. This workshop is a working group for faculty, graduate students, and visiting scholars carrying out research on the empirical, political, cultural factors underlying claims to a distinct Mediterranean regional identity.

Premodern Food Cultures

Organized by Michelle Hamilton, Emily Beck, and Marguerite Ragnow. Premodern Food Cultures explores primary texts and secondary scholarship on premodern food and foodways and works with local food producers. They hosted a conference with the Center for Medieval Studies and the James Ford Bell Library October 17-19. 

Reception of Classical Texts in the Medieval and Early Modern World

Organized by Andrew Scheil and Asa Olsen. This research workshop will provide a reading, discussion, and research forum for the reception of Greek and Roman texts in medieval and early modern western Europe to 1800.

Teaching the Global Premodern

Organized by Kate Tuley & Gabriale Payne. The Teaching the Global Premodern Workshop is an interdisciplinary space for conversations about course design on premodern topics. Sessions include learning workshops on digital tools, discussion of applying pedagogical theory to the premodern, and workshopping individual syllabi and assignments for the classroom. Faculty and graduate students from all disciplines are welcome.