The Catholic University of America

 8th Annual Graduate Student Conference on Medieval Studies:

Medieval Objects

April 3-4, 2014


Thursday, April 3, 2014, 5:15 pm, McMahon 201
Keynote lecture by Prof. Thomas J. Finan (Saint Louis University),
"Gaelic Objects: The Missing Irish Thirteenth Century."
Friday, April 4, 2014
Paper presentations (Pryzbyla Center 321-323)
and Medieval Banquet (Pryz, Quiet Dining Hall), our annual potluck, immediately following the conference.
Conference schedule listed below.
Sunday, April 6, 2014, 1:00-6:00 pm, Pryz Lawn
CUA Medieval Day.  An all-day celebration of all things medieval, in the center of CUA’s campus. 

Conference Program


Please register for the event(s) you plan to attend; although the conference is free to all attendees, registration is required, thank you!

~ Registration Form ~ 

Thursday, April 03, 2014



5:15 pm to 7:00pm

Graduate Conference Keynote Lecture and Reception

Professor Thomas J. Finan (Saint Louis University),

"Gaelic Objects: The Missing Irish Thirteenth Century."

McMahon Hall, Room 201

Friday, April 04, 2014


9:15 am to 9:45 am


Conference Registration and Coffee

Pryzbyla Center, Room 321-323


9:45 am to 10:00 am


Welcome & Remarks


10:00 am to 11:00 am

Session 1: Theological Debates of the Later Medieval Period

Chair: Dr. Robin Darling Young (CUA/TRS)


  • “Wyclif and the Beatific Vision,Luke DeWeese, The Catholic University of America 
  • “Debating Clerical Celibacy from Augustine to Luther,” Kim Lungociu, The Catholic University of America
  • “Unpacking the Object of God: Nothingness and Apophatic Theology in Meister Eckhart,Zachary Porcu, Trinity Western U.

11:00 am to 11:30


Coffee Break


11:30 am to 12:30 pm

Session 2: Composing Cultural Identity

Chair: Dr. Thomas Finan (SLU/History)


  • “Reaching Back to the Past: Pisan Civic Identity in Early Christian Saints’ Legends from the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries,” Carol Anderson, The Catholic University of America
  • “Notes and Notations: The Musical Interests of Pierre de Limoges,” Eric Nemarich, Georgetown University 
  • “‘What then would you have us wear?’ Arguments over the clothing of nuns in the Lutheran Reformation,” Katya Mouris, The Catholic University of America


12:30 pm to 1:30 pm


Lunch Break


1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

Session 3: Uses of Law in Medieval Texts

Chair: Dr. Jennifer Paxton (CUA/History)


  • “Medieval Text as Computational Object: Macroanalysis of Gratian’s Decretum,” Paul Evans, The Catholic University of America 
  • “Changing Allegiances: An Analysis of Charles the Bald’s Diploma to St-Arnulf, 842,”  Wes Bush, The Catholic University of America 
  • “Hugh of St. Victor’s Natural Law Reading of Genesis,” Brett Smith, The Catholic University of America

2:30 pm to 3:00 pm


Coffee Break


3:00 pm to 4:20 pm

Session 4: Objects & Authority in Medieval Literature

Chair: Dr. Lilla Kopár (CUA/English)


  • "Errant Maidens and Severed Heads in Le Haut Livre du Graal: Perlesvaus," Kate Koppy, Purdue U.
  • “Ælfred mec heht gewyrcan”: The Value of Making in the Old English Prose Consolation of Philosophy,” Beth Newman Ooi, The Catholic University of America 
  • The Mantle of Merlin: Quantum Medievalism and the Super-Position of Objects,”                M Bychowski, George Washington University 
  • “Saint Grendel? “Monster Relics” in Beowulf,Chris Pipkin, The Catholic University of America

4:20 pm to 4:30 pm


Closing Remarks


5:00 pm


Medieval Banquet

Pryzbyla Center, Quiet Dining Area





Past Conferences


7th Annual Graduate Student Conference on Medieval Studies: Medieval Bodies (April 18-19, 2013)

April 18, 2013, 5:15 PM
Keynote lecture by Dean Lawrence R. Poos, CUA,
"The Population of Europe 1300-1600: A Big-Picture View, and Some New Data for Life Expectancy."
Caldwell Hall, 100 Happel Room
April 19, 2013
Paper presentations and Medieval Banquet (our annual potluck, immediately following the conference).
Pryzbyla Center, Great Room C
Conference program listed below.
April 20, 2013
CUA Medieval Day. An all-day celebration of all things medieval, in the center of CUA’s campus. 
Pryzbyla Center Lawn

Conference Program

Thursday, April 18, 2013


5:00 pm to 8:00pm


Graduate Conference Keynote Lecture and Reception

Dean L.R. Poos, Catholic University of America

"The Population of Europe 1300-1600: A Big-Picture View, and Some New Data for Life Expectancy."

Caldwell Hall, 100 Happel Room


Friday, April 19, 2013

9:00 am to 9:30 am


Registration and Coffee

Pryzbyla Center, Great Room C


9:30 am to 9:45 am


Conference Opening Remarks


9:45 am to 11:15 am

Session 1: The Body in Northern Legendary Narrative

Chair: Dr. Theresa Coletti, University of Maryland, English


  • “The Radiant Beauty of Sir Gawain’s Inner Character in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight,” Sr. Angela Marie Russell, Aquinas College 
  • “How to Dress a Giant in Human Clothes: The Alliterative Morte Arthure and the Kings-Beard Kirtle,” Chris Pipkin, Catholic University of America 
  • “Performing Madness in the Roman de Silence,” Sarah O’Brien, Fordham University
  • “Ond grimhelmas: Reflected Ambivalence in Beowulf’s Body Armor,” Rachel Scoggins, Georgia State University

11:15 am to 11:30


Coffee Break


11:30 am to 1:00 pm

Session 2: Bodily Absence, Bodily Presence

Chair: Dr. Kelley Wickham-Crowley, Georgetown University, English


  • “Embodying an Eunuch, or Absence as a Positive Being,” M.  Bychowski, George Washington University
  • “Inappropriate Touching: The Relationship of Monks and Demons in the 6th and 7th Century Fathers,” Zachary Porcu, UCLA
  • “’Though it was the hollow of my own womb that howled’: Prophecy and Animated Fetuses in The Táin and Its Remscéla,” Gina Dominick, Georgetown University
  •  “The Subtle Doctor Meets Descartes-minus,” Jonathan Bryan, Loyola Marymount


1:00 pm to 2:00 pm


Lunch Break


2:00 pm to 3:30 pm

Session 3: Human Bodies

Chair: Dr. Samuel Collins, George Mason University, History


  • “Instilling a Desire Demanding Prayer: The Role of History in St. Erkenwald,” Jon Paul Heyne, Catholic University of America
  • “Consent Measures Teleology: Peter Abelard on Assessing Bodily Acts,” Timothy Jacobs, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
  • “Feeding Spiritual and Physical Bodies: Models for Eating Practices in Bede’s Historical Narratives,” Angela Geosits, Catholic University of America
  • “Dueling for Honor’s Sake: Putting the Body at Risk for the Greatest Good,” Tom Leoni, Catholic University of America

3:30 pm to 4:00 pm


Coffee Break


4:00 pm to 5:30 pm

Session 4: Textual Bodies

Chair: Dr. Suzanne Miller, George Washington University, History


  • "Exemplum, Obscurity, and Chaotic Traditions: Defining the Chaucerian Fabliau," Alexandra V. Lund, Radford University
  • “Bernard of Clairvaux & the Medieval Senses: How Did the Cistercians Explain Love?,” Paul A. Brazinski, Catholic University of America
  • A Previously Unidentified Text in Beinecke MS 413,” Paul Evans, Catholic University of America
  • “The English Episcopal Body and Its Decisions during the Reign of King Stephen,” Charles A. Delgado, Catholic University of America


5:30 pm to 6:00 pm




6:00 pm


Medieval Banquet

Pryzbyla Center, Great Room C


6th Annual Graduate Student Conference on Medieval Studies: Cross-Cultural Encounters in the Middle Ages (April 19-20, 2012)

Thursday, April 19, 2012, 5:15 pm
Opening of the conference by Kevin White, Professor of Philosophy (CUA).
Keynote lecture by Thérèse-Anne Druart, Professor of Philosophy (CUA),
"Moses and the Magicians: Prophecy or Magic? Or, al-Ghazali on Certitude."
Followed by reception.
Friday, April 20, 2012
9:30–9:45 Welcome
9:45–10:45 Session I: Crossing Cultural Borders. Chair: Prof. Philip Rousseau (CUA)
  • Brandon Tino Parlopiano (CUA), “Useful Marginalities: Rethinking Marginal Identities on the Fringes of Heaven and Earth.”
  • Merle Eisenberg (King’s College London), “Romans or Isaurians: Internal Encounters in the Late Roman Empire.”
  • Andrew Cuff (CUA), “The Anonymous Hierosolimitanus: Reading the Gesta Francorum as Pilgrim Narrative.”
11:00–12:00 Session II: Gender and/in Transition. Chair: Dr. Jennifer Paxton (CUA)
  • Jacob Doss (Boston College), “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!: Gender and the Origins of Ælred of Rievaulx’s Rule of Life for a Recluse.”
  • Sarah O’Brien (CUA), “Griselda and the Misogynistic Tradition: Examining Christine de Pizan’s Inclusion of Patient Griselda in Her Book of the City of Ladies.”
  • Jeff Everhart (Longwood University), “Shifting the Norse Masculine Center: Njal’s Saga, Conversion, and the Unstable Comitatus.”
12:30–1:30 Session III: Learning Across the Mediterranean. Chair: Dr. Jonathan Hsy (GWU)
  • Tim Kearns (CUA), “Christian Learning as a Way of Life: Augustine, Cross-Cultural Comparison, and the De doctrina christiana.”
  • M Bychowski (George Washington University), “Dancing Cross Roads: Queer Motions of Ontology in the Travels of Thomas Coryate.”
  • Kristen Wright (CUA), “Making Monsters: Depictions of African Sexuality in Medieval and Early Modern Texts.”
2:30–4:00 Session IV: Markers of Monstrosity. Chair: Dr. Larissa Kat Tracy (Longwood U.)
  • Nancy Furey (CUA), “The Mouth of Hell: A Monstrosity of Space.”
  • Angela Geosits (CUA), “Feeding the Monster: Representations of Monstrous Meals in Medieval Literature.”
  • Christopher Pipkin (CUA), “The Devourer's New Clothes: The Riddle of Grendel's Glof.”
4:30–5:30 Session V: Textual Encounters. Chair: Dr. Tobias Hoffmann (CUA)
  • Maureen Russo (Georgetown University), “Word for Word, Wit for Guilt: The Comic Power of Substitution in 14th Century Frame Narratives.”
  • Shyama Rajendran (George Washington University), “Translation and the Production of Textual Monsters.”
  • Heather Judd (CUA), “Talking with Monsters: Monstrous Discourse in Medieval Texts.”
Saturday, April 21, 2012, 1:00-6:00 pm
Medieval Day: A public celebration of all things medieval. Organized by CUA's Medieval Society.

5th Annual Graduate Student Conference on Medieval Studies: Identity in the Middle Ages (April 14-15, 2011)

Thursday, April 14, 2011, 5:15 pm
Opening of the conference by Prof. L.R. Poos, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, CUA.
Keynote lecture: Prof. Daniel Lord Smail (Harvard University), "Deep History. What's in it for Medievalists?"
Friday, April 15, 2011
11:00-11:15 Words of Welcome.
11:15-12:15 Separating Cultures: What Distinguishes One Group from Another?
  • Josh Abbotoy (CUA), "Being Roman in a Turkish World: Markers of Identity in Michael Doukas' Historia Turko-Byzantina."
  • Nate Aschenbrenner (Georgetown U), "Representations of Steppe Nomads in Byzantine Historiography."
  • Daniela Enriquez (U of Palermo), "Jewish Identity in Medieval Sicily: Status and Cultural Similarities of the Jewish Community in Sicily."
12:30-1:30 Assessing Cultural Values: What Does Literature Tell Us About the Ideas and Values of a Community?
  • Rose O'Malley (American U), "Age after Beauty: Old Women in Late Medieval Literature."
  • Beth Newman Ooi (CUA), "Images of Wideness in Old English Poetry."
  • Pablo A. Martinez (CUA), "Rodrigo's Transformation: From Loyal Vassal to Haughty Hero."
2:30-4:00 Defining 'Christian': What Does it Mean to Be a Christian in a Certain Place and Time?
  • Christina J. Allen (U of Nebraska, Omaha), "To Defy the Papacy: English Resistance to the Use of Torture in the Trial of the Templars."
  • Nancy M. Furey (CUA), "The Secular and the Sacred Hero in Old English Poetry."
  • Aia Hussein (American U), "'We Shall Find Our Own True Race': The Figure of the Saracen in Christian Medieval Literature."
  • Nicholas Prokup (CUA), "War (and Peace?) in Anglo-Saxon Literature."
4:30-5:30 Public Life and Performance: What is the Function of Art in Establishing Identities?
  • Sarah Biernacki (CUA), "Musical Awakenings in Chaucer's The Book of the Duchess."
  • Bridget Walsh (CUA), "The Art of Feasting: Medieval Cookery and the Question of Intentions."
  • Judy Spence (U of Maryland), "The Chester Mystery Cycle: What the Late Banns Suggest about Chester's Resistance to Political and Religious Conversion."

4th Annual Graduate Student Conference on Medieval Studies (April 23, 2010)

11:00-11:15 Opening
11:15-12:15 Session I-Rulers and Madmen
  • David H. Kelley, "Islamic Rulers, Arabic Tribes, and the Hajj during the 11th and 12th Centuries."
  • Joshua Abbotoy, "Manuel II's Funeral Oration as a Reconstruction of Byzantine Rulership."
  • Brandon T. Parlopiano, "Diligenter inquirere veritatem: Proving Insanity in Medieval Law."

12:30-1:30 Session II-The Pursuit of Virtue

  • Nicholas Kahm, "Aquinas on the Prime Analogate of Human Goodness."
  • Sara Erickson, "'Death Comes for Beowulf': The Conversion of Edwin, the Funeral of Scyld Scefing, and Anglo-Saxon Ideas about the Soul."
  • James Estes, "Pagan Heroes on a Christian Stage: Religious Interlace in the Beowulf Poem."

2:30-4:00 Session III-Literature, Society, and the Self

  • Erin Webb, "Arthuriana as Genre."
  • Usha Vishnuvajjala, "Madness and Persecution in The Book of Margery Kempe."
  • Lindsay L. Rerecich, "The Other Side of Marital Exchange: Fathers and Daughters in The Canterbury Tales."
  • Nancy M. Furey, "The Fiction of The Pardoner: Tale and Teller in The Canterbury Tales."

4:30-5:30 Session IV-Unlocking the Word-hoard: Heart and Song in Old English Literature

  • Beth Newman, "Translating the Word 'mod' in Beowulf."
  • Veronica Cowan, "The Seven Songs in Beowulf."
  • Sarah Biernacki, "The Speciousness of Song in Robert Zemeckis' Beowulf."