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News Release

Moravian College to host Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Bethlehem, Pa., November 20, 2007—Moravian College will host an interdisciplinary Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies on Saturday, December 1, marking the second year that this notable academic conference will be held at the College. The conference and related activities have been designed to highlight the richness and interdisciplinary nature of medieval studies and early modern studies.  The day-long program will showcase student scholarship and creative work, encourage students to consider future work in graduate and professional studies, provide students with the opportunity to present their work in a broader setting beyond the classroom, and to build ties among medievalists and early modernists in the region.

Students from colleges in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast region will present of papers or performances related to art, history, English, music, philosophy, religion, and other discipline dealing with the medieval and early modern eras. The keynote speaker will be delivered by Maryanne Kowaleski, director of Fordham University’s Center for Medieval Studies at 1:30 p.m.
A leading scholar on medieval studies, Kowaleski has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Study, the National Humanities Center, the Davis Center at Princeton University, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Fulbright-Hays Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council.  Her awards include the Medieval Academy’s Centers and Regional Associations Award for Outstanding Service; the Fordham Award for Distinguished Contribution to Graduate Teaching and Service; and Rivette Visiting Scholar, Women’s Center of the University of Missouri-Kansas City.  She is a Fellow of the Medieval Academy, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society of Britain, and on the editorial board of Speculum, the journal of the Medieval Academy of America.  At Fordham, she is also editor of the Online Medieval Sources Bibliography, publisher of the Internet Medieval History Sourcebook and associated with the French of England project.  Kowaleski was recently named Joseph Fitzpatrick, S.J., distinguished professor of social science at Fordham University.

Opening remarks will be presented at 9:30 a.m. by Jim Skalnik, assistant dean for academic advising at Moravian, Student presentations will begin at 10 a.m. and continue until the luncheon break at 12:30 p.m. with demonstrations by Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, and “Bells and Motley.”

The Moravian Pottery and Tile Works, a National Historic Landmark, is maintained as a "working history" museum by Pennsylvania's County of Bucks, Department of Parks and Recreation. Located in Doylestown, Pa., handmade tiles are still produced in a manner similar to that developed by the pottery's founder and builder, Henry Chapman Mercer (1856-1930). Mercer was a major proponent of the Arts & Crafts Movement in America. He directed the work at the pottery from 1898 until his death in 1930.

“Bells and Motley” is comprised  of Sondra and John Bromka, accomplished musicians, playwrights, storytellers who specialize in early and traditional musical performance. Performing together for over 25 years, “Bells & Motley” are most known for their uncommon instrumentation. They perform on a diverse collection of medieval instruments, including recorders, crumhorns, percussion, medieval wire, gut, and silk strung harps, shawms and early oboes, lute, hurdy gurdy, medieval bagpipes, and medieval fiddles. The Bromkas perform with one-of-a-kind instruments that are careful reconstructions of those used during medieval times.

The conference will reconvene at 1:30 p.m. for the keynote speech, which will be followed with an afternoon session,  and a reception. The conference will conclude with a performance of medieval and early modern music by “Bells and Motley.”

Last December, Moravian College hosted its first-ever Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies. The event featured a rich exchange of scholarly ideas with 28 presentations by undergraduate students from various colleges and over 200 attendees representing 25 schools. Along with conventional slide lectures, the day was filled with performances and demonstrations, including a Renaissance dance by the Moravian Star Irish Dance Troupe and calligraphy by Terese Swift-Hahn. Other events included a plenary speech by Arthurian literature specialist Kelley Wickham-Crowley, a reception hosted by the Friends of Reeves Library, and a performance (to a packed house) by members of the Baltimore Consort and Quartetto Brio. Among the research projects presented by Moravian students were “Albrecht Dürer and his Negative Depiction of Peoples,” by Jen Bajczyk '09, and Christina Townsend 09’ “English Apocalypticism and the Year 1000.” Participating colleges included Bucknell University, Brooklyn College, and the University of Delaware, as well as our Lehigh Valley neighbors Lafayette College, and DeSales University.

The conference and associated activities are being organized by Sandy Bardsley (sandybardsley@moravian.edu), assistant professor of history, and John Black (jrb1@moravian.edu), assistant professor of English at Moravian College. A website for the conference can be found at http://www.moravian.edu/medieval.htm.

Moravian College is a private, coeducational, selective liberal arts college located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Tracing its founding to 1742, it is recognized as America's sixth-oldest college. Visit the Web site at www.moravian.edu.