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

Bethlehem, Pa., October 26, 2006—Interested in things medieval or early modern? the suspense of Tolkien? lively Renaissance music? the splendor of castles and cathedrals? the daily lives of ladies, lords, serfs, shepherds, warriors, and weavers?

Moravian College will host an interdisciplinary Undergraduate Conference in Medieval and Early Modern Studies on Saturday, December 2, with registration at 9:30 a.m. in the Priscilla Payne Hurd Academic Complex. Student presentations will begin at 10:30 a.m. and continue until the luncheon break at 11:30. The conference will reconvene at 12:30 p.m. for a keynote speech by Dr. Kelley Wickham-Crowley, associate professor and researcher in medieval studies in the department of English at Georgetown University. Following two afternoon sessions and a reception, events will conclude with a concert by The Baltimore Consort and Brio, two renowned early music ensembles, featuring Larry Lipkis, composer-in-residence at Moravian College. A visual arts exhibit also will be on display in the Paty Eiffe Gallery during the conference. The conference and related activities have been designed to highlight for attendees the richness and interdisciplinary nature of medieval studies and early modern studies, to showcase student scholarship and creative work, to encourage students to consider future work in graduate and professional studies, to 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 are invited to participate via the presentation of papers or performances related to art, history, English, music, philosophy, religion, or any other discipline dealing with the medieval and early modern eras. Students may also propose and organize sessions for multiple papers on a shared topic or for musical or dramatic performances. For individual presentations, abstracts and proposals will be accepted for 15 minute papers and activities. Proposals may also be submitted by groups for musical or dramatic performances of 45 minutes in length.  All abstracts and proposals must be submitted by November 1, and the deadline for registration is November 27.  The conference registration is free; concert tickets for conference attendees are $5.  For registration and for more details, visit the conference website at http://www.moravian.edu/medieval.htm.

The conference keynote presentation by Professor Wickham-Crowley will focus on weaving as practice, image, and metaphor in Anglo-Saxon England. Professor Wickham-Crowley’s specialty is Old English and Early Middle English literature. She is especially interested in the literatures of medieval women, La3amon's Brut, intersections of physical and intellectual culture in Anglo-Saxon England, feminist and gender theory, J.R.R. Tolkien's writings, fantasy and science fiction. A prolific writer, Wickham-Crowley has published five works relevant to Anglo-Saxon topics: Cannibal Cultures and the Body of Text in La3amon's Brut (2002); “Going Native”: Anthropological Lawman (2000); Writing the Future: La3amon's Prophetic History (2002); Looking Forward, Looking Back: Excavating the Field of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (1999); and Spaces of the Living and the Dead: An Archaeological Dialogue (1999). Her book, “Buried Truths: Shrouds, Cults and Female Production in Anglo-Saxon England” (soon to be released), was written in honor of Rosemary Cramp. Works in progress include an examination of the intersections of the physical and intellectual cultures of the Anglo-Saxons and a book on women and weaving in the texts and archaeology of early medieval Britain.

The conference will conclude with a concert at 4:30 p.m. in Peter Hall performed by The Baltimore Consort and Brio, two highly regarded early music ensembles. The performance will feature members of both ensembles, including Moravian’s Larry Lipkis, and will focus on the music of the Sephardim, Spanish Jews who spread their rich cultural traditions throughout Europe and the Middle East following their expulsion from Spain in 1492.

Members of the Baltimore Consort ensemble have performed to the delight of audiences both in the U.S. and abroad, and their CD’s have earned merit on Billboard Magazine’s Top-Ten list.  Their arrangements of early music from England, Scotland, France, Italy and Spain speak an international language of music that appeals to the mind and speaks to the heart. Recently the group has explored the wealth of music from the Iberian Peninsula, and recently recorded a new CD, “Cancionero: Early Music from Spain,” which is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2007.

Brio, a quartet based in Charleston, South Carolina, specializes in exciting and vibrant performances of Sephardic music, featuring countertenor extraordinaire, José Lemos.

The conference and associated activities are being organized by Dr. Sandy Bardsley (sandybardsley@moravian.edu), assistant professor of history, and Dr. John Black (jrb1@moravian.edu), assistant professor of English at Moravian College. The events are sponsored by the History and English departments, the Moravian College Arts & Lectures Committee, the Lebensfeld Fund, Moravian College Administrators, Reeves Library, the Friends of Reeves Library, the Moravian College Public Relations Office, and the Lehigh Valley Association of Independent Colleges.