Log in

Midwest Medieval History Conference

Forty-Third Annual


University of Tennessee


President: Linda Mitchell, Alfred University
Vice-president: Thomas Burman, University of Tennessee
Secretary: Louis Haas, Middle Tennessee State University
Treasurer: Martin Arbagi, Wright State University
Councilors: Gregory G. Guzman, Bradley University; Annette Parks, University of Evansville.
Program Director: Michael Frassetto, Encyclopedia Britannica
Local Arrangements: Thomas Burman, University of Tennessee


All meetings will be held at the Radisson: rooms TBA

Friday, October 8

2:00 - 6:00 P.M. - Conference Registration, Hotel Mezzanine. Coffee & beverages served in registration area 2 - 3 PM

3:00-4:00 - Christians and Jews in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages
Chair: Michael Kulikowski,
University of Tennessee

Eric Martin, University of
"Messiah Mimes: Popular
Representations of Christ in

Kate McGrath, Emory University:
"The 1096 Massacres of the
Jews: Politics of Anger in
Ekkehard of Aura's Chronicon
universale and Albert of
Aachen's Historia

4:00 - 4:15: coffee & beverage break in Radisson mezzanine

4:15-5:15 - Heeding the Call of the Crusades
Chair: Leah Shopkow, Indiana University

Matthew Gabriele, University of California, Berkeley:
"The Descriptio qualiter
Karolus Magnus
as Inspiration
for the First Crusade"

Vincent Ryan, Saint Louis
"Kings Need Not
Apply? Innocent III, Richard the
Lionheart and Preliminary Re-
cruitment Efforts for the Fourth

7:30- 9:30: Dessert Reception at the new Marco Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Tennessee. We will provide free passenger van service from the hotel to the reception, leaving at 7:30. The Marco institute is a 3 minute drive (just over 1 mile) from the hotel. Please see separate sheet for driving/walking directions.

Saturday, October 9

7:45 - 8:45: Assorted Fruit Juices, baked goods, and coffee in Radisson mezzanine

8:00- 11:00: Registration in mezzanine

8:45: Welcome to the University of Tennessee and the Marco Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies

9:00-10:30 Muslims and Christians
Chair: Robert Bast, University of Tennessee,

Scott G. Bruce, University of Colorado at
"The Hordes of Belial Sur-
round Me: Christian Perceptions of
Islam in a Tenth-Century Ransom

David Blanks, The American University in
: "Friends and Raiders: Christen-
dom and Islam Before the Crusades"

Nancy Turner, University of Wisconsin-
: "'They are all God's Handi-
work': Wolfram von Eschenbach's
Muslims in an Historical Context"

10:30 - 10:45: tea, coffee & soft drinks

10:45-12:00 - Plenary Address
Chair: Thomas Burman, University of Tennessee

James Powell, Syracuse University:
"Another View of the Fourth Crusade"

12:30-2:15: Lunch & Business Meeting

2:30-4:00 - Crusades and Crusading in the 13th Century
Chair: Louis Haas, Middle Tennessee State University

Laurence Marvin, Berry College:
"A Tale of Two Massacres: B├ęziers
1209 and Marmande 1219"

*Mark Vaughan, University of Rhode
"War is Good Business and Busi-
ness is Good: Logistics, Business
and Strategy in the Fourth Crusade"

Thomas Madden, Saint Louis
"1204 and the Eastern Schism"

4:00 - 4:30: cookies, fruit, soft drinks, coffee & tea in Radisson mezzanine

4:30-5:30 - Carolingians and Crusaders
Chair: Amy Livingstone, Wittenberg University

Steven A. Stofferahn, Indiana State
"Lucky Bastards:" Illegitimacy and
Its Advantages in Early Medieval
Political Culture"

James Bruce MacGregor, Missouri
Western State College
"Preaching the Past: Reading the
History of the First Crusade in Late
Medieval Exempla"

6:30-7:30 - Cash bar

7:30-9:30 - Banquet

9:45-12:00 - President's Reception
Raddison Hospitality Room

*Paper not delivered.

Meeting Minutes

Musa vult! Or more properly Clio vult! And the Midwest Medieval History Conference responded with much enthusiasm - even pandemonium.

President Linda Mitchell appeared before us at that Clermont of Notre Dame in the third year after the second coming twice postponed and asked us to redeem and save the Kingdom of Knoxville-that navel of the world. She had heard tales of lamentations from our brothers and sisters in Historia that far, far south of us - very far south as a matter of fact - that they had been subjected to unspeakable degradation and servitude. There at the University of Tennessee our medieval cohorts and the shrine of MARCO were surrounded and opposed by a race from the kingdom of the Vols, by an accursed race utterly alienated from Clio, a generation forsooth which has not directed its heart and has not directed its spirit to Clio. It only worships heathen Orange. Members in Clio are scourged, oppressed, and injured in Knoxville. A pilgrim well known to all of us was accosted and insulted and ridiculed and lambasted by those Turks of Vols and all because he was only wearing red and black on the same Saturday that the heathen Orange were opposing the bulldogs from far off Georgia during the rites of their own religion. A horrible tale. My own daughter once was kidnapped and held there for an eternity (actually a week) for something the heathen Orange call cheer camp. What it cost her parents in silver and gold, jewels and goods, shoes and pom-poms is immeasurable. What infamy - to speak of it is worse than to be silent.

Oh race of historians, race from the Midwest, race chosen and beloved by Clio. Recall the valor of your dissertation advisors. Let the rich aid the needy (thus graduate students may go); let them take with them experienced professors. The graduate students of any university are not to go without the consent of their major advisor, for this journey would profit them nothing if they went without permission of those. When President Mitchell had said these and very many similar things in her urbane discourse, the Midwest Medieval History Conference cried out: "It is the will of Clio." "It is the will of Clio." "Let us redeem that Kingdom of Knoxville with our scholarship." The eyes of some were bathed in tears, some trembled; and yet (as is typical of academics), others discussed the matter. All, of course, applied for travel funds from their universities - and threatened and browbeat the usual administrators. What can I say?

Program Chair Michael Frasetto, an historian of great renown and of highest ability went to the President with joyful countenance and on bended knee and entreated blessing and permission to go. Over and above this he won from the President the command that all should obey him (yeah - right - whatever), since all knew him as an historian of unusual energy and industry. His call went out: "On to Knoxville" and it was communicated far and wide-including at the conference at Kazoo!

Taking the sign of the conference upon themselves, calling themselves the Conferencers, (thus this is known as the Age of the Conferences), the Midwest Medieval History Conference descended upon Knoxville. In her history of the host and head of local arrangements at the University of Tennessee, Thomas Burman (the work, by the way, is called The Tomiad) Elizabeth Burman records that the arrival of this mighty host was preceded by locusts, which abstained from the wheat but made frightful inroads on the vines. The Midwest Medieval History Conference is known far and wide for in vino veritas und in bier ist es auch etwas.

One by one Conferencers trickled in and crossed over the Tennessee River and registered at the Radisson. On 8 October 2004 Graduate Student Conferencers made their charge and assault to redeem the Kingdom of Knoxville. Led by Chair Michael Kulikowski of the University of Tennessee, Eric Martin, also of the University of Tennessee presented "Messiah Mimes: Popular Representations of Christ in Antiquity," and Kate McGrath of Emory University presented "The 1096 Massacres of the Jews: Politics of Anger in Ekkehard of Aura's Chronicon universale and Albert of Aachen's Historia Hierosolymitana in the session Christians and Jews in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages. Led by Chair Leah Shopkow of Indiana University, Matthew Gabriele of the University of California, Berkeley presented, "The Descriptio qualiter Karolus Magnus and the origins for the First Crusade," and Vincent Ryan of Saint Louis University presented "Kings Need not Apply? Innocent III, Richard the Lionheart and Preliminary Recruitment Efforts for the Fourth Crusade" in the session Heeding the Call of the Crusades.

Exhausted and hungry and thirsty, the Conferencers scattered about the territory to forage for themselves. All were serving their mouth and stomach, as the chronicles report. Despite the usual overly inflated numbers recorded by medieval chroniclers of the Conferences, the Conferencers were ably able logistically to supply themselves. Hard as this is to believe, as something just does not add up. Later they attended the Dessert Reception at MARCO - no desert that. Sweeter even than honey that was in this land of Orange. While scaling and climbing the battlements of MARCO the cry "Polo, Polo, Polo" was heard long and wide. Elsewhere Conferencers encountered that Old Man of the Mountain, Cornel West, there at the Radisson for a relative's nuptials.

Not finding it necessary to fast and walk around barefoot as well as not needing to find a rusty spear point buried somewhere in a scavenger hunt of sorts (and no one had to go through a trial by fire either), the main body of the Conferencers, the professors, made their charge and assault to redeem the Kingdom of Knoxville the next day. First Robert Bast, Director of the Marco Institute of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Tennessee welcomed the Conferencers and thanked them for coming. Then he himself as chair led the first session, Muslims and Christians. Scott Bruce of the University of Colorado presented "The Hordes of Belial Surround Me: Christian Perceptions of Islam in a Tenth-Century Ransom Note." David Blanks of the American University in Cairo presented "Friends and Raiders: Christendom and Islam before the Crusades." And Nancy Turner of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville presented "'They are all God's Handiwork': Wolfram von Eschenbach's Muslims in an Historical Context."

After a suitable introduction by Thomas Madden of Saint Louis University, James Powell of Syracuse University scaled the assault ladder himself and presented the plenary address, "Another View of the Fourth Crusade," with the trenchant observation - trenchant in that the scribe recorded it - that "history is not just about digging; it is about thinking."

Now the Conferencers got down to the dirty and gory cut and thrust business of the Conferences - Lunch and the Business Meeting. Host Tom Burman presided. With cries of "Louie vult," the minutes for the 2003 Conference were accepted. Martin Arbagi, Sacrae Largitatis Comes, made his report. Discussion was held regarding two major expenses of the conference - stipends for graduate student travel and the costs of the President's reception (this latter discussion also saw considerable email action later on in the year). Some suggested that large institutions might want to cover these costs in the registration costs themselves; others suggested that members could make direct donations for this purpose (Laura Wertheimer suggested adding a line on the registration form asking for this).

Here a corruption of the text and the inexcusable failure of the scribe leave room for historiographical debate: the text records something regarding this was moved and then seconded and approved by all - but what is not clear. Perhaps at this point I might ask your indulgence and go from written record to memory. What did we move here and second and approve (sorry)? And, as before, it was suggested that we move the treasurer's position to a more tax friendly state - probably a red state - but no real decision was made.

Tom Burman next discussed the upcoming conference at Kalamazoo and the spring business meeting of the MMHC. He also suggested developing a traveling workbook on how to put on a conference, which would be of aid to those planning future Midwest Medieval History Conferences. President Mitchell discussed the two Kazoo sessions in honor of Jim Powell and mentioned their possible inclusion in an issue of Historical Reflections. Dave Wagner suggested we need to present a statement to CARA defining who we are (and Remie Constable advised us not to schedule MMHC in conflict with CARA). Tentative plans were set for MMHC 2005 at Illinois State; MMHC 2006 at the University of Evansville; and MMHC 2007 at Saint Louis University.

Now, in confusion about their leadership before the walls and battlements of Knoxville, the Conferencers held elections. Vice-President Tom Burman by acclamation and office became President; Laura Wertheimer was elected Vice President/ President elect. Michael Lower was elected Program Chair for 2005. Councilor Gregory Guzman - struck down before the very walls and battlements of Knoxville by a viscous bolt - was replaced via election by Matt Phillips. Annette Parks continues. John Lomax agreed to organize MMHC sessions for Kalamazoo for 2006. Meeting adjourned.

Now the next session Crusades and Crusading in the 13th Century made its charge and assault to redeem the Kingdom of Knoxville with Chair Louis Haas of Middle Tennessee State University (very thankful to be saved from the depredations of the heathen Orange) leading. Laurence Marvin of Berry College presented, "A Tale of Two Massacres: Bezier 1209 and Armanda 1219." Thomas Madden of Saint Louis University presented, "1204 and the Eastern Schism." Finally, wearied and battered - note taking and participating in Q and A is hard work - the Conferencers made their successful charge and assault to redeem the Kingdom of Knoxville. Chair Amy Livingstone of Wittenberg University led the session Carolingians and Crusaders over the walls. Steven Stofferahn of Indiana State University presented, "Lucky Bastards: Illegitimacy and its Advantages in Early Medieval Political Culture." And James Bruce MacGregor of Missouri Western State College presented, "Preaching the Past: Reading the History of the First Crusade in Late Medieval Exempla." Then the Conferencers went to the Cumberland Room at the Radisson and were joyful of their victory and celebrated long into the night. How they rejoiced and exulted and sang a new song to Clio. What happened there? If I tell the truth, it will exceed your powers of belief. But President Mitchell provided a reception worthy of its name. And we rode in goodies up to our knees and bridle reins. Thus ends this concise history of the minutes. A Ridley Scott Production - available now in DVD.

Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management