Michigan’s Medieval and Early Modern Studies program brings together scholars and students across disciplines and regions to expand our understanding of the premodern world and bring forward new questions and ways of thinking about earlier cultures and spaces, even those that have previously gone unexamined. MEMS also participates in and helps promote the programming of related events and workshops across the U-M campus.
Gifts to MEMS allow us to pursue new opportunities as well as offer longstanding programs to all MEMS students, faculty, and the public. Gifts to these funds help support current programming:
The MEMS Lecture Series features invited scholars who present on topics that span the globe and engage the latest problems in their fields.
Founded in 1979, the monthly Premodern Colloquium gives local faculty and advanced graduate students, as well as invited speakers, the opportunity to discuss work in progress with a supportive and engaged community of peers.
The Medieval Lunch focuses on graduate student work, or sometimes pairs grad students and faculty presenters, to workshop papers and problems in a casual setting. These informal lunches provide a sneak preview of conversations in our fields going forward.
MEMS Lectures bring in scholars from otherwise disparate fields and regions to broaden and refresh our work and thinking. In 2022-2023 we featured Carl Petry, an authority on Mamluk social and cultural history and author of several field-defining books such as The Mamluk Sultanate: A History, Gitanjali Shahani, editor of the groundbreaking volumes Emissaries in Early Modern Literature and Food and Literature, and Jacqueline Stone, author of the award-winning Original Enlightenment and the Transformation of Medieval Japanese Buddhism. Teasing apart old sources to reveal the thorny problems of gender, race, colonial appetites, and the interplay of devotional practices and state ideology across the premodern world, their lectures challenged our reading skills, both of texts and the experiences that lay behind them.
- Professor Enrique García Santo Tomás, Director, Medieval and Early Modern Studies
This 44th year of the Premodern Colloquium (PMC) has been a resounding success! Each semester's pre-circulated papers thematically followed a topic introduced by the work of a resident faculty member. In the Fall, Lihong Liu (History of Art) initiated an exploration of ecocritical approaches to medieval and early modern visual culture, and in the Winter, Daniel Nemser (Romance Languages and Literature) opened our discussion on the experiences of sub-Saharan African people and their descendants throughout the early modern Iberian world. The conversations that unfolded over the course of our Sunday afternoon gatherings benefitted
from the uniquely collegial and broad intellectual curiosity fostered by the MEMS program in Ann Arbor and beyond.
- Professor Brendan McMahon (History of Art), Program Organizer for The Premodern Colloquium
"Coordinating the monthly Medieval Lunch is a fun and organic way to meet fellow medievalists from across U-M. Each lunch features two works-in-progress talks and time for feedback from the grads, faculty, and visiting scholars in attendance. We feel privileged to have been able to be a part of such a collegial and encouraging intellectual community, especially after the socially isolated years due to the pandemic. Our own work has been greatly enriched through hearing about other people’s projects, chance conversations over lunch, and getting opinions from outside our own disciplines."
– Stephie Yoon (History) & Julia LaPlaca (History of Art), Coordinators of the Medieval Lunch for the Forum on Research in Medieval Studies (ForMS), 2022-23