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Alumni and Friends

  1. Support MEMS

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 has long supported summer research and acted as LSA’s liaison for research, symposia, and critical skills training in languages and digital humanities at the Newberry Library in Chicago.

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

 

The Forum on Research in Medieval Studies (FoRMS) had a successful academic year. The Fall 2023 term began with an event at Haymaker Public House for our Book Club Presentations. This gave members of FoRMS an informal social outlet to discuss the texts they purchased and read over the summer using the funds allocated to them by FoRMS from the previous year. We dispersed funds for our 2024-2025 Book Club Presentations to FoRMS members at the end of the Spring 2024 term. 

Our opening Book Club event was followed by a series of dynamic Medieval Lunches, where members of our academic community presented and workshopped their conference papers and research. Our colleague in History of Art, Julia Laplaca, guest hosted an event for us in UMMA where she gave a teaching demonstration and encouraged feedback regarding the Medieval and Early Modern exhibit at the museum. This was an engaging and informative pedagogical exercise that enabled FoRMS members not only to learn to teach with material objects, but it enabled members to engage directly with the University’s Medieval and Early Modern resources. Other presenters throughout the year included Katherine Tapia (RLL), Julia Laplaca (Hist. of Art), Madeline Fox (ELL), Adam Grant (RLL), Geneva Higginson (Hist. of Art), Hannah Tweet (History), and Allison Grenda (Hist. of Art). Each presentation welcomed a full and attentive audience of graduate students and faculty alike, and each ended in a lively Q&A.

FoRMS looks forward to another successful year during the Fall 2024 and Winter 2025 terms!

– Madeline Fox (English Language and Literature) & Sam Winnikow (History), Coordinators of the Medieval Lunch for the Forum on Research in Medieval Studies (ForMS), 2023-24