Rice to host largest graduate student conference for medieval studies Feb. 18-20

The Vagantes Conference on Medieval Studies, the largest graduate student gathering for medieval studies in North America, will take place at Rice Feb. 18-20. Participants from all fields and disciplines will discuss their research, hear keynote lectures by leading established scholars and tour the Menil Collection’s Byzantine icons.

"Archangels Michael and Gabriel," a 14th-century depiction in tempera and gold leaf, is an example of the artworks and themes that will be discussed at the Vagantes conference. Courtesy of the Menil Collection

“Archangels Michael and Gabriel,” a 14th-century depiction in tempera and gold leaf, is an example of the artwork and themes that will be discussed at the Vagantes conference. Courtesy of the Menil Collection

Since its founding in 2002, every Vagantes conference has featured approximately 30 papers on varied topics in medieval studies spanning art history, literature, history, religion and several other humanities disciplines, allowing for exciting interdisciplinary conversation and the creation of new professional relationships between future colleagues, according to organizers. Vagantes travels to a new university every year, highlighting the unique resources of the host institution.

At Rice, attendees will hear a keynote address by Amy Mulligan, assistant professor of Irish language and literature at the University of Notre Dame, on “Walking and Talking Place with St. Patrick: Ireland’s National, Natural Pilgrimage” at 5 p.m. Feb. 18 in Fondren Library’s Kyle Morrow Room. Following Mulligan’s presentation, a small exhibition and reception will take place in the Lovett Lounge adjacent to the Kyle Morrow Room. Featuring items from Rice’s collections displayed together for the first time, the exhibition will include medieval manuscript folios, a Flemish tapestry and Gothic sculptures in stone and wood.

On Feb. 19 conference participants will tour the Menil Collection’s Byzantine icons collection and hear a presentation by Annemarie Weyl Carr, the University Distinguished Professor of Art History Emerita at Southern Methodist University, on “Pursuing the Life of Icons.”

Rice art history doctoral candidates Carolyn Van Wingerden and Kyle Sweeney are co-directors of the Vagantes conference

Rice art history doctoral candidates Carolyn Van Wingerden and Kyle Sweeney are co-directors of the Vagantes conference

On Feb. 20 Diane Wolfthal, the David and Caroline Minter Chair in the Humanities and professor of art history at Rice, will give a keynote on “Images of Servants: The Late Medieval Aristocratic Ideal and Its Alternatives” at 5 p.m. in the Humanities Building, Room 117.

The conference is being co-directed by Kyle Sweeney and Carolyn Van Wingerden, two doctoral candidates in Rice’s Art History Department.

For more information about the conference, the agenda and speakers, go to http://vagantesconference.org. Online registration for the conference is now closed; however, those interested may attend the sessions and keynote talks as space allows.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.