Recent news of officers and members of the Society


We should like to congratulate our co-President Professor Emilie Savage-Smith, Professor of the History of Islamic Science, University of Oxford; Senior Research Consultant, The Bodleian Library; Archivist (Fellow Archivist), St Cross College, on her election as a Fellow of the British Academy.


Some recent publications by members

Saladin, Hero of Islam (Pen & Sword): by Geoffrey Hindley


The book has now been released in paperback at twelve pounds ninety nine pence, and has sold 450 copies in the first two weeks.


The extraordinary character and career of Saladin are the keys to understanding the Battle of Hattin, the fall of Jerusalem and the failure of the Third Crusade. He united warring Muslim lands, reconquered the bulk of Crusader states and faced the Richard the Lion Heart, king of England, in one of the most famous confrontations in medieval warfare. Geoffrey Hindley's sympathetic and highly readable study of the life and times of this remarkable, many-sided man, who dominated the Middle East in his day, gives a fascinating insight into his achievements and into the Muslim world of his contemporaries.



The Symbol at Your Door: Number and Geometry in Religious Architecture of the Greek and Latin Middle Ages: by Nigel Hiscock

This book offers a new perspective in the retrieval of meaning from architecture in the Greek East and the Latin West, and challenges the view that geometry was merely an outcome of practical procedures by masons. Instead, it attributes intellectual meaning to it as understood by Christian Platonist thought and provides compelling evidence that the symbolism was often intended.


A Brief History of the Anglo-Saxons: by Geoffrey Hindley

Running from about AD 400 to the 1100s (the 'Aftermath'), this book shows the Anglo-Saxons as formative in the history not only of England, but also of Europe. The society, inspired by the warrior world of the Old English poem "Beowulf", saw England become the first European country to conduct its affairs in its own language, and Bede and Boniface of Wessex establish the dating convention we still use today. Including all the latest research, this excellent assessment of a vital historical epoch comes from one of our most respected Medievalists.


The Cat's Pyjamas: The Penguin Book of Cliches: by Julia Cresswell

This is a fascinating, thematic exploration of cliches from as the actress said to the bishop to zero hour, explaining what they are and where they've come from. Julia Cresswell has taken her best-selling dictionary of cliches ('Sumptuous...A mine of information.' - "Guardian") back to the drawing board and has created a book, packed with famous (and infamous) quotations and memorable information, that will change the way you see English.


The book was the subject of a recent BBC wireless programme with Stephen Fry and Julia Cresswell.



Medieval Islamic Medicine: by Emilie Savage-Smith with co-author Peter E. Portmann (Edinburgh University Press, 2007)

The book was awarded in 2008 the British-Kuwait Friendship Book Prize in Middle Eastern Studies.

... presents an outline of the subject that is nonetheless substantive. Rather than attempt a comprehensive survey they chose areas that needed attention and thereby created a work that stands out on its own. (Journal of the History of Medicine)

Without question, this volume can be considered the best and most critical introduction to the field and a guide for future research. (American Journal of Islamic Social Sciences).


"A Brief History of the Crusades": by Geoffrey Hindley.

'... an accomplished book' (The Good Book Guide)

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Forthcoming AVISTA conferences


KALAMAZOO
51st International Congress on Medieval Studies, May 12-15, 2016
Deadline: September 15, 2015

The Long Lives of Medieval Objects, from Big to Small
Co-Organizers: Jennifer M. Feltman, Univ. of West Florida and Sarah
Thompson, Rochester Institute of Technology

Traditional histories often privilege the moment of an object's origin,
whether it be the design of a building, the production of a manuscript, or
the creation of decorative arts, ritual or mundane. Yet medieval objects
have long and expansive lives that defy the period and geographic boundaries
set by academic disciplines. Many medieval objects have extended
prehistories emerging from their sites and contexts of creation, and most
medieval objects have undergone a variety of interventions and adaptations
since coming into being. The lives of these objects have been further
extended through historiography and digital media.

AVISTA will sponsor sessions that focus on the long lives of three types of
objects: buildings, manuscripts, and small-scale sculpture and metalwork.
These sessions are organized in conjunction with two sessions dedicated to
the long life of medieval art and architecture to be held at the 23rd
International Medieval Congress, Leeds, 4-7 July 2016. We encourage papers
that complement the interdisciplinary mission of AVISTA, bringing together
studies of technology, science, and art. These sessions, together with their
parallel sessions at Leeds, anticipate a volume on the Long Lives of
Medieval Art and Architecture as part of AVISTA Studies in the History of
Medieval Science, Technology and Art, published with Ashgate Press. For more
information see http://www.avista.org/publications/ashgate/.

Send an abstract (500 words max) and Participant Information Form (available
here: http://wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html -
PIF<http://wmich.edu/medieval/congress/submissions/index.html#PIF> ) to
Jennifer M. Feltman, Univ. of West Florida, at
feltman.avista@gmail.com<
mailto:feltman.avista@gmail.com> by September 15,
2015.

AVISTA Membership:
Session participants are encouraged to join The Association Villard de
Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art.
For more information see http://www.avista.org/society/ -
mem<http://www.avista.org/society/#mem>

AVISTA Villard de Honnecourt Award and Travel Grants:
AVISTA is pleased to offer the annual, merit-based Villard de Honnecourt
Award for the outstanding paper by a graduate student in an AVISTA session
at the ICMS at Kalamazoo. It is based on evaluation of the candidate's
abstract and CV. This award, which comes with a $500 honorarium, is intended
to further young talent in the study of medieval technology, science, and
art.

The Society is also pleased to offer up to two $500 grants-in-aid to
graduate students or independent scholars to defray costs of attending the
ICMS at Kalamazoo. Application for one of these grants consists of a
300-word statement of need and CV, which should be submitted together with
the paper abstract and PIF form to Jennifer M. Feltman at
feltman.avista@gmail.com<mailto:feltman.avista@gmail.com>. Deadline
September 15, 2015.


LEEDS
23rd International Medieval Congress, 4-7 July 2016 Submission Deadline: 1
September 2015

The Long Lives of Medieval Art and Architecture
Organizer: Amanda Dotseth (Courtauld Institute of Art; Instituto de Historia
CSIC-Madrid)

The way in which we access and analyze medieval buildings and the objects
contained therein is deeply inflected by meaningful events in their long
lives. Over time, the circumstances of creation and function; location,
movement, modification and restoration; and styles of valorization leave
indelible, if not always visible, marks. To all this, we might add yet
another layer of circumstances influential to current interpretation: that
deposited by the creative act of writing and rewriting the history of art
and architecture. Historians, too, make their marks. We might, therefore,
consider the telling of a building's or object's life as moving beyond
biography to hagiography, in which over time material things are activated
and set apart by their "gesta."

Pivoting from histories that privilege a presumed original state, this pair
of sessions, dedicated to buildings and to objects respectively, seeks
papers on the long lives of medieval art. The organizer invites
contributions that highlight the utility of diachronic analysis and defy the
chronological or geographic boundaries set by academic discipline. In
focusing on any point or points in an artwork's timeline,
historiographically conscious studies are welcomed, as are those which
diagnose changes in understanding in order to shed light on "issues of time,
rupture, and continuity," as Caroline Bruzelius put it.

These AVISTA-sponsored sessions are organized in conjunction with sessions
dedicated to the long lives of medieval objects to be held at the 51st
Annual Congress on Medieval Studies at Kalamazoo, MI, 12-15 May 2016.
Therefore, submissions that advance the interdisciplinary mission of AVISTA
by elaborating the technology of medieval space, word, image, container, or
contained are particularly encouraged. Please submit a 500-word abstract to
dotseth.avista@gmail.com<mailto:dotseth.avista@gmail.com>by 1 September.
These sessions, together with their parallel sessions at Kalamazoo,
anticipate a volume on the Long Lives of Medieval Art and Architecture as
part of AVISTA Studies in the History of Medieval Science, Technology and
Art, published with Ashgate Press. For more information see
http://www.avista.org/publications/ashgate/

AVISTA Membership:
Session participants are encouraged to join The Association Villard de
Honnecourt for the Interdisciplinary Study of Technology, Science, and Art.
For more information see
http://www.avista.org/society/<http://www.avista.org/society/#mem>.

AVISTA Travel Grant:
The Society is also pleased to offer one $500 grant-in-aid to graduate
students or independent scholars to defray costs of attending the IMC at
Leeds. Application for this grant consists of a 300-word statement of need,
which should be submitted together with the paper abstract to Amanda W.
Dotseth at dotseth.avista@gmail.com<mailto:dotseth.avista@gmail.com>. For
more information see http://www.avista.org/conferences/. Deadline 1
September 2015.

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