Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies
The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (ACMRS) is a statewide research unit in Arizona charged with coordinating and stimulating the interdisciplinary exploration of medieval and Renaissance culture. Its activities cover a period roughly from 400 C.E., the fall of the Roman Empire, to 1700 C.E. ACMRS organizes programs at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona State University in Tempe, and the University of Arizona in Tucson.
ACMRS is a tri-university research unit within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (Clas) at Arizona State University (ASU). ACMRS was established in 1981 by the Arizona Board of Regents for the purpose of promoting and coordinating all aspects of Medieval and Renaissance Studies at all three state universities through the support of research, lectures, symposia, conferences, visiting professorships, and publications. It cooperates with the Medieval and Renaissance Committees (MARC) of Northern Arizona University (NAU) and the University of Arizona (UA) to promote similar scholarly activity at ASU's sister universities.
- 1 History of ACMRS
- 2 Academic programs
- 3 Public Programs
- 4 Grant-Funded Projects and Programs
- 5 Conferences
- 6 Online Resources
- 7 Awards and Fellowships
- 8 Publications
- 8.1 Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (MRTS) and Renaissance English Text Society (RETS)
- 8.2 Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (ASMAR)
- 8.3 ACMRS Occasional Publications
- 8.4 Bagwyn Books, Historical Fiction Imprint
- 8.5 Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile (ASMMF)
- 8.6 Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages
- 8.7 Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies
- 8.8 Discipuli Juncti Undergraduate Conference Papers
- 8.9 Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History
- 8.10 Early Modern Women
- 8.11 Moreana
- 9 Fundraising and Endowment
- 10 References
- 11 External links
History of ACMRS
From 1982 until 1994, ACMRS was directed by Jean R. Brink from the Department of English at ASU. It is currently directed by Robert E. Bjork, also from the Department of English at ASU.
In establishing ACMRS, ASU employed Professor Fredi Chiappelli, then Director of the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, as a consultant. Because he directed an internationally recognized center and had previously served as a visiting professor at the University of Arizona and as a visiting lecturer at Northern Arizona University and was therefore familiar with the Arizona universities, his participation in the founding of the Center was viewed as essential. The founding document approved by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) in 1981 indicated the following provisions: ACMRS was to be located at ASU; a Director with an indefinite term was to be appointed; a Steering Committee composed of three scholars from each university, and other such detailed specifications.
During the next stage in ACMRS history, continued lack of funding made it more and more difficult to maintain a statewide network. Communication by telephone and electronic mail continued to flourish, and some cooperation among faculty continued independently of a formal structure as well as through ACMRS. Local campus operations at the three universities, however, began to perform many of the functions originally envisioned for a statewide Center. Because of a statewide budgetary crisis, ACMRS was asked in the spring of 1993 to cut $50,000 from its budget. In response to that request some operating reductions were made, and some activities discontinued completely. The Center in this period had two full-time staff and several graduate student assistants besides the Director. The main activities included a lecture series, hosting the national conferences of the Sixteenth-Century Studies Society and the Renaissance Society of America, and a Distinguished Visiting Professor program.
In July 1994, Robert E. Bjork was appointed Director of ACMRS. Since his appointment, in addition to continuing programs already established such as an ad hoc lecture series, a graduate student travel award to the Medieval Congress at Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo, and a book award for promising undergraduates intending to do post-graduate work in medieval or Renaissance studies, Bjork instituted over twenty programs or initiatives that changed the structure of ACMRS, lent it more national and international prominence, and reinvigorated cooperation among Arizona's three universities. Chief among these new programs was the inauguration of the annual interdisciplinary conference in 1995 and the institution of MRTS (Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies) at ACMRS in 1996, a prestigious publication initiated at Binghamton University. As a result of all the programmatic changes instituted during this period, the ACMRS staff grew to five full-time staff personnel. By 1999, ACMRS had several well-established publishing programs besides MRTS, and a much stronger local, national, and international presence than it had in the past.
ACMRS’s local, regional, national, and international standing continued to rise during this period; new programs and initiatives were put into place; and external and internal funding continued to grow. Grant writing both externally and internally, for example, increased to an average of sixteen proposals per year; and manuscript submissions to the Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (MRTS) series continued to flow in. In the spring of 1999, Bjork inaugurated the lecture series “Distinguished Lectures in Medieval and Renaissance Studies” and over the course of that year entered into new joint publication ventures in the U.S. and abroad, established new book series, and continually increased cooperation between ASU, UA and NAU. Outreach programs likewise remained strong and internationally included joint meetings of the ACMRS conference with that of the Medieval Academy of America in 2001 that attracted 367 attendees from 12 countries and with that of the Renaissance Society of America in spring 2002 that attracted approximately 730 attendees worldwide. Since the acquisition of MRTS in 1996, ACMRS saved ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences an average of $7,224 per year in its salary commitment to ACMRS for the series and, because of that commitment, generated an average of $20,000 per year in grant support and $15,500 in additional salaries.
In 2002-3, ACMRS began to distribute the publications of the Viking Society for Northern Research at the University of London, the Istituto storico italiano per il Medio Evo in Rome, and Roma nel Rinascimento also in Rome; it also successfully negotiated with AMS Press for the publication of the annual journal Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History. The biannual meeting of the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, for which Director Bjork was president, came to Arizona then. In 2003-4, the ACMRS director negotiated agreements with the Medieval Studies Program at Pennsylvania State University and with the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists to publish series of their books and with Brepols to have another book series Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies produced under ACMRS’s auspices and the auspices of the University of Melbourne. These agreements were designed to embed ACMRS in the world community of medieval and Renaissance scholars and to foster international cooperation. And to gauge how successful ACMRS was becoming in funding its own programs, the Director conducted an informal survey of all medieval and Renaissance studies centers in North America, inquiring about what percentage of their annual budgets they managed to cover from their own funds and what percentage was covered by their universities. He discovered that as of March, 2003, ACMRS ranks first in this category, its closest competitor being the Medieval Institute at Western Michigan University, which hosts the largest medieval conference in the world every year and covers approximately 50% of its own budget. Beginning in 2007, ACMRS negotiated an agreement with the University of Maryland, College Park, to co-publish the journal Early Modern Women; it began a new subseries within MRTS called FRETS, French of England Texts and Studies with Fordham University and York University; and it became the joint sponsor with the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship of MEDFEM-L (medieval feminist listserv). Last, the director served on the inaugural standing committee of CARMEN, Co-operative for the Advancement of Research through a Medieval European Network, a European organization whose main purpose is to generate ideas and institutional teams for major funding proposals to agencies in Europe such as the European Science Foundation. At the second meeting of CARMEN, held this time in Prato, Italy, Bjork also began negotiations for collaborative efforts between ACMRS and the developing Prato Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies of Monash University in Australia.
Cambridge, England Summer Study Abroad Program
The Cambridge Summer Study Abroad Program, established by ACMRS in 1996, is a five-week program that offers students interdisciplinary study opportunities in the history and culture of medieval and Renaissance Britain. During the five-week program, students live in residence at St. Catharine's College, University of Cambridge. Courses are taught by faculty from Cambridge, Arizona universities and universities outside Arizona and include weekly excursions.
Medieval and Renaissance Studies Certificate Program
The Medieval and Renaissance Studies Certificate Program was established by ACMRS for students interested in pursuing their studies at ASU. This program is open to both graduate and undergraduate students.
This introduction to Latin Paleography internet course was developed by Professor Bernard Muir of the University of Melbourne and is offered by the ACMRS. This course in codicology and paleography offers training in the transcription of thirty-six western European book hands representing the period AD 200-1500.
Distinguished Lectures in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
In the spring of 1999, ACMRS established its Distinguished Lecture Series in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. Each semester, the Center brings one eminent scholar to ASU for a few days to present a public lecture, interact with upper-division and/or graduate classes, and meet informally with students and faculty. Often, ACMRS is also able to arrange speaking engagements for the distinguished visitor at the University of Arizona in Tucson and Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
Ad hoc Public Lecture Series
Annual Fall Symposium
ACMRS Annual Fall Symposia explore topics of interest to the general public. In past years they have dealt with subjects such as J. R. R. Tolkien, Robin Hood, Don Quixote, love and sex in medieval and Renaissance Italy, Arthurian legends, Jews, witch hunts, music and dance, and death and dying in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
ACMRS hosts weekly reading groups in a variety of ancient languages such as Classical Latin, Medieval Latin, Old English, and Old Norse. These reading groups are free and open to the public; a venue for anyone to learn or practice in a small group environment.
Grant-Funded Projects and Programs
NEH Summer Program
Iter is a gateway to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance that includes a massive, retrospective, on-line medieval and Renaissance bibliography covering all languages and disciplines. Iter is partnered with the Renaissance Society of America, the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference, and the University of Toronto.
The Geese Book
ACMRS participated in a project to make a sixteenth-century manuscript available to the public. The Geese Book is a large, lavishly illuminated, two-volume gradual made for the church of St. Lorenz in Nuremberg between 1504 and 1510. Today it is conserved in the J. Pierpont Morgan Library in New York (M. 905). And this multisensory work can now be explored through online multimedia technologies: complete digital facsimile, sound recordings, high resolution images of the illuminations and video commentary. A team of experts headed by Volker Schier and Corine Schleif opened the Geese Book to scholars and broader audiences. Additionally an interactive DVD-ROM with sound recordings, explanatory material, documents, and essays will be prepared. Other facets of the project include a seminar, a concert, a radio documentary, and an audio compact disc.
ACMRS Annual Interdisciplinary Conference
- 17th – Theatricality and Performance in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2011)
- Conference keynote speaker: Pamela Sheingorn
- 16th – Humanity and the Natural World in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2010)
- Conference keynote speaker: Pamela O. Long
- 15th – The Five Senses in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2009)
- Conference keynote speaker: Stephen G. Nichols
- 14th - Law and Sovereignty in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2008)
- Conference keynote speaker: Richard F. Green
- 13th Joint meeting with the Rocky Mountain Medieval and Renaissance Association - Masculinities and Femininities in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2007)
- Conference Keynote Speaker: Valerie Traub
- 12th - Poverty and Prosperity, the Rich and the Poor in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2006)
- Conference keynote speaker: Mark R. Cohen
- 11th - Feast, Famine, and Fasting: Food and Material Consumption in Medieval and Renaissance Culture (2005)
- Conference keynote speaker: Michel Jeanneret
- 10th - Translatio, or the Transmission of Culture (2004)
- Conference keynote speaker: Mary Carruthers
- 9th - Multi-Cultural Europe and Cultural Exchange (2003)
- Conference keynote speaker: Mary Baine Campbell
- 8th - Reading and Literacy in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2002)
- 7th - Varieties of Devotion in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2001)
- 6th - Fear and its Representations in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (2000)
- 5th - Material Culture and Cultural Materialism in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1999)
- 4th - Peace and Negotiation: Strategies of Coexistence in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1998)
- 3rd - Crossing Boundaries: Issues of Cultural and Individual Identity in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1997)
- 2nd - The Future of the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1996)
- 1st - Reinventing the Middle Ages and Renaissance (1995)
Joint meeting of the Medieval Academy of America and the Medieval Association of the Pacific
Annual Undergraduate Conference
Discipuli Juncti: Students Connected through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance is a conference, instituted by the ACMRS in 2007, gives undergraduate students who are interested in Medieval and/or Renaissance culture another opportunity to present their research or project to a group of their peers and others.
In 2003, ACMRS hosted the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists' Conference entitled Conversion and Colonization.
CARA Data Project
The Lopez Collection
MEDFEM-L is an un-moderated forum for discussion of feminist approaches to medieval studies. Established in the mid-1990s by volunteers interested in connecting people who shared interests in medieval feminist studies, the Advisory Board of the Society for Medieval Feminist Scholarship (SMFS) “adopted” medfem-l.
The World of Dante Website
The World of Dante is a multi-media research tool intended to facilitate the study of the Divine Comedy through a wide range of offerings. These include an encoded Italian text which allows for structured searches and analyses, an English translation, interactive maps, diagrams, music, a database, timeline and gallery of illustrations. Many of these features allow users to engage the poem dynamically through the integrated components of this site.
Awards and Fellowships
ACMRS Faculty Fellows Program
Graduate Travel Award
Undergraduate Book Award
The ACMRS Undergraduate Book Award, in honor of founding director, Jean Brink, is given to an undergraduate student who has excelled academically in the study of the Middle Ages and/or Renaissance and who expects to continue study in one of these areas at the graduate level.
Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (MRTS) and Renaissance English Text Society (RETS)
Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies (MRTS) is a series of translations, studies, reference works, and editions including those of the Renaissance English Text Society (RETS). MRTS Online is a joint project between Iter and ACMRS to make select MRTS titles available in electronic format.
Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (ASMAR)
Arizona Studies in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (ASMAR) is edited by Robert Bjork and is published by Brepols Publishers, Belgium This series presents collections of essays in medieval and Renaissance Studies that are also the focus of the annual ACMRS Conference. The series will also include occasional volumes, generally on themes related to those of the annual conferences.
ACMRS Occasional Publications
ACMRS Occasional Publications is a new series that will include works that are not necessarily scholarly in nature but have relevance to the teaching and study of the Middle Ages and Renaissance, such as memoirs, collections of personal essays, and historical fiction.
- Volume 1: Inventing Norman Cantor: Confessions of a Medievalist
- Volume 2: Jeffrey’s Story: The Autobiography of Paul J. Meyvaert, Executive Director Emeritus of the Medieval Academy of America
- Volume 3: Mosaics in The Eternal City]
- Volume 4: A Viking Slave's Saga (Jan Fridegård's Trilogy of Novels about the Viking Age)
Bagwyn Books, Historical Fiction Imprint
The Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies formed an imprint subsidiary to publish historical fiction centered in the medieval and Renaissance periods. Founded in 2011, Bagwyn Books is dedicated to publishing well-researched historical fiction novels that are appropriate for an audience ranging from young adult (ages 14+) to an adult audience.
Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile (ASMMF)
Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts in Microfiche Facsimile (ASMMF) is a project which makes available in microfiche nearly five hundred manuscripts containing Old English.
Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages
In the spring of 1999, Oxford University Press appointed ACMRS Director Bjork as General Editor of The Oxford Dictionary of the Middle Ages (ODMA), a new reference tool constructed on the general model of The Oxford Classical Dictionary, for all key aspects of European history, society, religion, and culture, c. 500 to c. 1500, including relevant aspects of the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic dynasties, and Asiatic peoples such as the Avars and the Mongols are included. ODMA was published in June 2010 and featured in many medieval blogs and news stories.
Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies
Late Medieval and Early Modern Studies is jointly directed by ACMRS and the University of Melbourne and published by Brepols, this book series covers the historical period in Western and Central Europe from ca. 1300 to ca. 1650. It concentrates on topics of broad cultural, religious, intellectual and literary history.
Discipuli Juncti Undergraduate Conference Papers
Discipuli Juncti Undergraduate Conference Papers are a collection of the best papers presented at the Annual ACMRS Undergraduate Conference.
Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History
Studies in Medieval and Renaissance History is a journal that provides an outlet for the presentation of scholarship that often falls outside the limitations of other publications. It publishes interpretive and historiographical essays that explore the ramifications of current scholarship or that treat issues and themes of interest to any historian of the pre-modern period.
Early Modern Women
Early Modern Women: An Interdisciplinary Journal is a joint publication of ACMRS and the University of Maryland. This journal publishes essays on women and gender during the years 1500-1700 from all geographical areas and across all relevant fields: European, African, Islamic, Asian, and colonial studies, as well as studies of literature, art, music, history, history of science, religion, and anthropology.
ACMRS has assisted in publishing issues of Moreana, a bilingual - French and English - journal published three times a year. Moreana provides an international forum for research and exchange about the world of Thomas More.
Fundraising and Endowment
The Saint John's Bible
In October 2010, ACMRS unveiled the Heritage Edition of the St. John's Bible at its annual Distinguished Lecture in Medieval Studies. Dr. Rodney M. Thompson, Honorary Research Fellow at the School of History and Classics of the University of Tasmania, presented a lecture on the "Great Illuminated Bibles of 12th-Century England: A Study in Splendor" following the dedication of the specially-printed facsimile Bible. The seven-volume Heritage Edition was donated by Phoenix resident, George Berkner, a 1956 Saint John's University graduate. It resides at the Universities' Special Collections in Hayden Library at ASU and in the offices of ACMRS.
The Seated King
In the Spring of 2004, ACMRS received a unique medieval statue as a donation from the Metropolitan Museum of Art docent, Jeri Garbaccio and her husband Charles. The gift was accepted in honor of Florence E. Nelson of Scottsdale, Arizona and in memory of Renee Kra, former Managing Editor of Radiocarbon at the University of Arizona. The medieval figure is a three-foot wood polychromy seated king of Spanish origin, dating back to the second half of the thirteenth century. The statue is on display at the ACMRS main office in Tempe, Arizona.
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- (3rd ed., 1996)
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