ICMA statement: Medievalists Respond to Charlottesville

The ICMA is a signatory to the joint letter written by the Medieval Academy of America denouncing white supremacy and the misuse of medieval history and art.
 

Medievalists Respond to Charlottesville
In light of the recent events in the United States, most recently the racist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, the undersigned community of medievalists condemns the appropriation of any item or idea or material in the service of white supremacy. In addition, we condemn the abuse of colleagues, particularly colleagues of color, who have spoken publicly against this misuse of history.

As scholars of the medieval world we are disturbed by the use of a nostalgic but inaccurate myth of the Middle Ages by racist movements in the United States. By using imagined medieval symbols, or names drawn from medieval terminology, they create a fantasy of a pure, white Europe that bears no relationship to reality. This fantasy not only hurts people in the present, it also distorts the past. Medieval Europe was diverse religiously, culturally, and ethnically, and medieval Europe was not the entire medieval world. Scholars disagree about the motivations of the Crusades—or, indeed, whether the idea of “crusade” is a medieval one or came later—but it is clear that racial purity was not primary among them.

Contemporary white nationalists are not the first Americans to have turned nostalgic views of the medieval period to racist purposes. It is, in fact, deeply ironic that the Klan’s ideas of medieval knighthood were used to harass immigrants who practiced the forms of Christianity most directly connected with the medieval church.  Institutions of scholarship must acknowledge their own participation in the creation of interpretations of the Middle Ages (and other periods) that served these narratives. Where we do find bigotry, intolerance, hate, and fear of “the other” in the past—and the Middle Ages certainly had their share—we must recognize it for what it is and read it in its context, rather than replicating it.

The medieval Christian culture of Europe is indeed a worthy object of study, in fact a necessary one. Medieval Studies must be broader than just Europe and just Christianity, however, because to limit our object of study in such a way gives an arbitrary and false picture of the past. We see a medieval world that was as varied as the modern one. It included horrific violence, some of it committed in the name of religion; it included feats of bravery, justice, harmony, and love, some of them also in the name of religion. It included movement of people, goods, and ideas over long distances and across geographical, linguistic, and religious boundaries. There is much to be learned from studying the period, whether we choose to focus on one community and text or on wider interactions. What we will not find is the origin of a pure and supreme white race.

Every generation of scholars creates its own interpretations of the past. Such interpretations must be judged by how well they explain the writings, art, and artifacts that have come down to us. As a field we are dedicated to scholarly inquiry. As the new semester approaches at many institutions, we invite those of you who have the opportunity to join us. Take a class or attend a public lecture on medieval history, literature, art, music. Learn about this vibrant and varied world, instead of simply being appalled by some racist caricature of it. See for yourself what lessons it holds for the modern world.

CAA Call for Award Nominations

Date/Deadline: September 1, 2017

CAA has begun accepting nominations for the 2018 Awards for Distinction, which will be announced at the 106th Annual Conference in Los Angeles between February 21–24, 2018. All nominations must be sent with the proper nomination form including the nominee’s contact information.

Awards for Distinction are given to professionals in a number of art fields who have been nominated by others to receive recognition for their work. These include:
Distinguished Teaching of Art Award
Distinguished Teaching of Art History Award
Artist Award for Distinguished Body of Work
Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement
Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award for Writing on Art
Distinguished Feminist Award
CAA/American Institute for Conservation Award for Distinction in Scholarship and Conservation Award

All nominations are due September 1, 2017.

Nominations for Awards for Distinction require letters of support from the nominator that include the nominator’s identity, relationship to the nominee, how the nominee’s work has affected them, and why the nominee should be recognized for this particular award. It is recommended that nominators contact colleagues, students, and other professional contacts to write their own letters of nomination as well, bearing in mind that only five letters will be considered by the award jury.

Nominations for Awards for Distinction also require a short CV (approximately two-pages) of the nominee. For Lifetime Achievement awards, a web link to a longer version of the CV can be included within the two-page CV. All materials should be sent to Katie Apsey, CAA manager of programs.


For more information on these grants as well as CAA’s Awards for Distinction in Publication, please see the CAA website: http://www.collegeart.org/programs/awards/nominations

ICMA Call for Proposals - CAA 2018 - due Thursday 20 April 2017

ICMA AT COLLEGE ART ASSOCIATION, 2018       
due 20 April 2017

The International Center of Medieval Art (ICMA) seeks proposals for sessions to be held under the organization’s sponsorship in 2018 at the annual meeting of the College Art Association. Session organizers and speakers must be ICMA members. Proposals must include a session abstract, a CV of the organizer(s), and a list of speakers, all in one single Doc or PDF with the organizer’s name in the title.

Please direct all session proposals and inquiries by 20 April 2017 to the Chair of the ICMA Programs and Lectures Committee:  Janis Elliott, Texas Tech University. Email: janis.elliott@ttu.edu .

Workshop: East Syriac Christianity in the Mongol Empire

Workshop: East Syriac Christianity in the Mongol Empire

The Arthur H. Dadian and Ara Oztemel Chair of Armenian Art at Tufts University and the Mary Jaharis Center for Byzantine Art and Culture at Hellenic College Holy Cross in Brookline, MA, are pleased to announce the final workshop in the Studying East of Byzantium II workshop series: Friday, April 7, 2017, 10:00 am–12:00 pm Harvard Faculty Club, 20 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA