CFP for ICMS 2020: Astrology in Practice, due 15 Sept 2019

Call for Papers
International Congress on Medieval Studies
Kalamazoo (May 7-10, 2020)

Session Title:
Astrology in Practice: Perspectives from the history of visual and material culture.

Jordan Famularo, PhD candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University
Anna Majeski, PhD candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University

Session Abstract:
Recent scholarship has proven the widespread prevalence and import of astrology in the medieval world. A dynamic area of research accentuates astrology not simply as a theoretical science or cosmology, but as a practice with a wide range of applications—from medicine to politics. A focus on astrological practice allows us to understand how abstract scientific theorems shaped lives, bodies, and lived experiences. This session invites papers to examine historical arenas in which theory was enacted, enhanced, and modified by medieval bodies, in concert with artifacts and monuments.

Material objects and monuments offered critical intermediaries in the performance of astrological practice by human subjects. This session aims to advance interdisciplinary research on the practice of astrology, with emphasis on intersections between histories of science and visual/material culture. The session is open to topics addressing the medieval period up to 1550 CE. The maximum length for each paper is 20 minutes.

Potential topics include:
-the agency and import of the material astrological artifact.
-political, medical, and magical uses for material objects in astrological practice.
-monumental astrological cycles and their relations to functions performed in specific architectural spaces.
-astrological instruments: their construction, use, and depiction in art.
-depictions of practicing astrologers.
-manuscripts or other materials used by working astrologers.
-manuscripts that incorporate astrological instruments (such as volvelles).
-the role of human bodies, imagination, and cognition in symbiosis with artifacts and monuments in astrological frameworks.

To apply please submit the following files in PDF or MS Word format to Anna Majeski ( and Jordan Famularo ( by September 15, 2019. (1) Abstract of 250 words or fewer. (2) CV. (3) Participant Information Form (downloadable at