5th Annual Late Medieval France and Burgundy Seminar

Blog written by Dr Justine Firnhaber-Baker

AudiencephotoThe fifth meeting of the Late Medieval France and Burgundy (LMFB) seminar took place at St Andrews on 1st and 2nd December. The LMFB, an annual, multidisciplinary conference, was originally set up by the literary scholar Ros Brown-Grant (Leeds) and the historians Graeme Small (Durham) and Craig Taylor (York). Different universities host the conference each year and the format often varies, but one constant is that it is a friendly and welcoming venue. A particular purpose of the seminar is to keep scholars in touch with one another’s work and to introduce early career scholars and aspiring students to more established figures in the field.

The seminar attracted many attendants, both from St Andrews and other universities, including Kent, Durham, Liverpool, and Leeds. The presentations kicked off with papers from St Andrew’s own Vicky Turner (French) and Agnès Bos (Art History), who spoke on Saracen princesses and Renaissance Gothic furniture, respectively. Trevor Smith (Leeds) then spoke about a subject of more local interest: the reputation of King David II ‘the defecator’ in French and English literature, while Rémy Ambühl (Southhampton), who did his PhD at St Andrews, revised our understanding of what it meant to be a prisoner of war, with particular attention to Jeanne d’Arc. After lunch, Ralph Moffat (Arms and Armour Department of the Glasgow Museums) explained how plate armour and poll-axes worked to a very attentive audience. The first day finished with Lindy Grant’s exploration of Capetian funerary sites and Charlotte Crouch’s discussion of the reluctance of the comital family of Nevers to carry their bishop to his installation.

SpeakerphotoThe second day of the seminar opened with a roundtable on accessing archives and bibliographies in France. It was led by Agnès Bos (St Andrews), Erika Graham-Goering (Ghent) and Kirstin Bourassa (Southern Denmark and York), but quickly became a lively and extremely helpful group discussion, sharing experiences and resources. Emily Guerry (Kent) then treated us to a reassessment of the iconography of the Crown of Thorns and its translation to the Sainte-Chapelle, followed by Emma Campbell (Warwick) on the theme of cutting in both thirteenth-century literary fiction and material manuscript reality. At lunchtime, the participants went down into the St Andrews Castle mine and countermine, a thrilling if claustrophobic (and cold!) experience. The conference finished with papers by Pierre Courroux (Poitiers and Southhampton) on a chronicle written by a mercenary about a military captain, and Michael Depreter (Saint-Louis — Bruxelles and Oxford) on the participants and interests involved in Anglo-Burgundian treaties of the late fifteenth century.

This year’s seminar was made possible by funding from the School of History, the St Andrews Institute for Mediaeval Studies, and the Centre for French History and Culture. It was organized by Justine Firnhaber-Baker, with the help of Vicky Turner (French), as well Dorothy Christie and Audrey Wishhart (Mediaeval History administrators) and Ysaline Bourgine de Meder and Gert-Jan Van de Voorde (St Andrews and Ghent). Next year, the conference will be held at Liverpool, with Godfried Croenen’s organization. If you would like to be added to the email list or the Facebook group for the seminar, please email jmfb@st-andrews.ac.uk.

About standrewshistory
With over forty full time members of staff researching and teaching on European, American and Asian history from the dawn of the Middle Ages to the present day, the School of History at the University of St Andrews has one of the finest faculty and diverse teaching programmes of any School of History in the English speaking world. The School boasts expertise in Mediaeval and Modern History, from S cotland to Byzantium and the Americas to the Middle East and South Asia.Thematic interests include religious history, urban history, transnationalism, historiography and nationalism. The School of History prides itself on small group teaching and tutorials allowing for in depth study and supervision tailored to secure the best from each student. Cutting edge research combined with teaching excellence offer a dynamic and intellectually stimulating environment for the study of History.

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