Monthly Archives: May 2023

CFP: Conference of the Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group

Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group 2023 Annual Conference

UWA, Saturday 21 October 2023

Renaissance thinkers were interested in moral philosophy, and they found inspiration in both ancient and medieval sources. How should one conduct themselves to be happy and useful within society? What will the future bring for us in a time of deep transformation?

An image of a new world to be discovered; changed perspectives in astronomy and medicine; Renaissance humanity wondered whether they were able to influence their path in life, whether their decisions were dependent on a free will—as Pico della Mirandola stated in his Oration on the Dignity of Man—or were but the choice of an omnipotent God, as Catholics, and even more strongly Protestants, each emphasised. The role of Providence would become prevalent across European culture, from visual art to Shakespeare’s plays, gradually replacing the capricious Wheel of Fate which was equally central to medieval thought.

This conference will broadly discuss themes concerning human destiny and the possibility of executing our own will, placed within the attempt to acquiesce to, to acquire, or to enforce a vision of peace and harmony within the constant social and political metamorphosis of the Renaissance, and of the world today.

Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group Incorporated welcomes abstracts which address the theme of ‘Fate and Fortune’ in the medieval and Renaissance periods including:

● Representations of Providence, of destiny, or of doom in literature and literary works.
● Paintings and sculpture relating to fate, divine or otherwise.
● Philosophical works or analyses of Fate and Fortune, or those relating to ethics and utopias.
● Astrology, which enjoyed a blooming during the Renaissance much as it has today, with people turning to psychics, magic, and the stars to search for answers to important questions.
● Political writings depicting the perfect ruler, a utopian vision, or condemning contemporary tyranny.
● Social ideals that valorised the reception of an ancient wisdom, from the Stoics, Plato, Aristotle, or others.
● Educational ideas inspired by Renaissance or classical philosophy, such as liberal and postcritical education.

We welcome abstracts for twenty-minute papers. We particularly welcome submissions from undergraduate, honours, and postgraduate students, even if beyond the scope of the conference theme.

The conference will take place in hybrid form. Please specify in your submission whether you would attend in-person or online.

Please send abstracts of 150–200 words with your affiliation and a short (up to 50 words) biography to the conference subcommittee at by 21 August 2023.

For further details, please see

Conference Masterclass: Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group

Perth Medieval and Renaissance Group Incorporated, with assistance from StudySmarter UWA, are offering a free masterclass for undergraduate and postgraduate students on developing conference skills.

See flyer below for further details.

Friday 2 June 2023, 9:15 am — 2:00 pm
Woolnough Lecture Theatre, Geography building, UWA
Register at

Applications Open: Association of Italian Women Historian’s Award

The Association of Italian Women Historians (SIS) has announced a biennial award for doctoral dissertations aimed at rewarding original research on the history of women, gender relations and gender identities.

The award consists of 5.000 euros gross and is reserved to doctoral dissertations defended between January 1, 2018, and December 31, 2022 in Italian universities and/or universities of other countries. Dissertations written in Italian, English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese will be considered. The dissertations must be based on original research and must deal with issues and matters related to the history of women, gender relations and gender identities within a timeline ranging from antiquity to the contemporary era.

See the blow pdf for further details and application form.

CFP: Tenth Australian Conference of Celtic Studies

The Tenth Australian Conference of Celtic Studies will be hosted by Celtic Language Teaching and Research, School of Art, Communication and English, The University of Sydney from Monday 25 September to Wednesday 27 September 2023 in person at The University of Sydney and online.*

Conference Committee:
Dr Pamela O’Neill
Professor Daniel Anlezark
Murray-Luke Peard

Keynote speakers:
Dr Elizabeth Boyle, Maynooth University
Professor Mark Byron, The University of Sydney

Call for Papers
Papers are invited on any topic falling within the academically recognised discipline of Celtic Studies.  Papers taking a comparative or reception approach to areas within
Celtic Studies are also welcome.  Papers will be of 20 minutes’ duration follow by
10 minutes’ question time.

Abstracts of up to 300 words (accompanied by a bio of up to 100 words) should be sent to Dr Pamela O’Neill by Monday 24 July 2023.

Offers of grouped papers or non-traditional sessions such as round-tables will also be considered, with a preferred duration of 90 minutes.  Scholars intending to offer such sessions are encouraged to contact Dr O’Neill informally in the first instance.

Acceptances will be issued by 31 July 2023.  Requests for earlier acceptances for the purpose of funding applications, travel arrangements, etc, will be accommodated
wherever possible.

It is intended that a subsequent publication in memory of Anders Ahlqvist, inaugural Sir Warwick Fairfax Professor of Celtic Studies at the University of Sydney, will include a number of papers from the conference.

*Online sessions will take place in the early evening Sydney time, to facilitate international participation, and will be projected in the conference room for those attending in person.

Applications Open: 2024 National Library of Australia Scholarships

Applications are now open for the 2024 National Library of Australia Scholarships and the 2024 Asia Study Grants. 

The National Library of Australia Scholarships support PhD students who require access to the National Library’s collections to assist their postgraduate research. There are six scholarships available in 2024, with two specifically designated for Australian First Nations students. The Asia Study Grants provide both academics and PhD students with the opportunity to research the Library’s Asian language and Asia-related collections for four weeks.  Up to five grants will be awarded in 2024.

Guidelines for these scholarships and grants as well as links to the online application forms are available online at  Applications will close on Monday 26 June 2023.

New Unit: Cracking of Christendom, University of Divinity

Study The Cracking of Christendom

Available at the University of Divinity in Semester 2, 2023. Classes commence Wednesday 2 August. Online and in-person options available. 

About the unit

500 years ago, a series of conflicts tore apart the Christian church. In a dry forest of religion and politics, Martin Luther proposed 95 questions for debate, and sparked a wildfire. Western Christianity changed forever. The consequences continue to shape life and worship in contemporary Australia in ways you may not even have imagined.

This unit will be taught collaboratively by academics from diverse traditions, with expertise in both theology and history. Students will benefit from the rich and rounded learning experience made possible by this unparalleled collaboration of five Colleges from within the University of Divinity.

More information and how to enquire

Introductory video

CFP: Australian Early Medieval Association

The Australian Early Medieval Association has announced that the call for papers for this year’s conference is now open. The dates of the conference will be 28-29 September 2023 and the deadline for abstract submissions is 15 July 2023. Submissions may be in the form of individual papers of 20 minutes duration, themed panels of three 20‐minute papers, or Round Tables of up to six shorter papers (total of one hour). All sessions will include time for questions and general discussion.

The theme of this year’s conference is ‘The Natural and the Unnatural in the Early Medieval World’. The conference will be held in a hybrid format, with in-person attendance at The University of Sydney as well as online attendance.

Keynotes will be given by Dr Elizabeth Boyle (Maynooth University) and Professor Roland Fletcher (The University of Sydney).

The full text of the CFP may be viewed on the conference website.

ANZAMEMS Reading Group Summary: Session 4 ‘Slavery and Sexual Violence’

The fourth session of the ANZAMEMS PGR/ECR Reading Group took place on Zoom on Tuesday 2 May. This week’s reading, kindly recommended to the group by Natalie Tomas (Monash), was Tamar Herzig’s article on ‘Slavery and Interethnic Sexual Violence: A Multiple Perpetrator Rape in Seventeenth-Century Livorno’, The American Historical Review, 127/1 (2022): 194–222, which studies the 1610 rape of a group of 14 enslaved Jewish women by Muslim slaves and Catholic forced laborers in the slave prison (Bagno) at Livorno. Using written sources which respond to the rape, Herzig argues that it was orchestrated by the high-ranking physician Dr Bernardetto Buonromei in order to put pressure on the city’s Jewish community to pay high ransoms for the women. Herzig places the rape in the context of the Mediterranean slave trade and of the place of Jews in the Italian city, and skilfully mines limited primary source material to shed light on the event and its consequences.

The group praised Herzig’s research and writing throughout the session, noting that the article offers an example par excellence of how historians can work with and not against archival silences. The main sources taken up by Herzig were the petitions of the Jewish leaders (massari) to Grand Duke Cosimo II. These supplications do not describe the rapes themselves, but instead underline their graphic results of sexual violence for the women, with one attempting to kill her daughters and then herself in response. The group also appreciated Herzig’s attentiveness to the strategies of rhetoric silencing deployed in Buonromei’s response to the allegations, which essentially served to erase the traces of the violence done to the female slaves. For instance, Buonromei uses the plural masculine form, ebrei (Jews), to refer to the slaves, and makes reference only to forms of punishment administered to men (e.g. head-shaving). Our members found this example of the contemporary historical erasure of the Jewish female slaves in real-time particularly fascinating, as the process is usually understood as something which is enacted retrospectively.

Herzig described the Jewish population in the free city of Livorno at the time as “thriving” and segregated into a semi-autonomous community, but as nonetheless lacking in power or status in important ways. Whereas Muslim slaves could expect decent treatment, or else the Maghrebi authorities would in turn retaliate against Catholic slaves, enslaved Jews had no sovereign Jewish power to call down in the event of maltreatment, and were also unable to gain their freedom via exchange with their Christian counterparts. The reading group mused that the existence of a Jewish nation or government in the seventeenth-century may have ensured a better treatment of Jewish slaves in Italy. We also acknowledged that the treatment of Mediterranean slaves was really based on financial or business reasoning, rather than human motivations. Both Cosimo and Herzig honed into the financial element of securing ransoms from the Jews of Livorno for these Jewish female slaves. However, it was pointed out that the Jewish community had only a small fund and a firm cap on ransoms, while the slaves had been captured with their families and so had no kin to pay ransoms, meaning that Livorno could not expect profitable ransoms for the women. The rapes could also have had a wider motivation of leveraging fear amongst the city’s minorities. However, Buonromei was probably unaware of the financial state of the Jewish community and expected them to be able to pay up.

We also considered the complete lack of censure or prosecution which Bounromei faced; following the supplications, he remained in his role in the slave prison and continued to enjoy Cosimo’s favour. This is unsurprising, as the Grand Duke was unlikely to side with the enslaved women (and by extension, with the Jewish massari) against a state official. As the women were slaves, it was unlikely that the rape would be prosecuted. We also noted that, as slaves, they were assumed to lack honour, so (theoretically) could not be “dishonoured” by the rape. This led to a discussion about the nature of honour, during the course of which the following questions were posed: Was the honour at stake in this multi-perpetrator rape a communal honour wherein the Jewish men were shamed by the attack on their women? Was ransoming a restoration of personal honour, meaning that slavery’s loss of honour was only temporary, but was rape a permanent alienation of honour? Was honour attached to agency, or to a lack of it, in women?

The group also questioned what the women’s value as slaves would have been at the time – Herzig gives no sense of their monetary worth or the market value of slaves in seventeenth-century Livorno. We understood it was more profitable to ransom slaves than sell them to buyers. Herzig did note that those who converted to Catholicism could not be sold, and that the babies of slaves were baptised, leading mothers to either accept conversion too or else be separated from their children. This led to a discussion on the practice of appropriating children into religion at birth, which was very widespread, and of using socio-economic incentives to seek Jewish conversions to Catholicism. On this subject (but through a nineteenth-century lens), Natalie Tomas recommended the following book: The Kidnapping of Edgardo Mortara, by David I. Kertzer.

Emily Chambers (University of Nottingham)

The next session of the reading group will be on Tuesday 23 May, 4:00pm (AEST), on the theme of Language and Translation. All ANZAMEMS members are welcome.

If you’ve missed any of the past sessions, summaries are published on the ANZAMEMS newsletter:

Please contact the convenors with any queries: Emma Rayner (ANU),, and Emily Chambers (University of Nottingham),

IMS Conference: Play in the Middle Ages

Play in the Middle Ages Les Jeux au Moyen âge
International Medieval Society (IMS Paris) 17th annual conference
Société Internationale des médiévistes de Paris 17 e colloque annuel

A virtual symposium | Un symposium virtuel
May 22 , 2023 16:00 18:30 CET (Paris time)
22 mai 2023 de 16 h à 19 h 30 CET

To register, please visit this website.
For any further information or questions please email