Call for Papers
IAS-Sponsored Sessions at 58th International Congress on Medieval Studies
Kalamazoo, MI, 11-13 May 2023
Sessions Sponsored by the Italian Art Society

Unfolding the Past. The Materiality and Temporality of Medieval Southern Italy (I and II)   (blended format)

Session Organizers:  Antonino Tranchina, Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome,, and Adrian Bremenkamp, Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome,


Southern Italy offers a vast and diverse collection of historical evidence. Since Antiquity, the region has been hosting civilizations committed to a thorough preservation of memory in the forms of both historic narratives and the material legacy of the past. During the Middle Ages, the splitting in separated cultural entities in contrast with each other, prompted the reclamation of the past for specific political agendas.

For instance, Norman rulers reinstalled cults from Paleo-Christian times, displaying a variety of material evidence, such as allegedly recovered bodily remains or supposed burial sites of early martyrs. Manifold are the examples on the architectural scale, such as Naples’s gothic Duomo: its pillars include juxtaposed marble columns likely taken from the early Cathedral complex, thus materially folding Christian Antiquity onto the present and hence strengthening the local episcopal authority fostered by the new Angevin rulers.

This double session aims at collecting study-cases of re-temporalized Past in Medieval Southern Italy. We are primarily interested in material evidence of conceptualizations of time, i.e. embodied by architecture and other works of art, by the use of spolia in various contexts, by collections of objects from different strata of time, by the mise-en-scène of relics and traces, etc. Instead of projecting intellectual constructs such as Antiquarianism back into the past we are interested in the immanence of history in the process of constructing the present. We propose to further explore the range of practices dealing with the folding and unfolding of time in the political and social reality of Medieval cultures.

* Paper proposal guidelines below.

Questioning “Gregorian Reform Art” (11th-12th c.): Challenges, Strategies, and New Approaches  (I and II)  (virtual format)

Session Organizers:  Barbara Franzé, Lecturer, Universities of Neuchâtel and Lausanne,, and Gillian B. Elliott, Adjunct Professor, George Washington University,


Since the early studies by Ernst Kitzinger and Hélène Toubert, art historians have interpreted the monumental decorative programs of Rome by placing formal inventiveness, new narrative strategies, and the intensification of figurative production of the reforming century in a causal relationship with the social issues of the Gregorian Reform movement. Even as research initiatives now consider a vast territory, from Northern Italy to France, the Iberian Peninsula, and the regions of Eastern Europe, the subject of “Gregorian Reform Art” remains controversial because skeptics continue to cast doubt on a systematic artistic reform agenda. The purpose of the two sessions is to free our discipline from the epistemological rut of the “all-encompassing reform agenda” or the “non-existent reform agenda” in which it is stuck, by proceeding on a case-by-case basis, through the examination of singular monuments. By analyzing iconography and its language, the art historian discovers the intentions expressed “hic et nunc” and reveals the issues presiding over the materialization of the decorations. By accumulating specific knowledge of individual monuments, the sessions aim to draw a more complete picture of a complex and changing phenomenon.

Session I: For the first session we welcome papers about artistic programs in Rome, its surrounding area and northern Italy.

Session II: For the second session we wish to widen the debate to the “off-center” territories of the reform (Portugal, Croatia, Hungary, Poland, etc.) and the question of a universalist (i.e., Western European), character of the pontifical project.

Please submit proposals that consider, but are not limited to, the following possible topics:

  • Individual monumental artistic programs in Italy
  • Comparisons of a range of monuments
  • Comparisons of a range of monuments
  • Methodological approaches to political interpretation and artistic programs
  • Hybrid spaces and meanings
  • The artistic language of the reform
  • Universal vs. local political agendas

* Paper proposal guidelines below.

*Paper proposals must include:

  • Author’s name, affiliation, and contact information
  • Paper title (15 words max)
  • Abstract (300 words max)
  • Short description (50 words)
  • For a blended-format session, please indicate if you will present in-person or virtually

Please submit abstracts no later than September 15, 2022, at the ICMS Confex submissions portal

Please note: As these are sponsored panels, all speakers must be (or become) members of the Italian Art Society in 2023. Please note that there are free one-year sospesi memberships available for eligible speakers in IAS sponsored sessions. Information can be found on our website here:

The IAS offers several types of conference travel grants that help support graduate students, junior scholars, and scholars who are traveling internationally to present in IAS-Sponsored sessions. Applications for these grants are announced and opened in the late fall.

More information on the various conference travel grants can be found on our website:

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