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Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies

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Where: Norman Public Library Central, 103 W. Acres St.
              Redbud Room, 3rd floor

When: 6:15-7:30 pm
        Talks will be in-person but will also be live-streamed at
        Recordings of talks will be available via a link below (if the speaker consents to their talk being uploaded).

Sept. 3, 2021: "Medieval Music for Praying, Courting, and Dancing"
Prof. Jennifer Saltzstein, Musicology Dept., OU
     Music was central to the ways medieval people worshiped and entertained themselves. This lecture will provide examples of medieval chant and secular music, discussing musical forms in their cultural context.

Oct. 1, 2021: “Shakespeare’s Libels”
Prof. Joseph Mansky, English Dept., OU
     Libel! Slander! Sedition! What happens when citizens defy the state? This talk examines Shakespearean scenes of libel and the light they shed on sixteenth-century politics and public speech.

Nov. 5, 2021: “Who Was Spain’s Alfonso X (1252-84) and Why Did People Remember Him for Hundreds of Years after His Death?”
Prof. Luis Cortest, Dept. of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics, OU

Dec. 3, 2021: “Victorian Medievalism and the Pleasure of the Past”
Prof. Justin Sider, English Dept., OU
    Prof. Sider’s talk will look at the way artists and writers like William Morris, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Christina Rossetti borrowed the artistic forms of the past and put them to modern purposes.

Feb. 4, 2022: “Benjamin of Tudela: The Jewish Marco Polo”
Dr. Jacob Lackner, Oklahoma State University in Oklahoma City
     In the 12th century, Benjamin of Tudela traveled through southern Europe, north Africa, the Levant, and Mesopotamia—beating Marco Polo to western Asia by a hundred years. This talk will explore the vivid record Benjamin left behind of a wide range of medieval lands and customs.  

March 4, 2022: “Medievalist Obsessions in 19th-Century French Art”
Erinn Gavaghan, School of Visual Arts, OU

April 8, 2022: “Household Magic and Marvels in Medieval England”
Prof. Chelsea Silva, Oklahoma State University
     This talk explores the “wonder recipes” often found in late-medieval English household manuscripts: recipes that promised to fill the house with silver, or to make men appear to be headless, or to make a lamp that provides perpetual light. While some are entertaining practical jokes and others are more obviously useful, together they reveal the ways that upper-class medieval families transformed their homes from familiar to fantastic.

OU is an equal-opportunity institution. Distributed at no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers. Accommodations may be made on the basis of disability. Contact: (405) 325-8610;




Jan. 29, 2021

J.R.R. Tolkien’s Medieval Mythology
Presented by Joyce Coleman, English Dept., University of Oklahoma

This talk explores how Tolkien built Middle Earth out of his fascination with language and with medieval texts and history—mixed in with his own experiences fighting on the Somme in World War I.


Friday, Feb. 26, 2021

The Black Death: A Panel Discussion on the Medieval Pandemic
A trio of OU professors discusses the causes and impact of the medieval plague known as the Black Death.
      History: Dr. Roberta Magnusson
      Art: Dr. Allison Palmer
      Literature: Dr. Roberto Pesce (only on Q&A)


Friday, March 26, 2021

Walking the Medieval Camino de Santiago in the 21st Century
Presented by Joe Sullivan, Associate Professor of German, OU Dept. of Modern Languages, Literatures, and  Linguistics

Prof. Sullivan shares his experience walking the Camino de Santiago (“Way of Saint James”), a famous medieval pilgrimage route that winds through Europe before terminating in the Spanish city of Santiago de Compostela.


Friday, April 30, 2021

Medieval Werewolves: Monsters Often Misunderstood
Presented by Lindsey Panxhi, English Dept., Oklahoma Baptist University

Medieval werewolves are often surprisingly sympathetic characters. Dr. Panxhi discusses the origin stories of medieval werewolves, and the interesting dilemmas that arise when the boundaries between the human and the monstrous are blurred.


Co-sponsored by the Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, University of Oklahoma.

This program is made possible in part by the Norman Arts Council Grant Program.

Contact: (405) 325-8610;


About the CMRS

Joyce Coleman, Director

The Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, a division of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, promotes the study of the period in Western history that saw the development of such major components of modern life as parliamentary democracy, the nation-state, English and other modern languages, printing, Islam, global exploration, heliocentric astronomy, romantic love--and the universities in which we research and teach all these subjects.Some thirty-five faculty at OU contribute to the study of these and many other facets of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

Our newly revived Medieval & Renaissance Studies minor allows students to pursue an interdisciplinary study of literature, language, history, history of science, art, architecture, and religion, supported by visits to OU's Special Collections.

By supporting our faculty and students, sponsoring brown-bag talks, and cosponsoring a free public lecture series with the Medieval Fair of Norman, OU’s Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies seeks to enrich the intellectual environment for medievalists and early modernists on campus and across the region. Other opportunities are in the works. Come join us!

OU's CMRS was founded by Keith Busby, then of the university's Modern Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Department. Prof. Busby was succeeded by Luis Cortest, of the same department. Since 2013 the director has been Joyce Coleman (, Bambas Professor of Medieval English Literature & Culture, English Department.