Themes for the compulsory interdisciplinary seminar
(forthcoming and past)

Hilary Term 2013:

In progress.

Selected reading

Hilary Term 2012:


Selected reading

Hilary Term 2011:


Selected reading

Hilary Term 2010: Passing On: tradition and inheritance in the medieval context and beyond

We shall look at a number of aspects of "passing" from one generation to the next: bequest and inheritance, texts and traditions, family and social values. The guest speaker invited to the 2009-10 seminar, Professor Roberta Gilchrist, will speak on the subject of heirlooms, drawing on the archaeological evidence of burials.

Selected reading

Hilary Term 2009: Looking and laughing

Taking the previous year's theme of visionary culture as a springboard, we shall focus on the question of humour, addressing such issues as: by what means and in what contexts the comic is portrayed across disciplines; how visual representations may be judged humorous or otherwise; what functions humour could perform; and what it meant 'to laugh' in medieval culture. The guest speaker invited to the 2008-9 seminar is Professor Kathryn Kerby-Fulton.

Selected reading


Hilary Term 2008: What does it mean ‘to see’?

How visionary culture can be understood will be explored from the varied perspectives of the disciplines represented in this degree. We will look at the theories that lay behind medieval visionary experience, from St Augustine onwards; at how visions were subsequently understood and expressed in both literary and artistic mediums; at whether or not late medieval culture became pre-occupied with sight and in what ways ‘seeing’ might be gendered. The guest speakers invited to the 2008 seminar were Professor Caroline Walker Bynum and Professor Barbara Newman.
Selected reading

Suzannah Biernoff, Sight and Embodiment in the Middle Ages (Palgrave, 2002)

Caroline Walker Bynum, ‘Seeing and Seeing beyond: the Mass of St Gregory in the Fifteenth Century’ in The Mind’s Eye: Art and Theology in the Middle Ages, ed. Anne-Marie Bouche and Jeffrey F.Hamburger, pp.208-40 (Princeton, 2005)

Michael Camille, Gothic Art: Visions and Revelations of the Medieval World (London, 1996)

Mary Carruthers, The Craft of Thought: Meditation, Rhetoric and the Making of Images, 400-1200 (Cambridge, 1998)

Jeffrey Hamburger, Nuns as Artists: The Visual Culture of a Medieval Convent (Berkeley, 1997)

Herbert Kessler, Spiritual Seeing: Picturing God’s Invisibility in Medieval Art (Philadelphia, 2000)

Barbara Newman, ‘What did it mean to say ‘I saw’: The Clash between Theory and Practice in Medieval Visionary Culture’, Speculum 80 (2005), pp.1-43.