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Symposium 2019: Making History, Thinking Historically

“Making History, Thinking Historically: Medieval and Early Modern Conceptions and Representations of Past, Present, and Future Worlds.”

The conference is free but we do request that you register in advance. Please register here


A symposium on how textual and material sources reflect, represent, or recreate historical time, and how time and history are constructed and presented through different sources, from architecture to court documents. Stanford's primary source symposium is centered on the presentation and analysis of primary sources: textual and cartographic, as well as works of art, architecture, and music. In this symposium, scholars present works from within their discipline to an interdisciplinary audience. These presentations share a concern with how time and history are realized within medieval and early modern sources, with an eye to unearthing past understandings and approaches to history and time. How did the source construct or present history? What does the source reveal about the concepts of history and time in a particular time and place? How does the source reflect, distort, or represent time? Speakers address four different areas related to the symposium topic:

-Building historical claims: architecture as a means of historical construction
-Mapping the past: cartographic representations of history
-Reforming history: reformations of historical memory
-Sounding temporality: music and sound in the representation of time

Organized by Prof. Laura Stokes (History) and Prof. Barbara Pitkin (Religious Studies)

Session 1: Stanford Humanities Center (November 7, 4:30pm–6:30pm)

Prof. Kathryn Starkey (Stanford): "Heroic Time, Historical Time, and Salvation Time: Productive Asynchrony in the Medieval German Epic Poetry"
Prof. Bissera Pentcheva (Stanford): "Spiraling to Eternity: The Cult of Saints on the Pilgrimage Roads"
Prof. Fatima Quraishi (University of California, Riverside): "Creating Sacred Space: Affect and Experience in the Maklīnāmah"

Reception: Stanford Faculty Club (November 7, 6:30pm–8:30pm)

Session 2: David Rumsey Map Center (November 8, 9:30am–11:00am)

Prof. Nancy Kollmann (Stanford): "Anthony Jenkinson’s ‘Description of Russia, Moscovia and Tataria’: Text and Image in Sixteenth-Century Cartography"
Dr. Surekha Davies (John Carter Brown Library): "Knowing with Images in the Age of Exploration: Maps, Monsters, and Natural History"

Lunch: Lane Hall / Bldg. 200, Room 307 (November 8, 11:30am–12:30pm)

Session 3: Stanford Humanities Center (November 8, 1:00pm–3:00pm)

Prof. David Como (Stanford): "In Due Time: Apostasy, Apocalypse, and the English Revolution"
Prof. Carina Johnson (Pitzer): "The Ego of a Rebel: Memory and the Wrong Side of War in Sixteenth-Century Germany"
Prof. Tunç Şen (Columbia): "Precision in Time, Prediction of Time: the Stargazers and their Craft at the Early Modern Ottoman Court"

Keynote: Stanford Humanities Center (November 8, 3:30pm–5:30pm)

Prof. Euan Cameron (Columbia and Union Theological Seminary): "The Protestant Reformers and World History: How Cosmic Time Became Theological Time"

Sponsored by: Center for Medieval and Early Modern Studies; Department of Religious Studies; Department of History; DLCL; Department of Art and Art History; Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies; Center for South Asia; Stanford Humanities Center; Stanford Libraries; David Rumsey Map Center.

For more information, contact Lane Baker at laneb [at] (laneb[at]stanford[dot]edu).