March 15, 12 pm, Hale 230

Andrew Hicks, Cornell University

A Listener’s Guide to the Cosmos


From the big bang to the hushed woosh of gravitational waves, from the poeticism of the music of the spheres to the heuristic harmonies of the recently discovered K2-138 planetary system -- despite the cosmos' resolute silence, its sounds still captivate our imagination. "A Listener's Guide to the Cosmos" charts the history of the sounding universe and documents the wagers that humanity has made on the knowledge of the world's composition, and our place within its harmonious aggregate, based on aurality.  


Andrew Hicks’ research focuses on the intellectual history of early musical thought from a cross-disciplinary perspective that embraces philosophical, cosmological, scientific and grammatical discourse in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, and spans the linguistic and cultural spheres of Latin, Greek, Persian, and Arabic. His book Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos was published in 2017. His published essays range across the history of music theory, Pythagoreanism, the reception of Martianus Capella, textual criticism, and musical metaphors and modalities in Classical Persian literatures. 


Monday, March 18, 2019, 5 pm UMC 247

James Field Willard Lecture in Medieval History

Rory Naismith, Kings College London

Gilds and Things: the Making of Medieval London


Medieval London had a unique and complex system of government. This lecture explores the early history of two of the key elements of its infrastructure: the Court of Husting and the Folkmoot. It is argued that these bodies emerged out of a 'peace gild' that recorded its statutes in the time of King Æthelstan (924-39). Tracing the history of these entities highlights a key phase in the transformation and formalisation of London's government over the tenth and eleventh centuries, as its status grew relative both to the surrounding area and to England as a whole.


Rory Naismith is the author of Money and Power in Anglo-Saxon England: the Southern English Kingdoms 757–865 (2012), which was awarded the International Society of Anglo-Saxonists Best First Book prize in 2013. His principal current research interest is the role of money (coined and otherwise) in early medieval Britain, particularly Anglo-Saxon England. Money has obvious economic implications, it is also important as a source of early medieval cultural, institutional and political history, and Naismith’s research brings together these diverse approaches to how money worked in society, including extensive work with material culture as well as texts.


April 30, 5:30 pm, Hale 230

Eric Palazzo, University of Poitiers

Reflections on the "Energetic" Christ in medieval theology, ritual and art. 


Eric Palazzo is professor of Medieval Art History at the University of Poitiers, senior member of the Institut Universitaire de France, former director of the Centre d'études supérieures de civilisation médiévale, former dean of the faculty of Humanities in Poitiers. His research has been supported by numerous institutions including the Ecole Française de Rome, the Max-Planck-Institut für Geschichte, the Getty Research Institute and now the Institute for Advanced Study where he is Elinor Lunder Founders' Circle Member at the School of Historical studies.He is the author of numerous articles and monographs, including most recently  L'invention chrétienne des cinq sens dans la liturgie et l'art au Moyen Age  (Paris, 2014) and Peindre c'est prier. Anthropologie de la prière chrétienne (Paris, 2016), on art and liturgy in the Middle Ages.