Jonathan Hsy Talk: “Deaf Gain in the Middle Ages,” 4/21 6pm

The Medieval Colloquium invites you to a talk by Prof. Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University):

Deaf Gain in the Middle Ages: Language, Cognition, Culture

Friday, April 21 at 6pm
328 Milbank Hall (Barnard campus)

“This presentation frames the long history of deafness in Western culture through recent theories of “Deaf Gain.” Interdisciplinary research in cognitive linguistics and cultural theory increasingly approaches sign language communication not as a deficiency or lack of speech but rather as a social benefit: a complex embodied modality that affords expansive perceptual awareness (visual, spatial, kinetic, affective, artistic). I consider how monastic sign lexicons and writings by deaf medieval authors theorize the benefits of non-spoken forms of communication, and I ask how medieval texts and visual art can nuance contemporary—and often politicized—framings of Deaf identity in the present.”

Dinner to follow (we will request $15 per person).
Please RSVP to [email protected] if you would like to join us for dinner.
Please feel free to email us with any questions.

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Events Spring 2016

Medieval Colloquium also holds regular workshops of graduate student work. Please be in contact if you would like to participate: medguild at gmail dot com 


Professor Eliza Zingesser (Columbia): “Bird Talk: Avian Poetics in Medieval France and Occitania”

Tuesday, Feb 23, 2016 at 6pm. Location: Altschul Hall 530, Barnard College.

Refreshments will be provided

Abstract: Focusing on songs by the troubadour Marcabru and the trouvère Richard de Fournival, I argue that medieval French and Occitan poets used song as a means to bridge the divide between, on the one hand, human and avian language, and, on the other, vox articulata and inarticulata (meaningful and meaningless voice). Marcabru’s sturnine and Richard’s psittacine zoopoetics foreground the recursive acoustic structures that are the constitutive feature of rhymed poetry.


Professor Robert Rouse (Univ. of British Columbia): “There Be Dragons: Medieval Spatiality and Ecology Before the Map”

February 11, 2016 at 7pm.

409 Barnard Hall, Barnard College, Columbia University

All welcome. RSVP encouraged, [email protected]

Abstract: The dominant modern technology of the map imposes what one might term a Ptolemaic straightjacket over the geographical imagination. Prior to the revival of Ptolemaic cartography, medieval culture is characterized by a plurality of geographical modes, a fractured lens, a poly-chromatic landscape of possibility and meaning.

This paper seeks to articulate and to explore the central question of my current book project: how did late-medieval England know the world? What were the modes and nature of the geographical representations through which the English constructed, transmitted, and – in large part – invented, their view of the wider world that lay beyond their own personal and cultural orbits? As such I am interested in both the modes of representation and in the content that such representations convey: the how and the what.”


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