CFP, imminent deadline: Medieval and Renaissance Student’s Association, Cal State Longbeach

A couple days ago, I received a call for papers through the medieval list serv, and, catching up on my email this afternoon, I noticed that the deadline is quite soon–February 4, in fact.  Please check out the attached PDF for details on the conference itself  (scheduled for February 25th) and on how to submit a paper proposal.

MaRSA 2012 CFP


Oh, and Go Giants!

CFPs: Germany and Revolution; Nebraska; and Southern Methodist

Well, that was an eventful couple of days.  It remains to be seen whether any amount of agitation will stop the SOPA/PIPA bills, but here’s hoping it does.

In the mean time, several calls for papers have come through my inbox recently, one dealing with Germany’s revolutionary years, in this case 1916 to 1923 (interesting choice…), and the other two are graduate conferences, one with an extended proposal deadline (the James A. Rawley Graduate Conference at Nebraska).  The Germany conference looks to be a big deal, as it’s taking place in 2013.


The organizing committee of the Seventh Annual James A. Rawley
Graduate Conference in the Humanities has decided to extend our
submission deadline to January 27, 2012. To apply please send a short
CV and an abstract to The official CFP is
re-posted below.

Thank you,
Brian Sarnacki
Chair, James A. Rawley Graduate Conference in the Humanities

Continue reading CFPs: Germany and Revolution; Nebraska; and Southern Methodist


I had heard rumblings of legislation in Congress that meant ostensibly to retard online piracy, but in reality opens the door to a huge variety of corporate and special-interests-driven censorship of the internet.  I hadn’t realized until the other day that this was serious, imminent, and that the protest movement against these bills, known as SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act–the House bill) and PIPA (Protect IP Act–the Senate bill)–was underway, and fast gaining ground.  As usual, it’s not only what the laws say, but also what they don’t say–the loopholes they leave open, the actions and initiatives they leave unregulated and unchecked, the responsibilities and terms they do not clearly define (and we got taste of how risky that is with the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, about which I’ll be talking in the near future). For my own part, I think the critiques of the bills are sound, and urge you, if you have not done so already, to join the protest movement against these bills.

However, just to forestall the question: I have decided not to black out my own blog, since I think under the  circumstances of the present day (meaning my day, today) that would in fact be counter-productive to spreading awareness of the issue. I’m using WordPress’s option of a ribbon in the right corner, rather than a complete blackout.  Most important, though, is to read, communicate, and take these issues seriously–before we lose the chance to do so.

The text of the bills can be found here: PIPA (Senate), and SOPA (House).

As you may expect, perhaps, Wikipedia’s page on SOPA/PIPA contains a wealth of relevant information on the bills and their implications (one hopes that none of the links are to foreign copyright-infringing websites…).  If you wish to find and contact your local congressperson or representative, just try going to Wikipedia’s home page, and try searching something, anything.

Jason Harvey’s analysis at Reddit is worth reading–straightforward and simply put.  So is Joe Brockmeier’s well-taken piece about an unspoken aspect of the protest movement: it shows that most of us don’t keep up on what Congress is doing most of the time anyway, which is why this is more of a last-ditch protest effort against a long-ongoing process.  Also see the video of Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian speaking out against the bill(s).

To sign Google’s protest pledge and get more information about why human rights organizations, legal professors, and entrepreneurs are condemning the bills, visit Google’s “take action” page.

WordPress, which hosts my blogs as well as thousands of others, is also taking these bills very seriously, and this morning Jane Wells from WordPress sent out a detailed email outlining their reasons for opposing the bill, and giving directions to various petitions and resources you can use to find out more about them.  This includes the WordPress page on SOPA/PIPA, as well as a concise video on the subject by Fight for the Future (3 months old, I’m embarrassed to finally see…).  Also links to pages at, which seems to be one of the leaders of today’s strike, and FightfortheFuture’s actual page.

Old notes from the Leeds International Medieval Congress, July 2011

One of the smaller projects I have in the works is an article on Frederick Barbarossa’s generalship, a version of which I gave at Leeds Medieval Congress this past summer.  In working on it again yesterday, I came across my notes from some of the Leeds sessions I attended–incomplete notes, but they might be of interest to folks researching the crusades or medieval military history, as a lot of these papers represent the latest innovative work from dynamic scholars, both younger and established.  I apologize in advance for the choppiness and uneven coverage, as well as for any errors of interpretation of which I’m sure there are a few. And regarding the armor and weapons papers, much is lost since those presentations relied heavily on great visual aids.  See the archived congress pages for more information about the sessions themselves.

Here’s a list of the papers my notes cover:

–Danielle Park, “Diplomats and Diplomatics: New Directions in the Use of Charter Evidence – The Concept and Consequences of the Crusades in the Charters of Crusade Regents”

–James Naus, “Crusade and Legitimacy: The Ideology and Imagery of Reconquest in France”

–Ian Wilson; “Cowardice, Chivalry, and the Crusades”

–Andrew Spencer, “‘Apres moi, le deluge’: The Lancastrian Affinity after Earl Thomas”

–David Simpkin, “Retinues under Stress: The Impact of War Mortalities on Military Networks during the Later Middle Ages”

–Lucy Rhymer, “‘We, my blessed Lord Gloucester’s servants, may now come out of hiding’: The Fate of Duke Humphrey’s Posthumous Retinue”

–Claire Featherstonhaugh, “The Government Activities of the Earls, c. 1330-1360”

–Kathleen Neal, “Reason and Right: Letters of Request to Chancery in 13th-Century England”

–Gwillim Dodd, “Form and Substance: Letters to King Edward II, 1307-1327”

–Nick Dupras, “Busy Hammers: The Construction of Armour in Late Medieval Europe”

–Jenny Day, “‘Maen Wyn, do not leave your knife behind!’: The Fall and Rise of Knives and Bows in Medieval Welsh Poetry”

–Arbitration and Reputation: Informal Dispute Resolution and ‘Out of Court’ Settlements in Medieval Law – A Round Table Discussion

–Thom Richardson, “Armourer’s Tools”

–Kelly DeVries, “What Armour Was Worn by Second Crusaders?: Evidence from the Baptismal Font of the Church of San Frediano, Lucca”

–SarahLouise Howells, “Affluence and Aesthetics: An Investigation into the French Armoured Gisant”

Continue reading Old notes from the Leeds International Medieval Congress, July 2011

AHA 2012 Retrospective

On January 4th I journeyed to the heart of historical studies in the United States–the American Historical Association’s convention, this year conveniently located in Chicago. Only a miserable 13 hours by train from Rochester. The train on the way out was too hot; the one on the way back was cold, but that’s much more bearable. One day, after I pen that NYT best-seller, I’m going to fly everywhere, or at least get a cabin if I’m traveling by train. Still young enough to spend a night in a coach seat, but not by much. Maybe I should follow my friend Jay’s systematic approach to train travel, which involves coming prepared with ear plugs, a sleeping mask, and an inflatable neck-pillow. Continue reading AHA 2012 Retrospective

The Two Cows of Chivalry–aka, answering my own challenge

Ok, so the responses I got from the “two cows” post were good, but also comparatively few.  So, here’s my attempt at humor.   I apologize a) if any of the references seem obscure, b) for the occasional use of ellipses to denote words unfit for polite company (they are more-or-less appropriate for their subjects), and  c) for any part of these jokes that don’t work (a given, me being,well,  myself).

Essential background: Last night, starting at 10 p.m., I had ahead of me a 12-hour train ride from Chicago to Rochester, and, not at that point being able to study OR sleep, decided to use my time profitably. As you can see….

Again, with apologies, and clear renunciation of normativity…


A Norman Knight: You have two cows. They stitch historical tapestries for you, and plot revolt in the North. They and their cousins suddenly start appearing in great numbers in Byzantium, where in 1084 they get their revenge for Hastings. You create post-colonial studies.

A German Knight: You don’t need two cows, you take whatever you want from Italy. One day you’re going to track down and kill the b*** that lampooned you in Aymeri of Narbonne.

Continue reading The Two Cows of Chivalry–aka, answering my own challenge

You have two cows–the Chivalry Version

Ok, so, the last couple posts have been very serious and heavy-going.  Partly because of that, partly because I’m exhausted and feeling whimsical, and partly because I know that by posting it here I can reach more people than through other media, here’s a change of pace, and a challenge:

You have two cows–The Chivalry Version

Ok, here is the task: You have two cows. Fill in the appropriate scenario for each of the characters below, or however many you feel like. Have fun, be creative, and experiment! Oh, and do repost as you feel like it (though please toss me some credit! 😛 )…

A Norman Knight

A German knight

A Spanish Knight

A French Knight

An English Knight

A Scottish Knight

A Cataphract

An Italian Knight (so-called, anyway)

A Hospitaller

A Templar

A Teutonic Knight

John Hawkwood

Edward III

Robert Bruce

Edward I

William Wallace

Geoffroi de Charny

Joan of Arc

Richard the Lionheart

Philip Augustus

Frederick Barbarossa

Henry V

Marshal Boucicaut

William Marshal

Arthur de Richemont

Bertrand de Guesclin

Bohemond and Tancred