The Biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies is a significant intellectual endeavor with a venerable history.
March 8-10, 2018
New College of Florida
The New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies, now in its 41st year, is a biennial event covering all aspects of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.
The 21st conference brings together scholars from all over the United States, Europe, and beyond, for three full days of panels on European and Mediterranean history, literature, art and religion from the fourth to the 17th centuries. The conference’s broad historical and disciplinary scope makes it particularly hospitable to interdisciplinary work, and it is internationally recognized as one of the preeminent venues for researchers working in Italian medieval and Renaissance studies.
The 2018 conference will include 45 panels involving more than 120 speakers, with plenary sessions by two leading scholars — Eleonora Stoppino, Associate Professor of Italian and Director of the Program in Medieval Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign; and Malcolm Vale, Fellow emeritus of St. John’s College, Oxford — along with museum tours and numerous theatrical productions. Other features of the conference in recent years have included exhibits of medieval manuscripts, concerts and workshops on medieval music, and student productions of medieval drama.
The conference is a significant intellectual endeavor with a venerable history and important benefits to a variety of overlapping groups:
The conference does not charge admission to undergraduate students, and encourages students from both New College and other area colleges and universities (as well as local high schools) to attend as many sessions as possible. Students are involved in the day-to-day running of the conference, and a number of local professors integrate attendance at the conference into the classes they’re teaching. Students have the opportunity to hear the most recent work in a variety of fields, and gain valuable insight into the study of the past. The variety of approaches modeled in the sessions is particularly useful in exposing students in smaller liberal arts colleges to a broader range of critical methods than are generally available from a small faculty.
The conference is particularly beneficial to students considering graduate work in history, art history or literature, as it provides them with the opportunity to talk with scholars from many different institutions. Meanwhile, auxiliary programs like Gregorian chant workshops, dramatic productions and manuscript exhibits integrate students into the conference as participants and organizers.
The Sarasota community contains many people with serious interests in the fields discussed at the conference. For a low registration fee, the general public is welcome to attend all conference events, and local community groups with relevant interests are targeted for invitations. Before the 2010 conference, the conference chairs took part in “Gulf Coast Live,” a live interview show on WGCU-FM, the NPR affiliate in Fort Myers. In this way, the conference contributes to the vibrant intellectual life of Sarasota as well as Southwest Florida.
The New College conference is a large and well-respected conference at which a large number of scholars have the opportunity to make connections in their specialties and in the larger intellectual community. It is one of the largest regular conferences held in the Southeastern United States, and serves as an important venue for professional interaction among the many area scholars who are not as naturally connected as their counterparts in areas with denser concentrations of academic institutions, like the Northeast.
Some of these connections are visible in the composition of the program committee, which includes representatives from New College, Florida Gulf Coast University, the University of South Florida, the Ringling College of Art & Design, and the Ringling Museum of Art, including specialists in Art History, Classics, English, French and History. With the increasing importance of interdisciplinary studies in academia, the conference serves an important role in the exchange of ideas both within and between fields.
The conference brings together faculty from a variety of disciplines for a single project; eight members of the college faculty in six different disciplines were on the program in 2016 (and 12 members in 2014). While New College’s reputation as an excellent undergraduate teaching institution is well established, the conference significantly increases the visibility of the college’s research and scholarship in the public and academic realms.
Online registration of the New College Conference on Medieval and Renaissance Studies is now closed. On-site registration will be open from March 8-10, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. in Sudakoff Center. Please see the Conference website for details.
To see the conference schedule, information about the Sarasota/Bradenton area and more, click here.