Biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies

The 20th Biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies
March 10–13, 2016

The Biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies covers all aspects of the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

In 2016, anniversary events will include a retrospective panel on the conference’s 40-year history and a Saturday evening banquet. In addition, the second Snyder Prize (named in honor of the conference’s founder Lee Snyder, who died in 2012), will be given to the best paper presented at the conference by a junior scholar. The prize carries an honorarium of $400.

For more information, including registration and details of upcoming conferences and programs of previous conferences, please see our website at

First held in 1978, the Conference is held on the second weekend of March in even-numbered years. Spread over three days, it typically features more than 130 presenters and 300-350 attendees from across the United States, Europe, and beyond. Encompassing European and Mediterranean history, literature, art, and religion from the fourth to the seventeenth 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.

Each Conference features two plenary lectures from leading scholars in a range of fields; recent presentations have included: “The Experience of Failure and the Figure of Suicide in King Lear,” “Battles for Bodies: Preaching, Burying, and Building in the Medieval Italian City,” “Machiavelli between East and West,” and “Tradition, Otherness, and Cultural Relativism: About Montaigne’s Cannibals.” Finally, each Conference also incorporates several related events, which in recent years have included tours of the nearby Ringling Museum of Art, performances of medieval and early modern drama, a concert of medieval music and a Gregorian chant workshop, and several exhibits of medieval manuscripts.

As one of the largest regular conferences held in the southeastern United States, the Biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies is a significant intellectual endeavor with a venerable history. Nonetheless, while most of its official participants are professional academics and advanced graduate students, the Conference contributes to the vibrant intellectual life of Sarasota as well as the broader West Florida area by welcoming a wide range of attendees from high-school students to retirees. The Conference does not charge admission to high-school students or undergraduates, and encourages them to attend as many sessions as possible. The Conference is also free for New College faculty and staff. For a modest registration fee ($10 in 2012), members of the general public are also welcome at all conference events. All attendees 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 Conference is sponsored by New College's interdisciplinary program in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. The program committee includes specialists in Art History, Classics, English, French, and History, with representatives from New College of Florida, the University of South Florida, Florida Gulf Coast University, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art.

Lee Snyder Memorial Fund
Dr. Lee Snyder, professor of medieval and Renaissance history at New College from 1969 to 2003, was the founder and longtime director of the Biennial New College Conference on Medieval & Renaissance Studies and was a strong supporter of New College’s rigorous, individualized educational program. Dr. Snyder passed away in 2012 but his legacy endures via a memorial fund established in his honor. Contributions to the fund help support student research and travel, as well as a cash prize for the best paper presented at each edition of the conference. Click here for more information on the Lee Snyder Memorial Fund.