To all newcomers to MEST, whether you are a new faculty member, staff, student, or community member, welcome! And to our longstanding MEST community, welcome back! It’s exciting to write my first Director’s message in an academic year that promises a return to in-person events. Even though the 2021-2022 academic year remained, if you’ll indulge me one final use of the expression, “challenging,” MEST had an event-packed schedule. In Fall 2021, Prof. Jordan Pickett of the University of Georgia presented our annual Distinguished Alumni Lecture, “Climate Change & Cities in the Eastern Mediterranean: From Rome to Byzantium.” In January, IU Jacobs School graduate Brett Arjormand and Prof. Alexander Lingas of City College, London, presented a multimedia event on the history and historical performance of the hymns of the 9th century Byzantine nun Kassia. Our mini-series on historical performance continued in the Spring, with a presentation by Anne Azéma, Director of the Boston Camerata. I’d like to express MEST’s gratitude to faculty and staff of the Jacobs School, especially the Historical Performance Program, for helping to make these collaborations a great success. The Spring also saw virtual versions of our annual Symposium, organized by the MEST GSAC, on the theme “Medieval Care,” and Mediaevalia at the Lilly, where Prof. Eric Johnson of Ohio State spoke on “Meetings with Mundane Manuscripts.”
For me, the most exciting part of 2021-2022 was the chance to award over $15,000 in direct support of graduate student research. The full list of our Fellowships and Grants-in-Aid awardees can be found below in this newsletter. The range—geographic, linguistic, and methodological—of research funded showcases MEST’s commitments to the study of a genuinely “global” middle-ages. Congratulations to all awardees!
Already in Fall 2022 MEST hosted another highly successful Global Medieval Pilgrimage event as part of the IU Arts and Humanities Council’s September First Thursday. This multidisciplinary project, co-developed by MEST and the Indiana Digital Arts and Humanities Institute, allows participants to turn the IU campus into a virtual journey to famous pilgrimage sites from the Americas, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The project expands our idea of the Middle Ages to celebrate the breadth of cultural, religious and social interchange that characterized the entire world between 500 and 1500.
On behalf of the entire MEST community, I would like to thank our two departing MEST Executive Committee members: Prof. Diane Reilly (ARTH) and Elizabeth Hebbard (FRIT). My first years as MEST Director would have been immeasurably more difficult without their insight and advice! I would also like to thank and welcome our two newest Executive Committee members: Prof. Deborah Deliyannis (HIST) and Prof. Heather Blair (REL). Also joining MEST this year are two mission-critical student assistants: Erin Walden, who will be serving as Assistant to the Director, and Jeanne McGill, serving as Editorial Assistant for The Medieval Review.
– Jeremy Schott, MEST Director