Over the years, several CMS presentations have been cosponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study. Below you'll find video recordings of those talks along with brief descriptions. More details about the program, along with interviews with some presenters can be found on the IAS website.
The Assassins of Alamut are presented in popular media and academic studies as the 11th century forerunners of today’s “suicide terrorists.” Visiting Winton Professor Geraldine Heng analyzes these stories to see how the Assassins were believed to anticipate an Islamic paradise in the afterlife and came to represent for the West a volatile nexus of sex and violence. Heng examines in particular how two popular, widely circulating European texts—Marco Polo’s Travels and Mandeville’s Travels—were key in shaping Western understanding of Islamic history in terms of a civilizational identity that “clashes” with that of the Christian West.
Christopher Wood is a professor of the History of Art at Yale University, where he has taught since 1992. He has received Harvard's Jacob Wendell Scholarship and Sheldon Fellowship, a Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst Fellowship, and a Morse Junior Faculty Fellowship from Yale. Professor Wood was a Junior Fellow of the Harvard Society of Fellows. Among his most recent publications are Forgery, Replica, Fiction: Temporalities of German Renaissance Art (2008) and Anachronic Renaissance (with Alexander Nagel, 2010). > More
University of Minnesota professor Bernard Bachrach's keynote address kicks off a two day conference that includes internationally recognized scholars as well as current Ph.D. students and recent alumni. Visit the link above to view all of the presentations. > More
Anatoly Liberman is a professor of German, Scandinavian and Dutch at the University of Minnesota. Prof. Liberman has published widely across the spectrum of Germanic linguistics, but his primary interest has been the history of English words. His many works include the recent publication of a popular book for lay readers entitled Word Origins... and How We Know Them: Etymology for Everyone (2005), as well asAn Analytic Dictionary of English Etymology (2008), and A Bibliography of English Etymology (2009).
Alex Jassen is a professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota. Among other works, he is the author of Scripture and Law in the Dead Sea Scrolls (Forthcoming), Violence, Scripture, and Textual Practice in Early Judaism and Christianity (with Ra'anan S. Boustan and Calvin J. Roetzel, forthcoming), and Mediating the Divine: Prophecy and Revelation in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Second Temple Judaism. The Dead Sea Scrolls are a collection of about 900 documents, including texts from the Hebrew Bible, discovered between 1947 and 1956 in eleven caves in and around the ruins of the ancient settlement of Khirbet Qumran on the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in the present day West Bank. The texts are of great religious and historical significance, as they include the oldest known surviving copies of Biblical and extra-biblical documents and preserve evidence of great diversity in late Second Temple Judaism. > More
Dominique Valérian is maître de conférences at the University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne. He is the author of Les sources italiennes de l'histoire du Maghreb médieéval (2006) and Bougie, port maghrébin, 1067-1510 (2006), and a co-editor of Chemins d'outre-mer (2005) and Espaces et réseaux en Méditerranée médiévale (2007). The Medieval Mediterranean is traditionally presented as a space of conflicts, between Christian and Muslims, or Western and Eastern Christians. Discourses, but also laws and norms, contributed to build very strong frontiers of identity, mainly based on religious differences. In this talk, Valérian shows that merchants travelling throughout the Mediterranean were obliged sometimes to cross those frontiers in a multicultural context. > More
Jody Enders is a professor of Theater and French at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Her recent work includes Medieval Theater of Cruelty (Cornell, 1998) and Death by Drama and Other Medieval Urban Legends (Chicago, 2002). In this talk, Prof. Enders examines evidence from several contemporaneous chroniclers of Metz that there survived in 1485 a living testimonial to the dangers of medieval religious drama. As is the case with so much of the extant evidence of the medieval stage, we know that a play - probably a Passion play - was performed that year in the French city of Bar-le-Duc for one reason only: something illegal, immoral, or at least exceptional happened in its wake. In this case, that "something" was what we could call today a marital rape. One of the men playing a devil returned home, still in costume, and forced himself sexually on his wife (who had tried repeatedly to resist him): "It then came to pass that she was pregnant and...gave birth and was delivered of a body which was, from the mid-torso down, the form of a man, and, from the mid-torso up, the form of a devil. People were much astonished by this thing. And no one dared baptize the child until a trip had been made to Rome in order to determine what was to be done with it." > More
Caroline Walker Bynum is Professor of European Medieval History at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. Her research addresses medieval conceptions of teaching, medieval spirituality, and conceptions of the body in medieval thought. Her most recent book is Wonderful Blood, a study of blood piety in fifteenth-century northern Germany in its larger European context, published by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 2007. She visited the Institute in September of 2008 to talk about her recent work.