This year's Symposium is our largest ever in terms of sessions, papers, and registrants! Thanks for being part of the conference's exciting and vibrant growth. If this is your first time at the Symposium, or you are one our many “regulars,” we are genuinely happy to have you here!
Aside from a diverse offering of sessions stocked with excellent scholarship, one of the distinguishing features of the Symposium is its hosting of unique mini-conferences. Each has its own space and each is highlighted in the program, yet all are open to all attendees. This year we are excited to welcome the Annual Saint Louis Conference on Manuscript Studies, now in its forty-fifth year! This highly respected conference will henceforth become a permanent part of our Symposium. Roger Wieck of the Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum will deliver the Lowrie J. Daly, S.J. Memorial Lecture during that mini-conference. This year we are also hosting The Fourth International Symposium on Crusades Studies, a quadrennial conference sponsored by the Crusades Studies Forum. Its plenary speakers this year are Jonathan Phillips of Royal Holloway, University of London and M. Cecilia Gaposchkin of Dartmouth College. Other special lectures at the Symposium include the San Fernando III Annual Lecture, delivered by Lawrence McCrank, and the Third Annual Loomises Lecture hosted by the International Arthurian Society, North America, and delivered by Joan Tasker Grimbert of Catholic University of America.
Our list of sponsoring societies continue to grow, including this year De Re Militari and the Ibero-Medieval Association of America. We are privileged to have the Annual Symposium plenary lectures delivered by Carole HIllenbrand of the University of St Andrews and Geoffrey Parker of the Ohio State University.
No matter how large the Symposium becomes, though, the promotion of serious scholarly investigation into the medieval and early modern worlds will remain its core mission. It is also our hope that by bringing together specialists across what are often opaque chronological boundaries, new insights into historical dynamics and trends can be uncovered and explored. Our guiding principle throughout is a programmatic flexibility that puts excellence in scholarship ahead of all other concerns.
While attending the Symposium I invite you to use the Pius XII Library as well as the Vatican Film Library and rare book and manuscript collections. We are blessed with extraordinary resources for medieval and early modern studies here at Saint Louis University – resources that we are eager to share. On-campus housing is available beyond the period of the conference for those who would like to remain and conduct research.
Once again, I am extremely grateful to all those who have made this conference possible. More than a hundred faculty and graduate students across Saint Louis University work together to make the Annual Symposium a success. The members of the Advisory Board (listed in the program) deserve special thanks for their insights and help all along the way. I am particularly grateful to Fr. Steven Schoenig, S.J., Associate Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS), and Kevin Dumke, the graduate director of operations for the Symposium. As always, Teresa Harvey in the CMRS is the brains behind all conference logistics.
The organizers are eager to hear your comments, criticisms, and suggestions for the future! We are committed to making each Annual Symposium better than the last. With your help we can do just that.
With all best wishes,
Thomas F. Madden
Director, Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies