Medieval-Renaissance Conference

September 21-23, 2023

Founded in 1986 by Professors Richard H. Peake and the late Jack Mahony, both of the Department of Language and Literature, the Medieval-Renaissance Conference began as a way of promoting scholarly activity on campus and providing visibility for the College in the larger academic community. The first conference was a success, hosting twelve speakers from mainly area colleges. Welcoming papers on all areas of medieval and renaissance studies, including literature, history, philosophy, art and music, the conference has enjoyed steady growth and increased national presence, with speakers representing institutions across the country – and the occasional international speaker. By the late 1990s it had grown to a gathering of thirty or forty presentations per year, growth that continues the legacy of Professors Peake and Mahony and confirms the value of an academic conference at the College. In spite of this growth, the conference remains small enough to foster a sense of academic community, generating lively discussions and feedback not always achievable at larger conferences. We also work to maintain an open, informal and friendly setting for participants. Many younger scholars, presenting their first academic paper, find their experience with the conference encouraging and helpful to their academic growth.

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Keynote Address

Matthew Gabriele, Virginia Tech
Oathbreakers: The Long Shadow of Fontenoy (841 CE) in the European Middle Ages

Within a couple generations, the Franks under their Carolingian kings built the idea that they were God’s new chosen people – a new Israel. After a coup brough them to power in the middle of the 8th century, their successes seemed unmatched. Particularly under Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious, the Franks expanded their empire to encompass much of continental Europe. But just as quickly as it was built, it tore asunder – riven by civil war, punctuated by a bloody fratricide in June 841 at the battle of Fontenoy. This keynote will revisit the importance of this battle itself for the 9th century, but more importantly focus in on the memory of the event and later medieval nostalgia for what seemed lost when brother fought brother and father fought son.

The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Medieval-Renaissance Conference promotes scholarly discussion in all disciplines of Medieval and Renaissance studies. The conference welcomes proposals for graduate and undergraduate papers and panels on Medieval or Renaissance literature, language, history, philosophy, science, pedagogy, and the arts.  Abstracts for papers should be 300 or fewer words; undergraduate proposals should include the name of a faculty mentor.  Proposals for panels should include: a) title of the panel; b) names and institutional affiliations of the chair and all panelists; c) abstracts for papers to be presented (300 or fewer words).  A branch campus of the University of Virginia, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise is a public four-year liberal arts college located in the scenic Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia.

Deadline for submissions: June 16, 2023

  • Please direct submissions on English Language and Literature and requests for general information to:
    Kenneth J. Tiller, Department of Language and Literature,
  • Submissions on Art, Music, and European Language and Literature:
    Amelia J. Harris, Department of Language and Literature,
  • Submissions on History or Philosophy:
    Donald Leech, Department of History and Philosophy,
  • Submissions for Undergraduate Papers and Panels:
    John Mark Adrian, Department of Language and Literature,

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