St. Thomas University News Release
March 19, 2003
Medieval Studies conference to be held this weekend at St. Thomas University
St. Thomas University will present a public conference entitled, "The Late Medieval - Early Modern Self."
Participants will present a variety of papers focusing on different aspects of the period, perform two works of medieval drama, and will perform musical period pieces. The conference was organized in an attempt to incorporate a number of liberal arts disciplines while looking at a specific, and influential period in English literature and society as a whole.
The conference will be held in room G1 of Sir James Dunn Hall at St. Thomas University on Saturday, March 22 from 9 am to 4 pm. Admission is free and lunch and other refreshments will be served throughout the day.
"The topic of the colloquium, "The Late Medieval, Early Modern Self," throws light not only on significant changes in perception of the human at a critical time in history, but will also illuminate things we take for granted and have perhaps not thought to examine for ourselves," said Dr. Andrea Schutz, an English professor at St. Thomas University and the conference’s faculty advisor.
The conference will give undergraduate students an opportunity to share their findings with the rest of the university community and beyond, as well as gain experience for potential graduate studies, both as student and professor. The conference has been organized by the English Honours Seminar in Medieval Drama, but incorporates other liberal arts disciplines like Philosophy, Drama and Religious Studies.
"I am sure that it sometimes seems to students as though the university is entirely made up of things to be written and things to be marked, and I can imagine that the rationale for most assignments you do as an undergrad is obscure," said Dr. Schutz. "What is frequently missing from a university experience is the reality of belonging to a community of scholars: the sharing of and experimenting with ideas, the conversations across disciplines and times and cultures, the richness of the intellectual endeavour in community."
Dr. Schutz said she wanted her students to be provided with this type of environment, an opportunity they recognize.
"I'm looking forward to hearing what others have to say about the Medieval Self in general, views from different departments and from my classmates," said Jody Tompkins, a 4th year English Honours student. "I'm hoping to walk away from this conference knowing a lot more about our topic than I did walking in. I think anyone would enjoy this conference; with both academic papers and two medieval play adaptations, it's sure to be a great day."
There will be three sessions of inter-related papers looking at aspects of medieval culture like art, citizenship, the medieval and early modern church, political and social commentary, as well as issues of gender.
Another aspect of the day will be the performance of two works of medieval drama, The Sacrifice of Isaac, and Lydgate’s Disguising. The direction, production, costuming and interpretation of the plays have been entirely student-based, derived from a year of intensive study, led by Dr. Schutz.
Finally, the conference will showcase period music through a vocal ensemble led by Anne Hewson.
"I want those attending to feel the excitement and passion that arises from a commitment to one's own work, to find out what this community of scholars has to offer each other, to promote some sense of the integrity of studies in the liberal arts, to rethink things, to support each other emotionally and intellectually, to learn, in short, what universities may imply: that we are part of a community which values the life of the mind in all its forms, in all its times," said Dr. Schutz.