Medieval Studies

Medieval Studies Medieval Studies



The purpose of the Program in Medieval Studies is to foster the interdisciplinary and cross-cultural study of the history, literature, languages, religion, philosophy, art, and archaeology of cultures across the globe from approximately the fourth through the fifteenth centuries C.E., by sponsoring activities such as seminars, conferences, symposia, and lectures, visiting scholars, and exchange and outreach programs, and by offering an undergraduate Interdisciplinary Studies Concentration and Minor in Medieval Studies and a graduate Concentration in Medieval Studies. A unit of the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences with the participation of the College of Fine and Applied Arts, the Program has its administrative home in the School of Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics. Participating Departments and Programs are, in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Classics, Comparative Literature, East Asian Languages and Cultures, English, French, Germanic Languages and Literatures, History, Philosophy, Religion, Slavic Languages and Literatures, Spanish, Italian & Portuguese, and Speech Communications; in the College of Fine and Applied Arts, Architectural History, Art History, Landscape Architecture, and Music; and the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and University Library.

A distinctive feature of our Program is its global approach to the discipline of Medieval Studies. We sponsor the new academic journal The Medieval Globe, and our curricula and programming strive to foster crosscultural study of the period and interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Program aims above all to create a community of scholars and students sharing interests in these fields both within the University of Illinois and between the Program in Medieval Studies and other Medieval Studies programs and institutes around the world.

Eleonora Stoppino, Director

Donate to Medieval Studies

The Medieval Globe 3.2 (2017)

The mark of The Medieval Globe is comprised of elements derived from six medieval cosmologies (design: Matthew Peterson)


A World Within worlds?

Reassessing the global turn in medieval Art history

Edited by Christina Normore

The Medieval Globe, sponsored by the Program in Medieval Studies, has been published by ARC-Medieval Press. Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World: Rethinking the Black Death, edited by Monica H. Green (Arizona State Univ.) brings together scholars from the humanities and sciences to demonstrate how recent work in the genetics, zoology, and epidemiology of plague can enable new understandings of the Black Death pandemic and its larger historical significance.

The Medieval Globe is edited by Carol Symes (History). Two other Illinois medievalists, Elizabeth Oyler (East Asian Languages and Cultures) and D. Fairchild Ruggles (Landscape Architecture) are founding members of the editorial board.

Immediate Open Access publication of Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World has been supported by the World History Center at the University of Pittsburgh. It can be accessed through the publisher and it will also be available in book form:

Open access link

Details on availability of the print publication

Link to The Medieval Globe website

In this issue Monica Green, a noted historian of medicine and global health, and sixteen other contributing authors show how the Black Death may have spread via the infection of many different animal species, through the Indian Ocean and along the Silk Roads to the Mediterranean, and possibly to sub-Saharan Africa as well. They showcase new discoveries and analytical methods in archeology and bioarcheology, including recently uncovered evidence for the Black Death's impact on a Jewish community in Catalonia. They investigate the consequences of plague's persistence in many regions of the world and its effects on the immune profile of surviving populations. And they assess the historical implications of evolutionary genetics, which postulate a much wider geographic extent of the late-medieval pandemic than hitherto imagined.

Pandemic Disease in the Medieval World builds on the decisive results of several scientific studies completed in recent years. In 2011, the full genome of the Black Death pathogen (Yersinia pestis) was sequenced, using ancient DNA recovered from the remains of plague victims buried in London's East Smithfield cemetery. Since then, microbiologists have proposed that a "Big Bang" of this organism occurred on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau between 1142 and 1339, ultimately causing the pandemic that killed 40-60% of all people in the Middle East, Europe, and North Africa.

Submissions for future issues of The Medieval Globe are welcome. See the Submissions Guidelines.

For further information, please contact:
Carol Symes ( is the founding executive editor of The Medieval Globe. She is the Lynn M. Martin Professorial Scholar at the University of Illinois, where she is an associate professor of history and medieval studies. Her own research focuses on the history of documentary practices and communication technologies in Western Europe, and the abiding influence of medievalism in the modern world.

Major or Minor in Medieval Studies!

A completely revised undergraduate Concentration (interdisciplinary Major) and new Minor in Medieval Studies are now available. The new curricula are global in scope, with introductory coursework in the medieval cultures of Europe, Asia, and the Middle East followed by an individual plan of study of advanced coursework allowing a student to focus on a particular area. Follow these links for descriptions of the Major and Minor with the requirements for each, and for a list of advanced courses that fulfill the "individual plan of study" hours.

Fall 2016 Medieval Courses brochure

Pursuing Graduate Work in Medieval Studies at Illinois

(follow link for information)

Recent Publications by Illinois Medievalist Graduate Students

Ann Hubert, "Preaching Rhetorical Invention: Poeta and Paul in the Digby Conversion of St. Paul," forthcoming in Early Theatre 18.1 (2015).

Some Recent Books by Illinois Medievalist Faculty

(for details and a fuller listing see Recent Faculty & Graduate Student Publications)



Roman de la Rose

University of Illinois Rare Book & Manuscript Library Pre-1650 MS 81 (France, 13c), fol. 1r

(for complete digital facsimile follow title link)

Courtesy of Rare Book & Manuscript Library


Parable of the Prodigal Son (ca. 1215-25, France)
Courtesy of Krannert Art Museum

OUR MASTHEAD: The Program masthead includes three elements drawn from holdings in the University's Rare Book & Manuscript Library: the illuminated letter "M" (as well as the decorative borders) are from the Lyte Book of Hours (ca. 1390); the background is from an 8th-century Japanese block-printed scroll (containing the Buddhist prayer Hyakumantō Darani), overlaid with compass and maplines from a portolan chart of the Mediterranean (ca. 1552) by Bartolomé Olives. The ensemble is intended to evoke at a glance our new global configuration.

The left navigation bar features a Lohan (Rakan) figure, China, Ming Dynasty (courtesy of the
Spurlock Museum of World Cultures)

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